Just thinking this out:

So this…this is a lot of work!

I was asked yesterday if I will participate in the Graduation Ceremony at the end of this semester.  What I actually responded, I forget the wording of, but basically, I was leaning against it because it’s “just an A.A.”  Then I was reminded that I’ve done a lot of work to get this A.A…and that’s true.  SEE THIS SEMESTER.

Today, instead of working at my Historic Reference Self-Portrait and additionally on the Midterm (both for Figure Drawing)…I’ve been writing papers.

More specifically, I’ve been gleaning information out of this blog and out of my Art Journal and noting what stands out to me.  Really, the paper that we’re working on only has to be 1.5 pages long, as regards what we’ve done in class, so far.  Well — I went over a bunch of posts I’ve recorded here, copied over writing samples, pasted those samples into an outline…I’ve got four pages of notations on my working process.

When I went over that with an eye as to what was significant or interesting, I ended up with two pages.  It’s interesting to note what comes up repeatedly — like I kept repeating to myself that I “need to work more in my Art Journal(s)”, though in reality I am keeping up a pretty significant log on my process, here.  It’s just not visual.

I can change that.

Once again, I couldn’t fall asleep until the early morning hours, last night.  The benefit of this is that I was able to map out what I want my next assignment (working in series) to be, which came up while I was trying to sleep.  At this point, I’m ahead of the game on this:  we have until next week to really be set on what we’re going to make the series of.  Right now I do have an understanding of my theme, though I may not post the unedited version, here.

We have to create 6-9 pieces…the theme I’m thinking of, contains six or seven clear images.  Well — actually, not images.  Concepts.  They are related to identity, items associated with those identities, visualizations, and locations.  I’ve got to narrow down what aspects are most gravitating and go with those.  I still haven’t figured out any thumbnails as regards what I’ll actually be drawing and painting, though to be real about it, I’ve only been awake for the past five hours.

I just checked, and the mitre box we have only is useful for wax (for use in lost-wax casting), not wood.  So I have a number of things I’ll have to get…noted in my Art Journal.  Probably the hardest things to source are going to be the backing boards for each piece…I’m told there is a place in the City which is good for low-cost art materials.  Our prof wants us to look for art supplies in places we wouldn’t normally get them from — which immediately got me thinking about brass hardware.

Right now the project is looking interesting, though I don’t want it to come out looking too derivative or…well, yeah:  derivative.  I’m just not sure what dimensions I should use for each piece.  6″x6″ is great for a live area, but I’m not sure if I’ll have to go larger than that intentionally, so as not to cut off needed space (I also have 8″x8″ paper).  In addition, I still have paper which is about 6″x9″, which could also work…again, the problem is sourcing the backing boards.

What dimensions will they be?  Will I be able to cut them down without material more suited for a wood shop?  You know.  Stuff.

Or, I could just try and find some 6″x6″ boards and work with those — I’m sure they would be at one of my art supply places, at least;  and it would avoid having to drive 25 miles to a previously unknown location to pick up cheap supplies.  It seems that it would be more useful to pick up Hardboard than beech wood…question is if my drill can handle drilling through Masonite — and I’m really not sure.

It could also be interesting to work with an 8″x8″ board and cut down my watercolor paper, then paint and punch the paper, then glue the paper down, then drill through the board.  I’m not totally hot on getting hinges — I’m thinking of using brass-tone tigertail wire with my crimp beads to attach each piece to the others.

The major reason I’m thinking on watercolor paper, rather than painting directly on the board (which may end up being easier) is that it’s really hard to get acrylic paint to lay down in a precise manner.  But now that I look at this — maybe I do actually just want to get 6″x6″ boards and attach them together with metal and wire.  Acrylic paint, in addition, is more forgiving than watercolor.  And it may get me to work looser, as versus my signature style, which has become colored pencil on top of watercolor on top of drawings.

Yes, this sounds good.  List of supplies?

  • 6-7:  6″x6″ Hardboard panels (or close-sized in rectangular format)
  • 24:  large brass screws (flat ended)
  • 24:  large brass nuts to fit the screws (tighten from screw head while holding nut still to avoid needing washers)
  • 1:  drill bit to fit the large screws (sizing these will be the hard part)
  • 22:  brass crimp beads
  • 1:  roll of brass tigertail
  • 1:  jar of high-quality gesso (high opacity — Golden?)

And if I want labels on each of these:

  • 12:  small brass screws (flat-ended)
  • 12:  small brass nuts
  • 1:  drill bit to fit small screws (again, check sizing)
  • Mitre box + saw for soft wood
  • 6:  2″-2.5″ lengths of soft wood for labels (gesso and paint)


  • 24 large brass washers
  • 12 small brass washers

I think that will do it.  I already have all the paints I’ll need, though I may want to look into the other mediums which can be added; and detail brushes.

Got to go, though it’s been fun.


Art and Library work. Art Librarian? Book Illustrator? Dreams.

Well — it’s interesting.  Yesterday I actually called M from school to talk to her about this very topic:  being uncertain as to where to focus my energies.  I have the Art thing, which is going well.  I found out over the holiday that I can produce a lot of work in a short time when I put my mind to it; and on the days I had free, I was working for at least two hours a day in drawing, which was…nice.  Plus, I was assembling a portfolio of my best work, and at the end of Break, I was able to see all that work, together.

I was intimidated by this project at first, but getting an F is much better than getting a 0, so I had a go at it — and a lot of those drawings really turned out nice.  Not “professional” nice, not yet — but high enough to give hints that I might be able to be employed in the sector.

It got to the point where I felt like I might actually be able, with more practice and time devoted, to be able to be something like a book Illustrator.  I’ve heard that most of the Art jobs are in Animation…but one of my profs offered to get me into touch with one of her friends who is an Illustrator, so that I could have a point of contact!  And I realized that being an Illustrator is one of those things where I actually do have questions that come to me easily, about what the life and work is like.

At first, I was thinking that I would need to stop doing the Art so that I could focus on the Library Science stuff, or stop the Library Science stuff so that I could focus on the Art.  Stopping Art would mean that my skills would degrade, and I would probably have an uphill battle getting back into them.  Stopping Library School would mean that I would have to make the choice to be an Illustrator, or work in Special Effects in movies, or become an Animator — there is really no obvious and clear career path here, and most work would seem to be contract/freelance work.

However, M seems to think that I can do Library School and advance my Art skills at the same time, so long as Library School takes priority over my Art grades.  There are still a number of courses that I would like to work at in Community College, despite the fact that I’ll be getting the A.A. at the end of this semester (paperwork is in! finally).

As regards Library School:  I am planning on taking 2-3 courses per semester, not more than one of which is a core course, at any given time.  The difficult thing is, mainly, how to fit in all of my graduation requirements without too much wasted space — which means, planning.  (Each class fulfills a different set of graduation requirements, all of which have to be met by the time one graduates.)

It would have been different if I had kept on with it after Fall 2012 (the timeline would not have been so collapsed — I have until Fall 2019 to complete all of this), but at the time I was just…not wanting to go back because my first semester had been so intolerable for me.  I’m told that this was because I took three core courses at the same time, though really I think it was both that and culture shock and having a prof who didn’t teach well (if at all) and needing to get a B as my lowest possible grade.

It’s not the easiest thing to deal with, working at school through an online environment…and I had to become fairly public with what I was doing, which wasn’t something I wanted, either.  Being anonymous and public is one thing; being on Facebook is another — and it was required.  And I had a super-paranoid friend who was all about permanent data trails online.  All of that together was not a recipe for success.  I was able to get through with the G.P.A. I needed, but it led to my not wanting to continue on in the program.  (Yes, politics were an issue, here.  So was mental health.)

The other thing that was mentioned was the idea of becoming a Librarian who specialized in Art.  I am assuming this would be an Academic Librarian or Special Library position.  Or, possibly, a Museum position — I haven’t checked it out, yet.  However, I can gear my work toward becoming an Art Librarian, and see where that gets me.  I am not sure that I’d be able to work in an Academic Library position specializing in Art without an undergraduate (I mean B.A. or B.F.A.) degree in Art History or Studio Art — especially if it were required (as it sometimes is) that I teach Art if I’m an Art Librarian.  I might be better off actually teaching English, as my undergraduate degree is in Creative Writing.

However — I have thought of the M.F.A. option in Drawing and Painting.  The drawback is that I would likely not be able to obtain financial aid through the normal routes for an M.F.A. if I already have an M.L.I.S.  The positive point is that I would likely be able — at some point, anyway — to pay for an M.F.A. myself, if I became a Public Librarian and had my tuition cancelled through the A.L.A.’s program (I believe I would have to work for 10 years in a Public Library position — I’m on my fifth year as a Student Assistant).  Also — the pay is decent for someone with an M.L.I.S.

I’ve heard, though, also, that it’s difficult to become an Academic Librarian once one is a Public Librarian — though I am not certain how heavily I should weight this bit of information, given that my source is no longer pursuing a career in Libraries.

Is it possible to become a Public Librarian who specializes in Art?  I am not sure, though somewhere — I’m positive — it probably happens.  What is amazing, though, is this vision (not yet obtained):

Undergraduate Degree:

  • B.A., English — Creative Writing
  • A.A., Art

Master’s Degree:

  • M.L.I.S., Master of Library and Information Science

Gainful (stable) Employment:

  • Library Science — Art Librarian, or
  • Library Science — Technical Services, or
  • Library Science — Cataloging

Additional Employment:

  • Book Illustrator (if I work in a Public Library, I’ll constantly be around kids’ books; Writing and Art talent together would probably give me a good background here)
  • Fine Artist (for those ineffable things)

Granted that right now I only have that first step in my pocket, with the second definitely on the way, but we all have to have a vision we’re advancing toward, right?

I still haven’t decided whether I’ll specifically illustrate books for kids or adults.  Regardless, I want to remain involved with Art, somehow.  If I don’t succeed with the M.L.I.S. (I should know by the end of Spring 2017), at least I have a backup plan — keep on with the Art in Multimedia Arts, and in Fine Arts.  It’s just not as financially secure or stable a path (unless, that is, I go on to teach Multimedia or Fine Arts).  And, actually…that could be a really fulfilling path, too.

I think that if I did, by not being serious enough, get kicked out of the M.L.I.S. program (only likely or possible through getting a B- or below in my technical course for two semesters in a row), Financial Aid would cover an M.F.A. (hopefully covering both Art History and Studio Art), and with that I could teach at a University or at the Community College level.  While I’m doing that, I can be a Library Assistant and then move on after the M.F.A. is complete.

I’m looking like I’ve got it together, don’t I?  Huh.  I suppose that this is one of those things that I can’t help but allow to take its course…

Well, hello!

It’s been a few days, hasn’t it?

Midterms…were largely yesterday.  I didn’t get home until late, and didn’t fall asleep until after 2 AM.  What I can say is that — at least — I got my portfolio for Figure Drawing done, and I completed my drawing for Part C of my Symbolic Process assignment to some degree.

I feel like I need to be working more with my art journal(s), though.  And, it would have been nice to have had the energy to write on Monday or Tuesday night, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

Today…I woke up early for an appointment, went to the appointment, ate too much fast food, and fell asleep for about four hours.  It’s been a really long time since I’ve slept during the day…but I guessed that it was OK due to the fact that I’ve been exposed to at least two sick people, recently.  My ongoing health (a desirable quality where it comes to my job) is likely due to the fact that I sleep so much.  😛

As you well know, pretty much all of Spring Break was taken up with catching up on my homework and completing the last stage of the Symbolic Process assignment.  It feels a bit odd that the day after midterms is the first day I feel like I really got time to rest within the past two weeks.

Coming up, I have to do a self-portrait in the style of another artist.  That’s due in 6 days.  It was recommended that we start it over the holiday, but I was too busy catching up to be able to do this.  I also have to complete my midterm drawing, but that shouldn’t take more than an hour or two.

For Watercolor, there is no class tomorrow — but I have to do a still-life for next week.  I’m going to get some flowers and see what I can do, there (prof said flowers or fruit would be good).

And…for Creative Process…we have a series assignment coming up.  Six to nine pieces in the same media, at the same size, working off of some common theme.  I have an idea as to what to do for this.  The question is how to go about it.  Major issue is that it’s a very intimate subject, but art and writing kind of really ask that one be able to share things like that.  Plus:  I do not think that it is required that we share all the background information as to what is driving our work, at Critique.

It actually is really freeing to acknowledge that things do not have to be literally true in Art for us to make Art out of them.  I have a number of dragon/gryphon-like images that I thought up a while ago and recently rediscovered.  It could be interesting to work with these — not for the assignment, but just on my own.  And not as a hint to some form of hidden reality, but as some form of creative expression.  (Like, seriously:  it doesn’t have to be real or realistic to be represented.)  Which is nice.

And…then there is the entire Art/Library thing, which I feel the need to get into in a different post, coming up.

Wasted talent?

It’s kind of late…

I was thinking about getting into that issue that I broached in the entry before last in which I was talking about feeling like I should be doing something “better” with my time, than making art.

“Better” in quotations, because aside from curing Alzheimer’s or something, I don’t have an exact pinpoint on what it means.  There are a number of other things that I could be doing with my time; top of the list is going back to school in Biology and becoming a biochemist or geneticist.

Granted that I’ve never taken more than one Biology course (after high school, though:  yes?) and that I’d probably be too squicked to be able to work with things like tissue samples.  Or virus and bacteria samples, for that matter…though it has been a long-running question of mine as to whether viruses can be utilized in a positive manner to splice beneficial genes into host DNA or RNA.  (I really don’t know what that would be called.)

You’re welcome, world.  Though you still have to find a way to keep a majority of infected cells from lysing.

The point is that I have a mind which thinks in an unusual manner, and that this could be useful in the Sciences.  However, I don’t have a great amount of science training.  If I went back into Math, I’d probably have to do remedial coursework because of not having utilized those neural pathways in so long.  And then there’s O-Chem.  Who wants to do Organic Chemistry?

Of course, then, though:  Botany.  I am pretty sure that I would love working with plants.  It’s kind of a dream of mine to be able to look for threatened plants and find some with health-boosting properties, thus making a case for biodiversity preservation and being able to help people’s health, at the same time.  Of course, though, in reality, people would probably try and save that one plant and kill all the others it might depend on.

People in general…it kind of makes one not want to be human, because then you’re categorized in the same lump with the people making a circus out of the elections.  (Not to defame the circus…)

But if you look at it this way:  I’ve been told for the majority of my life that I might become a healer, so being an artist…it’s not the same thing.  My major issue is that I know I’m intelligent…I’ve been more intelligent than most of my peers for most of my life (ha ha hell in school)…and I don’t know how much that intelligence is utilized in the Arts.  I feel like I need to help in some area I can’t, right now.  If everyone in the world set their mind to find ways to stop global warming, and was supplied with the education to be able to capably do so, how long do you think it would take to safely end the current crisis?  10 years?  20?

This is what I’m talking about.

I wasn’t thinking this far down the line when I went into the Humanities in college.

Of course, though, I didn’t think I’d live this long, either.

The Arts — the ones I’m in, anyway — are very tactile.  Intuitive.  It’s hard to explain.  It isn’t the intellectual/analytical side of my mind that’s working, there…nor do I know if there is any way to tell its intelligence.  I know I’m relatively poor at person-to-person communication, if we look at an overall chart of functionality; social skills are one of my weakest areas.  Comprehension and analysis would probably be one of my strongest.

But — as it’s been explained to me — being a scientist is basically working on contract and being self-employed.  Same thing as if I were a writer or an artist.  Ironically.

However, there’s something about being an artist that seems to at least attract a certain type of person.  I had hypothesized that there might be some kind of chronic damage from ongoing chemical exposure (cancer is a well-known foe in this business)…but maybe in actuality, there is a type of brain which is drawn to this work — a type of brain that I might have, which in my case might be looking back upon itself in error.  After all, it is difficult to realize that what one thinks and believes is not necessarily true, just because one thinks or believes it.

And this is a historical thing with me, the idea that I should grow up to be a scientist.  It’s what I trained for, up until the time that I went to college and could do whatever I wanted, for the first time.

As time goes on, I am coming to a greater appreciation of the ways being pushed to excel in my youth, in essence, harmed me at the time and led to regrets in my adulthood.  If I had been left alone and moved more slowly, I might have done better, and been happier.  (Well, I was technically left alone:  left alone with my schoolwork.)  Of course then, though:  I would probably not be aiming for a Library job…because I’d probably have some grounding in something other than English and Art.

Or, maybe not…

Maybe not.  Maybe I’m actually where I’m supposed to be, and where I would have ended up, regardless.  If I was not pushed, I might have ended up here.  Math and Science…though the beauty of the Universe speaks in Math, and Science is our clearest lens to reality, reality has never been a driving factor of my life.  Beauty, well-crafted prose, art, has.

Hmm.  Maybe I am supposed to be an artist…

Right now, I’m just trying to work out tomorrow…

I think that right about now it’s hitting me:  Two days.  I have two days to finish that Water image.

I am off to a good start, so that much is positive.  The negative is that I could be off to a better start — if I had done things like shading in the backdrop before putting in the first ice plant leaves.  I still have time to start over, but right now I don’t think that it …really matters, that much.  At this point, the work is majorly for a grade — I can do better work, or re-work (over-work?), another time.

(I also have the benefit, even without accommodations, of being able to resubmit work for a higher grade.  I just need to have something substantial done.)

If I get up early tomorrow, I’ll have the better part of the day.  I also need to take official photos for my portfolio, assemble and print them.  That shouldn’t be too hard, and I can do all the computer work after dark — if I get decent proofs from a morning session.

I think I’ll work on this preferentially, tomorrow.

I can still go over the Clothing/Accessories assignment, but I think that can wait until the end.  There’s also the Narrative Background assignment, on which I have minorly worked (in class), but not completed.  I am not sure anyone knew that was supposed to be on good paper, though (not newsprint)…there’s only so much that is really appropriate to be done, on newsprint.  There’s the option of copying it over…but it isn’t a great one.  We haven’t yet learned to copy our own drawings from originals…I’m not sure now is the time to start learning.  (I feel like there’s a big difference between working from life, and working from a drawing; the latter may lack the life that the first has.)

The major issue with the clothing assignment is that it is all done in very light lines with an HB pencil, and so it doesn’t come out very well in photos.

I’ll try and work on the clothing assignment (2) when I’m not working on the Symbol assignment (1), and leave the Narrative Background piece (3) for last.  This is because I may need afternoon light for the clothing assignment, and I’m only bound to be able to work on the pastel piece for a certain amount of time until I get tired of the dust, and need to seal the thing (which has to happen well before nightfall).  The Narrative Background piece, I’m just not into/kind of disappointed with.

Morning (9-10 AM):  take photos of what you can of your Sketchbook assignments in good light.  Upload; make sure at least one of each is crisp.
Morning/Afternoon (11-3 PM):  work on Symbolic Process piece.
Afternoon (3-6 PM):  seal Symbolic Process piece; complete Clothing/Accessories assignment.
Night (7-10 PM):  assemble and print Sketchbook portfolio sheets.

Seems like I’ve kind of got it together, eh?  (if I can keep it together through tomorrow…)  I will probably want to work on the Symbolic Process piece again on Monday, depending on how much I get done…but I can’t work on it for at least an hour after I’ve sprayed it.  That will be a great time to do other things, like go over the shoes I’ve drawn with various softer pencils than just the HB.  The lighting should be close, then, so the shading shouldn’t be all invented.

And the drawing of the vest with the hood on it — I’m thinking of trading out for drawing one of my belts.  The vest is easily the weakest piece of the portfolio.

*sighs*  Okay, so now that I’ve got that written…

Flash post — got to go

About 15 minutes to write, eh?  Let’s do it.  😉

So…I don’t have much left to do.  I’ve still got to work on that pastel drawing that I posted, a little while ago.  So far it’s been sitting in my portfolio for all of Break.  😛  Yes, I know:  bad.  And exactly what my prof was worried, might happen.  Positive point:  I still have two full days to work on it.

It looks like Easter, for me, is going to be free.  This gives me some extra hours…hours that I was concerned I might have to give up, if there was going to be some sort of gathering.  If we look at it this way, though:  from 12-6 PM on Sunday and Monday, I’ll be able to work, that gives me 12 clear hours to do nothing but freakin’ draw.

I’ve been hesitant about getting into the art for multiple reasons — the biggest one being the concern that I could be doing something “better” with my time than being an artisan.  I know, it sounds messed up.  But art, really…on the surface, it’s a lot of manual labor.  One step deeper, and it’s constant decision-making, inferring a constant (attempt at) control.  But at the core, it’s creating something from personal vision that hasn’t been seen before…

It might have been easier for me if I’d majored in it — I’m only now coming to see hints of possibilities as to what I can do with my skill.  And those are only hints.  The biggest thing that I have in front of me is this idea of making an illustrated fictional book for adults.  (I figure that if adults are working at coloring books, maybe I can be the one to break the illustration barrier.)  Key here is the work that I’ve done with the Symbolic Process assignment; however, I’m uncertain as to the roles of both the text and the imagery.

And, of course, it would have to be a labor of love — as I doubt anyone’s going to take me for the next Neil Gaiman and finance my operations.

Ah — got to get going.

Even more drawings:

As much as I want to, my better judgment warns me against putting out the two self-portraits I did (head and shoulders, basically), on this blog.

Today was a productive day.  I completed six drawings, not including the blind-contour of my hand (which is a scrawl — I’m not posting it because it’s really not worth it), and the piece after Jean-Francoise Millet, which I’d started before.  I took photos — mostly trial photos, at this point, because they all had to be done in non-optimal lighting.

It’s also hard to tell which drawings will come out well once photographed, until that work has been done and I can see things in Photoshop.  I was using my graphite sticks up to 9B today, but I can’t remember in which drawings (except the one after Millet) — so I need the photographs to show me where things look faint.

Good thing, though!  I’m starting to actually wear down my graphite sticks!  It might also be good, though, when I’m using those, to keep some sharpened B pencils handy to work in sharp details.  It wastes a lot of graphite to sharpen down a Cretacolor Monolith.

I also did find out that tinkering with Levels will remove colors projected onto my photos by my camera…and apparently, Levels can also tell how many different grades of pencil I used.  😀  (It’s in the histogram.)

Okay, well, on to the photos:

I actually had more fun with this than it would seem.  I’m actually kind of amazed that the two foot images came out so well…yes, it does kind of make me want to do graphic novels again!  yes!  it does!  but:  in time.  I might actually want to concentrate on drawing them out more than writing them, though…strange turn of events.