I started this post freaking out over school, now it’s just over weight.

Yeah, there are things more important than classwork…

I suppose it wouldn’t be too much to admit that I am now somewhat seriously freakin’ out over the workload I’ve set out for myself.

It is, however, a good thing that I stayed home today to listen to the three hours (!) of lectures I had for one class, or else I’d really feel like I was drowning. Today, what I got done was that (yeh, I’m kinda changing up my writing voice, for now), and a good set of abdominal exercises (aiming for 60 reps balanced per exercise, 30 reps to either side per exercise) plus over a mile clocked on the Exercycle (where I actually surpassed [!] 9 MPH, tension level = 6 [that detail probably won’t matter to anyone else]).

So after I listened to the lectures for my database class, I then went through all four of them (the classes, that is) and noted everything due this next period. I’m kind of getting irritated (that’s not the word I’m thinking of) at being expected to schmooze for part of my grade. I just don’t do that, well. And I’ve got serious “stuff” to attend to, like analyzing freaking websites.

And…yeah, I’m kinda getting “dark” here, like not “dark” as in “lost” but “dark” as in “angry.” It’s likely due to stress and a reduced amount of medication (which would normally help me deal with the stress).

My weight is still going up, by the way, but I’m pretty sure that little bump on the scale means my muscles (particularly my thighs and abs) are building, not that I’m taking on a bunch more fat.

(My belly fat is continually shrinking, by the way. Yay for resetting metabolisms! I wouldn’t be concerned except for the fact that Prozac use is linked to Type 2 diabetes, which in turn is linked to abdominal fat. And I just lost someone from diabetes [ongoing kidney failure, necrotizing bacteria] and had a friend who also lost someone [if not two people] from diabetes, not to mention others I know who have to live with it.)

What I need to do, really, is likely just stop drinking juice like I restarted doing when I stopped the Prozac. That was the big thing that caused me to stop gaining weight when I was still taking it, and…realistically, I’ve got 35 pounds to drop before I’ll be at optimal weight (I did actually break the 170 barrier yesterday, though that was after food and drink, not first-thing-in-the-morning stuff; at minimum, I’m at 165, meaning 30 to drop).

Hey, if I could be stable at 165 and hourglass and strong and lose the fat from under my jaw, I’m not sure I’d have a problem with it.

Then there is the entire grad-school stress…thing. That also contributes to the weight gain.

Why am I in this? I am in this because it’s important to M that I get a Master’s degree. I don’t know why; it has something to do with some nightmare couched in the phrasing of not, “working at McDonald’s.” Which, you know, I never had to do, but the same can’t be said of others in my family. So, you know, maybe it’s something they “know” about that I don’t.

But also, how many other people do you know that go through grad-school horrors because their parents want them to?

Well, there you go. A’ight. Who wants to do this? (or be a doctor or lawyer [or banker or teacher]?)

Oh, right, the other people in my program…


I did have the option with Voc Rehab of choosing a blue-collar job for my “vocation,” (electrician!) but I just didn’t. I can’t even really remember why I chose this line of work anymore, except that I already had an English degree and wanted to monetize it — and, right — that I was considering work in Publishing. Library work keeps you around texts, at least for the present day. And I thought it would be quiet.


Well, that, and I didn’t (and don’t, still) feel entirely comfortable taking money from people. But in Capitalism, that’s what you’ve gotta do if you’re gonna survive; the money has to come from someplace, even if it’s going into your old coffee cup (which I’m sure we wish it wouldn’t). And even if it’s coming out of taxes.

I have dreams for Publishing, but they’re probably about 15 years in the future. Pearson is doing some work on it, last I checked (interactive books). Though I’m thinking interaction paired with social media, that (due to abuse of the system, which is fairly likely with college students) could become a Public Relations nightmare fairly quickly.

And, right: I didn’t want to enter a majority-male field and have to deal with the, “but you have the wrong ‘bits,'” for the rest of my life. HOW CAN I LOVE METAL IF I HAVE THE WRONG “BITS?”

Okay, I’m going to stop now.

Hey, at least I’ve still got a sense of humor. That’s something.

I should likely schedule some time (no, I mean really, schedule) to work on something creative. I’ve just got to determine what exactly that’s going to be, and when it is going to be. And when I’m going to do everything else.

Also, I’m a bit concerned about what kind of food my parents did bring back from the produce market…I sacrificed those hours to work on readings, today, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve got a ton of apples and nothing else…

Yeah, I…I should get to bed…


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…

Wait…you mean…I have free time?

I’m not totally sure that writing this at midnight is the best course of action, but I’ve just been going through my archives.  I actually found a very significant pattern:  the work that I had been doing which I find myself most drawn to, in the present, was work done using fineliners and watercolors (transparent ones).  Only one had any kind of pencil work over it, and at least one had opaque white gel pen.

I’m relatively not drawn to most of my monochrome work, with the exception of a couple of studies done for a painting, a while back.  Even work that I disliked at the time of creation so much that I didn’t present it, holds power for me, now.  And now I am wondering about the other elements of the series I began in Spring 2016 which I did not complete.  What would they look like, finished?

Now that Summer 2017’s semester is over, I have time to actually devote to art without worrying about keeping up a homework schedule in tandem.  It’s not something I’m used to.  And I do think that it will be short-lived.

Actually — now that I’ve checked — I only get a week and a half, off.  Well.  At least I’ve started the Bullet Journal — I’m hoping it will help me keep on top of assignments.  It is also time to deal with collecting books and supplies…not the most fun thing, ever…and I’ve got to see what to do about my work schedule, though that will likely not be finalized until the end of the next pay period.

But holy ****, I will be entering the next phase of seeing where I want to fit in, in Information work!  I’ve applied for a new position…and will have to figure out whether I want or need to take a class on Reference service because of it…otherwise…it’s kind of exciting, and kind of scary.

As long as I keep on top of my work, it shouldn’t be a problem, though…you know, there’s the stress of grades.  And there’s the question of where to fit in my own interests, in between Library work and Library school, which together make up more than a 40-hour work week (or so I’ve been cautioned to expect).

It will be weird if I end up being a Library Assistant so soon…but I think I’m ready for it.  It will just be kind of psychedelic to think I’ll be advancing on my chosen career path!

I really do still need to learn how to drive, though…and I need to figure out how to prioritize work, school, and caring for myself (which includes art).  I do have so many interests, though, outside of the Library, that I’m …trying to figure out which to drop first, if it comes to it.  The Japanese language practice has been lagging, as I’ve tried to get out of this Summer class with good grades.  If I want to work in Hawaii, however, it would help to have at least a working knowledge of the language.

On the other hand, maybe that’s best learned, there.  It’s a life goal of mine to learn this language, but on the other hand, I only have five more semesters in which to prepare myself for exiting Library school.  And if I want to get another degree after that…if I want to stay in the program, as well — I need to keep my grades up.

I didn’t realize that I only had a week and a half!  Is it even still as relevant to get art supplies, now?

What I will do (this may only be legible to me, apologies):  I’ll replace/back up my Line Painters (I may want to see if any need replacement other than Snow — if not, Snow only costs about $3), replace my Gelly Roll pen, get a white Supracolor and maybe a couple of other colors (light ones?) to test at home.  I’ll need to take in my waterbrush, a grey paper, a white paper, and a black paper, to see the quality of these.  I’ll bypass the grayscale stuff, unless it’s really outstanding.

And I’ll get the black Line Makers, because they’re on sale at 6 for $14 — they could be useful for drawing on top of waxy media without clogging.  That should be around $45, if I get the Line Painter set instead of just Snow — and around $32, otherwise.  The latter feels very reasonable.

And I think I’m set.  But I will need to get a few notebooks from the dollar store.  I think I can reuse my folders from Spring semester, and just transfer the contents of those into manila folders.  I have enough index cards.  I don’t think I need any additional dividers or lined paper or pens or expanding files (yet)…just the notebooks.

Alright, I’ve got tomorrow planned…and, right, I need to email my counselor, as school is about to restart, and make a date to go down there.  It wouldn’t hurt to set up communications with the person in charge of Graphic Design and Marketing, either.  And I should let IT know about the issue messing up what I can see of the course sites…

…then just chill until the test on Tuesday.


Maybe it’s the heat, but I’ve been asleep for most of today [EDIT:  make that, “yesterday”]; although I did go a mile on the exercise bike, it was at about a constant 5-6 MPH, as versus 6-8, which is more my norm.  And I did remember to work on core muscles, then did a little yoga to equalize the tension (my lower back is much stronger than my abdomen — from carrying school books — so I’m mostly working my abs at this point), then did as many push-ups as I could, before my core muscles started to tire and get unbalanced.

I’m starting to think that trying to shift my bedtime earlier has really messed up the sleep pattern I had been holding to.  So now I have an excess number of hours spent asleep, as versus staying up late — and I still have a hard time waking in the morning.  This means that although my immunity may be high, I’m spending most of the time of my “vacation” in bed.  And after I get up, I’m still groggy.

But then, the temperature has been in the 90-100º F region (in the 30 C range, that is) for the last three days…meaning that it is uncomfortable to be awake around, say, 2 PM; and more comfortable to be up around 2 AM.  (If you can handle being up with the earwigs and spiders, that is.)

I did get to go to the art store, but unfortunately my time there was limited, and so I bought a number of things I hadn’t intended to.  One of them was “permanent” masking fluid — essentially a liquid wax — that can be applied to watercolor paintings to repel subsequent layers of color.  This is…interesting.  I had intended to get a liquid latex — that is, removable — frisket, but I’ve been wary around liquid latex for a very long time (the fumes can cause latex sensitization, meaning a new allergy to rubber).  Liquid wax, though…that’s interesting.

It sounds like the working process might be (loosely) similar to the reductive carving technique for relief printing…but maybe I’ve got that backwards?  I’m not sure — not too experienced in linocut printing, yet!  The thing that I am fairly confident in is that it’s relatively very safe.  And if I can work with certain aspects of my painting being permanently “clear”, it might be a way for me to work with masking fluid without worrying about my health.

I’m also, now, wondering about the possibilities of reduction carving for floral images, utilizing those tiny 2″x 2″ blocks I bought a surplus of?  I’m not terribly attached to my initial design anymore:  it’s very…straight-on.  It works as a mandala, but I don’t want to limit myself to mandalas.  Not that mandalas are bad, but I really need to work on asymmetrical composition.

The tricky part about this is…which images to use as designs, whether to draw from life, from photos, or from imagination.  It’s fairly apparent to me that plants:  particularly flowers and fruit, and other things I might find at the market (and in gardens), are things that draw my attention.  I just don’t want to fall into a cliché.

(Interesting idea:  are insects [like bees] attracted to the centers of mandalas?  And that’s why gnats keep trying to fly right into my eyeball?)

I’ve just spent the better part of an hour looking over my photo archives in search of images that still spoke to me.  What I’m seeing is actually the fact that most of the content which I’ve found…interesting, has to do with bright and graduated — that is, intricate and complicated — color.  And that, along with problems of translucency, reflection, and light.  Ideal for watercolors.

However, if I were looking for something to just practice linocuts with, I have a number of photos of insect specimens which might work well, particularly the moths and butterflies.  I could be trying to jump ahead of myself in terms of my skill level, though.  Maybe I should just try for a better carving of my initial flower and try to do what I had initially planned to — print these in colors over my suminagashi prints, then cut them apart and give them out as bookmarks.  I think, but am not sure, that the Canson Wet Media paper was the one which printed most efficaciously for that use.

The question does arise, though, as to whether to back these with something nice (like patterned scrapbooking paper), so it won’t just be white paper.  And that begs the question of which glue will dry and cure completely, and not leave sticky marks in books (I don’t think it will smear the front of the bookmark).  I have an idea of what to use, though.

Then there was the falling-gingko-leaf idea for a number of prints which I could work…but I’m not sure, entirely, what to put in the background, here.  I could use acrylic inks or more suminagashi, attempting this time to create greens and earth tones, with black — I’d just have to mix up the ink ahead of time.  I’ve also found laminating material at a nearby office supply store…but don’t know if I’ll need it, or indeed, whether to charge to recoup my costs (at least, if someone wants a bulk order of these after I give out the free ones).  Then, there’s the fact that lamination itself could cause fading…

I kind of wonder what the point of this is.  Did I have footing that I lost?  Do I really want to be doing art more than writing, right now, and that’s why it’s been more difficult to stay on task for the last couple of days?

Ah, I don’t know — maybe just going to the art store made me feel sad, or something.  I don’t have an infinite amount of money to be spending on this stuff — which, I suppose, is the same drawback that beadweaving had, except that fine art can pull more of an income stream (relatively).  And I’m thinking that I may have to move on from my current job, relatively soon.

It might be that I’m sleeping a lot more, so I see the lost hours reflected in lost time to do anything — and I don’t want to do my homework.  And I don’t want to go to work because of interpersonal conflicts.  Library Science seems apparently to draw heavily off of Social Science, which is something I was interested in before I found out that I would have to interact with people.  It’s kind of like Sociology all over again.

I’m just not sure which classes to take if I do, indeed, want to be a Web Designer or Web Developer, with the side benefit of being able to work in a Virtual Library space.

Actually:  I just now looked it up, and the pathway I’m on crosses over heavily with the path which would prepare one to be a Web Designer.  At least I’m OK with that.  I know that Web Design is heavily about understanding users so we can make navigating our pages as easy as possible for them…still a human-centered and ultimately a service job, but it isn’t one where I have to constantly deal with people I don’t know (whom I don’t want to know, but who want to know me).

It could be that I’m dealing with a touch of depression after a job-description rewording at work.  Like I said, I could go in for more hours, and it would help the money aspect of this, but I really don’t want to — and it’s mostly because of one person in particular who is creeping on me.  And that, in turn, is producing a lot of dysphoria for me (I don’t identify as a woman, but this *** is obviously seeing me as a “girl,” which is worse, because he obviously thinks I’m young and stupid).

Anyway, maybe I should go do something productive so I can stop fantasizing about what there is of my tendency to rage around this issue…

I really don’t want to be female, right about now; and being female and gender-variant is worse, because it’s OBVIOUS when people are messing with you because of your appearance…

Buying, Writing, Doing: The Triad of my Present Dilemma

It’s become increasingly apparent to me that it is much easier to purchase art supplies than it is to apply them in creative ways.  It doesn’t seem that this in any way should really be a problem for me:  I did work my way through an AA program in Art (I couldn’t justify it the first time around with my BA, nor at the Master’s level…at least, currently), so I know that there is some part of me that is creative.  I also know that I’m skilled, though as I said before, when I don’t exercise those skills, they’re hidden within me.

Unless I practice, my skill and creativity won’t have the chance to show themselves, or to develop beyond the point they are at, now.  Maybe the problem I’m facing (starting out with incipient projects) is the one faced by writers of all types (which I’m well familiar with, as my BA actually was in Creative Writing):  fear of the blank page.  Or white paper.  Basically, it’s the same thing.

What I can latch onto right now are the exercises which build increasing familiarity with my media. Right now, I am very, very drawn to water-based media (inks, acrylic inks, acrylic paints, watercolors, water-based block printing).  I have a feeling that this is majorly because I don’t like to deal with toxins when they’re unnecessary, and cleaning out watercolor brushes isn’t a big deal to me, at present.

Ah — and, I used to work more in dry media (pencils, pens, colored pencils, most apparently) — until I got tired of the tiny point of contact with the paper (give me brushes) and the graininess of most of my attempts.  (Keep in mind here that my Prismacolors were purchased well before the year 2000, so I don’t have the advantage of the smoother laydown of the new formulations, in that brand.)  In contrast, inks and paints are much more…captivating for me:  they lay down solid, (usually) unbroken, and (usually) more vivid color.

Color is something that I at one time began to organically grow into (toward the end of my stay in Community College) — and then I restarted the Library & Information Science program.  At that point, my energy focused on the goal of gaining an MLIS in order to be able to be a Librarian, so that I could have a steady income stream, hopefully benefits (though I have heard that these are increasingly being cut in Librarianship proper) and work within one of my areas of interest, while also performing a social good.  In my spare time, and with the spare resources I would gain from being an Information professional (or so I’ve heard), I have planned to work on my Art, thus bolstering my psychological resilience.

Right now…it’s hard for me to formulate or say what my point is, within LIS.  It’s where I am now, and it’s what I know, but that doesn’t really count for much of anything when I realize that I’m already at the top of my pay scale and will have to change positions soon if I want to become more efficient at earning money.

What I want to be doing right now, is helping to construct Web pages.  It’s fairly evident, even just through my experience with this blog and my drive to personalize and edit its structure.  It fits in with my other two degrees in the aspect of being production-based, but not entirely so much in the fact that it’s technical.  I presently do not have the ability to customize pages and sites.  If I keep on in the LIS program, I may eventually gain the skills, however:  and a new perspective on the experience of designing for someone else.

I have a feeling, though, that this will put me about even with the youth coming out of high school in this era — technically speaking.  Technology flows on, and keeping current with it is one of the things to which I’ve resigned myself.  Design, however, is a specialty, and requires skills and knowledge that not everyone has.  And, as has become increasingly apparent, it’s not about me or my expression (as versus Art, which seems to require drilling deeply into myself to draw out something that only I can do).

Right now I’m in a class on User Experience, which is an aspect of Design — and it’s very apparent that Design encompasses much more than the utilization of art skills.  Designing is not the same thing as producing Art, unless the person you’re designing for is you.

And writing for yourself is not the same thing as writing for someone else.

I think that if I did not have the fear of repercussions for expressing anything unique, I would have an easier time with both Art and Writing.  But I’m old enough to know that expression begets consequences.  Whether those are good or bad consequences is unknown and ultimately subjective; whether praise or hatred will prevail is yet to be seen.

This could be the reason why I have seen so many take a brash stance against this psychic wall…because if you don’t stand strongly, the force of that wall could crush your light down into a black hole.

Of course, it helps to have solid grounding and conviction in something reasonable, first.

M has expressed frustration that I have been acquiring supplies — particularly for painting — and have not progressed beyond, “little squares.”  (I’m not sure she understands how difficult the medium of watercolor is, however…)

My little squares, though they could be made in a more aesthetically pleasing manner, are doing something for me:  they’re familiarizing me with the medium.  I don’t feel comfortable jumping from having done nearly nothing into a place where I have no ground to stand on and don’t know how to kick or stroke.

Doing that, and working out my familiarization in a way in which I am likely to destroy my first five paintings (if not more), would be…almost traumatic, for me.  So I’m working on little squares.  Little squares, I can handle; and although the progression there is incremental, and likely to hit a roadblock when I try actually using the colors in application, at least it is something, and I’m learning from it.  Without something, I’m paralyzed because I’m being expected to perform as an intermediate or advanced student without having taken beginner classes.

Maybe M can move forward like that; but I’ve noticed that, in her own design work, she doesn’t think ahead.  She plunges forward and then hits a roadblock and doesn’t know where to go from there.  In contrast, I think things out much further, but then am criticized for my tentativeness and my expensive preparations and my lack of starting.

And actually, now that I’m looking at my notes, I can also see a pattern here:  and not just in the delicateness of my process and my work.

I probably write about art so much because it’s easier for me to write about art than it is for me to get up the courage to actually do it.  I’ve been writing nearly constantly, for all of my life.  Writing is familiar to me, and it’s easier for me to do this than it is for me to sit down with a paintbrush, no matter the chances of coming out with something beautiful as an end product (though maybe I will try and keep that in mind as a goal.  I have a chance of making something beautiful if I risk failure.  If I do not, I have no chance of doing the same).

Writing about work, though, is not at all equivalent to actually doing it.

I’ve got to make a number of lifestyle changes relatively soon.  Many of these — most, actually — are related to my mental and physical health.  I need to floss regularly.  I need to brush my teeth and wash my face well in advance of bedtime.  I need to avoid late nights (sugar cravings come on after 11 PM).  I need to drink more water and avoid excess sugar.  I need to shower more often, and to exercise (and stretch) more often and more regularly; and if I can, I ought to try to meditate regularly (doing all of this may allow me to reduce my medications…and drop down a few sizes).

Along with this — I wonder if it would be too much of a strain for me to try and wake up with the Sun, so I have all the hours of the day to do my work and my art, as versus doing art in the afternoon and taking photos in the late afternoon or evening (when it’s dark).  Or, less optimally, doing art at nighttime with less-than-natural light.

It’s something to think about.  Maybe tonight I can try going to bed early, instead of trying to wring all the good I can get out of the day, and see if I am able and willing to get up at, say, 7 AM tomorrow (as I tried to do, today).  And maybe if I have the art play as a lure to get me out of bed…I’ll actually do it.

Mixing greens, and experimenting with camera settings…

Well, I got two things off of my list.  Everything else had to wait until after watercolor experimentation (hey the sun was up!).  😛

From top to bottom:  Lemon Yellow (Hansa Yellow Light)/Prussian Blue, Lemon Yellow/Chrome Cerulean (Daniel Smith), Winsor Yellow/Chrome Cerulean, Winsor Yellow/Prussian Blue.  In these tests I made a near-middle green first, then extended the color into blue going down; and yellow, going to the right.

I’m in the middle of relearning that in art, most skills and techniques can’t be learned unless the artist goes out of their way to try it themselves.  Learning about it in theory, or learning about it secondhand, won’t suffice.  Thus, listening to other people say what can and can’t be done, or will and won’t work, isn’t entirely productive.  Those other people may not share your conditions (as, say, maybe M. Graham paints do actually never dry, in tropical conditions; but maybe I don’t live in tropical conditions).

Today M stated that if I went to the art store again, I couldn’t go back for a week, because I was addicted.  *^_^*  I opted not to go and to save that trip for a later date, even though we were right there.  I knew that if I could first practice with the paints I have, I would then have a better idea about anything I needed, as versus something I might need but was not sure about.

What I can tell, though:  15ml tubes are probably about the right size for intense color.  I have a bunch of tiny tubes (5-7 ml), but really those are great for testing colors…not for being mainstays.  And I’m not sure if I want to keep to Winsor & Newton, now that I have had a taste of other brands (particularly:  Grumbacher, M. Graham [I really love their Hansa Yellow — it disperses beautifully — I haven’t tried it wet-on-wet yet], Daniel Smith, Mijello).

Of course, though, it’s necessary to be a smart consumer and know what you’re buying before you buy it — there have been a lot of complaints that I’ve seen about Mijello Mission Gold brand being “mislabeled,” but it really seems that “mislabeling” is industry-standard and that companies telling you the actual pigments they’re using is a mark of quality.  I don’t think they’re required to do so, unless the paints contain one or more ingredients requiring a carcinogen warning under California Proposition 65.

I’ve just been learning things piece by piece, and each new bit of information makes me want to experiment, more.  Unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately), there are no decent art stores in my area…and waiting at home encourages research

Anyhow, I’ve also been experimenting with camera settings.  The two photos I’m showing here were taken on the “Tungsten” lighting setting on my camera.  Although I was under fluorescent lighting, these images were the closest I came to what I had seen while the Sun was up (though they didn’t capture everything:  for example, M. Graham Hansa Yellow [I tend to just call this Lemon Yellow, as versus Hansa Yellow Light, or Pigment Yellow 3 {PY3} or Arylide Yellow, but in the spirit of accuracy…] and Winsor Green [Blue Shade] make a nearly fluorescent green combination when combined, seen below left).

(I tend to work by the edict that a color can be neutralized and thus dulled down, but the amount of light it reflects cannot be made brighter than it initially is…though that thought has been questioned by those around me…possibly because warm and fluorescent colors can appear psychologically brighter than white?  I don’t know.  I’ve noticed that I have a relatively high-key palette, though, and that is for this reason.)

Anyhow — every other camera setting cast a brownish tone over the entire image, which I knew I would have to edit out in Photoshop.  Turns out, it’s much easier to take the photo correctly, the first time.  😛  I also realized that I could alter the white balance on these images directly in my camera, instead of applying filters after the fact.  (Both of these images were taken with the white balance shifted a bit brighter than the light in the room.  Which, like taking the photo under the “Tungsten” setting even though I was under warm fluorescent light, did help with color fidelity.)

There was no processing after-the-fact (post-processing?) I knew how to do that I could do here, that would have helped — other than a judicious applying of the Skew tool to unskew my camera positioning.  But I thought that would be a little much.

Top to bottom:  Lemon Yellow/Winsor Green (Blue Shade), Winsor Yellow/Winsor Green (Blue Shade), Lemon Yellow/Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Yellow/Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Aureolin/Winsor Blue (Green Shade).  For newbies, Winsor Green and Blue are both Phthalocyanine colors, with Winsor & Newton branding in these particular names.  Aureolin is genuine Aureolin, PY40.

What I found is that I get some **** clean colors out of Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) and Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), when they’re combined with the lighter Hansa Yellow (which is a cool, delicate, light yellow, often referred to as “Lemon Yellow”).  Phthalo Blue (GS) combined with Aureolin also makes really bright, pure, strong mixes.  I will indeed be sad if Aureolin does discolor with moisture and/or light…

…and I’m thinking of going over some of these swatches again with glazing in their original color mixes, in order to deepen them.  (I’ve already done this on maybe 3 or so squares, where I used too much water.)  It will be easier to see differences in hue, that way.

Prussian Blue and Chrome Cerulean (1st image) also make decent mixes with Lemon Yellow; in addition to Prussian Blue mixing well with Winsor Yellow (according to Blick’s website and handprint.com, this is a benzimidazolone [or Benzimida, I’ve also heard it called] yellow; and I’ve just manually checked it:  it is Pigment Yellow 154 [or, PY154], which concurs).

I got some really…slightly surprising reactions of the Chrome Cerulean with Winsor Yellow, however (1st image, third from the top).  I wouldn’t repeat the process, unless it were to see if the pigments settled out because of the amount of water in the paint (too much).  This mixture granulated heavily in the mixtures tending more toward Cerulean, in a way that I didn’t really find attractive or currently useful (you might, though!).  However, using less Cerulean and more Benzimida could add a subtle touch to …something.  I don’t know what, right now.

This is as far as I got today before I had to stop.  I was working on cheap paper because I was just doing scales…but I’ve got to say that the Fluid cold-press watercolor paper (second photo) was much more of a joy to work on than the Strathmore 300 rough I was trying to use up (in the first photo).

I’m kind of glad I don’t have any more of it, now… 😉

Recap before work, tomorrow.

As I look at what I can cover in this post…it’s a bit scattered.  While I wouldn’t say there was a lot happening…it certainly seems that way.

Particularly since the language-learning part of this just got added in, and I have been considering extending my hours at work (I will have 15 hours of schoolwork a week, as versus the 30 that was expected of me last semester; and Summer’s starting means that I have had time to spend money — and time to use what I’ve spent it on).

Also, as was just explained to me:  first we had the Hawaii trip, then my relative died, then something else happened, which were all a drain on the finances.  Then:  I’m starting Summer school, which is coming out of pocket, and then I got books for Summer school.  I’m not personally in trouble, but I haven’t yet heard back from Financial Aid.  That may happen after I see my Vocational counselor next week.

I am not sure what will happen if the Vocational program covers my tuition and fees and I don’t get a grant or loan:  I’ve been depending on having a cushion so that I don’t have to work long hours at the same time as I’m taking classes (my position is not well-compensated, meaning that if I don’t get a grant or loan, I may have to find another job…and my County, just generally, isn’t the best work environment); and I have to carry at least 7 units to get full Financial Aid.

On the bright side, I got two A’s (the highest grade possible, in my program) and one C+, last semester.  I found out, today.  Well, yesterday; now that I look at the time.  Also on the bright side, I don’t see myself having to take any more big trips to the art store, in the near future:  usually, when I’m in classes, I don’t have a lot of extra time to devote to arts or crafts, though I should certainly plan to make time, as I’ve prioritized time for the blog.  But that’s majorly because I lose my grounding if I don’t write.

I feel a bit like my vacation time is over.  Summer session starts up on Monday; I’m in a class on User Experience, and expect a lot of reading:  I had to buy four textbooks for this, though I know two of them are not difficult.

Ah, and:  I’m still archiving things from last semester.  I have until the beginning of Summer session to do this, but that’s not a lot of time.  I’ve found out that anything which is saved by a hyperlink to a webpage is by its nature transitory, meaning that now I’ve got to go and copy or take screenshots of my data (particularly Discussion Posts), before it’s lost.  Even if I don’t back it up for school, I will want to back it up for myself; because I did do the work, and I do want proof of that.  Ordinarily, I would have printouts or saved files automatically.  But with this discussion-board type of interaction, it’s just not permanent and it takes an extra step to make sure I can back up the fact that I actually did the work.

Today, for the first time in a long time, I fell asleep in the late afternoon.  Possibly because I didn’t want to archive things.  I also haven’t read very much recently, though I’m fairly certain that at this point I’m going to hold off on buying the books I had planned to (that money can go to other things — like art supplies — which I can’t access without it).

What I’ve been doing is just using the Library, and I really need to get over my “ick” factor where it comes to handling things that many other people have also handled.  I work there, I know that it is not sanitary (something not entirely clear before I became an Aide); but I’ve learned to tolerate the lack of cleanliness and just be clean when I need to (when going to the bathroom, touching my face, eating, drinking, or ending my shift).

I also have realized that the suminagashi play has kind of hijacked my original intent to work with relief printing!  I’ve got a lot of knives that I have not played with, yet, and I want to try them.  Ideally this would be sooner rather than later, but classes start next week; and I have a lot of appointments in that first week of classes, too.

I’m trying to figure out just how many; as I’m looking at my calendar, I have five appointments in the first two days of the work week.  Then I go to work again, have another group that evening, and have a phone appointment on Friday and a dentist appointment the week after.  I’m thinking that I’m going to have to really think about going to my Wednesday group; that and the other group I occasionally go to are the only things I can really cut out.  As I’m having two Psych appointments already that week — and I’m probably going to need the extra time to work on homework — maybe I don’t need the Wednesday group.

Anyway — I need to get back to my original intent of working with linoleum block printing, I feel like.  I want to get back to carving, even knowing it’s hard.  I’ve realized that a lot of what I do may be based on the conversion of my own tension into creative work; this being part of the reason I started being really creative in my early teens (early teen years were fairly horrible for me), along with the sublimation of my then-libido into constructive drives.  It explains why I feel like my works are my babies:  having and planning on no physical children of my own, there does seem to be a period of incubation, then creation, then protectiveness, before I can set them free upon the world.

The conversion of the energy of duhkha into creative work is likely the reason that doing art and creative writing actually makes me feel so good.  I don’t really understand it; maybe I don’t need to?

Anyhow, I’ll leave you with a gift, though be aware that I’m reserving copyright on this one (I have the hi-res master).  We went to a relative’s house to drop off a piece of mail, recently; and not really in the mood to deal with people, I went and photographed a bunch of plants.  Particularly, a Bird of Paradise plant caught my eye.  The flowers had aged a bit — they were starting to go to seed — but looking up Bird of Paradise plants online, it’s apparent that I can fill in the blanks.  It hit me that if I want to work with asymmetrical composition, it would be helpful to work with an image like this:


I have a bunch more of these; this isn’t the best.  I’m thinking of doing something with them (I’ve learned to take tons of shots from multiple angles to help with visualization), but I don’t know what media to use, right now.