I think I can relax a bit, now. Just a little.

I feel like I should write something, but at the same time, what is there to say? Yet. I’ve completed two of three Finals, and the third Final already has hours of work put into it, from earlier in the semester. I’ve got some minor tweaks to do, but mostly things are looking good, there (unless I change something and everything breaks).

I’m talking about my Web Design Final; oddly enough, it looks like the majority of my work for this one will be painting—!! Which, you know, isn’t a bad thing. But I keep feeling like…there’s something else I should be doing on the computer. It probably comes from sitting here too long, and losing touch with reality.

Kinda…kinda half kidding, kinda not…

As I was setting up a page on my website…I realized (again) that most of the work which I’ve done (on paper) and liked, has relied on transparent watercolors, not gouache. So now I’m wondering again if gouache is the optimal medium for a website on color dynamics.

Gouache is really great for building clear, pure, strong color…but to use it and not have things come out looking chunky and blocky requires skill…that I don’t have at the moment?

In any case, I can rework the color wheel from 2007…it’s still readable, it hasn’t faded badly at all; but I was totally lacking in mixing skill at that time (this was towards the beginning of the class). What I mean by that is that I jumped from prismatic colors to chromatic greys with mostly no muted colors, in-between.

I can forgive myself for that because…well, it was a decade ago, and I hadn’t yet taken a real painting class. But when you’re youth and bold, and you don’t know how much you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s nothing to stop you from forging ahead.

Maybe as I got older, I got more cautious. (But if I illustrate that point, I’ll go off on a martial arts tangent which will require explaining…)

In any case, I can do the color wheel. The major issue is that it’s probably the hardest way to effectively mix paint, that is possible. It also uses up a lot of paint. But it may/will be a good exercise, I think. And paint is there to be used, you know? Not to sit there until it becomes dried cakes inside your tubes.

Yes, that…sounds like a plan, at least! I’ve just got to figure out whether I’ll be tweaking the image later in Photoshop, or whether I should just go buy some tinted acetate…

…yeah, I’m being cryptic again. Apologies…

I’m just thinking it will be easier to mask out irregular parts of an image before importing it to the computer, rather than dealing with odd-shaped selections in Photoshop (unless I just used circles to highlight the colors I’m talking about). Hmm.

Well, anyway. I’ve got a project for tomorrow!

Advertisements

Career Pathways: Web Design, Development, Production look interesting.

I’m not going to be able to stay here for long (getting sick, need rest), but I wanted to note something down before heading to bed: it looks like the goal I had before, of becoming a Web Designer first and then transitioning into a Web Developer, is not a bad option!

A while back I had a friend advise me not to take on a career as a programmer, though they didn’t tell me why. (I still don’t know why, and if I would care; I should ask them.) I ran as search as to why this might be the case…and I need to do some more research, but the main issue that I care about — besides technology constantly updating, meaning that things break routinely — is that programmers are seen by employers as interchangeable. And often, it’s cheaper for a company to outsource this labor.

So I don’t have to go whole-hog and become a software developer. Web Design is more in line both with my skills, and with what I’m being taught. Having Development skills, in addition, would give me a leg up. A page I found at SkillCrush is particularly encouraging. The only thing I will be really missing, on graduation, is training in Typography. I do know a place where I can take that class, though…or I could research and learn it on my own.

Of course, I’m planning to go into a job as a Librarian right after graduation, and build my tech skills on the side; I don’t expect to get the MLIS and then be — ready? to head right into a Design job. (I also wonder if a Design job would mean taking a pay/benefits cut, relative to being a Librarian.)

And then there is the possibility of becoming a Web Producer, which is like being a Content Editor…also very interesting, and a possible extra option.

Well, my eyes are burning and my nose is starting to, as well. I also heard that some others were sick at the office, so maybe I should just let this be, for now, and get some rest…

Future directions?

It wasn’t until I logged on last night that I realized I had been away from blogging (at this blog, at least), for four days(!). There are a number of things going on, the most pressing of which is Finals (though that will be completely over by the end of next week). Otherwise…I am going to have some work to do in archiving what I’ve done in the past semester (including the forum posts).

One final is entirely done with, and that is the final in which I had to interact with other people — not the easiest work, for me. Right now what I have left are my Web Design final, and my final for Digital Archives. I’ve got the idea that…I may actually want to look into software development…but I’m not sure my concept of what that work is like, is accurate.

The idea is to do another Master’s in Computer Science, though I’m not sure that will give me what I need. I’ve been dealing with online information and tutorials which seem more my speed. (I was even thinking that I might be able to use these in lieu of an in-person Computer-Science-101-type course, as they’re more targeted to my needs.)

What I’m finding is that Web Development may actually be more suited to me than Web Design (amazingly!), because of the interaction with users that designers have to deal with. (It seems like people automatically assume everyone is OK with this.) In effect, from my (limited) experience, it seems like people on the User Experience (UX) side of things need really good social skills, and I would expect this to be closer to a Web Design role than a Web Developer role.

That is, Library Science is closer to Social Science, and Information Science is closer to Computer Science…I think.

In turn, Web Development looks like it will need experience in a type of math I don’t yet know (Discrete Math); and…well, I was about to say I hadn’t taken a math class since high school, but that’s not true.

I took Statistics in undergrad, began and then dropped Calculus (it’s very hard not knowing if you’re doing things correctly or not; I dropped right before the first test)…and did a little bit of Accounting, before I got (physically) very sick and had to drop because I fell behind (I missed a four-hour class and didn’t know how I even could make that up, without sitting with the professor and having him teach me for another four hours).

Calculus was interesting, just harrowing. I think, though, that if I want a job away from the public, I’ll have to deal with the math. I’m fairly certain that if I’m learning math that I’m going to apply in some way (like to be able to issue commands to a computer), it will help with my motivation in learning it.

Applications of what we were learning weren’t even on the table, in my high school math classes, though Statistics, Calculus, and Accounting (all in Community College) all had very obvious applications, and I think Discrete Math does, too.

The issue I had in my early math classes was being so good at math that I received hostility for it from my peers (because I was female)…which made me not want to touch math, ever again. But if I was good at it, that means I have the capability.

Of course, though, I’d like to get my present loans dealt with, before getting into another Master’s program!

Body issues — feeling better.

I have work to do, but I’m drawn to writing, again.

First, on the exercise and weight tangents: I’m feeling better. Recently I went through three days of (legitimately) forgetting to take the medication which is making me gain weight (I’m taking it every other day, now) and actually dropped a couple of pounds within those three days.

This is encouraging, because it means that when I get all the way off of this, I have a good chance of my body doing what it did before (where I mostly didn’t have to consider calories or fat or sugar, because I just didn’t gain weight [outside of highly stressful situations, like that first semester of grad school]).

I’m trying to tell myself, I only have 10 more days to go, and then I can consider fully stopping the Prozac — or calculate out when that should occur. In any case, everything will be done in two weeks, for better or worse.

Very recently, I did some exercise, outside of my regular routine. That could have also contributed to the weight loss, even though it was relatively simple and very gentle stuff. I also feel stronger, like my body is literally pulling itself together. I feel like my posture’s better, and everything’s better-contained, plus I’m not dragging myself around (I noticed myself picking my feet up lightly when moving at work, today).

I’ve also realized that I really was running myself ragged, before; but I hadn’t been sure if what I was feeling was normal. It wasn’t. After Thanksgiving, I gave myself time to recuperate, and it actually did help — a lot — to the point that I wasn’t dreading getting back to homework, anymore. I think a big part of the problem was the group project we assigned ourselves. That, on top of the constant work from my Digital Archives class…it wasn’t great.

And beyond that, I’ve realized that my textbook is again poorly-written, but I wouldn’t know that it was the book and not me, most likely, unless I was an English major (which I was, in undergrad). So it’s very possible to see when authors use the verb “to be” in their sentences, around 80-85% of the time (aiming for 30% of the time, isn’t bad). It’s not a crime to use the passive voice, but since I’ve been learning Japanese, I just see big “=” signs whenever some form of “to be” is used (which is basically what it means), and then I’m sitting there wondering how these people learned to write. That wouldn’t have flown in Creative Writing.

I’m trying not to be snarky. I’m learning that anonymity online isn’t really anonymity, and I’m learning it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to associate my thoughts with my (real-life) identity. But I don’t want to be insulting people out of callousness or poor word choice, and then have to go back and erase or hide it because suddenly my name is connected with the opinion.

Also…I’ve been writing about the gender tangent elsewhere, and I’m feeling a lot better, now. Essentially, I came out in one of my classes. Just being able to talk openly, and have people know I’m not a woman is a relief (I tend to slide back into being seen as one and then not correct others’ assumptions, which then often leads to hiding behind those assumptions).

I have…also, realized what my favored method of walking in the world is. (It’s not dresses, though those can be more physically comfortable when it’s hot.)

I’m not sure if I could explain it, but basically loose oversized shirts and jeans, help things. Long hair is good. Tight body is good. I want to, now (possibly), size up to 10g in my earrings — because I hardly ever wear the feminine earrings I’ve designed myself. I may have a lot of them, but I’m not strongly driven to wear them (or any jewelry, for that matter). In this case, it’s better to just keep the rings in my ears; that way, I don’t forget to put them in, and they make washing the piercings, easier.

It is nice to have the option of wearing a skirt, though. I just wouldn’t do it as a default.

And I want to get back into martial arts. I haven’t decided which, at this point, though I remember something coming over the radio which said that those who had the least fighting experience tended to overexaggerate their skills in a fight, the most. (I did think that was hilarious, though I have used my skills [observation and avoidance, aside] outside of the dojo very few times, to memory.)

I am actually thinking of something in the line of Tae Kwon Do…because I’m not scared of ruining my joints anymore. There’s a place I’ve found which teaches Kali, as well…but the students didn’t look very motivated. The major drawback to any of this is getting hit in the head while sparring, which will cause brain damage (something I’ve been told to avoid, with my condition). That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to spar, though. It looks fun, and more useful than what I learned in my first internal martial art.

Ah — now I remember the difference between soft and hard styles, and internal and external arts. I’m not sure I’m up to explaining it now, but at this point in my life, I’m after something practical (external) as versus spiritual (internal). Since I’m not that huge, a soft style (pins/joint locks & breaks/center-of-gravity manipulation) would be of more use to me than a hard style (brute force). So a soft, external martial art? Maybe I should run some searches on that…(Aikijutsu? Jujitsu?)

…though the high kicks in Tae Kwon Do…I miss that. At the time I left, I was just before the point at which I would have learned to do a roundhouse. There are intrinsic problems with depending on kicks, however.

It would also be great to get back into running. I miss the speed thrill I got when I was a kid, playing Tag. Though now I know I can severely damage myself doing it, it’s still awesome to accelerate from nothing to top speed (I just need to do it over a forgiving surface, like turf!). There’s just something that gets released, in sprinting (or in skating, for that matter) — as in martial arts, it requires total focus so you don’t mess yourself up.

I think I just want to be more physically capable than I currently am. It also wouldn’t hurt to tighten things up so my body is held properly, and my organs aren’t loose, and so that I’m more capable of defending myself. And it wouldn’t hurt to get buff again (in a functional way!) either.

This is a good start. It’s actually a really good start.

Gah, how many years has it been since I let out a full kiai?

Solid footing…?

I’m thinking again about female-to-male gender transition, a.k.a. gender reassignment, a.k.a. gender confirmation.

Tonight, for whatever reason — maybe because I’m feeling better, maybe because I slept so long, maybe because it’s becoming clearer life is transient…and the rebirth I’ve been hoping for in which I get to be male will never exist…

…and that my attempt to hold solidarity with all the people in the past who were female and did not feel themselves to be women; and with all the people now who feel the same way and don’t have the privilege of gender reassignment…

…and, because I’ve noticed relatively unhealthy coping mechanisms coming up (namely, the hope that having a girlfriend who can see me will be enough to fulfill me [usage, anybody?], but also that I compulsively try not to be “pretty” because I don’t want the attention [which usually invalidates my gender] and this is wrecking my body)…

…and because I’ve realized that I actually would rather have male parts than female, even though I don’t “hate” my body…nor do I know for a fact that being in between a fully male and fully female body will be inferior to what I’ve got now…

…and because I know that the reason to keep my chest the way it is, is to distract from my belly, when I don’t want either of them (and testosterone may actually help the belly flatten)…that is, the state I haven’t wanted to be in with a belly and breasts and apparently male, is the state I’m in now, as nominally female…

…and because being overtly MALE is a new thing…and would be a more vulnerable position than I’m in now…

…and because the main point of contention is that I don’t want to inject myself with hormones on a weekly basis for the rest of my life…(though this might be the “manly” route)…

…and because there is no way I want to be pregnant…

(…and because I did hear myself in a recording earlier tonight and realized that I don’t sound clearly male or female…)

…and because I don’t have to change my name…

I think I’ve realized…that this is serious. I have a very short jump to being fully legally, chemically male. Socialization comes after that. I have one year to get everything together before other issues may arise.

I first went into counseling specifically around gender, 15 years ago. (I haven’t yet actually taken testosterone, but it’s extremely fast-acting.)

The problem is that the situation is confusing and I was and am in the thick of it, without decent words to describe what I’m going through.

But I’m tired. I need sleep. The point of it or this is that I’m wondering if I am bordering being transgender and male as well as nonbinary, at least at this juncture.

I’m not certain getting further into this is warranted at this point, as I do notice my brain fogging up on me. I just wanted to note this. Before it went away.

(sorry for the partial sentences) 🙂

Images to go with last night’s post:

Alright. So at this point, I’ve been able to think things over a bit, as regards school; and have a default project for my Web Usability Final. Also, I did photograph those little sketches I did last night. Though the photos came out fine, applying Auto Levels in Photoshop did make them look less grey, so I’ve left them that way.

And to reiterate and continue from last post: I was drawing from imagination, with the goal of testing out a color; I wasn’t trying for photorealism (and in fact intentionally avoided photo reference until completing these three sketches). Apologies to people who have monstera deliciosa direct reference! Even though I am based in California, and I’ve read these are endemic to Mexico, they’re relatively rare, in my location.

monstera-1-2

These are the first two attempts that I made in trying to draw and then color, using Dr. Ph. Martin’s Radiant Concentrated Watercolor — which, by the way, is only the green hue in this image. I mixed it with Holbein Lamp Black; and Winsor & Newton’s Winsor (Dioxazine) Violet tube watercolors, in the background.

The Radiant (dye-based) watercolor lends itself to very delicate work — more delicate than I could get with the tube watercolors alone. (With the latter, I had trouble in accidentally pushing the pigment around on the page.)

monstera-3

This third attempt was done entirely with tube watercolor. I’m not as happy with the “feel” of the leaf, as it’s more angular and shield-like than I would like. Upon viewing a reference at the end, I’m thinking that this one is the farthest from the actual “feeling” of a monstera deliciosa leaf, although the flow of the veins from the center (but not the patterning of the veins) is more on-point.

But back to the colors: I used Winsor [Phthalo] Green (Yellow Shade), which is the blue-green; Green Gold (which is the yellow glaze to the right), Dioxazine Violet, Permanent Rose (fairly invisible here; it’s mixed with the black at lower left, but there’s so much black that it disappears), and Lamp Black.

For an explanation of why I was comparing these colors, you’ll want to see last post, and the post before that (for context).

So…yeah, this is what I was doing last night, after a 5-hour near-marathon of trying to get work done for Finals. (I took a break of about an hour in the middle, in order to make a salad.)

Which reminds me, I should be doing some work. *sigh*

Though I am looking forward to continuing to try and draw these leaves…I can see where it could turn out really nice. In any case, I’ve only got two more weeks of the semester left (!!)…

…which means that I need to get on it.

Alright! The watercolors *are* usable!

There is a difference between using Dr. Ph. Martin’s Radiant Concentrated (liquid, dye-based) Watercolors and (pigmented) tube watercolors. But the difference largely is in the randomness that comes with the flow, spread, and drying of pigmented watercolors, as versus the smoothness and fineness of gradation that can come with water-soluble transparent dyes.

Drawing from imagination

Today, after about five hours of homework, I let myself do something to relax. I followed what I had been doing with the flowers, and just started drawing what I had in my mind’s eye. I essentially drew what I thought what I wanted to draw looked like, which, of course, isn’t what it actually looks like. But it’s an interesting exercise to undertake which gets me away from attempting to reproduce things photorealistically, and lets me use more imagination in the process.

Because I only have one vial of the Ph. Martin’s Radiant — which I bought…probably back when I was in high school, or around that time — and this in “Calypso Green,” I decided to try drawing something I met up with last time I was in Hawaii. This is a plant colloquially called “Swiss Cheese Plant,” a.k.a. Monstera Deliciosa. The leaves of these plants are commonly used as fabric motifs.

In any case, I was intentionally working without a reference, so I didn’t recall that Monstera leaves are actually greener/less blue than the bluish-green color I had. Luckily, working without a referent, I had little reason to worry myself with this…especially as Hawaiian fabrics which showcase motifs of these leaves, often change the color schema totally away from what’s seen in reality (or at least, what I have seen in reality!).

At this point, I haven’t done scans or photographs, though there is a very visible trend that I can see through the progressive versions (three) which show the development of my thought of how to draw and paint this thing. And, having viewed references tonight, I have an idea of what I got correct (what I took away from my memory of these leaves which was most important) and how to tweak minor things to look more lifelike.

The watercolors are great for fine art; maybe not as suited, to reproduction work.

The clearest takeaway is that I do not have to buy the Ph. Martin’s: I was working, tonight, with five colors, and all of them were pretty much entirely transparent, so far as I could see. Those colors were Winsor [Phthalo] Green (Yellow Shade), Green Gold, Dioxazine Violet, Permanent Rose, and Lamp Black. All of the non-black colors were Winsor & Newton brand, while Lamp Black was Holbein. (I am aware that there are “transparent” watercolors which feature opaque pigments, such as Cadmium Orange; my task will just be to figure out which those are, via research or experience, and avoid them if I want to preserve underlying linework.)

In the test which I made with the Calypso Green, I also mixed in Lamp Black and Dioxazine Violet, from my tubes. I started adding more and more different colors, though, after I saw what I could do when not working monochrome (or duochrome — I don’t think black is technically considered a color, here).

What was surprising, was the intensity of color I was able to get out of my tube watercolors, and that it surpassed what I had done with the liquid watercolor (though I’ll have to do more experiments to see if this is a fluke, or due to my differing approaches in each attempt). As I hinted at earlier, the tube, pigment-based watercolors leave a textured look after drying, which is not as apparent with the liquid, dye-based watercolors.

I am very, very certain now that the dustiness I was getting with my watercolors has to do with the fact that I was trying to use them from a semi-dry state, and not right from the tube. I also very likely was not using enough paint. This is something that my last Watercolor teacher got on me about (…before he messed up my Aureolin pan and left it so brown that I just forgot about ever salvaging it).

Tonight I used the paints straight from the tube, diluted with water, of course, but not washed out with water; at least in the third leaf I painted, which was wholly tube paint. I wish I would have taken my time there, and gone in with 2-3 layers of dark color, as versus having too much paint and water in my brush at the same time and making blotty uncontrolled marks. But maybe that was also me, being used to using natural hair (sumi brushes, tiny hybrid brushes) as versus full synthetic…

I also opted, tonight, to stick with Microns for linework, instead of going in with my Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black India Ink — which I know works beautifully, but I doubted my ability to use a steel dip pen at this point in my work, and if so, which nib; and will I have to burn it first and will I have to soak it in ink remover later… My point was to experiment with the Radiant watercolor, not to experiment with everything.

A last note on this before I get into geeking out over paints: the Radiant watercolor from year 199x, which is the only vial of this I’ve ever bought, also smelled of something which I think might have been…ammonia? The only caution I found on a lookup for the new version was to avoid getting it in one’s eyes, so it’s possible that my nose was accurate. But then, I hardly ever smell ammonia, anywhere, to the point that I’m not sure I can recognize it. The smell reminded me of weak vinegar, actually. And considering how old it is…the fact that it’s viable at all is surprising.

I’m not sure if whatever is making this scent, would interact with other paints. In any case, the new versions of this are said to be fairly safe, according to the MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheets).

Trying Green Gold (PY129)

It was my first time using Green Gold (Pigment Yellow 129, or PY129) in a mix! I got this a long time ago, but had never been able to play with it. I had read over at handprint.com that it is very useful for making greens more yellow-leaning, and…I actually do really love what it did. I just feel hesitant to make greenery too yellow-looking, as it can read as dying vegetation.

As a note, though: Green Gold as a pigment is way more affordable in watercolors than it is in acrylics, probably just because the sheer amount of pigment you get in a tube, is less. I was working with a 5 ml tube of watercolor, instead of a 2 oz. tube of acrylic (as is standard for a tube of Liquitex Heavy Body paint, which is normally what I would use for acrylic painting. It’s good, but not quite on the level of Golden paints).

According to a quick conversion by Google, 5 ml is equal to ~0.17 US fluid ounces…which probably accounts for the difference in price! (I’m sure that the watercolor version is much more concentrated, though.)

In acrylics, I’m pretty sure that I opted to mix the shade instead: the only difference seems to be in price and opacity. A 2 oz. tube of Green Gold in Liquitex is around $19 MSRP (as of this writing). Of course, that price is mitigated with discount art stores. A 5 ml tube of Green Gold in Winsor & Newton tube watercolor is around $11 MSRP (without discounts).

In contrast, a 2 oz. tube of Liquitex Bronze Yellow (a good start to reproduce this color, along with an orange-leaning or earth yellow and a blue I’m uncertain of, right now [it has been a while since I’ve been mixing acrylics]) costs less than half as much, even at full price.

How much canvas or paper each of them will cover, is uncertain to me: some pigments mix more strongly than others, and I haven’t used up a tube of either of these Green Gold paints. I do think that $19 for a tube of paint is kind of a bit much, however; and in some (many?) cases, having to buy paint in 2 oz increments, is too much (especially if you’re like me, and your paints last so long that the tubes biodegrade and force emergency measures to either save or throw out what’s inside).

That is: getting a 1 oz tube of an expensive pigment for half as much (or a little more than half as much, to account for packaging, shipping and distribution costs), is much more reasonable, to me (especially considering that I haven’t used the paint yet, and thus don’t even know what it can do).

Anyway, that was kind of a dead-end tangent (though empty paint tubes are sold for just such emergencies as the neck of a paint tube peeling off), but it was fun to get into, at the time. 🙂

And, I found…

…it’s much nicer to work on large sheets of paper, than it is to work on smaller sheets. I’m not entirely certain why this is, yet, but it does allow “breathing room” for my images, and room for them to grow. Right now I’m using a watercolor notebook…I’m pretty sure it’s Canson Montval watercolor paper.

Tomorrow, I’ll try and take photos and upload some of the work I did tonight, though I know it’s going to be difficult to do without going back in to try and correct things! I suppose I’ll just have to apologize beforehand for not remembering what a Monstera Deliciosa plant looks like… 🙂 …which will be all too obvious to people who actually live with them!

(I’m just trying to use a visual adaptation of a free-writing approach…where [generally speaking] we aren’t always experts on what we’re imagining, but the products of the exercise can seed new work…but to get into explaining that would likely take another post. It’s almost 1 AM my time, as well; I should turn in.)