I feel silly for posting this, but:

I do keep talking about the Japanese language study, and toying with handwriting, and this.  So…it could be interesting for me to log my progress on the writing front.  Maybe it will help motivate me to keep going back to the books.

vertical lines of Japanese text read "watashi wa genki desu."
(by the way, this just reads “I’m healthy/in good spirits,” over and over again.)

I’m shrinking the size of this down just to make it clearer.  As this is on my screen, it appears to be almost at the size at which it was written (yes I used tiny pens).

I was seeing what I could get out of my pens, in addition to practicing kanji (some of which, like the “-ki” in genki), I’ve not totally gotten a handle on, yet.

And…I’ve realized why nib sizes in Japanese fountain pens run narrower than in Western-style fountain pens:  at a certain point, writing with a thick nib means you can’t write kanji legibly at a small size.

So…I’m pretty sure that the tiniest of these (rose and green) are Copic .003 Multiliners.  Then I tried a .005 and a couple of Microns (the latter of which made the sepia-tone marks on the left), along with an ultra-micro Uni-Ball Signo.

I’ve also got to remember to store my pens horizontally, not vertically in a marker stand as I had been doing.  I had a couple of Pitt metallic markers which totally lost their opacity and sheen (one of which made the aqua-colored writing in the center, there), possibly from the ink separating out.

Also…it appears that Gelly Roll pens have a shelf life (my silver one died and wouldn’t make any mark which wasn’t largely suspension fluid).  And I had to toss a white Uni-Ball Signo because the ink was doing something bizarre (the rollerball would divide all the lines it made).  I’m not sure why.

Japanese writing in light colors on a black background.
Large characters read “Tokyo dialect;” the rest are variations on, “Am I healthy?/Are you healthy?”

The good thing is that now I know what I have, and I still have some sweet stuff.

I tried not to blow up the image to the right too much, because most of it was written tiny to begin with.  This is the back of my Supracolor swatch, which I repurposed into a test paper.  (Trust me, no one will be able to tell.)

And — hey!  The Photoshop Levels adjustment makes black tone appear deeper, too!

I’m pretty sure the four phrases on the right are all Derwent Graphik Line Painters (the ones with the hollow nibs which I’m not sure will continue to be made).  I think “Snow” is the white one and “Fox” is the silver one on far right (I love how opaque that one is!).

As a note, when Japanese writing is vertical, it reads right-to-left, although I was writing stuff down wherever (and tend to still write — and habitually read — left-to-right.  I’m getting better, though.)

The bit saying “Tokyo dialect,” or tokyo-go, as my friend put it (see upper left corner of the above image), was written with one of those metallic Pitt bullet-point markers:  one of the ones still viable, that is.  My teal one turned transparent on black paper, where it should have been opaque, as above.  I didn’t think it was worth keeping.

And then there are a bunch of Uni-Ball Signo metallic gel pens that I have, that still work awesomely even if the gold doesn’t, say, look like it’s actually made of gold.  🙂  At least I don’t get weird ink flow issues like I did with the odd white one, which I think I may have ruined by drawing with it on top of a watercolor painting.

Come to think of it, that could be why my white Gelly Roll pen died, too (I’ve just gotten a replacement).  Hmm.

I should probably do some schoolwork or go to sleep, at this point…although!  I’m nearing the end of Unit 1 in my Kluemper text!  (I found this out randomly last night.)

Yeah, I should study:  I have assignments (that have to actually be turned in) coming up, soon…

But I do want to note to myself:  don’t use water-based marker on watercolor paper and expect it to dry quickly.  That’s what happened with the smudgy section in the first image, which is bordered by red lines.  The red lines are fine; the fact that I got a fistful of ink on my hand when I tried writing on my paper — after a decent amount of time — is not.  I’m just thinking that the paper absorbed the ink so much that it trapped the water and didn’t let it dissipate at a normal rate…

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Toyed with FW inks, last night:

I have a little time to write, here, but am not entirely sure of how much use I’ll be.

Yesterday, my godmother came over for a visit, so most of my waking hours were spent with her and M.  I did manage to get in some time to play with colors, but I ended up toying with the acrylic inks instead of dealing with jumping directly back into the watercolors.  (It’s probably because of the packaging, I’m not even kidding:  the FW inks kind of beg to be used in those little glass bottles.)

fw-play-3706w
Taken in filtered daylight
fw-play-night-3698w
Taken under fluorescent lighting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have done a bit of an experiment, here, though, with the photography.  I took a bunch of pictures of my work (most of which isn’t up here, because all it is, is my practicing Japanese writing [mostly, the same sentence] in multiple colors and nib sizes), and realized today on upload that I used the wrong lighting setting.  I should have used the “Tungsten” setting instead of the “Fluorescent” setting, as the latter leaves a lot of cleanup work.  The former blues everything out, but it doesn’t leave a heavy orange cast over everything like the “Fluorescent” setting does.

Anyhow…I did the above play last night and was curious about what it would look like under daylight today, so I took a second set of photos.  Both of the photos above have had Levels adjustments applied to them in Photoshop, though surprisingly, the night photo appears a bit clearer in relation to color.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t take the daylight photo under full daylight?

In any case, these are FW acrylic inks, as mentioned above.  I started out playing with “Rowney Blue” (PB15) + “Yellow Ochre” (PBk7/PY1:1), then — if my memory is correct — expanded to “Dark Green” (PG36) plus “Brilliant Yellow” (PY3/PY83).  There is probably a definite reason to use Brilliant Yellow over Yellow Ochre, given that the former is a slightly more brilliant hue than the latter, and that I’ve read that PY1:1 is to be avoided, as it’s apparently fugitive.

But anyway, I was curious as to what would turn out if I started blending colors which were not adjacent on the color wheel.  Rowney Blue is the nearest FW ink I have to Cyan (though they do make a Process Cyan color) — that is, all the other ones are either more green, or less saturated.  What I did find interesting is how quickly the blue ink tinted to deep green on contact with the Yellow Ochre ink.  I’m not used to a yellow reacting so quickly, visibly and strongly with a blue.  My gradation in this respect is found in the marks which appear to look like a tail, in the above photos.

I also did find with these, though, that if you want a stronger green, you may have to pull in a different pigment.  This is why I started using Dark Green, as I could make some nice greens with the former colors, but they were slightly grayed out.  Dark Green added some vividness, and along with Brilliant Yellow, made some really high-key greens that are visible above the “tail” section, above.

I did find, though, that like acrylic paints, these things dry extremely quickly; and so if you want to get color bleeds like you can in watercolors, you have a very limited time frame (seconds) to do so, before the first layer sets (at top left in the photos, I was moving too slowly).

It’s surprising to me that I was able to get such nice greens out of these colors.  Usually when I think about colors like Hansa Yellow Deep, I don’t think of making excellent greens with them.  To my eye, the yellow leans towards orange; however, maybe my eye is a bit off? and orange-leaning yellows can make saturated greens.

Anyhow, got to go…

Giving myself a break

The time crunch is loosening up a bit.  I don’t know how long it will last, but I’ve got some breathing room, now.  Tomorrow, I want to work with my watercolors a bit in the daytime.  I have that one abstract plaything that I never finished…

3513w
I’d like to pick this work back up again.  From July 5, 2017.

I was thinking about going off tomorrow to take a three-hour impromptu workshop on watercolor fundamentals, but realistically…well, there are other ways to get that information (and save the fee).

Also:  I just took a look at a different set of watercolor workshops, and the workshop I was thinking about attending tomorrow is relatively overpriced (about $23/hour?).  For $5 more I could get two extra hours of assistance, and not deal with being given supplies that I don’t need.  My major issue at this point is how to envision things that don’t exist, not how to copy things that do (although I’ve gotten the point that the latter may be much easier using blocks of color rather than line).

I also need to work on my use of positive and negative space.

I have a rough idea of how I want the above play to turn out, but the thing is, I could do a series of these and have them all be different.  That is, the patterning isn’t hemming me in, here.  And I can see some of the next steps, already (though granted, I saw some of the next steps a few days after reaching the point you see above).  The reason I stopped here?  I felt I might have been overworking things, and I ceased to be able to see what would come next.

Relatively speaking, the ability to “see” where to put my next mark is a bit frightening for me, but now that I have some study of creativity and the brain under my belt, I think that the issue is that I get into a “Flow” state and don’t understand it, so I tend to avoid it.  It isn’t necessarily that I’m being directed by something invisible (other than myself); it’s that I’m tapping into a brain-state that I normally don’t experience…which can lead to the explanation that I’m doing something metaphysically-based, when I may not be (or probably am not, but I’m leaving some wiggle room for the unexplained, here).

I just seem to be one of those people who enjoys using their creativity, but is always scared when embarking.  For me, in a sense, it’s like skydiving (not that I’ve skydived, but):  it may be exhilarating on the way down, but I’m scared to get on the plane and I’m scared that my parachute may not open.  Even though it’s been OK, pretty much every time so far.  And I’m not going to die if I can’t solve a creative problem during whatever time I’ve allotted myself to solve it.

My actual problem seems to be in using my creative faculties to whip up reasons not to use my creative faculties.

(*cough*)

In other…arenas, I took a sketchbook with cheap paper (which I had been journalling within) to work, today.  I felt a little disappointed with myself when I started practicing kana with my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen instead of designing a block print, like I had intended (although I realized I again lost offhand memory of some of the kana — though I would probably recognize them if I read them)…but then I started writing a new journal entry to myself.  That book has been with me for years — the better part of a decade, I’ll say — and the entries are sparse but intriguing (to me, at least).

I’m not sure what the draw to language means, if it means anything.

And the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen is vastly better for Japanese writing than is the Sakura Pigma Micron Brush Pen.  The former has bristles; the latter…I’m not sure, but it’s stiffer and squeakier, with less line-weight variation.  The big drawback to the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen is that it is so incredibly sensitive that you need a light touch and almost need to hover over the page (though there is still some tactile feedback of the bristles).

I should get out of here and get ready for bed…

Okay, I think I’m feeling a little overburdened…

…Thank all the people who worked so hard for ADA accommodations…

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on except that I’m getting tired of treading water and am starting to sink, a little.  Well, that; and I had surprise group work for one of my classes, which feels like it took up two free days.  I can’t tell exactly, though, because I’ve been too occupied to keep records.

I do remember, however, that Sunday I had a teleconference; then next day (Monday) I had surprise study time because of surprise group work from the teleconference; that same day, my glasses broke and I had to get them fixed; then the next day was a group meeting (Tuesday), after which was grocery shopping plus fabric and lace stores (see below), and coming home to bed.  Today (Wednesday) was work plus sleeping.

It doesn’t help that the death in the family which I spoke about some time back is still being worked through — I had surprise family obligations after work on the previous Saturday night, and worked on Friday, which I shouldn’t have done, as I didn’t have energy to do much when I got home.  I also shouldn’t be working into my breaks and lunchtime at work — this cost me time I could have used to get caught up on homework, today.  That left…what, Thursday to do a week’s worth of actual solid-deadline assignments?  (I was working last Wednesday, and Tuesday I had likely spent working on last week’s Web Design homework.)  I also spent some time in there trying to plan out classes for the next three semesters.

Realistically, writing here (conversation, not so much posting) has been one of the only things I’ve been doing for myself — although I did manage to snag some stuff for a sewing project, which I should not forget:  my fabric and pattern are stored with my yarns.

So, the fun thing:  I visited a lace-making supply store for the first time, yesterday.  That place is a wonder!  We were in the area, so I dropped by a local fabric store to pick up a pattern (which they didn’t have).  I was able to find out that the lace store carried the pattern I wanted, by going to the pattern homepage and finding out all the places that carry the brand.

The person who helped me was very kind.  I’ll be going back, if I have the option.

I think a big issue that I’m having is that I have commitments and deadlines that others in my household don’t have to deal with.  And I know it’s my job to keep on top of them, but when most of your down-time has been spent, literally, asleep (because you’re worn down) — meaning you have had little time and energy to do anything you actually have wanted to do (and you feel guilty for doing things you want to do, which makes it easier to spend time asleep) — sometimes you don’t want to actually look at your obligations, and then it becomes too late to do the prep work so that you can respond appropriately.

So I am behind, a bit.

I am, however, optimistic that even if I can’t be a Librarian (I am questioning my ability to keep up and not drop below a 3.0 GPA right now — albeit somewhat foolishly [I have good grades and accommodations in two of three classes — I haven’t touched the third yet]), I can be a Web Designer.  (I doubt I need a graduate degree, for the latter.)  It isn’t that hard for me, even though we are moving quickly.  Right now I’m in the middle of learning HTML5 and CSS3…which is like…magic.  😛  I had an introduction to XML via my Metadata class last semester, and these are, so far as I know, the three things one needs to make functional web pages and sites.

I still need to work out what to do for the next two semesters, at least:  some of the classes that I was told to work into my schedule are no longer required; and there is at least one new class which is “foundational.”

Seriously.  Right.

Anyhow…I went to bed earlier tonight because I couldn’t concentrate on my reading.  Tomorrow I should work on my Web Design homework (I think I should be able to get to it after the reading), plus the reading and lecture for my Usability course.  It will probably be much easier for me to work on it if I do it in a place where there is not a TV on.  Meaning, not in the kitchen…and not around family.

It’s kind of a surprise to find getting lonely to be a problem, for me.  Usually, I’m OK.  Then I work too hard and miss people…

Recovering:

I feel like I should write something here…I haven’t written in a week, and that’s largely because I’ve not had the energy or time to do so.  However, I’m cutting back on hours at my job, meaning I’ll now have five complete days to work on homework (and lectures, and other things) instead of four.

What happened is that I became so exhausted from the increase in work after Labor Day (Sept. 4th) that Thursday (the 7th?) and Sunday (the 10th?) were spent largely asleep — and that left me with two days (or 48 hours) to do a week’s worth of work for three classes.

Last night, I was up very late to get a number of assignments done by their deadlines.  I do have accommodations, but I prefer not to use them if I don’t have to.

So today, you know, I was catching up on work and found myself falling asleep towards the end of a lecture.  Actually, as I’m writing this, I’ve woken up from the second time I’ve fallen asleep, today (I had to take medication and brush my teeth, at least) — if you don’t count falling asleep around 3 AM last night to be “today.”  I then fell asleep once before dinner, and once after dinner.

On the bright side, I’m nearly caught up with everything.  I did realize, however, that I had been neglecting my Archives class…there weren’t a lot of deliverables there, so I worked on what I needed to turn in.  Accordingly, I think I missed an Archives lecture (I’m missing notes on it) — but I can deal with that.

I think the biggest takeaway from this is that I do need quiet study time, without the distraction of the TV or family.  I have been largely able to avoid playing around on the computer — this is because I know I only have so long I can sit here and not get spine issues.

Also…I seem to be settling around what I’ll do with my spare time…though it hasn’t panned out yet, because I haven’t had much spare time (other than time used for sleeping).

I’ve realized that I can create my own clothes, for one thing.  I feel relatively motivated on that level, because I’ve realized that I can do the same thing for my wardrobe as I’ve done with my jewelry:  make a bunch of customized stuff that I wouldn’t feel bad wearing.

As I wrote elsewhere…creativity may be my way out of the gender dilemma I’m facing.  I don’t, that is, have to rely on store-bought clothing and jewelry which doesn’t get across who I am.  And sewing — hand sewing, at least — does seem to calm me.

Then there is the fact that I still want to learn Japanese language.  I found a number of books on this which look fairly awesome — and I’ve realized that reading things in romaji (Roman letters), although it doesn’t help with character memorization, allows me to recognize words faster.  If I see something written in romaji, that is, I can easily tell if I comprehend the sentence or not (and most basic-level sentences, I do comprehend).  This recognition isn’t there when reading kana and kanji, though it is nice that the kanji give the meaning of the word — though they don’t tell you how the word is spoken.

And then there is graphic design research…making things, you know?  At this point I’m unsure if I want to go into Web Design (though that honestly looks awesome — except for the pay scale) or become an Adult Services Librarian with a tech component — say, in Virtual Services.  I have both paths open to me, now.  If I take the set of classes I’m thinking of, I could only have three more semesters of substantive work ahead of me, including Summer.  The semester after that would be devoted to Culminating Experience, and then I would be done.  There is a complicating factor here, of finances:  I will need to talk to people about that.  Actually, I should approach counseling on three fronts:  Academic, Voc Rehab, and Financial Aid.

As for the Art practice:  that’s pretty much just not happening, though I have an idea as to why, now.

I think my cognizance is burning out.  I should go back to bed.

Weird dreams over the last 48 hours…

I have just been wiped out, today.  Work demands + school demands + poor time management + biology.  Speaking of which, I had another dream about going into Biology and living on my own after my Master’s was done, though this time it would have been in some kind of cognitive science (in order to complement Human-Computer Interaction work).

Somehow, though…I don’t think I would be good in Biology:  too much biohazardous and wet stuff.  But I think in the dream, I had been gaining Physics skills (I don’t know how or why — it doesn’t make sense in the broader context), but it would have made sense in light of that.

The night before, I had a rather disturbing dream which makes sense in light of Rick & Morty, Silent Hill, Attack on Titan, the Book of Enoch, and Warm Bodies:  I dreamt I had my heart, eyes, and brain removed (while I was alive/standing there) and placed into a dead body, which I then became.  (Yes, it is scary to have your heart and eyes and brain ripped out of you in a dream)

While I had superpowers (notably, I could fly), I was still a monster who was leading people around (to potentially become like I was — though I don’t know if they knew that), and seeing things no normal person would see (the graphic contents of which are too disturbing to relate, here).

It would be interesting to make that one into flash fiction.  I don’t know what the plot would center around, though.  I still don’t know the motives of the character who transferred me.  Maybe I could begin by trying to figure that out, if I do write this out.

And then today, there was another transition-related dream (related to the “disturbing” stuff I saw in the dream I just mentioned — part of which was desiring a male form)…the key point of which is that it would narrow, rather than broaden, my options.

The only reason to move forward with it, then, would be 1) to satisfy curiosity and thus know the right decision to make (after the fact, unfortunately), or 2) to understand that the narrowed options would be more comfortable for me (than broader unused options; however, I do still use these).

I was still curious about what testosterone would feel like, but — it isn’t a good idea, speaking from a waking perspective.  Health concerns make it unlikely that I would be able to stay on testosterone for life without it eventually killing me (I have family history of heart troubles).  I don’t know why I keep having these dreams, though — I’ve been having them at least since my first gender therapist retired.

It seems that there’s a parallel memory thread going on in my brain which contains dream-related memories.  Hmm.

Anyhow…I should probably do something else, right now.  While it probably wouldn’t be best to spend the time researching the stuff in the horror dream…curiosity, you know…

Sewing…? who knew I’d have fun at that…

I’m still getting used to the practice of writing in multiple different places, online.  It’s kind of hard to keep track of everything.  It seems that I’ve been able to keep up decently, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do within the next two days, for one of my classes.

Anyhow, this is the art and design and creativity blog, so…yes.  Well.  What have I been doing as regards art and design and creativity?

Recently, a lot has fallen by the wayside.  Out of all the things I listed before which I wanted to do, three four things have I continued doing:

  1. Sewing/Embroidery
  2. Homework
  3. Work
  4. Blogging (not so much, here, but for classes)

And I looked up the statistics on income levels for tailors and dressmakers, which has again…gotten me a bit ticked off with the economy.  It seems that people who do work which actually is important on the level of survival and necessity, in this country, are the people who are least compensated for their labor.  I have a feeling that if I investigate why this is, I’m going to come up with something ugly.

But I’ll try not to get into a diatribe.  It’s too late/early for that.

One of the things which I really enjoyed doing, over the weekend, was re-teaching myself how to sew by hand.  I found a good source on sewing methods…and have found some of the differing behaviors exhibited by different needles and threads to be — actually — interesting.  For instance, fine perle cotton thread — like the kind used for lace — makes an edging with a really nice sheen, when worked as a closely-spaced blanket stitch.  (Cotton embroidery floss, on the other hand, makes a dissheveled mess.)

And hand quilting thread plus a Between needle pulls through fabric (muslin, in this case) much more easily than embroidery floss plus an Embroidery needle.

I did both blanket stitch, and an actual buttonhole stitch, early Saturday morning (say 1-3 AM).  I find copious misinformation about buttonhole stitch, online; and even in some books.  I’m not entirely sure why, except people haven’t learned in person from someone who knows what they’re doing, who has in turn had the skill passed down to them…in any case, I can try and post a tutorial at some point (and/or a review of my source), but right now I’m running low on steam.

What I did find interesting, though, was that constructing something (edging a crease, which allowed me to envision seam allowances) seemed to be more engaging than just decorating something (though that’s fun, too)…

I should really get some rest…