Natural flow from drawing to painting?

The couple of days since my Term Paper was due have been spent…basically, cleaning things up. There is now much more usable space on my craft table; a bunch of my storage has been cleaned and consolidated; and I’ve realized the disadvantage of having a watercolor palette with fixed wells.

Aside from this…

I’ve realized that when I went into the Art program at first, I took Color Dynamics before I took Painting. Consequently, I learned about color relationships before I learned about composition or image-making within painting (as versus drawing). It’s kind of evident, now. Do I want to take another Painting class?…Kind of. Will I have the time to? Not sure.

Could I learn it another way? Not sure. I’m pretty sure that by trial-and-error, I could learn, but that might be the scenic route. Of course, after college, the scenic route is the only route; it just helps to be on the right path, in the first place.

For me, painting is a natural outgrowth of drawing: monochrome bridges into color; markmaking bridges into broad swaths and washes; use of single colors and glazes, shift into color mixing. It largely came for me when I realized the limitations of using a single (narrow) point of contact (pencils, pens, markers: the extreme of which is Technical Pen, Mechanical Pencil, or Micron), a single color at a time, and not being able to shade the colors of my tools in the way in which I wanted.

The bridge here may be charcoal, which merges into pastel. By using the broad side of a stick of pigment, it’s possible to get closer to the feel of painting, as versus drawing. Pastel pencils can also provide that markmaking experience common to drawing, while providing some of the malleability of pastel.

The major reason to avoid pastel work is dust, which is something I haven’t quite reconciled, yet. I have not had a Drawing teacher who did not caution against breathing pastel dust. I do have an area where I can draw and not depend on a vacuum to pick up this dust; it is fairly necessary to avoid the vacuum. You want to wipe up pastel dust with a wet rag (what’s called “wet-mopping”), not blow it into the air or brush it away. This is for health reasons.

The brand of soft pastels I find myself most attracted to are Rembrandts. I’ve mentioned these before; the largest hazards in these seem to be white pigment (Titanium Dioxide), and black pigment (Lamp Black). Titanium White makes tints of colors, while Lamp Black makes shades.

Titanium Dioxide is a mechanical (not toxic) cancer risk. However, this is according to Proposition 65, a law passed here in California which relates whether tiny amounts of anything carcinogenic is in art supplies or foodstuffs (though I don’t think it applies to cosmetics). Prop 65 is kind of being overused, but I know enough art teachers who have battled cancer to take basic precautions against inhalation.

Lamp Black (a.k.a. Carbon Black) poses a slight toxic cancer risk and also may stain, meaning some kind of barrier, like gloves or barrier cream, may be useful here. However, when you work with art supplies…you kind of get used to slight cancer risks. Gloves or barrier cream, a mask, and basic caution not to get this stuff airborne, is the caution that I would ideally (but possibly not actually — in the case of skin protection) use.

I still have never used my jar of barrier cream, so I’m not certain if it rubs off on the image or stains the paper. I should try it and see what happens.

The biggest drawback besides this, is that it’s hard to mix colors when one wants to make intense marks of a certain shade that isn’t provided pre-blended. This is a drawback common to drawing supplies (markers, pens, colored pencils, chalks), more than painting supplies. However, it does pose a potentially useful limitation: more colors are not always better, if one gets so paralyzed by color choices that nothing gets drawn.

Right now I have a bunch of Conté crayons, a basic set of NuPastels, and a basic set of Sargent Art pastels, in addition to some monochrome soft Rembrandts I got about two years ago (before I went back to Library School). The thing about Rembrandts is that they do have a shelf life. At first, they’re creamy, soft, and smooth, to the point that they draw on your hands when touched; later on (after a number of years) they turn into what feels like dried-up Air Dry Clay, and can shatter if dropped. (They even tinkle like dried clay when they are dropped; which I suppose they basically are; kaolin [the material porcelain is made from] is a common base for these pastels.)

I did have a set of half-stick pastels around here from 2015 or something, but I can’t locate them at this moment. I did do a mass purge of pastels, though, after I got scared by the Prop 65 warnings so many years ago. At this point, though, there are Prop 65 warnings for seaweed, coffee, potato chips, ginger, etc…it’s really getting out of hand. (Though I do wish that people would stop putting lead chromate into turmeric…I mean, seriously.)

The problem is that the consumer warnings are based on law rather than science, and that we are warned about the contamination of products, but it seems that nothing is done about it. The system relies on pressure from consumers not buying the goods to encourage the manufacturers not to sell toxic products, rather than actually regulating the toxic products, or not bothering us if the risk is minimal or the exposure is unavoidable (I probably still have more soot in my lungs from having grown up next to a freeway, than I would be likely to inhale from using pastels). At a certain point, a person gets desensitized and just accepts that their world is carcinogenic and the only way not to be exposed is to live in a bubble…

But, I suppose, the upshot of this is that someone is paying attention to toxins in food, drugs, and art supplies. If Prop 65 didn’t exist, I most likely wouldn’t know about this.

So…I guess this post turned into a Pastel post. Hmm. I do know that I want to play with my charcoals, again, even though it’s dirty (maybe because it’s dirty?). Well, not only that, but charcoal is fairly noncommittal…

I have also wanted to do something with ink, and have a new bottle of “waterproof” ink. I’m not sure how it’s going to perform, but I know I can use it with brush and dip pen…(I wonder if I still have my reed pens?). I have used it once before, and at full strength, it’s very black, which is nice. The issue is whether it’s truly waterproof, and how well it dilutes.

It’s possible that I may need to edge myself back into painting through using ink and wash, and pastels, plus maybe graphite sticks and the woodless colored pencils. That place where drawing organically grows into painting…I don’t think I’m there, right now. And I don’t think that’s a reason to give up entirely. It’s not like I’m back at the beginning where I’m using mechanical and colored pencil…but I am not all the way to seriously using watercolor, or acrylic, right now.

That’s gotta be okay, that I’m not at my apex after not practicing for most of two years. It also means there is someplace to grow to…

What I began this post thinking about was the fact that I think I’ve devalued my own style (with pen and watercolor, which has been relatively illustrative) because of the fact that it comes easily to me. It wouldn’t necessarily be easy for others, though…

Maybe I should take the chance on getting outside and doing some sketches…


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First post published on inkodei.com!

Hi all,

I’ve made some decent headway into prepping my paid site (no ads!), https://inkodei.com. I also published my first post about an hour ago, which can also be found under “Posts,” and the blurb for the home page.

I’m a little bit regretting not having included art as part of the site description when I set up the domain, as I’m sure I have readers here who are interested in that aspect of my postings. (These have been, and continue to be, major attractions, after all.)

I think I have a combination of the readership of (at least!) two blogs going on within this one blog, that is: those who like the art stuff, and those who like the literary stuff. Then there are other things I talk about here, like mental health and gender (which will more than likely filter through into any fiction I post at inkodei.com). Feedback about which aspects of https://encodey.wordpress.com you like best, would be helpful!

The thing is, if I’m going with a paid site, it will likely be more formal than this one…and I can only see that being continually updated with a site focused on reading and writing. The art content isn’t going away; I just may continue to post it here, on encodey.wordpress.com, along with my more casual, day-to-day writing.

The main reason for me to create inkodei was to give me room for my literary (and sequential art) play — and a space away from the ads. I am still on the fence about buying a serious web-hosting plan with which I could author hard-coded pages with multiple domains, as well as multiple WordPress sites (with subdomains if warranted!), which is why I haven’t opted to create two paid sites, here: I’d rather hold on to the funds, for now.

Does this sound workable?

(P.S. If you would like, feel free to “Like” and “Follow” me over there!)

Prepping for creative work.

Surprisingly, I was able to get out of the house today. A lot of people are staying indoors because there’s still a lot of smoke here from the Butte County fire. Not to minimize the destruction of that fire, but the air has been unhealthful for days.

Depending on the air quality, I might be working later this week more than I had anticipated; my school work-load has recently sharply decreased. I decided to hit the art store, today, in celebration of having free time again.

This time, I actually had a medium and project in mind. As you may have seen, very early this morning I was playing around with WordPress’s new editor. It’s inspired me to try my hand at webcomics. Kind of interesting how something like the structure of a content editor can matter…

Anyhow — just to remind myself in the future; today I got a bottle of ink and some brushes which were approximately $35 for a set of 5, due to multiple discounts. They’re Princeton Neptune brand. I had originally set out to get one good-sized natural hair brush, but seriously, good natural-hair watercolor brushes in a decent size are fairly expensive, and I didn’t see any with the dimensions I wanted.

(It is easier to want a brush before you’ve actually seen and held it.)

The Neptunes are supposed to be good at holding paint. Maybe late Tuesday or Wednesday, I’ll be able to play with them, more than just washing them out, as I did tonight. Then I’ll be able to see if they dispense paint (or ink) as well as they hold it.

I still haven’t decided whether to go in to work more later this week…

And — right! I also got a copy of the Iowa Review 48(2) and one of Granta 144. They’re both literary magazines, and as such, aren’t available at my library. I may have to do this, more. Because I’m so new to litmags, I don’t yet have a feel for what type of stories and poetry each magazine tends to have.

However, if I’m going to be writing stuff, it would help to read again. Litmags have short stories and poetry from different authors, so there isn’t too much of an investment in any one. They’re also fairly contemporary, and a good way to keep one’s finger on the pulse of new talent.

I still haven’t decided whether I want to get seriously back into writing, and if so, what I want to do with it. There’s the possibility of contributing to magazines, publishing directly to the Web as a staff writer or blogger, or running my own website. In long-form, the choices are self-publishing in an eBook or Print-on-Demand format, or going through traditional Publishing houses.

Due to my experience in Collection Development this semester, I’ve found some interesting outlets for eBooks and online litmags — though still, nothing compares to going to a bookstore and being able to browse. It’s just easier.

And then…there’s the possibility of just dealing with this here. I could run a blog, and publish comics to it. Of course, given my background, they’re likely not to be…well, intentionally funny.

Unless I go there. I can go there. It’s just not my first goal.

Anyway — for now, I’ve decided to work with Microns plus ink wash, for any comics I make. Or — I could use dip pens plus the ink I just got, though that requires some preparation of the nibs; and that requires either flame or boiling in a chemical-safe, non-food container. I do need a new lighter, but that’s easy enough to replace. I also need to find the Third Hand — it’s basically a pair of tweezers on a base.

The problem with holding nibs in pliers and then burning off the anti-rust coating with open flame is that it also heats up the plier nibs. That can distort them and make them useless. I learned the hard way.

By the way, it’s not my responsibility if you try this. It only takes a touch of the lighter, but you can get burned or worse, especially if there’s any grease.

Aside from this, I should work on my project due tomorrow. Not that I think any of us in the class, actually want to. It’s tough to write to a standard format. Kind of sucks all the joy out of it.

But I can do it. Just for the sake of not washing my GPA down the drain as my last action in this program. 🙂

Conversations with myself #1

So yeah, I…tried to do homework tonight, until I was no longer able to function, with regard to studying. That is, I started researching why my tomato plant smells funny, and eventually came here.

I am thinking there must generally be some limit on the amount of writing to a format that can be done before one’s brain quits.

At the time I’m beginning this post, it’s near 1:25 AM. I’ve just taken medication, so I should have until about 3 AM before I become entirely useless.

Yes, I am playing with the color settings on the new editor. Why?

Anyhow…what I’m working on now, is a collaborative project. Since I got my ePortfolio turned in, I’m trying to stay motivated. I did need to use one of the projects for this class within the ePort (I actually used two), but I really should have taken this class…before. At a different time.

So right now I have what I’m working on, due early this week…and three more weeks to go of this class. I can make it. The issue is feeling “done” with the whole thing, when I’m not. I have three more weeks to go. But only three more weeks.

Right now, I’m just wondering about resuming my artwork.

newly washed rondelle beads
This is a test photo. I could use this editor for comics, couldn’t I? I mean, if I really wanted to.

I’m thinking about getting back into painting. I have two more weeks before I go back to my regular schedule at my job, unless I pick up more hours, in the meantime.

I should have the opportunity at the end of this week, but it means working through Black Friday — and I have things I want to do, on that day. Like get a paintbrush. But then again, if I go to work, I can afford to pay full price.

Right now, I’m looking at the different way the new Editor on WordPress encourages me to break up my text. It’s much more suited to Web-optimized writing; as versus longform nonfiction, as was my working default, before.

I could do something with this, hmm? I’m thinking two or more B&W side-by-side panels in each Block. Maybe with narrative in between? I might want to review my CSS to see if I can adjust the padding or margins here, though.

Even the background colors of the text could symbolize different characters talking (if the colors repeat), though it wouldn’t be entirely accessible. It could also be narrative.

Just have to pick a story to work on…see which pens to use…

(does longevity matter? If so, use the Microns. If not, Sharpies — or anything else — works.)

Yes, I have tried to use Photoshop to create drawings, before. I’m better off working by hand…

…but that was pretty sweet when I could illustrate with the Wacom. I just didn’t have a story.

(Shut up about the Wacom!)

–But I could use a Wacom!

I have a proposed solution. Do some comic art, scan it in, and see what you can do with your current image editor and a mouse, before you jump on the Wacom thing again.

…or just buy a Wacom. Whatever. If you’re willing to pay full price, it doesn’t matter when you get it.

I gotta try this…

All materials submitted for ePortfolio.

You know what this means? This means that I might actually have time for myself, soon.

And…I’m still wondering about/considering that graphics tablet thing. There’s no reason to get it if, in fact, I’m not going to deal with creating graphics on the computer.

But if I did decide to create graphics (what was called “Digital Imaging” at my old school), either to play with Web Design or just for myself…yeah, that wouldn’t be so bad. It would then be worth the cost. Plus…I could go back into Digital Imaging classes. Why? I don’t know why. What would I draw or paint? I have some ideas.

I am not certain anyone else would care, but I have some ideas.

  • Flowers.
  • Weeds.
  • Plants.
  • Chilies.

You know. Stuff. Stuff abstractly related to my identity, actually, which I forgot about until revisiting that whole gender (nonbinary) and sexuality (possibly asexual) topic. Am I really asexual? I don’t know. It’s complicated.

But let’s just say that stuff never worked out, and I don’t know if the root of it is society, or biology; though I lean toward the former as my explanation.

The question for me is whether or not…I want to do this enough, to merit spending on a tablet. If I’m going to actually get a tablet to actually do visual art…what I’m looking at is a mid-size entry-level model.

Of course, if I can wait about a week, I might be able to save a substantial amount — if, that is, I still want it.

I just kind of want to reward myself, somehow; and this is what I thought of, first. Of course, I can also use…you know, real paint. That I already have. And real brushes. That I already have. And inks, with real pens. That I already have. And pastels, used on their sides, which I can’t do with a tablet.

I just remembered…I wanted to get myself a quality paintbrush as a gift! That’s what I was going to get!

Oh, no. I’m not getting a graphics tablet to reward myself. I’m getting a decent-sized natural-hair pointed round for watercolors.

That’s it!

Wow. I didn’t know *that* was in there…

Let’s see…tonight I was able to submit another segment of my Culminating Experience requirement. Last night, I submitted my paper for Collection Development, meaning I’m probably not going to have a problem with that class. I only have one more big assignment, there.

Time is ticking down for my remaining essays: I have 2.5 weeks to complete 5 essays, plus one which is mostly-done, and two more which are my Philosophy and Conclusion essays, which I’ve already put serious work into; those two shouldn’t be hard. Right now, I’m pushing myself to give myself a break. Although, maybe I shouldn’t be.

There is still some study to be done to keep up with Collection Development, though it should be fairly straightforward, as compared to the more free-form (but still scaffolded) Culminating Experience stuff.

Luckily, writing isn’t too difficult for me, and I work relatively well under pressure (unless the task is just straight-up too difficult and sheer, due to multiple hidden tasks; then I just freak out and freeze, as started to happen before I got an extension on my last assignment).

If I reach a time in the near future where I want to work but can’t think in words, I can assemble the skeletons and scaffolding of my last six essays — or, the five which need it, I guess. It does take time. That’s the hardest part: trying to estimate how long it will take, and hoping that I’ll have the capacity to do the type of work I’ll need to do at the time I’ll need to do it.

The only way I’ll get into trouble is if I have to do hidden research for one or more essays, but I think I’ll be OK.

Well, there’s that. It’s pretty well-settled. I…am wondering if it is a good idea to go out, soon; or stay in, listen to my lecture, and basically catch up on the Collection Development material (which isn’t really, “catching up,” if I’m not behind, yet). Not to mention that I can look over the voting guides.

I think it would be easier on me to stay home tomorrow, actually, rather than going out when I don’t have to.

What was interesting, was investigating my college, the other day, and realizing that they have a pretty sizable Art budget. That, in turn, gets me thinking about going back to Art classes, or Computer Science classes, and the possibility of an MFA…and if an MFA, whether to do that in Web Design, or Studio Arts…and if Studio Arts, what do I plan to do with that? If Web Design, is that broad enough to do what I want?

I think it is an okay thing, right now, to really…start looking beyond the next two months. I know that December should see a lot of tension being released. January should see me beginning to look for new jobs…and getting back in touch with who I actually am.

I’m looking to be employed for at least 20-30 hours a week in my next job, which may be a Library Assistant or Librarian position, a combination of my current job with an internship, or a non-Library job.

If I don’t get any of this, I may start doing things like pulling prints or otherwise working creatively, and selling the results of that in my spare time (though as I’ve said before, I’m not entirely all that hot on Etsy, at the moment — I might want to find an alternative vending platform).

There is a third route, but I’d rather not do it, at least immediately (take Intro to Computer Science, and a one-unit class). I also need to learn Javascript, especially if I want to work in Technical Services.

And then…there is a story idea that I’ve had, which I’m not sure is related to dystopia or utopia, which goes into what might happen if the state of culture changes so that, in the majority, we decided to avoid irrational thought. A lot of things would go, including much of culture and religion; and I’m not sure what would replace them. I’m…curious about that problem, and kind of want to work it out on my own, to see where it would go. The thing is, even rational thought, based on false premises, leads to statements that aren’t true.

It does seem to be a timely idea, and it’s one I had to turn the TV off to remember, which means it’s good I’m writing it down somewhere, because just telling people about it, barely helped me recollect it.

As for whether I’m good enough at drawing to make it into a graphic novel or series, I’m not sure…but maybe that’s not the point. It doesn’t make sense to make something into a visual form, when there is no need to do so. I’m better at the written word, anyway; and one of the reasons I got into Art was because I was getting to the point with literature, of being able to actually say things that mattered, and I was afraid to do so.

Yeah, and…I’m thinking about another dream I had, which challenged my previous conception of a couple of characters I’ve had, from way back. That dream was seriously adult-themed, though; I mean, it might even set people with trauma, off. (By, “adult,” I mean that you need a moral grounding to be able to comprehend it and not take the situation as acceptable.) I’m not sure if I should write it…but it might help. It might help me get beyond it, that is.

On top of that, we got a new book in at the Library about Critical Thinking, which I want to read, but am somewhat concerned that I’ll have to challenge the book to successfully get through it. I’m not sure if the author is intentionally doing mind-trips to make their readers think, that is, and I won’t have the extra time or energy to try and puzzle it out, before December.

What’s kind of crazy (in the colloquial sense [like “crazy” is ever non-colloquial]) is that if I get back into literature and decide that’s where I want to be, a Public Library setting would feed me, by surrounding me with literature. If I get into Art and want to be an Art Librarian (subject specialist) in a University setting, then I might well need an MA or MFA in an Art-related field.

(The thing is, do I like Art well enough to do that?)

But maybe what I need to get used to, is being okay with expression? Or unafraid to express things, maybe I should say. It’s that which got me into writing, in the first place…I could write things I couldn’t or wouldn’t talk about. (That’s also what got me onto the Web, which relatively freaks out some people.)

And I guess I do, now, have the life experience to kind of know what I’m talking about when I write, which I didn’t, fresh out of undergraduate training.

Yeah… maybe I’ll go back and give writing a shot! It doesn’t cost a lot in anything but time (and maybe, books). On top of that, I know a bit of coding, and can look up the schema used to encode Kindle books, which I could then, self-publish. Or…I could try and publish through a traditional venue, with a BA in Creative Writing and a Master’s in Library and Information Science under my belt…

Hmm. Gotta do the writing, first!

(And I can go back to school for an MFA in Fiction, if I want…it’s a terminal degree, though. But I would be able to teach, then [as well as work in Publishing], and I would be very well-prepared [formally, at least] to be a subject specialist in Fiction writing…)

It makes sense, though, that if I want to really publish, I need to be reading: yesterday, if not sooner. Maybe I could line some stuff up for January?

Still working on that assignment

I’m writing, right now, to get me back into the mode of writing anything. Last night, I was up working on a Marketing assignment, and didn’t want to stop. Now, I’m having a slight bit of trouble in getting back to it.

I did get a good idea about what to do with it, last night — so I have a plan. The thing is, I spent yesterday (almost all of it) rereading the chapter and rewatching the lecture and taking notes. I doubt I will end up promoting the databases I initially chose…they just aren’t the best fit for the people I want to invite into the Library.

Anyhow, my (hypothetical) plan would be to visit the Art studios with some little handouts, and a card about a few of the databases to which the students have access. The target audience (to be narrowed down) are college students who are visual thinkers, like to work with their hands, and are a bit alienated from computers (particularly, the use of computers for research) and the Library (which most people think is just for text). I realized that I would be marketing digital resources to on-campus students, which requires different tactics for reaching them (as versus distance-education students).

And yeah, I did think of putting posters of that Duchamp piece, “Fountain,” in the bathroom stalls…but that may be in poor taste!

(I’M NOT GOING INTO IT.)

The thing is, since I started reconsidering the path of becoming an Art Librarian (likely in an Academic setting)…I’ve started dreaming again, and it’s distracting me.

Not to mention the fact that I went to an art store and found a new Prussian Blue watercolor (Sennelier brand — in a tube) and now I want to do the freakin’ art but I have to finish my work for this semester, first!

But yeah…watercolor + gouache + pastel…there’s gotta be some great uses I can put those media to, together. I look back on some of my work which I’ve done in ink and watercolor…which, I’m still really curious about, but I may have to try a way of working that I witnessed another student using, which is to do a grisaille (greyscale) underpainting in sumi ink, and then layer color over it. That should be much more flexible than using Microns, like I’m making a coloring book or a comic.

Eh…yes, the sooner I get this work done, the sooner I can stop worrying about it!

And…I actually have been considering going back for an MFA in Art History or Studio Art, to use both for personal fulfillment, and as qualification to be an Academic Librarian specializing in Art…but I also need to earn gainful employment, sometime.

(I also wonder if it would be worth it to get one good natural-hair paintbrush…and see where that takes me.)