From the monthly archives:

July 2009

Gaining heart

by Henk ter Heide on Friday July 31, 2009

in Drawing

This was a very nice drawing to do.

Although I like to draw, it always took a large amount of effort to get myself to sit down and work on a drawing.
I always suspected that it had something to do with the autistic need for structure. But I couldn’t find a way.
On week days I could draw in the evening. But if I have a holiday I would like to draw in the morning. In the weekend I do my shopping in the morning so then I would like to draw in the afternoon.
So no structure what so ever.

After I had figured out what it is that I like about drawing I was planning to take some time out to find the best way to get some structure to drawing. But it wasn’t necessary.
Turns out that not knowing what I felt was the reason why drawing took so much effort.

This drawing almost drew it self.
Which is one reason why this was a very nice drawing to do.

Gaining heart
Gaining heart

The other reason is a small victory.

When I first started drawing I thought that having a photographic memory would mean that I would be able to project an image on the paper (so to speak) and then trace it.
But I couldn’t.
I found I couldn’t keep up my concentration long enough. The image would get vague and disappear long before I finished drawing.

But while drawing circles in my last drawing I discovered that I could imagine how a circle looked and then almost draw it.

With this drawing I explored the technique.
I can put a dot on the paper for the center. Then I can draw a line to use as the radius. Then I can imagine that the line is a kind of cord that is attached to the point of the pencil. And draw the circle.

I checked these circles using coins and found that they are five of the best freehand circles I’ve ever done.
With the sixth I lost my concentration.
But it’s a start. A promising start.


Almost balls

by Henk ter Heide on Saturday July 25, 2009

in Drawing

This drawing started life as a cross with circle drawn around it. The pink/purple circle was the first one I did. The light blue/dark blue the last.
As you can see the circles get progressively better.

Actually I stopped because I thought of a technique that should improve the circles. Which I’m going to try in my next drawing.

The background is a bit of a fiasco. I thought that a combination of black and purple would give a nice shine.
But it didn’t. It looks kind of horrible.

Almost balls
Almost balls


The journey

by Henk ter Heide on Sunday July 19, 2009

in Personal

Because I’m still walking with a crutch, because I broke my hip last year November, I can’t cycle.
I hate it. It’s to slow.
And of course I can’t walk very far. So I take the bus a lot.
I don’t like the bus either. Not only because it takes much more time to reach down town by bus then by bike. But also because it doesn’t take me to the place were I want to go.
So I have to walk even more.

On holidays I’ve walked through forests and past lakes and hated it. As always I felt that I was going to slow.
Although I like being in nature and looking at the beautiful trees or the water. I always feel that there should be better mode of transport.
I’d much rather climb into my Porse and race through the forest.

I just started a new doodle. Although it’s not really a quick sketch. This is probably going to be a very nice drawing. But it is going to take me a few days to finish it.

Just after starting it. Not yet knowing what it was going to be. I realized something about drawing.
I’ve never thought about what it is that I like about drawing. Am I interested in the process or in the result.
Do I draw because I want to reach a certain destination or because I like the journey.

Thinking about that I realized that I am wrong. I do like walking through nature and having a laugh with friends. I just never recognized the feeling.

I do like the feeling of the pencil sliding across the paper. I do like to watch and see how the white is slowly eaten by the color.
I don’t like the color selection.
But am finding that it really doesn’t matter that much. Whether I take a long time to decide which color to take or go by instinct. In the end I usually like the result.

I also like the result.
But not so much that I’m willing to speed through a drawing. And give up on the joy of drawing it first.



by Henk ter Heide on Saturday July 18, 2009

in Drawing

Only one doodle for today. But I’m satisfied. Partly because I actually like the drawing. And partly because this was a very busy day and I didn’t have time to do more.

Of course there was the usual shopping to do. To have enough to eat to survive the weekend.
But this morning my pc screen suddenly died and I had to rush down town to buy a new one. Which took a lot of time. Then I had to connect it and that took even more time.

Strangely the instruction on how to connect the screen where on a CD. But not having a working screen I couldn’t watch the CD.

After trying several times to connect the screen to it’s foot I finally discovered a printed version of the instructions. Which was, very intelligently, packaged with the last part you need.



Doodles on 7/17/09

by Henk ter Heide on Friday July 17, 2009

in Drawing

It takes far more effort to sit down and draw, not knowing what I’m going to draw, then I expected. Of course I did think about the first before I started. So it actually doesn’t count.
I was planning to do 4. But I only did 2.

I should be complimenting myself that I at least did 2. But I’m feeling a little guilty for not hitting my goal.


Red rain
Red rain


Doodles made on 7/14/09

by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday July 14, 2009

in Drawing

This is quite a nice picture of a mountain. It has me thinking about lots and lots of pictures I’ve seen of mountains with lush green on it’s flanks and exposed rock on it’s sides. Complete with a beautiful boy standing in the cold mountain streams (2.10 min).


I’m already getting nervous thinking about how I should draw all the pictures that pop up in my mind.
I can’t have that.
I can’t draw the pictures in my mind and I get bored when I try.
So back to making a quick sketch.
This one looks a bit like an abstract bicycle.




by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday July 14, 2009

in Drawing

Autistics don’t doodle.
I’m not sure why. But now I’m thinking about it. It’s probably something to do with the subconscious.
As I understand it doodling is when your hand moves subconsciously about the paper while your mind is otherwise occupied.
Autistics don’t have a subconscious. Or so I’m told. So no subconsciously drawing while listening to people at some meeting.

But subconscious or not I find doodling a very interesting process. Mostly because you don’t know what you’re going to draw before you start.

For the last year or so I have the feeling that it’s something I should try me hand at.
In a way because it’s the next logical step.

I’ve tried drawing from my photographic memory. But that became boring long before I got skilled enough to really show what I wanted to draw.
Then I tried my hand at a kind of projects where I thought of a picture before I started. Without it being something from RL.
But still it gets stale long before I get around to drawing the picture.
So the next logical step would be to start drawing without knowing what I’m going to draw. But that’s scary.

That I’ve been putting it off for more then a year proves how scary it is.
Or does it?
Thinking about it the other day I realized that it actually only proves one thing: I’m prone to procrastination.
And of course procrastination creates it’s own feelings. The longer you put something off the more frightening it gets.
But that doesn’t mean that doodling is scary.

From reaching that point it was only a small step to realize that my actual problem is a kind of writers block.
I’m afraid of that blanc sheet of paper staring at me. Waiting to be filled.
But there’s actually a very good method of getting through writers block called “Free writing”.

Just start writing.
Doesn’t matter what you write about.
Maybe a note to the milkman. Maybe only repeating words. Really doesn’t matter. Just start and go on for 30 minutes a day. Daily. For a few weeks. And at some point your writings will become meaningful. (To you.)

Free drawing would be doodling.
So that’s what I’m going to do for the next few weeks. And I must say I have high expectation as to what kind of drawings I will be doing in a few weeks.

After doing the first two I find that I’m not really doodling. I’m putting far too much thought in to the process. They’re more like a kind of quick sketches.
Even so. I think I’m going to learn a lot from doing a few of these a day for the next couple of weeks.




Finding the limit of my thoughts

by Henk ter Heide on Sunday July 5, 2009

in Autism

Thinking about my thinking process.

  1. Processing abstract information
  2. Finding the limit of my thoughts

So I had figured out that I talk to myself to solve abstract problems. I figured that since the behavior has a purpose there should be a natural border. Some place to stop talking.

BTW When I say I’m talking to myself that’s not completely true. In my fantasy I’m having a discussion with some one who is an interested party in the problem I’m trying to solve.
I tell him the story of the problem plus every solution I’ve found up till now.
Sometimes I get stuck and I will repeat the same few sentences over and over for hours. Sometimes even for days.
You can imagine how annoying that can get.

It took me a while but I finally found out that there is actually a very obvious answer to this question.
For me the whole world is connected. Every problem is connected to every other problem – I’m told that this has either something to do with being autistic or with having a visual thought process – So when I start analysing some problem I can’t stop because the problem goes on and on.

But I can greatly reduce the number of problems I have to solve if I simply apply the rule that every problem I solve has to improve my life.
So Dutch unemployment crisis, as interesting it might be, is not something I should be thinking about. Same holds true for the famine in Africa.
But Promen’s (my employer) embezzlement of reimbursement of travelling expenses is a problem I should try to solve. Not only because it is costing me money. But there’s the simple matter of people doing what they are supposed to do. I should follow the rules and so should upper management. (What can I say. I’m autistic. People acting the way there supposed to, is more important to me then money 🙂 )
(More about this when I’ve solved it.)

So I’ve been living by this rule for a few days and it helps.
A bit.
After a few days I found that even when I limited myself to problems that actually influence my live. I still spend a lot of time talking to myself.

Turns out that I’m somewhat impatience.
When I run into a problem I tend to think about it until I’ve found the first 10 solutions. Then I implement the first solution.
But instead of waiting to find out if the solution works I continue thinking about new solutions. Which is a waste of time because the first one usually works.

But some times it doesn’t. Some problems are a little more complicated. Like the problems with my embezzling employer. And that is when I run into the real problem.
Turns out the there is no logic in the way I solve problems. Possible solutions come at random intervals.
There’s no way of knowing if I’ve found every solution or whether there are still a few more.
And as I said sometimes I get stuck and repeat the same few sentences over and over again.
Sometimes I follow a train of though to it’s bitter end. Only to find that it wouldn’t work.

And then I stop.

And I have no idea whether I stop because I’ve reached the end of a school of thought. Or the end of a series of solutions.
Or just stop because I don’t feel like thinking abstract anymore.

The thing is that if I stop because I’ve reached the end of the school of thought or the end of the series of solutions. It would imply that I do know how many solutions I might expect.
If that’s the case it stands to reason that me getting stuck has more to do with my own annoyance then with my thinking process.

To Be Continued…