Thursday, September 5, 2013

More Portraits

A few more of the portraits I've completed over the last few weeks. I will have more later this week. I've done a few practice ones and finished another pretty big one today. I'm still letting it digest to see if I'm happy with it. I'm still trying to see where I need to go with this idea as I'm starting to tire of doing things the same way. I feel like I need to move back into the real world and get away from digital. Learn lessons and apply them rather than learn lessons and just keep plodding along... Maybe its just me and my desire to continually improve and push my limits as an artist.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I've started to enjoy painting portraits. I'm not sure how it happened but my entire attitude has shifted. Maybe I didn't see the process in it before. Its been an interesting experience. I've played with different styles, and mediums. I've been doing a lot of sketching, although much less than I want... I've been taking up most of my time with digital paintings.

Its nice cause I can play with different styles or mediums. Mixing colors. Its definitely helped me understand the process on a much better level. Its also helped me see that a plan is essential to a good painting or illustration. I think that is one bad thing about abstract work, I mean you have a plan but its not the same... with abstract work I feel like there is more of a give and take. You have a direction but the goal is more open. Its process but in a different way...

Process for the sake of process? Art for the sake of art? I read Burn Hogarth's Dynamic Anatomy this weekend and he was lamenting more modern art and I can kindof understand why... But I love modern art too. I am still thinking of how I can push my figure paintings and portraits into a more loose and dynamic direction.

I keep trying to wrap my mind around how I can combine my figures and my cities, I think I have an idea, I just need to execute, I guess I'm not feeling confident enough yet. Still loosening things up and trying to make sure I really do understand the structure of the face and body. I can see a vast improvement in just a month so its really exciting. Improvements like these are important, it raises the quality of everything you do which just makes every project exciting.

Below are the portraits I've been working on. I unfortunately didn't get around to posting until I already had quite a few. Maybe I'll split things up and post through the week till I get caught up and then maybe I can try to get more regular about updating.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Polyphasic Sleep Experiment Day 4

Still awake... feels like I'm just awake all the time. I'm in a good mood, feeling fine... I notice I have a strange relationship with my bed now. It used to be a place of refuge and now its like a fueling station. I just go there to recharge quickly and then I'm on my way... I'm not sure if I like it that way...

I've been wondering if I should have an end goal for this experiment or if I am just supposed to do it indefinitely... I guess it all depends on how it works out and if I adjust to a point where it feels good. Not ok, but actually good. I want to believe that it can be a great thing but there is little evidence to support it. What is terribly odd is that there is little evidence against it either.

I spent an hour today trying to find any negative information I could on polyphasic sleep and really only found one by a Ph D in biology. He has some good info as to why it shouldn't work but has not tried for himself and thinks the idea of running tests is stupid. He makes a lot of strange logical jumps too that bother me because if this is something that has proof of being bad I'd rather know and terminate the experiment than bang my head against a wall.

For me it seems to be working and its honestly hard to believe... I've only had about 6 hours of total sleep since Monday and its now Thursday morning. I guess I'm just not sure how to process that when all logic says I should be dead tired and I'm honestly not.

Granted I am tired, just not in the way I would have thought. All I have to do is walk about or focus intently on something and I seem to recover to the point where I feel highly functional and lucid. I'm not feeling zombied out anymore so that is pretty awesome. I do have an hour left until my 4:30AM nap and I'm looking forward to that one.

So far this has always been the most difficult stretch and I think its cause this is a time that I'm always asleep, I can't think of many if any occasions where I was awake at this hour except for an occasional party. I thought about taking another nap at 1:30 but wasn't really feeling that tired so I skipped it. Now I don't want to nap cause I'd rather stick to a strict schedule than not. It seems like those who are successful with this are the ones who stick to schedule until the readjustment phase has ended.

My brother is having a hard time, he's had to take more naps than I have. I wonder if this works against him. I wonder if I'm fooling myself into thinking that skipping this nap is good when in fact it is not. Its really hard to tell but I'd rather have more days under my belt before I start doing any further tweaking. If consistency is key then I really should try my best to be consistent as possible.


I have finally found some information that makes me think this experiment might not be the best idea. I knew that the body released chemicals at night but the impression some of the poly sleepers gave was that the body overcomes these and I'm starting to see this is not really true. The day time is the only time I feel even slightly normal and if I'm honest, its a far cry from normal.

I keep thinking to a week previous when I was sleeping 5 hours at night and taking a nap in the day and how fantastic I was feeling. I'm not making progress on my art the way I'd like, its taken me almost 4 days to complete what would normally take me a single day or two at the most and I've literally got most like 8 days in because I'm working around the clock. The payoff just doesn't seem like its there...

I'm still bothered by how little information there is on polyphasic sleep... There is only one scientific study that I've found and it didn't really end well for the subject. I've almost got a romantic attachment to a full nights sleep at this point and feel like I definitely need an end point to this, I just don't think its right for me. I feel like I can keep pushing if I want but whats the point? Ultimately to be more productive but right now I'm at an extreme loss in terms of productive output.

I have seen a few videos of people on week three and quite frankly they look awful. They seem extremely scatterbrained and unhealthy in appearance.


Not sure if all my research into the negative effects had an impact on me psychologically but I overslept my 4:30-5AM nap by 2.5 hours and woke up at 7:30! I felt extremely good getting that extra sleep and combined with what I was reading I think I'm ok ending this experiment and moving to a biphasic sleep cycle. There is something inherently pleasing about getting a large block of sleep. To go to bed when its dark and wake up when its light feels natural. Having defined days feels right to me, the blending was getting extremely difficult for me to process. I don't usually feel confused about what time it is and the last day my perception of time has become so bizarre that I have started to crave normal sleep.

I gave in :) I slept another few hours and I'm still honestly tired. I think I need to catch up still but I'm going to stay awake and take a nap later and then return to a more normal schedule tonight. TONIGHT! I can actually say that and know that it means something!

I keep thinking about how I was feeling last week where I'd be sleeping 5.5 or 6 hours and taking a nap during the day. I was highly alert, functioning better than I have in years. This poly sleep was just prolonged zombie mode. Even when I felt good it wasn't really that good. It was just surprising cause 6 hours in 3 days in totally nuts.

I admire people who push to go a month but realistically I don't have that much time to waste. The experiment was to gain more time and I feel like all I gained was poor quality time. The trade off isn't really worth it to me.

I'm extremely happy I did this experiment. I could have pushed myself longer, I felt ok when I woke at 7:30 but my body is telling me this isn't right for me. Why fight it? In the end I got myself to start eating a lot better and exercise a lot more. Those are both positives to come out of the experience. Plus, its pretty awesome to push yourself in strange ways. I like knowing my limits.

I would be willing to try this again if I can find more research on it. Scientific experiments though, not blogs and personal accounts. I think the internet can be dangerous at times because there is so much information out there that we are basically able to find whatever we are looking for... The internet becomes a giant echo chamber and I for one don't like that... I need evidence in order to believe in something and it really started to become apparent that there is no real research on this subject. I think many doctors just take the stance that the body naturally releases chemicals for sleep so thats just how it is, no reason to do research into this idea but I wonder if there is something that could be learned by doing more studies on people who are willing to push themselves.

One other thing I noticed, no one who practices poly sleep lasts for very long. I couldn't find a single person who went for a year. Most barely lasted a month so I have a hard time thinking that its something we can train ourselves to do... Its a wonderful idea but unless I can see some hard evidence I'll just keep to more normal sleep.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Polyphasic Sleep Experiment Day 3

I think this is technically day two but I made the tragic mistake of writing after the first 24 hours of being awake on the day I started this instead of starting from 12AM and going from there... The only reason this matters is cause the first 12 hours I was awake I'd had plenty of sleep the night before so realistically it shouldn't count. But mentally it counts a lot. I'm feeling it today.

Writing this is incredibly hard... as is pretty much anything. I just finished a quick walk and I don't think it did anything. My eye lids are so heavy they could register on a scale right now. I'm hoping I'll have a similar experience to yesterday which is that around 7AM my energy picked up quite a bit cause we were walking out in the woods.


Took another walk, this one was a mile and that seemed to boost me a little more. As soon as I got back I had to walk our dog Lucy so I was feeling pretty good for a few hours. Got to try the potato pancakes. Really good, I never would have thought of combining rosemary and apple but its damn good! Feels good to eat raw. Working on the new pictures some more, its starting to look pretty intense, I'm not sure it was a good idea to do something so intense but I'm pushing through it and I'm honestly loving the results so far.


Walked out in the woods for an hour. We took a shorter route just cause we're both feeling pretty zombied out right now. Its only 9AM and I've already logged close to five miles so I don't think I need to worry about getting enough exercise at this point. From what I've read muscle soreness is an entirely new experience on the Dymaxion cycle because you're awake around the clock to experience it in its entirety instead of being able to sleep through much of it. I noticed this same effect with my headache yesterday. It seems that its finally gone away but it was tempting to want to sleep it away late last night when I was struggling.

I am really looking forward to my 10:30 nap. I'm feeling a lot better than I ever would have thought but sleep seems like such an appealing thing when you're getting so little. I'm hoping my body will adjust similar to what I've read about uberman cycle sleepers. Meaning, tomorrow should be significantly easier than today or yesterday.


Wow. 10:30 nap was amazing. Best I've had thus far. Woke up feeling like I slept an hour, feeling very alert and happy right now. This experiment just took a turn for the best! I was really hoping for something like this but I didn't expect it to happen so soon. Hopefully its not a fluke and I'll get a similar experience this evening when I take my nap at 4:30.

Working on my painting, I feel slightly cloudy but considering I've had only 3 hours of sleep since Monday I feel absolutely incredible. I never thought I would feel this good so quickly. Don't want to get my hopes up too much, still got a lot of time ahead of me but this feels like a very good sign. If this continues I should be in full work mode next week and basically back to my normal life only with an additional 6 hours to spend on personal projects or work. Really excited by this. I think the raw foods are definitely helping. My brother didn't crash out like he did yesterday where he needed a nap from 1-2. We're both feeling significantly better than we did at this same time yesterday.


Its close to 3:30PM and I'm still feeling quite good. Not 100% by any means but I am honestly in awe at how good I feel. Another hour till the 4:30 nap. One major difference between today and the previous two is that I'm not desperate for that time to come, I feel fine, I feel like an hour is no problem at all whereas before each nap was a struggle to get to. This is very exciting.


Something really weird happened. I woke up before my alarm. I woke up with a start as if an alarm did go off, but it was early, really strange. I'm not sure why I snapped awake but I was full of energy and ready to go so I figured, lets go! Took Lucy on a walk to get the blood flowing, my brother and I are starting to walk right after we wake up and it seems to be having a very positive effect and it helps get rid of fatigue pretty quickly. In fact its been the best thing to fight fatigue so far.

We made Cauliflower steaks for dinner tonight. Mom put together a cucumber salad, together it was all very good and all raw which seems to be an important part of this process. Heavier foods seem to make me more tired, meat especially. This is something I knew previously being a vegetarian but again, doing some reading made me realize the importance so I have been pushing to be 80% raw for the last few days. Not sure if I will be able to or need to maintain that level of raw intake but for now its definitely helping.

Its 8PM now and I am still feeling great. I've been working on my painting all day and have not been having the issues I was having yesterday getting confused or frustrated or just plain tired. In fact there is some excitement there which I think is cool. Certainly encouraging. Got a print back today of an abstract city I had printed on metal. Looks fantastic! I could not be happier with the result. Good day all around.


Almost 10PM, figure I'll wrap this up for the day. Its kinda hard to decide when one day ends and another begins so I'll just "end" today on my 10:30 nap which is coming up pretty soon. Still feeling good. I'm noticing some fatigue creeping in but it doesn't seem to affect me unless I dwell on it. I've been so distracted by my painting that I am only really noticing it now that I'm writing this up.

Good day overall, I'm really curious to see how tomorrow will work out. Did we get over the hump today or was it just a nice fluke? Does the Dymaxion cycle force you to adapt faster than the uberman? I haven't done uberman but there seem to be many more complaints and there are few resources on the Dymaxion cycle... It seems most who try it give up pretty quickly and I'm not sure why. Maybe people are more comfortable with the idea of taking lots of little naps instead of just 4. I guess I don't want to have to sleep every 4 hours so this cycle seems ideal... Its definitely hard but I am in a good frame of mind at this point and I genuinely feel like this is doable. Feeling much more positive at this point and I think thats a good thing to carry into tomorrow or night or however we want to define it :)

Day 2 Part 2 (or is it day 3?)

The last two hours have been the hardest by far. My brother and I were making raw potato pancakes and it was a huge ordeal for me mentally. Every question he asked seemed like a struggle to answer. They frustrated me as well, like I just wanted everything to work without any effort and yet just thinking about why I was doing something felt like a pretty large effort.

After making the pancakes we did another walk. Exercise seems to be the key in staving off fatigue. I've walked over 7 miles today and I will most likely do as much or more tomorrow as I believe tomorrow is supposed to be the worst of the adjustment... I'm honestly having a hard time figuring out what day it is... I mean I know that its Wednesday right now, I have my computer to tell me that but time is starting to warp in strange ways.

Even though I can put the word Wednesday to today it has no meaning. Its dark outside, it feels like night. So when I think its Wednesday I can't remember if its morning or night. I know I started this experiment on Monday but it feels like a long time ago. Time is definitely slowing down. My next nap is coming up at 4:30AM and I honestly can't wait.

I'm missing the 8 hour sleep cycle. There is something nice about days being finite. A beginning and an end... It just feels right whereas this feels really strange and loose. I hope my sleep gets better soon and I can start to feel genuinely rested. I go through waves where I feel ok like right before I started writing this, but now that I'm in the midst of it the fatigue feels very strong and I really want my nap to get here so I can just check out for a few minutes. It is honestly hard to be awake so often...

I wonder how much longer it will take to adjust and start the upward ascent to productivity. I have a hard time feeling like a zombie. I guess I should try to wait longer till I post again but at the same time maybe its just better to post when it feels natural like now. ooh sleep. mmm such a luxury.

Polyphasic Sleep Experiment Day 2

My friend Dan asked me to talk about the hardest part of the day which is the 1-5AM portion. Technically I'm not there yet but its rapidly approaching and so I figured I'd talk about what has gone on since the last post and my plans for dealing with the rest of the night.

Today has not been as difficult as I'd imagined. This morning from 5-7AM was really tough, I was struggling to stay awake even as I was writing my first post on this experiment. My brother and I finally decided to take a walk out in the woods a little after 7AM and that did wonders for me. I became much more alert after our walk and remained so throughout the day.

We took our 10:30-11PM nap. My brother woke me up from a dream so thats a good sign, I'm hitting REM sleep which is important for this to work right. I don't remember my dream though so its not ideal. From what I've read before I should be remembering dreams. I think that may take a day or two more but I'm not entirely sure. There is not much to read on Dymaxion Sleep cycles so we're basing a lot of what we're doing off the uberman cycle.

I'm feeling pretty good right now, a slight headache and some minor fatigue.

I've been keeping myself busy with art during the night cycle. I started this one last night and have been working on it during the day when I feel like it. Its a little more complex than I should be doing most likely because it gets overwhelming at times and causes me to rest, which led me to nodding off a bit last night. I haven't had that yet tonight so I'll keep pushing it until it seems like its becoming unproductive.

We just put together some raw food recipes. From what we've read it seems that eating well is a key to success in this process. We made some raw doughnut holes which are comprised of Brazil nuts, oats, aguave nectar and cocoanut oil. Incredibly good and healthy... Thats what always blows me away about raw foods, such complex wonderful flavors and yet the healthiest meals you can possibly consume!

We also decided to make a walnut pesto for a topping or dressing or even dip. It just seemed flexible and practical and wasn't too complex as to make it frustrating. I do find myself getting easily frustrated because my wits are not entirely about me. I'm more clumsy than normal, I was dropping things all over the kitchen cause I can't seem to stay really focused like I'm used to.

Both recipes turned out great but took under an hour to make so we have to figure out how to pass some serious time before our next nap at 4:30AM. We're planning to do some raw potato pancakes for breakfast. They take about 3 hours in the dehydrator so we'll probably start those around 3AM so they're ready at 7. Making breakfast for dad, pretty funny to be cooking all through the night but its a nice way to pass the time and it gives us a lot of healthy foods for tomorrow which is supposed to be the worst day in the adjustment period.

My brother had a really difficult time after our walk. We have been trying to figure it out and the only thing we can think is that he ate some tic taks after our walk whereas I had broccoli soup. I was feeling great all through the day, I ended up telling him to nap around 1 because he was literally falling asleep every few seconds. I would wake him up, he'd say something and then within five seconds he'd be snoring again.

He took a half hour nap, then another when he didn't feel refreshed. That helped a lot and he has seemed energetic ever since. I think it was a good thing to happen because it showed us we can add naps if we need in order to keep the experiment running. I've already told myself that I will allow a nap through tonight if needed. Its seeming pretty likely as I'm very tired compared to how I've felt most of the day.

Its about 12:30 now so we have a long way to go before we make pancakes or get another scheduled nap. I'm going to try and work on my painting for a while and see if that can keep me going. I'll do an update later, either tomorrow after my walk or tonight if I'm feeling energetic. I don't want to force the writing cause it seems to cause me to get more tired. Reading especially is hard so this is just stream of conscious  I don't want to do any reading or revising because it just takes too much concentration and that is something I'm severely lacking right now.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Polyphasic Sleep Experiment Day 1

Its been 24 hours since my brother and I started our polyphasic sleep experiment. For those who are unfamiliar with the idea of polyphasic sleep you can read more here. My brother and I are currently attempting the Dymaxion cycle which is supposed to be the most difficult to adapt to... We are leaving room to experiment if we must but for now the goal is 4 half hour naps in each 24 hour period.

We chose this cycle because it seems to be the most efficient and the easiest in terms of schedule. The uberman cycle is the one I read the most on but it requires 6-7 naps per day and I think I'd rather just have fewer naps but slightly longer. The reading I did on uberman though showed that longer naps could often leave the sleeper more tired cause they would enter delta sleep so I'm hoping this does not become an issue.

Maybe because we're training for Dymaxion sleep we'll get REM for a half hour each time we sleep... That would be optimal but if that does not end up happening we might shift more to the uberman cycle as the main goal is to just get more time. I'm not particularly concerned with the exact method so long as it doesn't harm my body or result in oversleeping.

So far my alarms are working well, I wake up. This last time waking up though I didn't feel as refreshed as the other two naps I took today. This worries me a little because the hardest part is supposed to be the period from 1AM - 5AM on the second day... I'm 24 hours away from this period so my fatigue is definitely a concern.

Even as I write this I feel myself wanting to nod off and I'm definitely struggling to keep myself alert. Zombie mode is 100% engaged. I look forward to my next nap at 10:30 this morning.

Its incredibly strange to watch the sun come up while I'm awake, hearing the parents stir and then rise from their sleep. The world is getting brighter so that should help me stay awake better. Every time I blink I feel the weight of my eyelids and its a struggle to lift them. I'm trying to keep my thoughts positive and focused on the end results rather than this nightmare of an adjustment phase.

My brother and I just finished a five mile hike and that has helped a lot. I feel much more alert now and I think this is very possible. I might be taking a lot of walks for the next few days in order to help myself adjust and that is fine with me. We have already been walking a lot so adding an extra walk or two a day doesn't seem like it can be anything but beneficial.

I am pretty spaced out still. I just got a call from someone who wants to take Tai Chi lessons and I told them I have to call them back cause I just can't hold an intelligent conversation right now. I'm too focused on trying to stay awake that talking feels like a waste of energy. My brother and I are usually pretty talkative on our walks and this morning was pretty quiet. Most of our conversation revolved around sleep haha. We've both agreed we'd rather take more naps than give up on this experiment so tonight I may add an additional nap just to get through what is supposed to be the most difficult phase of the adjustment period.

Overall I feel a lot better than I thought I would so that is good. I am still a little worried about the next 24 hours cause honestly, waking up this morning was brutal. I was fighting sleep for nearly 2 hours. Sitting was hard because I just felt myself drifting so I kept standing and walking around the house. We'll see how the next few hours go, 10:30 AM nap is quick approaching so I'm hoping I get better sleep than I did for my 4:30 nap.

One cool thing is that I got a lot of work done on a new painting. I started it just for this experiment to make sure I cold keep my brain nice and busy to help fight fatigue and it worked for the most part. 4 AM got pretty brutal, I ended up having to play some videogames cause I was going crosseyed looking at my art which made my eyes tired. Not a good thing when you're trying to fight fatigue!

The next day should give me a much better indication of how difficult this will actually be... Food wise I'm trying to eat healthy. I keep reading a vegetarian or vegan diet is optimal so I'm making efforts to avoid meat and dairy as much as possible. My dad got out a raw cook book and suggested I make everything in it haha. I think he just wants free raw food!

Typing this is actually a bit tiring so I feel like I should end it here and go back to drawing or pacing around the house. ZOMBIE MODE!!