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Muddling · Through

Judy painted on the boardwalk in Rehoboth.

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I was... shit, sixteen? Maybe fifteen?

Wait. I can figure this out.

Sixteen. There's a sketch a not much later in my sketchbook that I remember was based on a panel in a Wolverine comic book, and that came out in '98. I was sixteen that summer.

Okay. I was sixteen. My "art" was Crap. I'm not much of an artist, but the mediocre stuff I do now is horribly embarassed by the stuff I did then. There are sketchbooks full of stuff that will never be scanned, let alone uploaded to any of the various art gallery sites I'm a member of.

I better get back on track, or I'll spend a page or two just talking about how stupid I was when I was sixteen. I already deleted a long paragraph about it. You were sixteen, once, so you probably know just how dumb most sixteen-year-olds are. You don't need me to tell you.

Anyway, at that time, I went down to Rehoboth, DE, with my father every summer. It was always for several days and, really, I'm not the sort to just lie in the sun or spend days swimming. I'd go out into the ocean for a bit each day, and spend the rest of the time trying to come up with something to do. I often wound up spending a lot of time in the boardwalk arcades.

I had my sketchbook with me that year, so I spent some time sitting on a bench drawing. See above for a description of the quality.

One day during that trip, I happened to come across Judy. I don't really remember what she looked like. With my hazy memory of fourteen years ago, and a (bad) sketch I did of her to help, I want to say she was somewhere between eighteen and twenty-two. She was older than me, but I don't think it was by all that much.

I could be completely wrong. My sketch doesn't include her face - it's three-quarters from behind her, to include her canvas - so it's not much help there. Here's what it does tell me:

  • She had a short pony tail (long enough for her hair to just brush her shoulders, if it was down). Her hair was light - brown or blonde, I don't know, but I'd have shaded (or badly filled in) her hair if it was dark.

  • She was relatively thin. I don't want to trust my sketch too much for this - she wasn't that thin - but I drew her pretty damn thin. She was proportioned like someone who is thin, too - her hips weren't broad and her chest wasn't big.

  • She wore a loose-fitting t-shirt tucked into jeans. It's not in my sketch, but I'm assuming the shirt had plenty of paint on it. Only seems right that it would.

Yeah, that's all I've got on her physical appearance.

Right. Back to the rambling pointless story.

I sat down on the bench near Judy to sketch. I clearly didn't have any good ideas, because the sketches preceeding the ones related to her are just random crap.

At some point while I was sketching, I decided to start sketching what she was painting. I'm not sure if that's meta or just art theft. I'll be scanning that page, cleaning it up, and adding it to the end of this post. I'll also do my best to describe the colors.

We got to talking. Presumably because she decided to talk to me - most of you know I've never been the sort to initiate a conversation with a stranger, and I was worse then than I am now.

She took a break from painting to glance at my sketches, and (after likely being far to kind about the quality) did a quick sketch to demonstate the idea of starting with abstract shapes (rough circle for the head, cylinders for limbs, et cetera). That sketch is still there in my sketchbook between my sketch of what she was painting and the one of her. I listened, but at the time I hated trying to start like that. I do it now - it really is the easiest way to map out a pose - but it always threw me off then. I did better just drawing what I was looking at, then. That was just because I wasn't comfortable with the other method, of course, and it wouldn't have taken much practice for me to get comfortable with it and be able to draw better, but I was sixteen. Sixteen-year-old me was kind of an idiot.

I'm getting off track again. There really isn't much to this story, and it's already far longer than it had any right to be.

Pretty much the only other thing about Judy that I remember is that she was, I think, visiting Rehoboth from somewhere in PA.

That's it. It wasn't that long a conversation, or at least it doesn't seem like it was long through the filter of my memories.

All told, I'm a little surprised at how well I do remember that brief little encounter. I probably shouldn't be. I remember much more trivial things. There's no good reason for me to remember the exact words exchanged when I asked a friend out in 2004 or the AIM handle of my girlfriend of, like, three weeks in 1999, but I do. Not that the few of you that still show up here in between my RSS feeds would know or care about the situations involved in those memories.*

Anyway. Since the point when everyone and their grandmother got online, I've occasionally tried to track down Judy. Not to try to establish a connection or anything like that so much as to see what she's creating now.

I've got some friends who are amazing artists, but she's still somehow my go-to when I need to conjure up the idea of "an artist."

Side note: there's no point to this. It's kinda just brain spew.

Alright. Onto the painting. Here it is:

Didn't scan well, but whatever. At the point when I last saw it, the figure was mostly various (mostly dark) shades of green (lips were red, I think). There wasn't much by way of a background, aside from the sun-like thing at the top (yellowish, I think), and it may have been reds and oranges. I remember a few people passing by and asking what it was - she told at least one that it was an angel, might have told one that it was a clown, and told at least one that she didn't know.

So, bad sketch, rambling pointless story, ill-remembered description of the painting. Any of you (...like, three people seeing this...) ever happen across a painting like this on teh intarwebs? I apparently have decided to try to track down some of her art again.

* This is a blatant lie for one of you. Maybe. If you're even still reading this drivel. Hello, person I'm not naming.**

** I've repeatedly seriously considered returning to this site and regularly posting cryptic stuff that will mean nothing to anyone who might be reading it. Like taking the clues out of a mystery novel, removing anything that might actually help the reader suss out the mystery, and spewing it all over LiveJournal.***

*** I also still enjoy nested footnotes, apparently.
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