(almost the) First linocut done since high school!

I am trying not to title this post “Bahaha,” though I’m sure you’ll be able to sense my excitement!

I was able to take a trip out to the little art store I wished to go to.  Amazingly — I got out of there with a bunch of linocut supplies for under $25.  It probably has to do with the fact that I got a bunch of little tiny linoleum blocks — the one I’ll show here is one of the smallest, at 2″x2″ — and the fact that they were having a sale on the hard pastels I bought — which were the most expensive thing, at under $5 for a set of 12.

Last night after getting home from that trip, I honestly felt like going to bed, but I interrupted myself.  I didn’t want to go and get the art supplies and then never use them, so I started looking through my cheap little notebook at my designs.  I realized fairly quickly that the way I had been sketching was suited to linework, but that printing would probably require a different approach, utilizing blocks of color or tone.  With that in mind, I started sketching — in pencil, albeit in 8B pencil.

2-3383w-src
My initial design is at the top of this photo.  Below are iterative versions of it, on tracing paper (center), translucent marker paper (left), and Saral (carbon) paper.

I actually surprised myself with my initial design, as I’d somehow managed to draw a diamond shape which had a little less than 60º as the angle of the inner corner, making 6 petals totaling 360º.

This is the actual first transfer of that image to (translucent) marker paper, on the right:

1-3384w

I used marker paper because I felt it would hold up better under fineliner (I used a 0.1 mm pen, here), and I intended to fill in areas with black to see what the design would look like in high contrast.  As I was doing this, I remembered some examples in a Dover book on the principle of Notan (balance between positive and negative space), and was curious about what would happen if I introduced shapes pushing from the negative space into the positive space — this is why the petals are notched.  I also realized in this iteration that I needed to pay attention to the center of the star, because if the petals didn’t have a coherent center, it could throw the design off.

I also realized that I didn’t have to echo the almond shape throughout each petal, and wondered what it would look like if I added a recurve to the outer edge of each white area.  So I traced over this shape with the tracing paper (first image, below center), using this idea — and trying to fix the center of the design.  I did this first in 2H pencil. Then on the tracing paper, I went over the lines with fineliner again (so I could see them) and traced over that on the marker paper (first image, below left).  At this point I could color things in without losing any precious underdrawing, so I did.  I had intended to divide the outer rim of each petal into two and let the white space part the outer edge, so that the petals were implied but not fully stated — but when I filled the space in, this detail was not visible.  I also joined the positive space on the outside of the petals to save myself a headache.

Once I was happy with the design, I traced over — I think the tracing paper copy — over carbon paper (Saral paper) with a 2H pencil, on top of my 2″x2″ linoleum block.  On the first image, lower right, you can see what this did to the Saral paper:  it’s translucent where I transferred the carbon onto the linoleum.

3-3388w

I did not take a photo of my block before carving, but I was very happy with the line transfer.  What I was less happy with were the performances of the carving tools I mentioned before, which are from my high school sculpture and relief-printing days.  Because they didn’t perform all that well, I ended up using an X-Acto craft knife with a #2 blade to do most of the image cutting.  The area around the image was cleared out with a large shallow gouge, however.

One thing I did find to my surprise was that the little subtlety of the curvature of the white area was not immediately apparent in cutting.  I also found that small circular cutouts are difficult to do in linoleum, and that I would have been better off doing something like I did in the outer petal ring and just cut out an almond, without trying for a circle.  When I did try for circles, I ended up cutting out more positive space than I intended to.  This will change in the next iteration of this project:  almonds all the way!  😉

After the cutting was done, I started looking around for my acrylic plate and the hard rubber brayer.  I couldn’t easily find that plate, though — I know where one used to be, but since we’ve cleaned up, I’m no longer sure where it is.  But apparently…we had extra picture frames, and I was able to take one apart and use the glass that would have protected the picture, to roll out my printing ink with the brayer!

This is water-based Speedball printing ink, which came in a small tube.  I’m really thankful that I didn’t have to buy a 1 lb jar to get any ink at all — at first, all I could find were the jars, but then I found the little packs of ink hanging up in the same area.  I picked up a black, then later realized at home that I probably should have gotten white or a color in addition to the black, so I could experiment with duochrome.  But — next time.

4-3381w

One of the nice things about this ink is that it cleans up very easily with water; on top of that, it seems to be nontoxic.  It also has good tack, meaning that when I put the paper on top of it (I used Stonehenge, which is designed for hand printing), the paper did not move, even as I burnished the back with the back of a spoon to transfer the image from the carving to the paper.

There were barens at the store to accomplish the same thing, but I felt they were overpriced for something that is basically just a flat surface.  Of course, if I’d used a baren, it would be less likely that I would get those surrounding marks on my print (see above) which resulted from both tipping the inked brayer as I rolled it (it’s a tiny print, okay) 😉 and pushing the paper down into the background with the spoon during the burnishing process.

In high school, I think we accomplished the pressing by rolling a clean brayer over the back of the paper.  And, of course, if I used something like a small press, I wouldn’t have to worry about the stray marks at all…although one of the reasons for starting out with block printing is that you don’t need a press.

And, well, now — I have a good bit more insight than I did before on how to do this, and want to retry the carving process.  I have one more little 2″x2″ block of the same type, and found an old opened (throwaway) linoleum block today (it feels like an eraser).  Seriously, though, these things aren’t expensive, something I had to remind myself of before I started carving!  I think the block I carved today cost $0.66 or something like that.

It is pretty cool to see your work result in something, though!  And that’s not a bad try for being (almost) the first time I’ve worked with this technique in 17 years…(and yes, the BAHAHA moment when it works is great…!)

(almost the) First linocut done since high school!

More archives??!

I suppose I can take comfort in the fact that, in addition to helping clean out the junk room, today, I also read 25 pages when I didn’t want to (the majority of which were read tonight, in lieu of writing, here).  At least this textbook makes sense — I can’t say as much for some of the other ones.

I think I’ve found that I really do need quiet and solitude to be able to study easily…which is hard when it’s extended periods of quiet and solitude.

At the very least…I don’t have to worry about a big assignment (or two) due by Monday:  this much is good.

Also…I was able to find and take a peek through some of the drawing pads and random character sketches I had been doing…when I was younger, let’s say:  these things go back to high school, and through my undergrad years.  At this point I’m wondering if I always did have constant mental “noise,” only it was channeled into bits of storytelling.  I used to attribute it to having such a high degree of intelligence (*cough*) that I would get bored in classes, and be able to pay attention by listening and taking notes, as I occupied myself also by drawing.

Of course, though, that was before the more serious troubles kicked in…

I’m actually kind of surprised at the level of quality I was able to get at in a lot of those sketches (it happens when one is doing it constantly and in narrative form:  meaning that there are certain emotions one is pushing oneself towards expressing), even though most of it is linework.  I seemed to have begun to progress into shading…and more realistic drawing.

I remember being intimidated around modeling faces, though (I am fairly certain I was still just working with colored pencil and watercolor at this time)…though when I put that extra effort into going deeper with my work, it showed.  I was just…really young, and scared of messing up my images with color and shading/modeling.  (tip:  you can’t progress if you’re afraid to fail.)  I hadn’t really taken any life drawing classes at the time, though, either:  I knew how to cartoon (from copying manga), but that was majorly it.

By that I mean, cartooning is ideally a form abstracted from knowing first how to draw from observation.  If you don’t know how to draw from observation, you won’t have the groundwork to create your own abstractions…and ultimately won’t know how they work.  This means that when you try to go more realistic…you won’t necessarily know where to go more realistic, or how.  It’s possible to end up using someone else’s formula for abstraction but not know why the artist emphasized and de-emphasized specific areas…and mimicking that without knowing the deeper purpose is basically…derivative art.  Which, obviously, has been a trend in certain periods in Art History.

I’m thinking…either Baroque or Rococo as versus High Renaissance, though I can’t remember the exact name of the movement (this was actually a topic of discussion in one of my old Art History classes).  What happened in this movement was that people would try to paint like the Renaissance, “Old Masters,” (though they weren’t as old, then) particularly where it came to human figures.  The Renaissance Old Masters had perfected the art of drawing humans as they were built, and they did this through extended studies of the human body and anatomy (some study was actually done on cadavers).

With regard to the later artists who mimicked them, however: these artists’ figures would be criticized as disjointed and piecemeal.  Someone’s upper arm, for example, may appear perfectly formed, just as a Michaelangelo, but the figure overall is being viewed from multiple angles at the same time (something Cubism later intentionally exploited, although Picasso, for example, could paint and draw naturalistically), and the shoulder and elbow appear to be physically dislocated.  That is, to the perfection of the parts, unity suffered; and because of that, the piece became cacophonous instead of harmonious.  Beyond that, people were trying to emulate past masters, to the detriment of their own expression.  There’s a difference between putting down roots to grow flowers and cutting off a blooming branch — or arranging cut (or silk) flowers, that is.

This is — one of the traps — that I’ve had to deal with, which isn’t as evident when one hasn’t been through a few reps of Drawing classes and been snubbed by a few Art students.  Most of my work isn’t figurative — but that’s largely because I got tired of drawing people.  And I probably got tired of drawing people because of questioning why I was doing what I was doing, losing faith in myself…and, likely, starting a new medication (which happened right before graduation, and subsequently convinced me that I could no longer easily write).

But to be frank, most of that time just after graduation is either a blur or outright missing from my current memory.

And no…I’m actually not sure that I don’t have some form of dissociation.  In any case, my life is more together than it has been for a while.

I also noticed something else, when going through my old sketchpads…which is that the paranormal stuff has been with me from nearly the beginning of the time I’ve been developing as an artist and writer.  I’m not planning to get into this deeply in this post, but it is actually notable that I’ve been dealing with concepts of ghosts and “good demons” for about as long as I’ve been writing for pleasure.

I do have a set of ideas as to why this is…and it revolves around screwed-up middle school, high school and undergrad dynamics, along with feeling silent and invisible, rejected, in pain, and comforted by things no one else could sense.

But I’ve been over that history for a good amount of my life.  The point is that this is not a new thing, and that dealing with the prospect of getting back into writing means that I’ll need to allow myself to get back to my roots…which means permitting myself to venture into territory I’ve blocked off for years.  Some of which may put me into an idiosyncratic enclave; or maybe I should say, “some of which may make me unpopular with the people who encouraged my demonization.”

Obviously, there are feelings behind this, but I doubt that here and now is the right time to get into it.

More archives??!

Wasting time…

…but mindfully wasting time…


Today I reacquainted myself with what has to be done over the weekend and into the future, for my classes.  I’ve decided to focus on Metadata and my Research class, as those are the two classes which actually have a graded project to turn in, before Monday.

Last night I realized something, as I recognized that I had wasted a good amount of the day in stasis.  I didn’t want to work on schoolwork, but I didn’t want to do anything else, either, or to go to bed; as best I can recall, I was bouncing between pages online, somewhat halfway-there, and trying to figure out if I had anything to write about.  I was aware that I had classwork to do, but I couldn’t bring myself to click on the link which would display my courses and the exact amount of work I would be expected to complete by Monday.

What I did do yesterday:  I did get my books organized; I did exercise; and from my realization, I allowed myself 30 minutes of time to play around with my sketching materials.  Of course, that overflowed into another 30 minutes of looking over past work, before bed.  The point I reached, though, was one of realization that I would not be any worse off by permitting myself a short and protracted time to do what I actually wanted to do, given that I then did what I should be doing for another protracted time — than I would be in wasting time online.

So I do have some drawings, now, though it’s mostly working out variants of a small…apparently simple?…design.  I say “apparently,” because there are elements in it which join up which I did not notice, at first, making the end design look like a modified Celtic knot (but with different areas emphasized and implied than the former).  In addition, when I tried deconstructing it, I got confused.  I’m still confused, quite frankly (I only spent an hour yesterday thinking about it), but if I play around with the idea more (on paper), I can probably figure out what I’m actually doing and how the design is actually working.

To get into the backstory behind my symbol obsessions — and why this symbol, in particular — would probably make me feel a bit vulnerable, although one of my past Art teachers did tell me I was in perfectly safe territory.  Right now I can say that I’m in the middle of playing with spirals, and fitting spirals into shapes other than circles (though the whole “quilling” metaphor…).

I’ve been into spirals for a while…it probably has to do with integrative work, like one thing building on a preexisting foundation, and the spiral widening as each new piece is added…like shells (which I didn’t associate with the “spiral” thing, until just now).  I’m trying to recall what state I was in when I started re-taking Art classes.  I’m not sure what level of integration I was working with.

Ah — I mentioned that word.

Yeah, I am probably not going to get into that, now.  Though there is a book that I’ve just started reading which has mentioned the possibility that creativity is a byproduct of the communication of the right and left hemispheres of the brain…and I know that portions of my mind are incredibly not integrated.  Granted, that is, that I’ve read that individual ego identity as one cohesive whole is an illusion (in all people), anyway.

And then there’s the fact that when I let one portion of my mind act through my body alone, I might as well be a different person with the same mainframe, or a disembodied soul (“potential” of the Infinite) exercising power over a living host.  Which happens to be the paradigm under which my writing makes the most sense, which is probably why I have such a tendency to trip out when I’m writing.

…hmm.

(Channeling and mediumship are things I’ve been interested in, in the past — back when I thought this was “real” and scary because of it [or maybe I should put it, “more spiritual than psychological”].  My experience feels real [even delusions, notably, seem real to the people who have them], but the ways in which it might be explained are not necessarily true.  My experience, because of its existence, does not make the paradigms which validate it more true:  it just means someone at some time, acknowledged that facet of human existence and incorporated it into the stories they told themselves and others, about the world.)

Maybe that’s what I was getting at.  Maybe I was just trying to express all of myself (“all of the Infinite”?) in my younger years, and I couldn’t do that anywhere I knew of, except within the Writing program.  (Of course, though, then I got out and wondered if I should have been an Art major, instead…or, later, a Japanese Language & Literature major…which would seem to both be selves with other desires.  Which were, obviously enough, blocked away from resources when they should not have been.)

Granted I’m talking about this now, but know that this is in fact not a clinical definition of schizophrenia.  Trust me:  I know.  I have had this conversation before.  With actual Psychiatry professionals.

I still haven’t found a way to overtly manage satisfying all parts of my brain, in a balanced manner; and, hey, maybe that’s the overarching theme of this blog?  Being both creative and rational in a society that over-values ration…(*laughs*)…

Okay, no, we don’t over-value rationality.  We overvalue mechanical thought, and lack of thought, where it makes the people easier to herd.  If we valued the trio of logic, rationality, and critical thought, politics would look a lot different; though perhaps that missing key is critical thought.

Though I would say that creativity is likely valued below rationality.  It’s certainly paid less.

In any case…I seem to have spiraled my way back to this point…and it’s fairly late, here.  I should be getting some rest…

And I should remember that I only have a little over three weeks to finish everything for school.  In less than a month, that is, I’ll be free…until Summer Session starts up.  )X

Before I go:  I tried the above method, along with timing my naps, to get up and back to homework, today.  It doesn’t work unless I have something I actually want to get up for.  The lure of doing homework doesn’t cut it…

Wasting time…

Yeah: getting out from in front of the computer

So, I ended up signing up for an LIS class, for Summer.  There’s a weird story behind it, but basically…I found out at 2 AM last night that I could register at 7 AM, and picked out a class.  When I got up…whenever I did (?) I was able to grab one of the three seats (out of 30-something) left in it.

DID I SAY “SERENDIPITY” LAST NIGHT, OR…

This class is on User Experience, which I hope will be engaging.  It’s also a 10-week class, so it shouldn’t be too compressed.  Why am I taking it?  Web Development is my aim after and if I attain the Master’s.  At least now, that much is clear; and UX should help with that aim.  At least, I’m hoping.  I don’t know the intricacies of the different job titles surrounding Web Publishing, yet.

In other arenas, I also forgot to take medication until 2 AM last night (I was reminded at 9 PM, but forgot), so I was fairly wiped out, today.  I did listen to two lectures today — er, yesterday — anyhow, and got a good survey of what needs to be done before next Monday (it just keeps coming).  The major problem is that I have days when I do a lot of schoolwork, and then days following where I don’t want to even think about schoolwork.  The dynamic then states that the work gets backed up and the cycle repeats (when, that is, I don’t miss an assignment entirely because I stubbornly refuse to acknowledge college at all — it wouldn’t be as possible at a traditional school).

It’s magnified as things are now because I do have one significant assignment to do (I can’t just let it slide like the Discussion post; it’s worth 15% of my grade), the material for which I’ve forgotten:  so I’ve just got to re-do some readings (these were readings I did in Hawaii, and I was so burnt out from Hawaii after getting back, that I couldn’t do the corresponding work on time [my brain was not functioning adequately.  I guess you could say it was off-balance]).

So today has mostly been spent in front of the computer — like yesterday — and I know that’s a recipe for depression.  I probably shouldn’t even be awake now; it will soon be 1 AM.  Because I seem to have cheated myself out of the relaxing art class I wanted to take during the Summer, I’m also now a little irritated with myself.  I have a couple of weeks to back out; but it was necessary to reserve a space in this class, if I wanted to take it.

My major issue is that on one hand, I have a limited amount of time to fit all this training in; on the other hand, I’m a bit…angry that I have to grow up?  Finishing the Art AA did give me a sense of completion; on the other hand, if I had dropped everything to re-enter the MLIS program as soon as I thought of it, I’d have a bit more wiggle room.  Right now I should be taking three classes per semester until graduation.  If I had started a semester prior, and worked through Summer Session, I would only have to take two.

I’m also a bit irritated that the Art degree seems relatively worthless, although I obviously invested in it and enjoyed it, and respected it.  I still respect it.  It’s just really…it feels not-right that Art can’t be a way of life.  My valuations and broader society’s valuations do not match; I might be wrong, but it seems like, at least in the U.S. — and at this point in history — the only thing that’s important is money.

Tonight I did do some reading in the book on mokuhanga — which might be interesting even if I don’t intend to make woodblock prints.  It’s much more specialized knowledge than I got from either of the books from the Honolulu Art Museum.  One of them in particular…it’s kind of like, “Japanese Art for People Who Know Nothing About Japan.”  But I didn’t have time to read that deeply into it, at the Museum.  It’s just weird that there’s this cultural divide where I can’t really see how a lot of the information in that book would be new to anyone.  But then, there are people who think that the only kind of ramen that exists, comes out of a $0.90 package.

Anyhow:  mokuhanga.  I’m not sure if the book is topical enough to my interests to buy (although it is indeed beautiful), but it would make a nice companion to Shin Hanga, depending on the content.  But then, why would I have it, if I wouldn’t use it?  (or is it just that I don’t actually want to mix rice-starch paste?)

Yeah…I’m a bit concerned about bugs eating the colors…

Right.  Anyway, I also did go looking through my (art) archives, if they can be called that — they haven’t really been organized.  I found my good markers, as well (the Copics, along with some Staedtler Lumocolor drawing pens).

So I was looking through that stuff and thinking back on what drew me away from fantasy storytelling:  there is a lot of work building up to a graphic novel project there, which was abandoned at one point or another, for reasons I can guess at, but which I don’t fully recall.  Chances are that I was thinking about it too much, or it was getting too real for me…or I realized just how big a workload it would be to write and draw a comic.  Or, it could be, I began medication and it quieted all of that.

I did want to say something about how I don’t know how learning works.  Particularly, reading.  I know that my life is a lot better in quality because I read, but that doesn’t mean that I know how information gets into my brain and stays there.  That, though…could just be me tripping out, like I trip out over being embodied, and why anything exists, and this.  I just don’t entirely “get” why or how language works.  I’m sure that studying XML may do that to a person, though.

So now I have some old drawings to work through — I’m not starting from zero, I had to remind myself.  Particularly interesting to me are the possibilities in abstraction, and what might happen if I use full value ranges (almost possible with markers, but not quite:  it’s hard to get a very “black” black, but I do have some jarred ink which may work…it’s also possible to use a carbon black watercolor, which I might try on hot-press watercolor paper and/or Bristol board).

I decided to hang back from the sumi ink and watercolors, for now…I’m going to try drawing again.  At least, that’s the plan.  (Even my Neocolor II and Prang drawings looked nicer than I remember them, but I’ll try and stick with dry media, for now.)  After that, I’ll work back into sumi and the soft-hair brushes, and then try watercolor again…maybe.

Maybe something will strike me, in the next two weeks…and cause me to maybe drop UX…it’s just that it seems so much like it was meant to be, though…

Yeah: getting out from in front of the computer

More acrylic inks, you say?

There is a lot which has happened between my last post, and now.  Significantly, everything which was not already late was turned in on time.  I got the technical exercises out of the way first (including a botched Cataloging quiz — I’m not sure to what extent I’m concerned about this, anymore), then spent all of Sunday on my Literature Review for Research Methodologies.  The day after was mostly spent asleep (I felt like I earned it), though toward the end (my memory is fuzzy, but I think this is right), I started experimenting with the FW Acrylic Inks, again.  I think that’s what this was:

3247w
From 3-13-2017, lest I forget.

This was just mostly playing around with color.  I meant to post about it yesterday (Monday the 13th, I mean), but I didn’t have the energy.

You can see that I had started to make marks over the top of the acrylic inks with the colored pencils.  Those are my Progresso Woodless colored pencils…where the marks are bold, I was pressing pretty hard.  Anyhow, this was just me messing around with four to five colors.  (Crimson, Purple Lake, whatever they call Phthalo Green [I think it’s “Marine Blue”], Rowney Blue [Phthalo Blue] and a yellow which looks like Hansa Deep…I just checked, it’s called “Brilliant Yellow.”)

Of note, I have seen no evidence of an Ultramarine equivalent in the FW Acrylic ink line (which would make more vibrant violets) — and I just went to the art store, today.  It’s very probable that it isn’t made because they want all the colors to harmonize, and the palette of the FW inks leans toward warm tones.  (It’s really easy to make clashing colors when the original colors are not well-coordinated…)

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it causes the color mixing range to be limited.  With Daler-Rowney making so many of these colors, though, I can see where they would like to limit their financial risk in color production.  Especially since it seems like many have trouble mixing colors as it is, without venturing into “mud” territory (I may have said this before, but I think mud — dull color perceived as “lifeless” — can be rescued).  But maybe I’m just spoiled on the good stuff…

I have gotten pretty tired color out of Prangs (note that some people can make gorgeous art with Prangs — and they aren’t really bad for what they are — nontoxic, inexpensive colors that flow well and wet easily and have comparatively good color strength for the price range), but that just caused me to stop using Prangs for colors that Prangs aren’t strong in (for example, cool red).  The problem is that when one starts out with a dull color, it isn’t necessarily going to get stronger with other colors added to it, unless those other colors (or hidden hues in those other colors) dominate the first, or can mute a dominant hue and support a hidden hue.  (I can expect someone to ask me what I mean by this, and the truth is that my left brain [words] doesn’t necessarily know how my right brain [art] does what it does.)

Let me get off of that.  Anyway,  😉  playing around with this stuff caused me to go out to an art supply store and replace my two broken Progresso pencils — which, finally, they had.  $0.74 each.  While I was there (first time to the art store in a couple of months), I picked up some hot-press watercolor paper (I have been after this for ages, but this is the first time I actually bought any:  it requires a special trip, as I haven’t seen Blick to carry many inexpensive [read:  not Arches] hot-press watercolor pads or blocks), and I also picked up a variety of earth-tone FW inks, because I may be using these for cartooning, and in that case, I’ll want consistent color and color that doesn’t move when it’s re-wet.

Neither of these things are going to happen with watercolors, unless I mix large batches of skin tones and let them dry in a palette.  Even then, there is the risk of movement when subsequent layers of color are added, though I’ve heard this can be mitigated with the addition of clear acrylic glazing medium at the time of painting.  (I haven’t tried it, yet — but be aware, addition of acrylic medium will make anything mixed with it not able to be reused, after it has dried.)  The FW inks don’t seem as intense as artist-grade tube watercolors, but they feel more controllable, and more suited to reproduction work.

(I go back and forth as to whether these inks or watercolors are more intense…after some experience, I’ve got to say that it depends on how much you thin them!  When I first used these inks, I was thinning them way out because I didn’t want to waste them.  In short, I was skimping on them [you basically have to lay out all your colors before painting in order to have them quickly available for mixing and altering other colors — and you have to say goodbye to all of what you’ve laid out at the end of a painting session, with acrylics], and it is obvious when I look at my first attempts at using these.)

3258w
On cold-press Canson Montval paper.  Ink is from a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen.

The above image is something I was messing around with…as I realized at home that two of my colors (Yellow Ochre and Red Earth — neither of which are constituted as one would think they would be) were both rated as opaque.  Obviously, though, this is relative.  For example, with Payne’s Grey (though it may be due to the fact that it is blue-grey), you can’t really tell that it’s overlaying the black, here.  Pure Burnt Umber, as well, goes on and does not mask the underlying black drawing at all — you can see at center right.

However, you can see a tiny bit of overlap in the foreground here with the Red Earth (the only red used here) and Yellow Ochre overflowing their lines in the center swirl.  It also happened in the thing that looks like a tree trunk to the left, which I am fairly sure was a mixture of multiple colors, including red and yellow earth tones.  Possibly also white.  (I’m not sure, but I should add that last bit.  White is obviously not transparent, though be aware that the FW acrylic white, isn’t a dense white.  Daler-Rowney Pro[cess] White, though?  I’m not sure about that — I’ve seen it used as correction fluid and for highlights.  If I ever reach the finishing stages of a piece of art with this stuff and actually use the Pro White, I’ll let you know.)

What this means is that I will have to go back in and touch up areas where I have painted over lines which I need — if I use heavy coats of color.  (The colors being bound by acrylic resin, helps ease my concern of clogging nibs, in this regard.)  Pale washes, on the other hand, don’t really fade the linework noticeably (to me, at least).  One of the things I did realize, though, is that it is WAY easier to work with these super-fast drying acrylic inks on a small scale.  If I had wanted to, I could have avoided overpainting these lines, because my brush was that small and the shape was that small…but this was a test.

I’m not sure if it is the fact that I can see the colors of these inks through the bottles that makes me want to use them, but I’m sure it’s related to that.  I’m thinking of clearing out one or two of my small palettes to use for everyday watercolors (that is, not the specialty ones which I have to think about including, like freakin’ Aureolin).

Freaking Aureolin.

Okay, I’ll stop.

Oh, right.  I also have been trying to work on drawing people again, though they’re imaginary people.  I do have some photos of these, but to be honest, they’re pretty horrible (middle-of-the-night) photos, and I’m not even altogether that proud of the work anymore.  It was fun last night, then I looked at it again today and realized my character had Vegeta proportions, so…

Right.  I think I know what’s wrong, and it should be easily fixed.  It’s what happens when you draw the head before the body.  Still, though:  I would really like to photograph this in daylight, rather than releasing it to the wild and *cough* messing up my *cough* reputation *cough* 😉  Hehe.

We all screw up sometimes, it’s part of being human — and being an artist means you screw up OFTEN and REPEATEDLY until you can learn other ways.  😉  So the best thing to do is be gentle on yourself, and maybe not even call it “screwing up,” but “having a learning experience”.

(When is the Internet ever gentle, though?  SHUT UP ANXIETY BRAIN.)

Okay, I’m being told to get some rest now.  I do have to get up in six hours.  JOY.  JOY OF JOYS.

Eh, at least I should be able to get some (home)work done at lunch…

More acrylic inks, you say?

Notes from the field:

Weird pattern, this.  Today I’ve been working nearly all day on homework.  Yesterday, I was sleeping nearly all day.  The night before, I was up until 3 AM doing chores — not because anyone told me to, but because they needed to be done.

Accordingly, taking a break to work on the blog is kind of “me” time, now.  Speaking of which…I’m fairly certain I’m going to give up one of my two midweek schedulings at work.  Now that this is definite, I need to notify my boss ASAP.  Even though I did have two (homework) workdays with basically nothing getting done (for various reasons which are not apt to occur weekly), it shows that I don’t have time to take a break at all, if I work 18 hours at my job, and am still working 30 hours per week on my classes.

I actually did work through one of the lecture exercises, as well…which is kind of amazing me.  Coming up, I have three exercises to go through, two chapters to read (which I didn’t realize until tonight), one Discussion topic to reply to, and a couple of hours of lecture to listen to — before Tuesday!  (>_<;;)

But that should be it, until the next cycle of due dates.  What I’ve realized is that I’m in two classes with heavy work loads, and it’s actually worth missing a bit of what I’m earning from my job in order to learn this.  That is:  it would be a waste to go to work and not learn from my classes because I was so concerned about getting a full paycheck.

beaded macrame?
Just design notes…

As regards the drawing I was messing around with which I mentioned in the last post (it’s on the left):  it’s nothing much, but leaving a record up here will at least get me to remember that I started in on drawing practice.

Not to mention that the process of photographing something, then running it through Photoshop to remove artifacts, requires a skillset in itself.  (I find it likely that I will end up taking a digital photography class or workshop, although I can still find my way around Photoshop somewhat decently…)

I also find it…really amazing, how different a photographed image, imported into Photoshop and made with physical art supplies, differs in character from born-digital art — I’ve done both.  Maybe it’s something about the way I work, but I much prefer dealing with the actual ground and tools…that is, in the photo to the left, I doubt I’d be able to get something with that kind of grittiness and texture out of software.

(And that wasn’t even with good paper!)

There’s just something really sleek and polished about CGI that I find isn’t to my liking.  Discoveries can come from mistakes, liveliness from that ever-constant chain of errors that probably plagues most beginning drawing students.  🙂  I’m talking a bit tongue-in-cheek now, but randomness and chaos does have a place, and it’s not always bad.

Of course, this is coming from the person who made a box ring in Silversmithing classes which they were told looked “machined.”  I suppose precision and randomness are both valuable; it’s just knowing when to let either step forward or back which may be the actual skill…

Notes from the field:

OMG I can draw…(!)

I’ve been looking back over my postings with regard to art, and it’s actually been really inspiring.  Today I drew for the first time in a while…trying to finesse a design that must have come to me at 2 AM when I was trying to sleep.  It does take less time (and fewer resources) to sit down and draw, than it does to plan and execute a jewelry design — a reason I’m thinking of getting back into it again.

Also, drawing helps to design, although with beads, it really isn’t very exact…there are specific sizes and ratios to manufactured beads, along with other limitations like hole diameter(s), that don’t work out totally in freehand drawings.  However…the skill should be very useful where it comes to bead embroidery design.

Apologies for my nonstandard and stream-of-consciousness use of punctuation, along with my total skirting of current politics, here.  I’ve tried to edit the former out; and there is a reason for the latter, which I should get used to.

Anyhow, with my Library and Information Science classes starting up again, I’ve needed to go back to creative activities in order to stay balanced.  I can easily get overwhelmed by incoming information and then blank for hours afterwards, not knowing what to express — especially if I’ve been reading for hours.  In this case, it’s easier to play around with beads and colors…and pencils…than it is to write or fully speak…and I have so many colored pencils and regular pencils and aquarelles and charcoals and pastels (and paints, though I think that 30″x30″ canvas is really intimidating me) around here that…it’s really tempting to get back into that, again.  Not to intend to make any great art, but just for the joy of it.

I have also found that there is likely a place in my life for recreational reading (that is, reading without the goal of writing in mind).  I didn’t come to this conclusion, though, until after having done some of my homework.  I realize now that my exposure to books in the stacks via my job as a Student Assistant, and to authors via my English/Creative Writing education, actually does afford me some knowledge as to how to find my way around a library catalog, as a patron.  Given that two of my classes are focused on cataloging and metadata, this looks like it will be a semester full of insights!

I actually really am liking the one class which has already started in earnest…because it’s like a more intense treasure-hunt than that which I experienced as a Volunteer.  It’s like, “using all of your capabilities and these clues, find this item (which you haven’t been given the name of),” which is something that I’m not permitted to do in my current position at work.  I can only expect the restrictions to become more intense as I move up the ranks, if I move up the ranks — at least in a Public Library.  This is related to serving all people, not a selective group determined by my own personal biases.  Given that this is directly related to professionalism…

Okay, I’m about to say too much, so I’ll stop.  🙂

The trouble seems to lie in having gone into this field for reasons related to my own values, and then having to rein in the free expression of some of those values in order to be “professional,” at least on the job.  But I would expect and appreciate the effort to remain politically neutral as regarded job duties (“professional”) if I consulted a Librarian who had very different political values than my own, so I can look at it that way.  Same thing if I had to access a free clinic:  I wouldn’t want to be denied services or given inferior service because the person caring for me personally didn’t agree with my choices.  The principle cuts both ways.  I cannot advocate my personal views as a library professional (should I become a professional), but I can advocate them as a person — outside of my job duties.

Of course, this is a personal blog, not a professional one (THANKFULLY!!!).  I’d still err on the side of caution when talking politics, though:  just because I have had a taste of what it is like to be looked up to, and I can’t speak with the authority of the ALA behind me here, nor imply it.

So, forgive me if I do not go into politics right here and now.  Even though I am generally a deep thinker and so would not immediately advocate any position in most cases, I also should not do so in a way where I might lead one to believe I were speaking for anyone but myself.  I would hope that I would be read to speak only for myself, anyway, though!

And dang.  I only have about five hours until dawn.  Okay, I should at least get ready for bed.  😛  I did surprise myself today, though:  my little drawing that I did to expand on a late-night scrawl of a chain design…actually looks…passable?  😉

Ah, I’ve got to try that pattern out in physical materials, now…

OMG I can draw…(!)