Inspiration? Too many directions?

I spent most of my free time yesterday and today, going through old artworks, sketchbooks, etc…reorganizing the shelves, scooping up beads I left out a year ago.  I must have vacuumed up 14 dead spiders.  Right now…I’m looking at the sketchbook I had been working in at school, where I was toying with sun symbols.

There are a lot of things I could do, creatively.  The issue is remembering what they are, and letting myself play.  For instance:  acetate stencils, painting on oversized plywood (be careful, this ate up one of my nice boar-hair brushes — though I’m not sure if it was the acrylic base of the paint, the gesso, or the plywood), painting “after” others’ paintings, suminagashi printing, subtractive drawing, color studies, mandalas, experimenting with inks and steel-nib pens, ink-wash drawing, combining ink-wash drawing with watercolor (I haven’t tried this yet, but know it can be done), doing swatch comparisons between watercolor grades and pigments, playing with new pigments in Watercolor, going out to draw/paint botanicals, drawing in opaque media on black paper, ‘zine preparation, developing my Symbol story into an actual manuscript, working on (creative) stick figures and graphic representations, completing one or more of the many unfinished works I started years ago, screwing around with my Neocolor IIs to see what I can get out of them, trying out acrylic inks, etc.

I’m sure I could go on — I know there’s at least one of these options that has slipped my mind — but I think the point is clear.

Ah!  Beadwork!  Macramé!  Almost forgot about those!  Not to mention having found two dichroic glass cabochons and my stash of stone cabochons, yesterday, which are just begging me to try bead embroidery on them, with a woven chain.  I ran across at least four unfinished beaded objects while I was trying to consolidate the space these projects were taking up, though to be fair, most of those were experiments.  One of them I started and then left off of, frustrated by the color work — one to two years later, it looks really nice:  rainbow red-violet with gold.  😛  Another is in tangerine and capri blue — still a striking combination, just not “me.”

If I’m going to be doing macramé, as well — there’s no better way to start that than just to start playing with cords, and see what I can come up with.  (It’s how I created my first original pattern.)  I should try and find my Alligator Tape for that, though — it’s an abrasion-resistant self-adhering tape for wrapping skin — knotting at my normal tension is really hard on my hands.  Particularly, my pinkies get worn and start developing calluses after about two days of knotting.

I think that if I just want to do something creative, without too much brain drain, playing with the beads, suminagashi printing, or color swatches and playing at color mixing, are probably the “easiest” things here.  I’ve got to remember, though, that it isn’t a sin to use up paper.  😉  And actually, mandala generation also falls in here, too — I found my old packet of patterns, which should help me get back into the swing of things.

I’ve noticed something that I hadn’t for nearly the entire time that I was in the Art program, which is that my approximations of angles and precision where it comes to where I put my stylus, when drawing or painting, are much more refined, now.  I was able to draw a 16-point Sun symbol between classes, without a compass, with pretty close to even spacing between each feather.  What I don’t know about, but could ask — is whether there is a meaning attached to having a specific number of feathers.  I could also look on the bracelet which was the basis of learning the symbol, to see how many feathers it has — that might give me a hint.

One other thing that I noticed:  I’ve begun to unconsciously use geometry in my work:  dividing spaces into thirds and fifths (in ideal form), without realizing it.

Yeah, maybe I’ll work at the geometry thing!  It sounds fun enough.  Or I could go to one of my Dover books and look over it for inspiration (color changes everything)…

Inspiration? Too many directions?

Free time! To do…what…?

This is the first day of Summer break in which I don’t have to go to work, and am not forced to do art.  I’m thinking that I’ll spend the spare time reading.  And doing art.

I’ll need to get back into my Art journals, and while I’m at it, I can try and read through the rest of the textbooks I got on my first semester in the MLIS program.

So far, today, I’ve largely been asleep — I might be called in early next week to pitch in, if anyone is sick.  I meant to volunteer to be a third hand, but unfortunately that is not a possibility.  I did eat ice cream yesterday, though, which lowers my immunity, and I am still recovering from illness…and as usual, work is still full of sick people…so I figured I would rest if I could.

There are two things I know I need to work on, though:

  1. Entering the masses of receipts from the last several months into a form where I can see how much I’ve been spending; then clearing these receipts off of my desk.
  2. Cleaning the Art area, downstairs.  Not so much the art-making area, but the storage area.  I’m fairly certain that the reason the springtails are even around there is that my Painting supplies were airing out down there, and damp.

Also, a bit of errata:  it’s pillbugs who can’t breathe without moisture — they are the crustaceans, and have gills.  Springtails just constantly lose water through the surfaces of their bodies, and so need to be around dampness to avoid desiccation.

Not that large of a difference, but.

It’s probably going to be something of a challenge to try and get all the past artwork packed away, the new papers ready to be used, and to just clean up all the disorganized stuff, down there.  I would not have thought, at 16, that eventually I would have artwork piling up.

Ah — and the beadwork stuff (like beading mats with loose beads on them), I need to put away.  If I can get the flat things packed up, I should have more room to put away the finished drawings.  There really isn’t a good place for the paintings, though, except on the walls.

For now, though…hmm.

Cleaning the storage area would require me to bathe, later (which I need to anyway, though)…and I might find things down there like millipedes.  >_<  And spiders.  But, it would get me back into contact with the art materials I have.

Why don’t I work on that — put on some clothes that can get dirty, tie up my hair; then plan on taking a shower and washing my hair, later.  I’ve slept enough today so that I doubt I’m going to want to lay down with dust and bugs on me…

Free time! To do…what…?

I think I made it through, alright.

Yays!

I have now completed Spring semester.  Ultra good part?  I’ve completed the requirements for my AA!  Now I have a Summer to pursue my own studies, before heading back to the iSchool in Fall.  This will be three years long, at maximum.   But three years isn’t really that long, in the scheme of things.

What’s up before me is re-centering work, and study to further work.  I’ve been doing some reading, and it really seems that getting a Library Science degree would be a good thing.  I happen to fall into a number of categories which predispose me to be more likely to live in poverty, once “independent.”  Given this, it would seem that even if I did become a Public Librarian specializing in serving an Adult/Young Adult populace, it’s a lot better than not going for the Master’s and losing that potential career path.

My Creative Process prof directed me to look at organizations which aligned with my interests, whom I might be able to intern for, and then get a job using my writing and art skills to help them.  This was the answer given to the question of how I can use my writing and art skills to help me survive (monetarily — they help me survive psychologically as a given), without violating my ethics.

There are a number of organizations I can look at helping — top of the list, for me, are organizations who serve non-straight and non-cisgender populations; organizations which serve people of color (particularly women of color), and organizations which serve those with disabilities.  There are actually likely to be a lot of these around where I live.  I’ll need to do some research, but there are a number of organizations which I’ve already started to list.

Seems like it would be intense, though!

Right now, I’m not sure whether to decompress or do art.  Or, both…

I think I made it through, alright.

Wonder what I can do with these skills?

I’m just trying to warm up, right now, to writing my Artist Bio for Creative Process.  It’s the last piece — before oral practice — of my presentation that I haven’t done.

Sometimes, my mind just doesn’t think in words, and so it can be difficult going from being observational and receptive, to trying to encode something for someone else to digest (especially when I haven’t touched my material for a week).  I have a feeling that oral practice may help, here, as a preliminary to writing the Bio.  Basically, what I want to put into my Bio is stuff that I don’t have time to talk about, and which is not in my Artist Statement.

I did, however…when thinking about my main question to the panel (“how can I use my skills without compromising my ethics”), realize that if I am doing this for myself, I can go in a few directions.  It’s just that not all of them are ones I see myself wanting to go in:

  1. Write and/or illustrate books for kids.  Not the best option, as I’m probably a bit too “adult” in my existence to get away with that, without controversy.
  2. Write and/or illustrate at least one graphic novel for adults.  A better option, but color printing is still expensive, and this would likely be a labor-of-love type thing.  Plus, I am quickly losing focus on monochrome, if I have not yet declared myself in the camp of color.  I may not have the funds to print things nicely (in addition to having the time and funding to write the story and create the art).
  3. Write and/or illustrate a website which can integrate text, image, sound, motion.  This is probably the cleanest option, the most convenient, least costly for a self-publisher, and the most potentially expansive; but here we are also dealing with the possibility of security vulnerabilities/exploits and limitations of technology.  (Yes, I still hate Flash.)  This means that I will need some technological expertise, either learned (as is possible in my program) or hired.
  4. Ah, almost forgot this one:  become a showing Fine Artist.  I’ve not given much thought to this, because it is easily…not anything which I can see offering much to me, except creative freedom.  This is basically my fall-back position, where I keep making art to keep myself grounded, but have lots of material collecting which I don’t have space to show (as is becoming the case).  I would basically start selling things because I might have too much, and use the funds to continue to make art.

I also have one thing I can show which …well, maybe I should consider a gift to the cosmos (lol)…I started out this post thinking of this:

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“Rose,” May 2016.  7″x10″.  Micron and watercolor on Wet Media paper.

This is the rose I posted earlier, only now it has watercolor on top of it, and has been run through Photoshop.  I did it on (Canson) Wet Media paper because I anticipated a workflow where I would be working back in with colored pencil, after the watercolor.

This is the first of my four Series images I’ve painted…if we don’t count the very first one, which now seems to fit.

What I can say is that I really want to do this one, at least, larger and on better paper.  (Or, a series of these, on larger and better paper.)  The Wet Media paper now seems thin, compared to Watercolor paper.  The work itself is also small (7″x10″) because of time limitations; smaller still when that taped border is subtracted.  I can say that Semi-B5 paper is probably…not the greatest for finished work, as versus practice or preliminary sketching (not to mention the possibility of paper degradation with a non-cotton surface).

I want to try this without hard, heavy lines, also.  I’ve thought of doing the outlining in a thin, colored, waterproof fineliner (like a Copic) so that it fades back after coloring, plus next time not doing so much hatching.  The hatching was, in effect, to give the drawing dimension if it wasn’t going to have color on top of it — which it originally (at time of submission) didn’t.

Now that I see it smaller, it does look more dimensional.  I can actually tell that I took my time, with this one.  Levels adjustments in Photoshop also make this appear more vibrant, which is part of what got me thinking about web publishing.  There are two classes which would help with this:  one, Contemporary Color.  The other, now I am thinking, may not be so much help with a web publication; but I was thinking of InDesign.

I am not entirely sure if the faded look of the original is because of the quality of my paints (I’m using almost entirely Winsor & Newton Professional range right now, as it’s what I needed for Watercolor class — even that seemed expensive at the time [well…yes, I was buying somewhere around 8-9 tubes]), or glare off of the surface of the paper into my camera.  It’s noticeable on black paper; I assume it also happens on white paper, and I just can’t see it as well.  I’ve found that photographing an image on a slanted surface (slanting in the direction of the light source) helps this, though.

I did replace that one old Cotman Cadmium Orange Hue (from 2009) with a new tube of Cotman Cadmium Orange Hue.  I used the latter, in the above.  The two paints have entirely different pigment formulations, and the newer formulation is more lightfast, meaning no ruining a good drawing with known fugitive pigments.

Okay, I think I’m up to working on that Bio, now…

Wonder what I can do with these skills?

Just thinking…

Hmm…

There are a number of things I could touch on, but maybe it’s best if I separate some of them out for future posts.

Today has been rather…well, I would say it has been rather quiet, but fact is that I’ve ended up with my bedroom and office rearranged.  I’m much happier with it this way, as I had been concerned about my giant bookcase falling over next to my bed in the event of a large earthquake.  I should be sleeping in the guest room tonight while my bedclothes are laundered.

Why the big fuss?  I kept finding small insects — at least, I think they’re insects (for instance, I’ve found that pillbugs are actually crustaceans) — where I was working with papers in my bed.  No more were found today, meaning that the two I did find (at separate times) probably came off of the papers I was working with.

These guys are a type of bug I know — springtails.  They’re a little tiny type of bug, probably 2mm long at maximum, that can’t breathe without moisture.  My bedroom is right next to the bathroom…which is why I thought they would even be around.  I had notified my parents when I saw each one, but I think it really bothered M much more than it bothered me.  Anyway, this is why my room got taken apart, today.

Springtails don’t really bother much…they normally live where there is soil (or decomposing plant matter) and water.  They don’t bite.  They don’t do much of anything except be annoying by being where they shouldn’t be, though I would think they may eat paper.  They can be kind of freaky if you don’t know what they are, because they often show up in large numbers — and jump away when you try to smash or drown them (though like any mobile creature, they will get tired of this after a while).  They are called springtails because they use a little barbule like a tail, to flip themselves away from danger.  In a garden, I think they’re considered beneficial insects.

I think M was bothered because of the fact that they travel in groups and they jump, but unlike fleas, they are harmless to people.  They might not be harmless to my books, though.

I feel kind of sorry for them.  They look like tiny tiny grains of rice with two little antennae sticking off of them.  🙂  We didn’t see them at all until they showed up, probably from the garden, because of standing water in a fountain which attracted them.  A tiny thing like that could easily get through a gap and inside.

Anyhow, I probably brought them into the bedroom with my homework — meaning that the area where my school supplies are, needs to be cleaned — and I’m not supposed to work on paper in my bed, anymore.

The good part, though, is that now I should get full light on my desk!  (During the daytime, at least.)  And everything looks a lot better — there is less dust, everywhere, which means that for someone like me who is allergic to dust, it’s happy time.  🙂

Tomorrow and the day after, I will need to prepare for my final classes in Creative Process and Figure Drawing.  On Wednesday, if I haven’t done it already, I’ll need to work on the final two paintings for Watercolor — both of which involve liquid frisket (which I don’t want to use, but it’s required).  After that, I’ll be free.

I did try and go in to work, yesterday, but was sent home because I looked pale and ill and was running a fever (still!  I guess the thermometer wasn’t broken).  What’s good is that I was able to use the last of last year’s allotted sickleave, and I found a small gift which lessens the blow of not having been to work in two weeks.  I haven’t been spending much, either.  I’ll probably be okay.

Apparently, I have a very slow-moving virus which is probably a flu; my fever was milder today than it has been.  I can only hope that it will continue to get better.  Right now, though, I’ve lost about 3 lbs. of my “emergency stash” of extra weight.  😉  Don’t worry, I have a lot more to go before I’ll need to be concerned.  🙂  I do look slimmer, though; it’s kind of amazing.  I think I’ve been sweating off the weight…

The very very good part about this is that after this Thursday, these classes will all be over, and I’ll be free to work on my own projects, outside of my work schedule.  I’m just hoping to avoid pneumonia as I heal, because at this point in time, it’s apparent that antibiotics don’t always work.  (And yes, I did allow myself to put on that weight because I was anticipating something like this.  There was a long time when I only weighed 70 lbs. — later when I couldn’t get above 110 — and getting pneumonia at that weight is scary.)

Otherwise…hmm.  I have had the urge to write, earlier this week, but the things I’ve wished to write about can attract some attention I probably don’t want.  If you knew me from before WordPress, you would know what I mean.  🙂

I just kind of have a tendency to be attracted to controversial/taboo/imaginative/restructuring (yet largely harmless) topics in general, although at this point in my life I have some very clear reasons for not falling into the subcultures that I’ve visited, observed, and participated in, in what would aptly be called my “youth.”  (I also have some very clear reasons why being in those subcultures could be justified.)  And, not all of them are really great topics to get into when I may connect this blog (or other blogs I may author), at some point, with an identity that can be traced back to me.

Yeah…internets be scary, sometimes.  😉

This is where forums are useful!  Yes?

Ah, but seriously…some of those places, if they existed IRL, I totally would not go to!  I’d be all like, “don’t leave me alone here!”  And in some cases, I’m just not enough of a, “believer.”  You can’t be, when you’re so creative that you backtrack and try different options and try and figure out why you think what you do, and everyone else is like, “PICK A POSITION, ALREADY,” and I’m like, “but I have insights!  Insights!!!”

In any case, hehe, well, we’ll see if I get brave enough to talk about some of that stuff.  Later.

Just thinking…

Not feeling awesome, but I’m back:

So I’m kind of shyly getting back on the blogging train.  🙂

If this is your first time at this blog site, I’ve been sick and out of commission for (largely) the past week and a half.  Today was the first day in a couple of weeks that I felt capable of getting out of bed and staying active.

I’ve lost something like four pounds from what I think was my fever (I’ve been largely running between 98º F and 100º F, when my normal temperature is below both)…and I’m not sure if I still have that (or if the thermometer is giving an inaccurate reading).  No bacterial infections, thankfully, but I don’t think I was ready for real food, tonight.  Or, maybe I was just so hungry that I swallowed a bunch of air with dinner.

I’m still kind of tired.  The upshot is that I might be able to make it in to school tomorrow to turn in my portfolio for Watercolor, though I’m not sure if I’m still contagious.  I certainly don’t feel like I’m contagious anymore, but the high core temperature might say otherwise.

And, I…would post my sketch from Kinokuniya Plaza…well, I’ll do it anyway:

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Quick sketch of Kinokuniya Plaza, San Francisco Japantown

This is actually not a great representation of what it looked like.  The trees were much darker, and the steps below the pagoda showed up much more clearly in the original.  I do have a few reference photos.  I can see a theme running through my quick sketches, though, which is not paying close attention to local value.

Local value is a measure of the darkness or lightness one would see if one squinted their eyes at what they were looking at.  I’ve finally figured out how this works, which is by cutting down the amount of light entering the eye to the extent that color vision is no longer employed.  Night vision is in wider shades of black and grey than daytime/color vision, and the former is the type of vision used when one squints.

I got the shadows on the trees alright, there; but the trees themselves were somewhere nearly as dark as that one tier of the pagoda.  Ideally, the trees would be at least that dark, and then the shadows would be darker.  The problem with just darkening the trees is that it then throws off all the value relationships of the rest of the drawing, so I end up having to rework everything.

I had this issue in one of my Expressive Portrait assignments, as well:  I filled in shadows first, then added in local value and had to go back and deepen all the shadows.  I’m not entirely certain how or whether to work the other way around, though:  add local value (or color) and then deepen it for shadows?

I can only really get so dark with graphite, as well.  Carbon pencil would have helped, but all I took was a set of graphite sticks, sharpener, and eraser (I was trying to pack light).

Ehhh.

I probably wouldn’t have posted that one, but I was fairly proud of it earlier, before I saw the local-value thing (which, in turn, I only saw after photographing it and comparing the reference photo I’d taken at the time and the photo of the drawing)…and one of my family members has told me that with art, no matter how much one develops, there are always things to improve upon or change (which helped).

I kind of don’t want to get like Clyfford Still and avoid showing anyone the bulk of my body of work — he was fairly well-known for being super private.  I’m not sure that the benefits of an approach like that, outweigh the costs (the costs being, largely, my validation of my own judgment of my work, when I’m probably my own harshest critic).

I wonder how this could have turned out in watercolor, though:  like, if I had color to differentiate the steps of the plaza from the steps of the pagoda and the roof of the pagoda from the trees?  Hmm.  Might have to try that, sometime…

Not feeling awesome, but I’m back:

Guess who is sick during Finals?

Haaa.

I have been trying to write out a synopsis or rough draft of this blog post for just under the past week.  Each time, I’ve gotten so sleepy that I abandoned the attempt.

There is definitely something going around — I’m almost certain I picked this up from work.  For most of the past week, I’ve been asleep or bedridden.  At this point, most of my symptoms have abated to the point where I can do things — except for a slight fever, plus the sleepiness.  And, having to cough and blow my nose, occasionally.  At least I can breathe through my nose, now, though.  Lots of zinc lozenges and echinacea, here.

I’ve meant to post the sketch I made at Japantown, though I haven’t had the energy or presence of mind to photograph it in daylight.  I will need to do so, though — my Final Portfolio for this class (Figure Drawing) is due next week.  Most of the work to be done there is visual compositing…and printing, plus some drawing which shouldn’t be too hard — I found the perfect perch for that sometime today (? my time-telling capacity is lacking, due to all of my waking time blending together).  In any case, I’ve found a nice place to draw an interior environment, which is the only full assignment I can complete at this point.  Everything else is drawing in backgrounds (3 images).

My goal is just to get the portfolio in, in the best state I can, as versus not turning it in at all — otherwise, I get an Incomplete; and a C is better than an Incomplete.  I think it’s fairly obvious what kind of complication that makes…I would have to retake this course over Summer Session, in order to get my degree before Library School starts up in Fall.

Not that the degree would really matter for anything but a resumé (and I’m sure it would look like a good representation of my interests on a resumé), but still.

It has been recommended I speak to one specific English professor (the one who recommended this to me was a DSPS counselor [I note this so I can remember who she is]), with a view as to how I can use my skills in Writing, in the job market.  (My major problem is that I need income stability, because I need health insurance — this means that freelancing isn’t a great option.)  It also would be good to speak to the head of the Art Department, if I can see her before the end of Finals.

The issue is that I would like a creative job, but well-paying creative jobs are hard to come by in the U.S.  I know people immediately jump to Pixar, but given my experience with the person who taught at Pixar (though they weren’t permanent staff), there’s a definite issue with culture, there.  (It’s the same issue with culture that I found in Santa Cruz, ironically; and I don’t know what to call it.  It’s kind of like what happens when overt racism is driven underground, and people want to appear nonracist…though they don’t know what that means.)

To be honest, what I actually want to try to do is work at an art supply store, though time is ticking down on my Master’s program in Library/Information Science (MLIS).  I’m sure that my options with the latter degree will be broader and better compensated; and likely more environmentally tolerant, than what I could find working for a corporation like Blick.  (Of course, there is also the option of working inventory/cataloging for someplace like Blick, afterwards — in which case, I should take the seminar on Issues in Special Libraries, when I can.  I probably don’t need Issues in Public Libraries — I’m already working here; I freakin’ know already.)

I know that 10 years of service in the public sector may forgive my remaining loan balance for the MLIS; I have at least 5 years in place, already, but I don’t know if they count.  If they don’t…let me just say that it is tough to work in a Public Library.  The last two times I went in to work, it was literally like the kids had been throwing the books all over the tables, floors, furniture, etc.  The adult sections were fine; it was the kids who were apparently unsupervised (or supervised by someone who didn’t care).

Granted that if I were a Librarian, it wouldn’t be my job in specific to pick up, check in, and reshelve all of the books.  I would just be the one telling the kids not to scream and run around and use the tables as playground equipment.

I’ve just been absent from the LIS environment (online) for so long that…eh, I don’t know.  Well, at least I have a second plan if Library School doesn’t work out.

I did just talk to M and D about the possibility of taking this LIS program in one year.  Theoretically, it’s possible, but not easy; and as D mentioned, I do have a tendency to freeze up under pressure.  However, if I can do it…I could theoretically take more than two classes per semester, and get out early.  If I remained an Aide/LSA under my current supervisor, I’m sure this would be workable, although I would still be getting paid pretty poor wages for my labor.

Granted that I am almost working a Clerk position already, but without the power or compensation.  It would probably be an easy slide to Clerk; not so much to Library Assistant.  From what a co-worker did tell me before, though; and what has been clarified:  becoming a Permanent Intermittent worker is not a good option, because the environment of each Library is highly influenced by its location.  Some locations just have bizarre things happening, which have nothing whatsoever to do with the function of the Library.  On top of this, as M said, it isn’t a good thing for me to go in to different locations with different staff (not to mention different patrons) every day, when it’s hard enough for me to deal with people normally.

I have 36 units to go, which translates to 3 years at two classes per semester (without summers), or two years at three classes per semester (without summers).  Could be shorter, if I take four classes per semester — and actually pass, let me be clear.

It will be tight, trying to work in all of my graduation requirements, if I take the 3-year track, though.

I should get on top of planning out courses, this Summer, and maybe plan on two classes in Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 (when I’ll have nearly the last of my required courses), then at least three classes per semester for the rest of my time (Fall 2017-Spring 2019).  I also need to place these in hierarchies so that I can see which class to drop, if I have to drop.

Why do I have to work this out on my own?  Online program.  No in-person help.

Yeah.

Guess who is sick during Finals?