Feeling my new SUV, trying digital drawing, and learning Italian
by Rob Tiller
Getting used to a new car is kind of like moving into a new house — everything’s a little confused, but also fresh and exciting. This week I’ve been figuring out the fine points of my new Mazda CX-5 (a/k/a the Tiller Advanced Photographic Expeditionary Vehicle), pushing buttons and turning knobs, and occasionally consulting the owner’s manual. I’ve always thought of myself as a person who doesn’t much care for SUVs, and I got the TAPEV for more practical reasons (getting to outdoor adventures) than romantic ones. But unexpectedly, I may be falling in love!
The biggest challenge for me is getting clear on where the outer edges of the vehicle are. Because of my left eye injury, I don’t have very good depth perception, so getting into tight parking spots is a bit fraught. At Gabe’s suggestion, I did some practicing in an empty parking lot, using some old paper boxes as obstacles. It must have looked odd, if anyone noticed, but it helped. I only mashed one box.
Along with getting oriented in my new SUV, I’ve been learning to draw with digital tools. I got an Apple Pencil to go with my iPad Pro, and have been refreshing on drawing fundamentals — lines, curves, shapes, shading — and trying some figure drawing with online models. I found some helpful YouTube drawing lessons by Stan Prokopenko. The Apple technology works great — it’s easy to vary the line, use different colors, and erase. It’s very portable, and the risk of embarrassment is low, since I can delete the things that don’t work, which at this stage is almost everything. I enjoy it.
I’ve also started studying Italian, trying to learn the fundamentals and maybe a little more for our trip to Venice this fall. I put my German studies on pause, and got a discount on the Rosetta Stone Italian course. What a gorgeous language! It’s a cliché, but also true — it’s very musical. The R’s are challenging, but I’m starting to get it. I’ve got my basic greetings, colors, and numbers, and can accomplish a few simple things, like asking for a sandwich.
The landscapes here were taken yesterday morning at Durant Park in north Raleigh, and the flowers and insects were taken this morning at Raulston Arboretum. At Durant, I was hoping to get some close views of dragonflies, but didn’t. It was hot, but also peaceful by the water. I used the tripod on all these shots, which made the process slower and more deliberate.