From the monthly archives:

March 2010

Color islands

by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday March 23, 2010

in Drawing

For the last few years I’ve been playing a kind of game with my self. I look at an object; a tree, car or park bench. And while I’m looking at it I try to imagine it.
Doing that feels as a kind of memory practice.
That is, I’m not sure whether I’m improving my memory. But it feels like that.

The problem until recently was that it also invoked a very strong feeling. So strong that I never knew whether it was a good feeling or not.
But a few weeks ago I noticed that the feeling had changed. It’s still a very strong feeling and I still don’t recognize it. But I’m now sure that’s a good feeling.

So the last few weeks I’ve been looking a lot. At everything around me. At everything I would want to draw.
And I finally realized something that’s probably obvious for people who are not autistic. But I never saw it.
The background of an object is very important.
A tree is nothing without the park or forest it belongs to.
The reflection of an early morning sun in a black wet road is nothing without the trees and the cars that surround it.

So for the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about how to draw background. Specifically about a color pencil drawing technique I read about years ago where you hash colors together.
In this study I’m finding out how you can mix colors.
I’m finding that the nice part of this technique that you can’t actually predict what kind of colors you’ll get after mixing a few colors.

I’m must try this on a somewhat larger scale.

Color islands
Color islands


Playing with pebbles

by Henk ter Heide on Saturday March 20, 2010

in Drawing

I wanted to play a little with the pebble shape. It seemed like a nice idea to suggest the shapes of pebbles touching each other by only coloring parts of the shapes.
But for some reason it didn’t work.
Maybe I used to many pebbles or maybe the hole idea is impossible.

For now I compromised and draw something a bit like what I had in mind.
But I will be coming back to this idea.

Playing with pebbles study 1
Playing with pebbles study 1

Playing with pebbles study 2
Playing with pebbles study 2



by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday March 16, 2010

in Drawing

I started this drawing 5 times before I was satisfied with the result.
The first time was when I got the idea. But I didn’t like the shapes.
The last time I realized that if I wanted to contrast between white and black I should use a pen that’s really black instead of grayish.




by Henk ter Heide on Friday March 5, 2010

in Personal

No, I know. This isn’t the first writing session. But I thought if I just call it “writing” WordPress should add a number. And I think it will. The next time I call an article “writing”.

But anyway I was planning to do a drawing today.
A few days ago while doing one of my lines drawings I came about an interesting shape I wanted to use in a drawing.
But of course that sketch didn’t work. So I started anew. The second drawing also didn’t work for me. But the third did. Sort of.
So just now I was racing through my drawing.
But that doesn’t work.

With the first two mistake I though “oh hell, whole will notice”. But with the third mistake it was clear that I notice. And I am the most important member of the audience.
If I don’t like the drawing there’s no point in posting it.

Which teaches me that I can’t rush through drawings. I’ll either have to do them the way I want them. Or don’t do them at all.


Discovering friendship

by Henk ter Heide on Thursday March 4, 2010

in Autism

Steve Pavlina revisited his idea about ordering things from the universe.
A few years ago when he talk about this subject it felt a bit out there, so I didn’t take it very serious. But this time he said something that actually meant something to me.
“What would happen is you order a meal at a restaurant and changed your mind before you have gotten it?”
His answer was that if you keep changing your mind you will never get any thing to eat.

That struck a note with me. I realized that this is something I’ve been doing the last few years. Maybe even on purpose.

For years I’ve been dreaming that I would like to have some friends in there early twenties.
I’m not quite sure why. But mostly because I can relate to them.
People my age are usually in a relatitionship or want to be in a relationship and I don’t want to be in a relationship.

Actually I would want to be in a relationship but I’ve found that being autistic means that my ideas about relationship differ from most non-autistic people. So to get a relationship I would have to find a gay guy of my age who’s also autistic.
What are the changes?

But anyway. Back to friendship with gay or straight guys in there early twenties.
15 Years ago I had three friends of that age.
One after an other, spanning about 6 years.

But after the third I stopped trying to find new friends.
It took too much out of me.
I felt as though they didn’t play by the rules and that I had to fight constantly to get them to visit me.
After six years of fighting with people who where supposed to be my friends I just gave up.

But now I’m starting to understand how the world works. And especially how I work and how autism influences the way I deal with friendship.

There are two main differences in the way I deal with friendship.
The first is that I don’t have as much need for close contact as non-autistics do. And secondly rules are far more important to me then to most non-autistics.

I like to be in a friendship where I see a friend every 6 to 8 weeks.
But of course to non-autistics once every 6 to 8 weeks means a very shallow contact. Which means that when I try to get them to visit me they sometimes have other priorities.

15 years ago I felt trapped by rules I never understood. But now I think about them I realize that those rules aren’t that important.
Are gay people allowed to befriend straight people? Of course they are.
Are people in there late forties allowed to befriend people in there early twenties? Of course they are.

The strange thing is that I actually know quite a few guys in there early that seem to be friends.
For years I’ve been wondering why it is that a guy in his twenties would want to befriend me. But I’ve concluded that it might be because I’m truly interested in them. Maybe it’s also something about needing a father figure.

Until now, though, I’ve hardly ever followed through. Mostly because I have been distracted by exactly the problem Steve Pavlina points out.
I feel like I’m in a restaurant with thousands of interesting dishes. I’m having such a hard time deciding which dish I’m going to sample that I never try any one.


Walking through the snow

by Henk ter Heide on Wednesday March 3, 2010

in Stories

The paper tell me that we have more snow this winter then in the last 30 years.
It started a few days before Christmas. I had taken the last few days for Christmas holidays off of work and that turned out to be a good thing. I never would have been able to reach my work because trains and buses didn’t run.

Luckily the snow was predicted, so I had stocked me cupboards with enough food to reach the first day of Christmas.
For the last 15 years my father and I have created the tradition to eat out on the 26the (we call it second Christmas day). So it didn’t seem necessary to stock for more then a few day. Especially because I was planning to order take out for the Sunday after Christmas.

But with both the weather and the weather forecast getting worse, it didn’t seem very likely the me father and I would have our Christmas dinner.
My father is 79 yrs old and is a little afraid that he might fall and break something. So with the kind of snow that was expected he was thinking of staying at home.

So two days before Christmas I decided that I had to go to the shops and restock my cupboards.
By that time we had 30 cm of snow. Which is a lot for the Netherlands. I can’t even remember ever seeing that much snow in the streets.
Since the last time I cycled on a slippery road I broke my hip I decide to walk.

Going out I expected it to be very cold. But despite the cold I found it to be a very nice day.
There are two routes from my house to the shops. One takes my passed two very slippery bridges and the other takes my along a road filled with dozens of cyclist who don’t take kindly to annoying slow moving pedestrians.
Since I didn’t want to fall and break something it seemed wise to take the latter.

But I found that I wasn’t the only one who had decided that cycling was to hazardous. The road was filled with pedestrians. Mostly middle aged and old folks. The kind of people who usually take the car.
By the tracks in the snow I could see that some cyclist had past.

Looking at those tracks in the snow it felt as though I was traveling through some mountaines moon landscape. It looked far more beautiful then I would have expected.

In hindsight I feel it’s a pity that I didn’t take the time to wander around to admire this winter landscape. But that day I just felt cold and wanted to get my Christmas shopping done as soon as possible so I could return to my warm and cosy home


Burning circuits

by Henk ter Heide on Tuesday March 2, 2010

in Autism

For years every time I felt home sick I would imagine myself roaming the halls of my old boarding school. While I walked through those halls I could remember them very clearly. Three dimensional and in color.

I always assumed that I had such a clear memory of the place because it made a big impression on me. It was only a few years ago, after I had discovered that I’m autistic, that I realized that I can remember every thing so clearly.
I not only have a clear, thee dimensional, color image of every place I’ve ever been. But also of every place I’ve ever seen on TV on in the movies. Even places I’ve only seen in my imagination after having read a description of them.

So for the last few years I’ve been thinking that it should be possible to visit places in my memory. Like a way of getting through the day, if I have less then interesting work.

But it never worked for much longer then a minute.
After about a minute I would feel very tired and start talking to myself.
Apparently for some reason I didn’t really understand, visiting the images in my memory took a lot of energy. I just couldn’t keep it up for very long.

So every now and then I try it. But I have never had much luck visiting images until yesterday.
I’m not sure why. But since yesterday I can visit every place I want to visit.

The main difference seems to be that I can now recognize why it’s difficult.

Turns out that visiting places in my imagination evokes very strong feelings in me. Almost to the point that I can’t stand them.
Now I recognize this it’s clear to me that I’ve had this before. Only thing is that until now the feelings where so strong that I couldn’t even feel if they where good or bad feelings.
I only had the feeling of burned out circuit.

Now I recognize the feeling as something good I can visit any memory I want to.
So today I’ve been enjoying a few childhood memories. And the strong feelings that accompany them.
I’ve even remembered the sandbox we had in our back yard when I was about 6.


Writing 2

by Henk ter Heide on Monday March 1, 2010

in Stories

I promised you a second article about my creative process. And I think I’m still going to write it.

One of my readers told me that the technique of drawing lines I’ve been using recently has a name. But I’ve forgotten what the name is.
Doesn’t really matter because to me it feels like the 1000 monkeys typing theorem.

It is said that if you would have a 1000 monkeys typing for all eternity you should be able to reproduce the works of Shakespeare. I don’t know about that. But I do feel that if I would draw enough lines drawings at some point I should get some inspiration and should be able to do some very interesting drawings.

So the last few months I had some other, mostly work related, problems to think about. But now I feel I have the time and the energy to go on with what I want to do on this site.
Which is to daily publish either a little story or a drawing.