Watercolor play…doesn’t look as bad on camera as it did to me last night…amazingly…

Alright, so.  I have been working on playing around in watercolor…though I think the better examples of this happened when I took my time.  The little squares here are underneath my transparency swatches…which are basically just an index of the colors I have.  Really, the biggest pain about any of this is that the earth tones tend not to stick in the lid of my palette and instead separate as little chips that fall when I try and close it… >_<  …right.  Whoever said that design would work, anyway?

Initially, looking at this, I was thinking that, because of what I had been doing with the brush to achieve smoother gradations (pulling each color into the other with small brushstrokes), maybe I should be working in gouache, instead.  However…now that I look at it, I just see someone learning to control their medium at a very early stage.

I have gotten out the gouache:  trust me, I’ve gotten out the gouache.  😉  I haven’t done any comparisons yet between the different effects achievable with each media, though.

3140-cr-levels
Trying to play around with blending wet-into-wet

Sorry about the photo quality…I still haven’t gotten the hang of this, yet.

3141-cr-levels
Dry brush merging into drawing-like marks…?

Although in the past I could say that I really disliked (my own) dry-brush effects, when I look at it here, it actually seems to work.  (Kind of like how I don’t like to use hard charcoal or graphite sticks, but they have their uses?)  I’m pretty sure the upper pink is Permanent Rose; and the one under it is Permanent Magenta (in Winsor & Newton brand), in many other brands known as Quinacridone Violet (though W&N’s “Quinacridone Violet” is a completely different shade, leaning more blue than red).  This is what I mean by irregular labeling of paints.

The grainy green-blue above it is Viridian; actual Viridian, not “Viridian Hue.”  I did try blending this Viridian with Permanent Rose, and now suspect that the beautiful mixed tone I got (mentioned in multiple places, earlier) actually may have been Viridian Hue (W&N Cotman Phthalo Green) with Permanent Rose.  Viridian Hue (Phthalo Green) plus Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) are together in the top central square in the upper first photo of this post.  What can Phthalo Green be used for?  Try!  🙂

One thing I can say is that natural hair in a paintbrush makes a world of difference in that brush’s performance.  I first ran across this in Painting class, when I started using Sumi-e brushes with my watercolors, because they retained water and color better.  This is not a traditional use for them, so far as I can tell — but at least the regular Western transparent watercolors I’ve tried (largely Prangs and W&N colors), don’t seem to harm them.

I have at various times had three different types of Asian calligraphy brushes, though one of them (I think it was a Mao “Little Ying”) eventually died from irregular expansion of the handle.  That is, I think I left it in the water too long, and the bamboo split.  >_<;;  Because of the way it was constructed, about the only thing keeping it together at the end was probably a piece of string, and probably some glue.

The other bamboo-handled brushes I have are all Yasutomo (for some reason, it’s hard to find other brands than this in brick-and-mortar stores:  excepting Asian stationery stores), in a couple of different styles.  I have no idea what the different styles are actually intended to do, but they work for watercolor.  The ones I have all have a core of stiff hair, surrounded by a ring of soft hair.  They don’t keep their point well — you have to shape the tip prior to each stroke — but the touch is much softer and more delicate than with a synthetic.

Most recently, I picked up a little tiny #2 Robert Simmons “Sapphire” flat, which is maybe 1/8″ wide, and it’s so much easier to use than a full-on synthetic with watercolors, that it’s kind of weird.  In tiny sizes like the one I have, they’re actually affordable…

The Sapphires are a blend of red sable and synthetic fiber; but the amount of natural hair in them actually does make them handle differently when it comes to watercolors.  Laydown and color retention is smoother than what I’m used to from my completely-synthetic brushes (most of the rest of them, that is), which I’ve read have a tendency to dump their pigment load all at once.

Now that I look up this company online, I find that they are also the people who make the “Signet” hog-bristle brushes that I like for acrylics!

Hmm.  Wonder about that…

I’m not sure how natural brushes would fare with gouache.  Gouache has a tendency to get heavier, stickier, and stiffer than transparent watercolor.  I’ll give it a try with my synthetic brushes before I attempt anything with the real-hair brushes (the color-load-dropping thing may be a bigger issue with watercolors which are close to the consistency of water), though I’m thinking that maybe my heftier intended-for-acrylic brushes might be better off with those paints…

Watercolor play…doesn’t look as bad on camera as it did to me last night…amazingly…

What’s going on with me lately (ooh ooh ooh yeah)

As I look back over my past 5 or so entries, I find that the relative rarity of my posting as of late has led to some rather large gaps in my records.

The good thing?  I’m relatively on track with my studies.  The negative thing?  I still have those two 2-point assignments hanging over my head, even though they’re about two weeks late, by now.  I suppose that I can take some time within the next week to clear this up.

I did also try …looking into the Disability Resource Center for my University.  However, I have found no material indicating that they offer resources for off-campus students.  From past experience, I know this isn’t true — the last time I registered with them (years ago), I did receive an OK for additional work time.  Right now, I’m wondering if it’s worth it, though — especially as I have to re-register every **** semester.

(yes, I bleeped myself)

Anyhow…

In other realms, I was able to begin coloring my mandala with gouache last night (I can’t be expected to be working at all times), but have realized that perhaps I chose the wrong media for this, or at least should have laid down an underpainting in transparent watercolor, if not overpainting with it as well.

There was no paint laid down on the paper before the gouache.  Because of the relatively dry/thick character of the gouache, and the fact that I am using cold-press (rough) watercolor paper and not Bristol board, I now have gaps of white paper showing through between different areas of color.  There is one solution for this that I know of:  more paint.  It would work if I were using acrylics.  Problem is, I’m not.

The difficulty is that gouache has a tendency to lift from the paper if too much water is applied on top of previous dried layers (or at least, this was the case when I was painting on Bristol).  This creates patches of color which…are basically blistered; when the blister lifts, it is obvious — gouache, in my experience, isn’t quite so opaque as to disguise this.  (This is not an issue with acrylics — I am thinking of Holbein Acryla gouache, right now, but am not sure what the selling point would be of a hybrid between gouache and acrylic paint.)

Right now I’m wondering whether I want to try and salvage this, or start working on something more abstract and less precise.  I’m thinking of working with transparent watercolor first, maybe some loose wet-into-wet stuff, and some layering; then gouache as a highlight medium on top.

The benefit to using the gouache, though, I’ve seen, is that it generates very clear, strong, and pure mixes of color when one is using pigments which are high enough quality and in high enough concentration (and whose overtones are somewhat harmonious).  The difficulty lies in what to do with sometimes-obvious brushstrokes (I can play this up by not overmixing my colors), how to work with a media which gives very flat and consistent color, and how to avoid overworking an area to the point of the paint lifting off of the support.

What I’ve got now with my mandala is not past any point of no return (in fact it reminds me of how I almost gave up on one of my tomatillo drawings, which later turned out very nice); maybe I should keep working on it, just in an experimental manner, to see how far I can push the medium.  When I started making free marks on top of my …rather mathematical underdrawing, I could see the potential there for something which I hadn’t intended, but which might turn out to be worth the effort.

I also did experiment with gesso on top of a different sheet of this paper (the flawed one which I cut off the block before starting my mandala).  The gesso wasn’t worth it, in this case.  The major purpose of the gesso would have been to preserve an underdrawing; however, in practicality, it would have been a lot of work and would have smudged the graphite, anyway.  In addition, it provided a resist to the gouache, which meant that if I only sealed the lines and not anything else, it would show in the final painting!  (The solution to this would have been to seal twice; once over the lines, then another time over everything else; but I realized it would be too much work.)

I tried three variants of sealer:  Liquitex Basics white gesso, Liquitex Clear Acrylic gesso, and Liquitex Professional Matte (Glazing) Medium.  Of these three compounds, the Clear Acrylic gesso gave the least resistance when wet gouache was applied on top of a dry layer…so it would seem, anyway.  I can’t be certain of the exact viscosity of my mixture among all three trials…

Both the white gesso and the matte medium had a tendency to repel the paint, as is obvious from my test swatches; whereas the gouache soaked right in in the areas surrounding the treated areas.  The clear gesso, on the other hand, showed less of this tendency, but it also gave a texture that resulted in gas bubbles beneath my paintbrush, and thus a somewhat textured, or, “speckled,” tone, to the overlying gouache (I believe this was a blend of Holbein and Winsor & Newton paint).

What I ended up doing (to get back to the main narrative) was just erasing most of what I could, leaving a faint map of a drawing, then painting on top of this.  I did this because I didn’t want to get trapped in making outlines in fineliner and then painting on top of that style of ink mark — particularly because when coloring over lines is inevitable, do I want the viewer’s attention to be drawn to the lines?  And lines which show through in some places and are covered up, in others?

I can see it’s a relatively popular way to work, at least with ink and wash…but I struggle with being too tight in my drawings, anyway.  I don’t want to deliberately reinforce it.

And in other other news…my hair is getting on my nerves.  The rainy season has started, though, and one of the only good points to having hair as thick as I do is that it’s a fairly good insulator against the cold, and rain.  Seriously, though:  it’s, like, huge.  The benefit is that I can pull it back (I look kind of hot like this), and I don’t have to get it cut every few months.  The irritating point is that I can go to bed with it damp, and it is still damp in the morning, because it’s so thick that the air can’t penetrate.

I just realized that I have no idea how long it is, now, at all.  (The curls kind of disguise that aspect.)  Maybe a little past shoulder-length?  I’ve avoided cutting it because I don’t appreciate whiny comments from people I don’t care about, about “why don’t I have long hair,” like they should have an opinion and it should matter and I should care and I’m going to try and avoid mocking them, here.  It’s a sensitive topic — I’ve been singled out over my hair for my entire life — and it’s really angering.  But if it gets to the point of my ripping it out while combing it because I hate having to take care of it, again, and it’s gotten to the point of snarling, and making me want to scream and stab the mirror because ****it I’m not a ****ing doll, yes I’m getting it cut, because at that point I’m taking care of myself by cutting it off, as versus blending in to avoid sexual harassment.

I also want to get another (ear) piercing…which influences what I do with my hair (I’ll have to keep it very clean for at least 4-6 months, to avoid infection).  Because it’s cold, this makes an infection less likely to happen.

I just haven’t decided on which side to pierce– though I’m told getting a piercing on the right side only indicated one was gay if one was male and in the 1980’s.  😉  It’s still standard to get single piercings only on the left side, though, at least in the U.S.  This would be my third piercing…any more above that, and (legal) discrimination starts to kick in.  Though, technically, discrimination is fairly standard here anyway; I’d deal with it from being female, a racial/ethnic minority, not-straight, gender-variant, etc., but those are the big four, for me.

Which is, by the way, why I’m looking into the career path I am.

What’s going on with me lately (ooh ooh ooh yeah)

It’s so nice to get a day off…

Well, vacation (by which I mean my one extra day off between scheduling) is almost over.  The good part is that I am nearly entirely caught up with my work, from the time in which my main workstation was out of commission.  This is mostly due to marathon reading, yesterday.

It’s nice to know, at least, that my study and cognitive skills aren’t as diminished as I had expected.  Earlier this week, as well, I had a 4-6 page paper to turn in which turned into a 9-page paper because I did not read the requirements well enough (double-spaced! not 1.5-spaced!!).

At least the good majority of the work is out of the way.  I was seriously behind in my readings for my Database course (and still have yet to break into the optional ones).  I have one more reading to go, a late Discussion Topic on that reading, and then I can move on.  (– At least, so far as grading goes.  I’m fairly certain that I just got a 0/2 on the other Discussion Topic I missed, though I can probably still do the work, just for myself.)

Looking forward — I have the assignment to assemble a kit for (hypothetical) distribution within my Library.  Because the topic is a bit sensitive (but not forbidden) where it comes to publicly-funded libraries (well — I’d expect that anything catering to a minority audience would be, but especially if it falls within politics/religion/sexuality/gender/race [it’s not all of those at once, don’t worry]), I probably won’t broach the exact subject of my kit here.  I basically just picked the topic I did because of one of the newer under-served populations I’ve seen pop up, plus my own knowledge on the topic in question.

As regards anything having to do with Art or Creative Writing…that’s been, basically, on pause.  I have managed to make some headway in design on the mandala I wrote about, earlier, but have not reinstalled either Photoshop or GIMP2, without which — I don’t know how to reduce the DPI and compress the file size for Web publishing.  Nor do I know how to enhance photos without the help of a powerful image-editing program.  I can still take photos and upload them, but until I reinstall at least one of these programs, showing them to you all will be one of those things that probably just isn’t going to happen…

At least my data itself is secure, though.  (Backups.)  I’ve just spent a good bit of time looking through the folder where I keep the particularly nice photos — a bunch of them are higher-quality than I remember.  This is the first time I really let them fill the screen, though.  (A larger display size has a much different impact than a smaller one.)  I’m thinking of utilizing one of them instead of what I had settled on before, for my large canvas.

Do I wish I had taken more time out for art or writing, recently?  It probably would have been a more productive way to fill the hours I spent in bed, worrying about my computer — and I got nothing done then anyway, so I might as well have!

I am finding that the Database class is…interesting.  It’s creative work, but then it’s also very technical.  (Library work in general has been described as “socio-technical;” there are obvious questions that come up for me, like what we’re actually talking about when we’re talking about statistical correlations among members of a racial group.)  I’m planning on asking about the work of designing and constructing databases; it’s kind of fun for the “puzzle” and logic aspects of it.  I haven’t formulated my question, though; the concepts are still too fluid and fuzzy for me to get a good grasp on them.

I’m also new to design work that isn’t visually-oriented.  I kind of wonder what part of my psyche I’m utilizing in organizing surrogates (like catalog records), or in grasping what is meant by NT (narrower term) or BT (broader term) or RT (related term)…

I’m still not grasping all of it, by the way; but I have another three years to pin down the basics, so it’s not so bad.  😉

The farther in I get to the LIS field, though…the less certain I become of an ideal path.  I certainly have more respect for Public Librarians at this point than I used to, after gaining more insight into what their work is actually about (fulfilling community information needs).  Will I want to become a Public Librarian?  Probably not (although the job openings are less hidden), but I still respect them.

I also did come across an example of someone painting with gouache on top of gessoed cardboard; I believe this means that it is possible!  Heh.  I still need to try out my new colors, too.  Maybe I can make some time for it tomorrow, before I have to go to work and continue on with this week’s assignments…

 

It’s so nice to get a day off…

Recovery

I’m so tired that I can’t really think really well, right now.

I am about a week behind in classwork, due to the system failure and my own freezing up during and after the system failure.  The good part is that I completed the work I needed to do…what is left are all the readings…and assorted other stuff.  I’ve decided just to let the two 2-point discussion prompts go, for this week.

Otherwise…I did make it out to pick up paints.  The store I went to was out of Holbein Flame Red; so I got Winsor & Newton Flame Red (which looks much more vibrant than any of the color swatches I’ve seen…not sure why, except either fading and/or resolution quality).  I also got Holbein Peacock Blue and W&N Intense Blue.  It came to me later that maybe I should have gotten a Phthalo Green instead of Peacock Blue, as the latter shade is a mix of Phthalo Blue, Phthalo Green, and Titanium White.  That is, if I got Phthalo Green, I probably could have mixed some variant of color close to Peacock Blue…and mixed a bunch more other colors with it, as well.

I did just get the one I did because it was gorgeous, though.  Plus, I needed a decent green-leaning blue to make intense greens (Intense Blue is also a Phthalo color, but apparently there are different shades of Phthalo Blue, even when it’s unmixed.  Thus you get Red Shade [which competes with Ultramarine], Green Shade, etc., for starters).

I haven’t gotten the chance to try these out, yet, though it might be a good thing to do when I’m too tired to do much, as now.  I could be working on my reading, and I don’t know exactly why I’m not.

I have showered already, though.  Maybe I should just get ready for bed.  I want to stay up, and I haven’t been up for that long.  I’m just sleepy, though.

Maybe it has to do with getting into the first actually cool Fall days…

And, I nearly forgot to mention:  I did reach out to a couple of people working in Information in a nearby Museum.  I don’t know why it occurred to me to do it today, but I took some time out of reading and just drafted a letter and sent it.  Yay me.

The thing is, I’m still not certain whether I should work as an Art Librarian or as a Cataloger.  Maybe they’ll be able to shed some insight…

Recovery

Color shopping in gouache

I’ve just spent what seems to be the last 1.5 hours trying to find a good, warm red to replace my Scarlet Lake.  It’s…not the most fun thing, but I am about to get into painting my mandala, and don’t want to deal with my oranges fading.

I’ve settled on three different paints, keeping in mind that I’m avoiding cadmium colors.  One of them in particular caught my eye as a good replacement for Scarlet Lake, but appears also not to be wholly lightfast:  this is Holbein Flame Red.

Instead of this, though, I’m fairly certain that if I can find it, Da Vinci Red will be a better buy (though I should compare the diluted swatches side by side to be sure).  Da Vinci’s pigment (PR 188) is more lightfast, and — if their Light Red is any indication, it warms decently with the addition of yellow (the two paints both use PR 188, if I’m correct).

While I was looking, I also found a decent replacement for W&N’s Sky Blue:  Holbein Peacock Blue.  It is a mix of two Phthalo colors plus white, but the Sky Blue I have is…weak, or so I’ve tended to see it.  I’ve wanted to make more intense greens than is possible with that Sky Blue (which, granted, is probably from 2007).  Sky Blue is just the last of the old batch of gouache in my split-primary palette, and I don’t particularly like it (at all), so I’m thinking of replacing it for this reason.

The last color I saw, which would approximate Scarlet Lake but still…not be wholly lightfast (this must be a problem in reds) is Holbein Brilliant Orange.  Apparently, it’s fine full-strength, but fades in tints.  However, it’s very close to the color I have now, which makes brilliant oranges and red-oranges.  I also have found that there is no name for “orange”, traditionally, in Japanese — the term is closer to “yellowish red” (or so the book Colorist would infer); as Holbein is a Japanese company, I wouldn’t be surprised if the concept behind “Brilliant Orange” was indeed “yellowish red”.

Scarlet Lake is something that I haven’t done any lightfastness tests on myself; however, looking at the nine-year-old portfolio from Color Dynamics that I got off the shelf, it keeps its color decently when not exposed to light.  I had just heard on the WetCanvas forum that Scarlet Lake was fugitive.  In addition, that particular paint color is not being made by W&N in gouache, anymore.  Nor do I know the pigment composition, because it was made before W&N started labeling the pigment content of their paints.

Shopping list:

  • Da Vinci Red gouache
  • Holbein Peacock Blue gouache
  • Holbein Brilliant Orange gouache

estimated cost:  $24 – $5 gift coupon = $19

Not to mention that I’ve got to pick up some thumb drives tomorrow, too (>8 GB), to back up some mess…

EDIT:  Actually, nah, I’m just getting Flame Red and Peacock Blue.  $9 with gift coupon.

Color shopping in gouache

Color samples:

Ahhh…hey.

I know I have better things to do, but after another six hours out of the house, and actually — really — hard at work, what I wanted to do when I got back in was paint.

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Apologies for the poor lighting, although this was under a halogen lamp. It’s nighttime right now.

As mentioned before, I did go out this week to pick up some paints I needed.  Well — “needed”.  I basically had no usable yellows (one was cemented shut, the other discarded).

Basically, I got a warm and a cool version of yellow (Permanent Yellow Deep and Lemon Yellow), a cool red (to replace Alizarin Crimson — this was Permanent Rose), an intense cool blue (Ultramarine Deep), and a warm black (Ivory Black).

This started out as an exercise in color swatches for unmixed paints…you can see that it got away from that.  🙂  Not counting the half-bars I squeezed in later, the first top three, from right to left, are Permanent Rose, Alizarin Crimson, and Scarlet Lake.  After I had swatched those out, I started wondering what difference the two cool reds would make if I mixed them with Ultramarine Deep to form saturated violets.

Scarlet Lake mixed with Perm. Yellow Deep was next…but kind of amazingly, didn’t look as intense as Scarlet Lake with Lemon Yellow (seventh from the right).  I say “amazingly” because Lemon Yellow is a cool yellow; Scarlet Lake is a warm red.  I didn’t expect to get a more vibrant orange from the pairing, but somehow I did.  I’m not sure if it had to do with proportions of each color, or what…

The next was a cool red (I think Perm. Rose) with what appears to be Perm. Yellow Deep (though I know some Lemon Yellow got in there; I got tired of trying to be scientific by using pure tones, so they started getting mixed up after a while).

To the left of that is a mix of both warm and cool reds (I can’t remember which cool red I used for this), blending into some kind of orange.  Also amazingly, the red mix appeared more vibrant to me than either the warm or cool reds, alone.  Left of that, and I started mixing orange with green, which eventually turned peacock on its way to Sky Blue.  I don’t know how it started looking peacock, but it did.

Sky Blue is also fifth from the left, just to the right of Ultramarine Deep.  I mixed them both with Lemon Yellow to see what I got.  The violet-leaning hue of the Ultramarine made a more muted green when mixed with yellow.  Sky Blue plus Lemon Yellow makes a…predictable, but nice range of greens.

And, right — just before I stopped, I started mixing the full-strength tones with Permanent White, along the right edge of the image.  I’ve learned that this is called “Permanent” White, likely in contrast to lithopone…which is one of the white pigments I’ve found in a set of Cotman transparent watercolors lying around (I’m not sure from which era).  Lithopone (zinc sulfide + barium sulfate, from a quick lookup) is known to darken with age.  I’m thinking that this is why anyone thought to call titanium dioxide “Permanent”.  There is also Zinc(-oxide) White, which I didn’t use tonight — Zinc Oxide is used for a less opaque mixture, from what I know (desirable at times when you want the underlying color to influence what’s over it).

In any case, at least titanium dioxide white causes dark colors to appear clearer and fuller than using the full-strength mix alone (this is gouache, opaque watercolor; so to lighten colors you add white, instead of adding water, as with transparent watercolors).  And some colors, like pink, don’t really come out except from a highly diluted violet-leaning red (like Alizarin or Perm. Rose).  I should note that I’ve found out that Alizarin is highly fugitive, which is why I’ve been leaning away from using it…but it’s still gorgeous, for anything that will be reproduced.  I’ve also found that my (new) Alizarin is mixed with Perylene Maroon, possibly to improve its lightfastness — but this isn’t the same Alizarin as I used to use (this being one of the reasons I got Permanent Rose).

I’ve found that there are mixing combinations, aside from the ideal ones I was taught in Color Dynamics, which are really interesting.  They’re actually more interesting to me than the ones I was taught there (which can get kind of — if not literally — formulaic).  Color Dynamics taught me how to mix the clearest tones (like a usable violet), but a little bit of mess in the mixture makes things less predictable, and a lot more engaging for me.

(I say “mess” because I don’t remember exactly how I got to some of these shades, particularly where it comes to green [from which primaries?] mixed with orange [from which primaries?].)  To clarify:  all of these colors were mixed from primary colors with different color overtones.  The differing overtones cause the secondary (and on) colors to differ strongly in character.  I had to go out and get these if I wanted to use a full spectrum in gouache, because otherwise I could barely make a green or an orange (the only yellow I had was Yellow Ochre).  Purchasing what I did opened up green (blue + yellow) and orange (red + yellow) to me, as well as yellow, itself.

It’s kind of amazing, how much power one primary color has, when it’s not there.  Without it, you have access to two primaries and one secondary color; half the color wheel.

What I didn’t do was test out any of the earth tones or black pigments, tonight.

Also, a disposable coated-paper palette actually works well for this stuff.  I don’t like to put a lot of paint down the drain, because it probably isn’t good for the water supply or my hands, with regard to chemical exposure.  With the disposable paper, all I have to do is tear off the top sheet and dispose of it in the garbage — probably not the most eco-friendly move either, but at least it’s semi-contained.

Well, I’ve been here for a little while.  I should get some sleep:  homework, tomorrow.

Color samples:

Life. Planning to split the blog.

I am planning to either revive my alternate blog (the one I had to start for class in 2012, when I was acting insecure) or start a new one, and put my overtly school and career related stuff there, while this one is saved for art and life, with a more conversational tone than a record-keeping one (or one which is overtly reflecting on my job and readings).  I will link that other blog to this one, after I get it set up and presentable.

I did make it out over the past couple of days to replace or acquire five tubes of gouache — opaque watercolor.  (I also found I like Ivory [Bone] Black better than Lamp Black, at least in gouache…strange that they’re both carbon blacks, but they don’t look the same.)  This meant that I also had to take time out to test the ones I had — which was super fun.

I hadn’t painted in a really long time.  I pulled out a new brush that I’d never used before and had at it, just color-testing.  Most of my gouache was good, but I was able to get some new Holbein and Winsor & Newton gouache (the kind without the acrylic polymer added).  I got Lemon Yellow in Holbein because it was beautiful and just what I was looking for, and an Ultramarine Deep from them, too — W&N no longer makes that color.  I’m planning to use the opaque watercolors in combination with transparent watercolors, in making some new mandalas — and possibly in illustration.  With opaque media, though, I’m going to have to start thinking in terms of shape and blocks of color, rather than line, to describe what I want to describe.

And it isn’t worth it to denigrate mandala art and avoid doing it because it seems too simple.  I make things too hard for myself.  If I want to do mandala art, and that’s what is going to get me to do art that I want to do at all, I should do it.

I also made it out to a certain clothes store today, where I realized that the Mens’ shirts fit me better and were more comfortable than the Womens’.  In the past (when my hair was very short and I was overtly looking gender-variant), this would have been more troubling for me than it was (I have felt exposed there, before) — but fact is that when it fits, I look pretty good in menswear.  Not only this, but…it was OK, emotionally.

In the sizing of this store (which caters to a smaller-than-normal clientele), I wear an M in Mens’ shirts.  Right now, I wear something closer to an XL in Womens’, there, though I don’t appear terribly overweight.  The Womens’ shirts will make me look overweight, though.  They cling, and show more body and form than any of the menswear.  Showing my body is not something I desire, to be clear; I don’t particularly appreciate being expected to do it.

Then, though, of course you get the either very muted color palette or the screaming bright colors on the Mens’ side.  I (mostly) feel good with what I came away with, with the exception of one shirt which I didn’t try on, which was unlabeled…and so I’m not sure I know what I got.  It fits more closely, but won’t be a problem if it’s tucked in.  The Mens’ shirts have hems long enough to tuck securely; which is more than I can say for a lot of what I’ve had, previously.

I have had three days of what feels like not studying very hard.  I know it isn’t completely true, because I had to attend a group meeting, and I had to prepare for a group meeting (2.5 hours, yesterday); then I was doing readings today both before and after getting new clothes — which I needed, by the way.  I also picked up a book I needed for a project.  And, I was able to assist some family.

It isn’t as though I haven’t been productive, but, was I burned out at the end of Tuesday night, after writing 16 pages total the past two days before?  I didn’t want to do any readings at all on Wednesday.  I just didn’t want to have to think…especially not about the Library!  Though I have realized that I do still want to be an Art Librarian, and shouldn’t let fear of being a beginner keep me from holding an informational interview with at least one person.  My vocational program kind of depends on it.

Right now I’ve realized that I do need to get back on my studying so I don’t fall behind.  I have a lecture to listen to, two readings to do, some stuff to respond to; I just need to get on it.

The good thing is that the group project is off on a good foot.  We have stumbled a tiny bit, which I encountered last night while thinking about this; but it’s salvageable.

Tomorrow is Saturday; I should be studying in the morning, if I randomly wake up at 8 AM again.  Then I’m occupied for six hours, then I’m off and can work some more on my Master’s.

Working with the gouache on Monday night sounds good.  I want to see those new colors!

Life. Planning to split the blog.