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Capturing "Why?"

With summer practically here, I'm looking forward to a beach bonfire. So I drew this and am just trying to figure out how to capture the smell of a bonfire with toes in the sand and salt air in my hair. I wish I had the perfect quote to emblazon this night sky. I actually googled "beach bonfire quote". There isn't really one. ChatGPT crafted this little gem:

"The beach bonfire crackled and danced, casting a warm glow on the faces gathered around it, as stories and laughter mingled with the salty sea breeze."

What's really happening here is that I'm hesitating to harness what a beach bonfire sparks in me, personally. Maybe hesitating isn't the right word. I'm blocked from understanding how to harness what it sparks in me. Perhaps the thing that's missing is the essence of what a beach bonfire is to me. Sometimes I'll look at a piece of art and be more impressed by the artist's confidence to make it and put it out there. Sometimes I wonder if I care too much about what people think to actually be an artist. I need to figure it out and do it before changing my mind thinking, "Everyone will think it's stupid."

I'm happy with this drawing so far... but it's missing the answer to the question, "Why?" That's what makes art Art, right? The artist's perspective. So right now, this is just a drawing of a lifeguard tower, a crescent moon, and bonfires glowing under a starry sky. That ChatGPT quote isn't all that bad, actually, but I want to pull meaning from my own cache of memories and experiences instead of using someone else's (or something's) words. Invest something of myself in the work. It's like writer's block, but visually. I think I could write what I'm thinking better than I can draw it...

Beyond the glow of the bonfire, black night surrounds us. Crashing waves, unseen, mix with the sound of a playlist (curated for a beach bonfire) and the crackle of the roaring fire. Drinks are poured into red cups and quickly tucked away at the sight of headlights. Police cruiser gives a nod and then disappears back into the dark night. Sticky fingers from a gooey s'mores treat as the thick, marine air settles and dampens my hair. The warmth of the fire makes me feel like I could stay there all night. Alas, the last log is eventually reduced to embers and I can barely keep my eyes open. All packed up, we drive with windows down to smell the bonfires still ablaze until we're back on the highway home, where I can smell the salt and smoke on my clothes as I drift to sleep. 

Maybe I'm trying to hard. Sometimes another thing I love about a piece of art is how naturally it seems to have come out of the artist and onto the medium. I don't know... maybe I'll move onto something else and then come back to this with fresh eyes.

Or go have a bonfire.

Yeah... I should go have a bonfire.

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