Some of yesterday’s haul…

I’m not sure why, but today was almost totally spent in bed.  I did, however, manage to photograph what I was working on, yesterday.  It’s not anything really great, but at least it’s something.

Neocolor II abstract

I’m working on taking sub-par photographs so that it’s more difficult to explain things when they’re used out of context.  😉  Just kidding.

This is the first piece I worked on, yesterday, while in a waiting room.  If I did it over again, I’d definitely change some things:  in particular, rounding out the shapes better.  Photoshop’s Levels filter has brightened some of the colors here…particularly the red which leans to the blue side of the spectrum.

I was, altogether, not that impressed with some of the pigments used in this composition.  In particular, I would like a Phthalo Green and probably a Phthalo Blue, plus switch out the Carmine for something a bit more vibrant.

Something I learned in the process of making this is that it’s really vital, when using a set of highly saturated colors such as the ones I did, to leave a good amount of white space instead of trying to fill in all the spaces with bright color.  There are areas here which I feel work better, and areas which I can tell weren’t really clearly thought out — particularly the upper 1/4 of the composition.  When I got a handle on using white space and getting familiar with the idea that leaving obvious marks would work, things came together more successfully (in my opinion).

I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve realized that when working with Neocolor II crayons plus water, it’s almost inevitable that there is going to be texture left behind wherever there was heavy pressure on the crayon.  There isn’t really any point to fight with this, because it’s fairly ubiquitous and inherent to the medium.  Where I left marks which indicated the lower drawing, things seemed to turn out better, because I wasn’t fighting with what was going on.

I still really can’t stand that upper 1/4, though.

Uni-Ball Vision Elite ballpoint pen plus waterbrush (the brown in the upper right corner is Neocolor II).

After I stopped playing with the above piece, I moved onto the next page and realized — in drawing simple lines and then washing over them — that variation in pigment density (between the dissolved and undissolved crayon) was something that could not be avoided in this medium.

Looking for something smoother and more like ink, I tried something else:  taking my writing pen, doing a quick sketch, and then washing over it with my waterbrush.  The biggest drawback to this is that it’s relatively difficult to control the depth of tone in the wash by using the waterbrush alone.  The easiest way I found to control it was to work on dark areas first, then as the ink ran out in the brush fibers, work on lighter and lighter areas.  The other thing about this is that the fresher the ink is from the pen, the darker the washes will be.  I didn’t find this out, though, until my next attempt:

Not quite finished, and there are some mistakes, but I don’t feel like working on it, now.

The good part about this is that it gave me the smoothness which was lacking in the Neocolors.  The part which was difficult was managing the value scale, without experience.  I didn’t realize that by using this pen (which is supposed to not wash off of checks, preventing check fraud), the longer it had to dry or cure, the less responsive it would be to water.

It’s hard to tell exactly how deep a wash is going to be before it’s hit with water; and then, there is not any really good way to un-wet it (though maybe if I had used a tissue to blot it, it would have helped — I forgot I had one).  If I were going to try and save this piece, I would have half a mind to go in there with Sumi ink and really darken the doorway, which would give me a larger range of values to work with.

The major issue which was really difficult to convey is that there were at least three light sources here which were all actually the same light source bouncing off of different surfaces.  There was the glowing window, then the cast light on the floor, then the light bouncing off the doorway and floor into the other side of the hall, before we got into the interior lighting which was behind me.

Because the light from the window was so intense, it was difficult to try and figure out how to portray that.  It isn’t just a white-to-black range here; there is actually something glowing and producing light…which is not something I’ve ever really tried to convey, before.

I have found, though, that I do like the smoothness of ink — and most of my watercolors.  I have realized that the tins I bought will hold at least 24 half-pans, each…though D has mentioned that the tin may be too deep to enable easy access to the pans.

I still need to work out exactly how many colors I have, as well…before I go trying to plan a setup which will make it easy to carry these around…

Some of yesterday’s haul…

Note to myself to post tomorrow:

I don’t have a lot of time to write tonight before my brain stops working.  I will, though, attempt to post at least this to remind myself that I worked on three pages of my small Wet Media sketchbook today.  If tomorrow turns out not to be busy, I should have time to photograph what I’ve done and touch up what I didn’t finish.

One of the compositions I did is an abstract in Neocolor II crayons with graphite and a waterbrush.  The next page is the one in which I realized that in using the Neocolors, unless I’m very light with my hand and scrub with my brush, building up the crayon layer by layer, variations in pigment density and a rough look are pretty much part of the medium — emphasizing brushstrokes and texture actually helps, here.

A smooth look, on the other hand, would be obtained with watercolors…which I have been wondering about loading into one of those tins.

On that page, I remembered as well that my ballpoint pen might work with my waterbrush to create (smooth) washes; so I started drawing in the place I found myself.  This was totally without pencil, so there are some things which should have blocked out other areas of the drawing which are transparent.  🙂  Nevertheless, I really surprised myself with that.

The next page was a view through a set of doors and out a window.  I realized here that because the pen I was using was one which is supposed to not wash off of checks, the longer I let it dry, the lighter my washes became.  I still need to do some work with the value ranges on this one, but from here (looking at this from a side angle), it actually looks surprisingly alright.

This was from almost exactly two hours devoted to nothing but art.

I should get some rest, now.  I really don’t even know who will be up to read this…

Note to myself to post tomorrow:

Taking a break from drawing…

I’m kind of blank right now, probably due to having spent the majority of my waking hours today, doing artwork.

I have a Critique tomorrow morning, and hope to have two pieces reasonably finished, by then.  (I’ve already warned my prof.)  It…is just one of these things where I am working, I’m just being slow at working because I’m trying to deal with so much at once (not just art, but classes, work, health, career, money, independence, sleep, hygiene, food; young adult human stuff), that it’s hard to make a choice to work on this.  And when I am working on this, my style is so detailed and intricate that it takes a lot of labor to get what I want.

Some kind of flower
Some kind of flower

I have found out some things about my working process, though, and am trying to work through more.

The biggest thing I think I’ve found out is that I need to make committed, regular time to work on my art projects, if I want there to be any art projects.  I’ve also found that there are certain preliminary exercises that I feel the need to work through prior to working on a major work-in-progress in order to reassure myself that, “yes, I actually do know what color that ink pencil is going to be after I wet it.”  Or, “what is it that I’m actually already doing and/or wanting to do?”  Or, “do I need to work with masking fluid for what I want to do, and am I comfortable with that?”

I actually hadn’t settled on this assignment for myself, prior to two weeks ago, so there is that.  That is, by the time I had a clear idea of what I was doing, I had two weeks remaining to work with.  I really should have started brainstorming and working out — in writing and visually, on paper — what it was that I wanted to be doing for this Critique, at the latest, immediately after the previous Critique.  Not at the time when my prof asked for us to think about what we wanted to do, and for our proposals.

Another flower
Another flower

I actually had to make the choice to use my aquarelles for this — actually, ink pencil and Neocolor IIs (which are watercolor crayons), because I was so intimidated with the prospect of adding watercolor to my drawings that I was just freezing up.

I’m uploading my favorite portions of the compositions I’m working on…that is, the parts which I labored over, most, and love, most.  Right now I’m working on “flower portraits.”  Unfortunately, I didn’t think to photograph the little labels which said what types of plants each of these are.  I’ve had at least three separate people ask me what the pink balloon cluster flowers, are.  (I really don’t know, though I could probably find the plant again, if it’s still in bloom.  I know the location of the plant because I recall when and where in the day, I found it.)

So I ended up using the Neocolor II watercolor crayons, and Derwent Inktense ink pencils.  While I was at the art supply place, I noticed that Caran D’Ache actually makes both of the Neocolor lines (I [water-resistant] and II [water-soluble]), and the Supracolor line of watercolor pencils, which are supposed to be top of the line for watercolor pencil.  I’d tried a Supracolor out in the store before, and was very impressed with both the dispersion of pigment and with the intensity of hues — but they’re really expensive.  Now that I look at the prices, they don’t seem too bad, though, at least in open stock — but the sets are like, “whoo! hope you’re going to use them!”

Yes, we’ll take your money.  Ku ku ku.

What I was doing, though, really did call for aquarelle use.  I mention the Supracolors because I think, but am not sure, that the color coding used between the Supracolors, and the Neocolor I and II lines, are the same.  I think the pigment formulas are the same, that is, but the vehicle differs.  Supracolors would be nice for very tight drawings, where using a Neocolor II might just be frustrating (the Neocolors are really pretty soft, and tend to bluntness, which makes drawing things like fine precise lines difficult).

I was using Micron over an underlying pencil drawing, for both of the above images.  2B is the hardness I like, for this.  It’s soft enough to avoid hardcore paper incision, dark enough to leave a visible line, while light enough to be cleanly erased.  True watercolor…my style with actual watercolor painting is much looser than my style in drawing.  I haven’t yet taken on the task of reconciling them, though I suppose that is one of the tasks ahead of me.

I was lucky enough to find some Illustration Board at both of my normal art supply outlets.  One of them was about $2 — I think it’s one of the Crescent Cold Press boards, 11″x14″, or something.  I’ve read that Illustration Boards aren’t always archival or acid-free, so that is something to keep in mind.  The archival Illustration Boards that I know of, are like $7 each.  If it’s for finished artwork by a skilled/artistically matured hand that’s going to sell for $200+ and be framed in someone’s house and made with archival pigments that will last through the next three revolutions, 100% cotton rag acid-free illustration board is really what one would want.

But I’m thinking that generally, illustration board is meant to be digitally reproduced, and hence, the less expensive stuff may yellow or degrade over time — which is not what someone would want if they were building a portfolio.  However, it really is what one would want if they were making, say, a comic.  Like the ones I’ve been thinking of doing in charcoal, where you don’t want to spend $7 per page, but you do want to get the images down on some kind of firm and durable surface for the short term.  I’m pretty sure that the pieces I saw by Osamu Tezuka in the Asian Art Museum were on inexpensive board like this, because you could see where the text had been overlaid and taped down to the work — it was a different color.

Right now…I’m on the lookout for a better option than Wet Media paper, and trying to figure out if I’m going to have to tape watercolor paper down to Masonite for the foreseeable future or just use either non-archival illustration board…or quality illustration board.  I’d thought of using gummed Kraft paper tape to wet-stretch watercolor paper as versus just taping it down dry, but I’ve heard that the gum never comes off.  I’d end up cutting off the taped portion, which kind of makes for a possibly odd-sized image (and probably a ruined Masonite board).  It is very possible that the makers allow for this, though, and that is why there are so many 20″x26″ pastel paper sheets, for example (the standard is 18″x24″)…

Still…it’s probably a better deal than using illustration board for everything, especially if you can handle the textures a lot of watercolor papers have.  Which are, actually, positive things when you’re painting; not so much when you’re making tight drawings with pen and then coloring them with aquarelles and watercolor and possibly colored pencil; which is when you would want a more smooth, hot-press paper (which is more expensive).  The thing is that 100% rag, quality watercolor paper (like Arches) is pretty expensive, too; I hear that buying a roll (which is very expensive) and then cutting pieces off is economical, because the roll lasts forever.  Right now, though, I’d probably stick to purchasing individual sheets.  I…can’t imagine how much a pad of huge sheets of watercolor paper would cost, really.

Anyway, I’m hoping that using something like illustration board, in the future, will keep me from dealing with the warped paper that happened, majorly, in the balloon-flower piece.  You can see a little of the warping in the snippet I’ve shown here, because the sun was going down as I took the photo, and cast shadows over parts of the image.

I should probably get back to work — I can see some spots in my second photo which I need to work on, and I do need to work on coloring more of the first composition.  But before I go, I do need to note that I think I really should be blogging about this stuff more.  When I know that people are appreciating my stuff, it keeps me going, really.  And I like to write about it, you know?

Yesterday I had a little mini-showing with some acquaintances, and it was really nice.  I’m hoping that even though I did trip up on this portfolio (which is the major reason why I rushed to get Disability accommodations), that it won’t be a pattern.  I am learning through this process.  Even though I tripped, I know I tripped, and I can identify why — particularly the timing with the medications, and the fact that I actually operate better in the daytime with caffeine in my system.

I was getting drops in blood pressure mid-day, and have been used to going to sleep in the day instead of working.  This is not good when you can’t stay up late to work without putting off taking your medication, which makes you even more tired the next day.  I’m thinking that my medications are counteracting the caffeine, really.  I drank something like 16 oz. of Thai iced tea yesterday and took my medications at 9 PM, and was ready to pass out at 10:30.  I need to get on getting ready for bed right after I take medications, so I don’t end up too tired to brush my teeth and wash my face before falling asleep.  In the time between hygiene and bed, I can work on my art — but not before doing maintenance essentials.

Kind of like how cleaning the bathroom was a good excuse not to fall asleep yesterday afternoon though, isn’t it?

Ah — one more thing.  Color is really freakin’ difficult for me.  Much more difficult than linework.  I’ve been trying to work on it — I think I’ll go work on it, some more…

Taking a break from drawing…

Catching up!

There’s been a lot happening over the past several days.  I’m kind of regretting having put off posting for the last two to three days, because things have developed since then…

There is the Library School stuff, then the Art stuff, then the mental health stuff, and friend stuff, and driving stuff, and cooking stuff and image stuff.  More has been occurring around me, but I’ve had enough to deal with.

My first critique for Special Projects in Drawing is tomorrow morning.  After that, I meet with a counselor as regards disability accommodations.  I probably wouldn’t have needed to do this, except to verify that yes, I was having difficulties for about three weeks during this portfolio, because my medications were knocking me out and I didn’t realize it.

Earlier today, we went back to the Arboretum.  What I am really becoming…a little amazed at, is the looseness of my watercolors.  Normally, when I draw — or when I drew, at least — I’ve had a very tight and precise style.  What’s happening now is that my style is loosening up nearly to the point of …well, things being a bit unrecognizable.  I did do a tighter drawing after one of my watercolors, of the same area, and I think that this — a finished drawing which takes 5-7 minutes to do, then adding watercolor on top of that finished drawing, is what I should aim for on my next visit.  My prof doesn’t want us to “lean too heavily on the pencil,” so I’ve been doing notations in pencil and the rest in colored wash.  It’s nice for what it is, but I’m uncertain that I’m recording enough information to draw on for a finished canvas.

Also earlier, there was a family-related mental health gathering where I got to meet other people.  And draw/paint, while I was listening.  I’m really liking my Neocolor IIs combined with a waterbrush, pencil and Micron.  It makes painting seriously portable.  I would have taken my Prang watercolors, along with the Neocolor IIs, but I thought that was pushing it.  As it was, I took the waterbrush only because I hadn’t emptied it out from the Arboretum earlier, and there was no reason to waste the effort.  🙂  (A waterbrush, as I’ve mentioned, holds water in the handle and dispenses it to the brush tip with a squeeze of the handle.)

just a sketch...
just a sketch from earlier…

Apologies for the scan artifacts — I didn’t cut this out of my journal prior to scanning, and the paper has warped a bit.  (This was on AquaBee Heavyweight Drawing Paper.)  Also, the Neocolors aren’t as smooth as straight watercolor paint.  Even if I had posted this uncompressed, there would be issues with the sketchy quality of the wax pastel (I’m trying to get at the deposits of denser color), which is just missing from properly worked watercolor.

I’m…still kind of amazed at seeing how my drawing skills have developed, over the past year and a half.  I suppose studying skeletons and the muscles of the face, and the like, have actually helped — along with gesture drawing.

(I’ve found that doing random gesture drawings of things surrounding me is actually kind of fun — kind of like a game.  “How close can I get to drawing what I see, with minimal time and high alertness and liveness of line, while capturing the spirit of the moment?”  I just don’t want to freak people out by doing it…I do actually have to look at people to draw them, after all.)

I also got my hair trimmed and styled over the weekend, though I’ve washed the style out of it now.  (I’m not the type to spend hours on my hair one day and then try and maintain it for a week as it slowly degrades.)  It was that which got me thinking about the hairstyle on the person I drew, above.  I…apparently, look clearly like a mix of my parents.  I’m kind of in-between both of them.  A lot of people noticed.

It was really somewhat surprising to see what my hair looks like, when all the curls are stuck together.  My hair is in large, loose curls for someone of African ancestry, and tight curls for someone of Asian ancestry.  I don’t think I’ve ever really been as aware of my racial and cultural background as I have been in the past several days.  I went to one of the only hair salons in the area to specialize in the cutting and styling of natural, curly hair (without braids, weaves, perms, or straighteners…or sulfates, apparently).  It was…an experience.  And it’s amazing that this is so rare.

Library School…I’ve decided to reapply, with the aim of working in Digital Archives.  I have a feeling that I will need to be careful about how much information I divulge, to whom, though, because there’s definitely a class-mobility element involved in getting a Master’s degree in this environment (I work in a Library).  Accordingly, there exists the possibility of psychological sabotage, though I have not yet seen clear, undeniable evidence of this.

However — should I want to go ahead with this, and should I be re-accepted to the program, I should have just enough time to get my degree done in three years, taking two to three classes per semester, while working (perhaps minimally — my loans should help with this).  This is after I should receive my Art AA in Spring 2016; that is, provided I do all my work and pass all my classes, until then.  I should have enough time to cover all of my Foundation courses, and two Electives, which I’ve already chosen.  The only thing left with class choices is to figure out what’s being given when, and plan it out.

This could be the Universe aligning to help me, or it could be wishful thinking.  But doing this should give me skills I’d need to work in an online environment, as well as working in Digital Archives in a Library setting.  There is also the option of loan forgiveness, if I work for the State, long enough.

Driving:  I re-took my State’s Driver’s Training test last week, and passed (I didn’t even study — I should have done this a long time ago)!  So now I get to start again with learning how to drive, though with the financial situation, the serious (paid) lessons might have to wait until after the semester is over.

Friends:  I have one person whom I’m now considering a really good friend who has contacted me to get together.  With all of this stuff happening, though…right now, I just really…don’t want to add too much on to it.  But it is really nice knowing that they care, and we are staying in touch.  Most of my real “friend” contacts are being built through school, or were built through school, but I’ve picked up some other people along the way, which is nice.

Cooking:  I made another gigantic salad the other night.  🙂  I actually really enjoy doing that, because I generally make them in a way that I like them.  I could probably do some awesome dinner salads about three days out of the week, with things like meat or farro or rice noodles or tofu or beans thrown into them.  I still have to start moving around more (I am trying not to use the word, “exercise”), because one of the medications I’m on causes slow but steady weight gain.  If this gets way out of control, it would put me at risk for diabetes, which I sincerely do not want.  I like my sugar, thanks…

Catching up!

Update on the artist materials thread


I thought I’d update y’all on what was going on in this thread.  I ended up not getting the Cretacolor AquaMonoliths, because their color saturation and solubility, both, were not ideal.

I did go into the art supply store with a loaded waterbrush, though, and there were a large selection of aquarelles (watercolor pencils).  I ended up getting a pack of Derwent Inktense aquarelle pencils.  The cores are wide enough so that I feel like I should be able to cover a large area relatively easily.  There’s this, and the fact that the Derwent Inktense blocks were about 3x as expensive as promoted on the store website.

What I was curious about, but passed on, were Caran d’Ache Supracolor aquarelles.  It was really a draw between these and the Inktense pencils…both had good color saturation and good color dispersion, though I think the Supracolors were a bit better in regard to fine color dispersion.

What really caused me to choose the Inktense over the Supracolors is the fact that after the Inktense marks have been wetted and dried, they’re permanent from then on out, and won’t budge when worked over with other media, even other wet media.

I’m thinking of trying to get at least one or two other waterbrushes (a flat and a small round), considering that aquarelles really lend themselves to plein-air drawing.  Waterbrushes store water in the handle of the brush and dispense it from the brush tip, enabling what feels like sketching without the need for a cup of clean water.  It really blurs the line between painting and drawing.

I also saw the Daler-Rowney acrylic inks in person, and they look much better in front of one’s own eyes, than they do on a computer monitor.  These were $7 a bottle, though, so I decided to hold off on purchasing a set until I know what colors, exactly, I want.

As regards ideas for the Special Projects class…I’ve gone back and am looking at the paper-folding mandala technique again.  However, I’m thinking of going in a direction where I’d be utilizing my compass and divisions of 360°, in addition to (or instead of) folds within the structure of the paper.  I think I need to play around with it more, though — not just think about it.

Update on the artist materials thread

Arboretum trip, plus saying ‘bye to a coworker

So this is what I started out intending to write about in that last post.  Apologies if anyone clicked on it before I saw that the headline was “Arboretum:  Day 2” even though I was talking about Copic markers, and had to run back and fix the permalink.

Today was the second trip to the Arboretum.  I think I did a bit better this day, though it was still kind of tough — even though I was using the Neocolor IIs and feeling like I was drawing more than painting.  It’s difficult to capture something as intricate as a somewhat-natural environment (like with leaves and soil and water and things) in a drawing.  Once the shadows and the landmarks are drawn in, it’s like what is between all of those things, you know? …which, in a painting, I kind of feel like it’s important to fill in.

And then there’s the entire thing about the experience of being out there in the sounds and smells, and the translation of that onto the paper, as well.

I should have some photos available tomorrow at the earliest — it’s really too late for me to be processing photos right now (though I suppose I can at least look at them).

Earlier tonight, I went out to dinner because a co-worker is leaving (to gain new experiences), and she was one of the people I worked most closely with.  This was one of the rare times I was out doing something that was expressly part of my own life, and not my family’s.

I have also noticed that when I dress femininely, I get a lot more of a positive response from people (like the waiter at the restaurant, or the guy who fixed our leaky tire for free yesterday).  It’s kind of funny.  I’m considering widening my selection of skirts to wear to work, just with leggings under them so that nothing shows — I have a little bit of a belly now because of metabolic changes from my medications.  It doesn’t show nearly as much with a skirt.  😛

I’m still not feeling fully safe at the home branch of my regular job, but unstable people shouldn’t be able to make it so that I feel like I have to avoid wearing what I want to, in order to escape their attention.  If they’re going to be inappropriate, they should leave — I shouldn’t have to compensate for them.

One really good thing, though:  I consulted with my doctor about being a little dissatisfied with my treatment plan.  The plan now is for me to begin exercising and meditating again to stabilize my mood, so that I can reduce a medication which is sedating, so that I will have more energy and not need to be on the medication I’m taking to counteract the sedation (the latter medication is the one that’s causing the weight gain).  I already know that both exercise and meditation help tons in relation to my having a stable mood.  If I can chip these back in, I might be able to be a lot healthier and stronger without needing so much medicine.

I’m not planning to touch the third medication, as I know that it treats something that I have little chance of dealing with, myself; but the mood-targeting drug (the sedative) is one which can be supplemented with just a healthier lifestyle.  And if I can reduce that med and compensate with mind-body activity, I can then take away the med which treats the side effects of the mood-targeting med, and that should stop the weight gain.  That then will mean that I’ll be able to eat more freely again (right now I’m off of sugared beverages, except as a treat), and not have to worry as intently about the impending possibility of high blood sugar because of having gained weight.

I am so frikkin’ happy with this.  So, so frikkin’ happy with this.  My doctor was paying attention when I said I only “mostly” agreed with my treatment plan, and asked about what I’d change, and is supporting me in changing it.  It’s really awesome.

Arboretum trip, plus saying ‘bye to a coworker

So I went to the Arboretum…

…and soon realized I didn’t know what I was doing.  That’s OK, though, because I get another shot, tomorrow.  I now know certain things would be good to take (some of which I did not or do not have).  I’ll try and sketch out what I’ll need or want, below:

1) Water brush
2) Bottle of water
3) Small container from which to fill the water brush (so I don’t contaminate the bottle)
4) Aquarelle crayons (Neocolor II was the type I used)
5) Aquarelle pencils (these are also called watercolor pencils)
6) Grey Neocolor I (a water-resistant crayon)
7) Set of semi-moist pan watercolors (I found myself not mixing these, to my detriment)
8) At least one sharp pencil (I used 2B for background sketches)
9) Watercolor pad
10) Rag to clean the tip of the water brush
11) Palette

I think and/or hope it’s apparent now that even though I’ve taken a Color Dynamics class, that still doesn’t mean that I know how to use transparent watercolors.  Plus, this was my first time trying to draw and/or paint with watercolors in the field.

(I have more of a clue as to how to use gouache [opaque watercolor], but in practice, that’s kind of in between transparent watercolors and acrylics.  You can layer light colors over dark with gouache; you can’t with these %&$@ transparent things.)

My color palette was limited because I didn’t know where I’d be able to clean my palette, and I didn’t want to dump out possibly-toxic (to something — like newts) water into the soil or sop it up with a rag (which I’d then have to carry home and possibly wash the possibly-toxic paint out of — we do have AP Nontoxic seals here, but just because something says it’s AP Nontoxic, that doesn’t mean it’s fully nontoxic).  Accordingly, I ended up using my water brush and Neocolor IIs most of the time, with some Cotman half-pan watercolors which were only mixed on the surface of the paper.

I’m taking the aquarelle pencils with me next time so that I can get more detail out of what I’m doing, instead of just areas of wash + scribble.  I can also take my white Neocolor I and see if I can use it as a masking medium.  Though really, it may just make white streaks — white Neocolor I is very opaque.  I still could have used it last time to delineate light-colored tree trunks.  The only reason why I’m taking white instead of grey is that I don’t have grey.  I had the chance to go out and get it today, but for some reason we didn’t make it out again after lunch (I fell asleep while waiting, it was that bad).

At least I know what I don’t have to take, this next time.  I’m considering carrying a bag instead of a backpack, and not even taking my kit.  It helps that I don’t have a class following this, tomorrow.

Otherwise…I did pick up my huge 2’x2′ plywood panel yesterday, though I have yet to sand, gesso, or underpaint it.  I should be able to get at least two of those things done by Monday (the time change gives me an extra hour of daylight to work), though today I was more wishing to go to sleep than sand this board out in the garage.  Accordingly, I can’t sleep now, even though I’m still tired.

Maybe I’ll try using the Prangs, next time, so I won’t have to try and mix so much.  My teacher wanted something that looked Fauvist, so I did “Fauvist.”  It looks like $&%!, but I did Fauvist.

I’m hoping to find a gnarly tree next time adjacent to an open area of sky.  We have to do a scene with a foreground, middle ground, and background.  Last time I did a vertical composition with a tall tree that had some kind of weird pine cones at the top (?) which would have been much better if I had spent a longer time on the underdrawing — but my teacher doesn’t want us to spend more than a minute on that, so here we have $&%! Fauvist.

I sound like I’m tired, right?  And frustrated, probably.  I feel like I’m being asked to use skills that it’s assumed I had before I started the class (like watercolor painting), though transparent watercolors are probably the most difficult medium possible to start out with.  I also feel like it was assumed I knew what to bring (no) or what my working process would be (no).  Then I was late because all avenues of traffic were congested that day — it took me an hour to get to the Arboretum when it shouldn’t have taken more than half an hour — so I missed the beginning instruction.  And we aren’t supposed to work from photographs, which I can see the logic in now (when painting from a photo, there is one area of focus and everything else is blurred; in a plein-air painting, everything is in focus as one views it over time).

At least I get a second chance at this, so it won’t all be a wash.

I’m not sure if I’m getting depressed from working too much or what, and if that is leading into the pessimism, or if it’s the thought of exiting school after the Art Certificate is granted because I’d like to get paid for my work and stop playing games in college.  (I mentioned this to some classmates yesterday, and then realized that they’ve been in school several years less than I have.)

I’m not sure this is possible within the Certificate itself, but I’m thinking that if I do continue on with this after the Certificate, taking all my elective classes Pass/No Pass.  I’m not even sure I want to do the Multimedia Arts thing anymore, because the $%&@ stress over preserving or enhancing my GPA and keeping my academic record clean, is getting to me.  This is for the sake of preserving some kind of wedge where it comes to a mystery MA or MFA which I don’t even know if I want to pursue, at this point.

The only program I can see really being interesting is Buddhist Studies, but that is a 7-year PhD track…and I still don’t know Mandarin or Japanese.  The only way to get an MA in that program and not a PhD is to fail at the PhD level.  And of course, then I’d be a Buddhologist or Sinologist, and would be able to be a tenure-track professor basically anywhere which has a Comparative Religions or Asian Area Studies program.

If I were allowed to think freely and critically in that program, it would be interesting — but that’s 7 years of hard-core work — meaning I’d get out in my own middle age, at the earliest.  I’m thinking it’s about time to get a real job, though.  I’m not after power or money or status.  I just don’t want to be abused, and I want to have enough time and disposable income to pursue my art and writing, while having a secure (if small) home in a safe area (hopefully with a good-sized Asian-diasporic population).  I don’t think that’s a lot to ask, though it may be hard to fulfill.

And, right:  I wandered off of the title topic again…apologies…

So I went to the Arboretum…