One week since the beginning of Break…

It’s only today that I realize it’s been about a week since my last posting. I’ve been busy moving things around, and cleaning. (By “moving things around,” I mean sorting through all the papers in my office, and sorting through everything in the bathroom. Also, going through the books on my main bookcase to organize them by approach and theme.)

This started with my cleaning and organization of the craft table, because I needed space to cut a sheet (or roll) of tinted acetate and didn’t have room for the cutting mat or the roll. Right now things are OK down there — space is usable — but it isn’t optimal.

I also went through everything in the drawers in my bathroom, and beneath the drawers in my bathroom. Anything which could spoil, which I couldn’t remember buying in the last 6 months, I was told was fine to throw away. Particularly, used makeup, which can cause infection if there have been bacteria growing in it and then one applies it to one’s face. (I also shaved down my old eyeliners [which I hadn’t been using], and threw out what had dried out.)

The only reason I started thinking about makeup is that I did have a job interview, a couple of days ago (which was the last big thing to get out of the way before I could have true relief). I did mostly go to the interview in order to gain practice and not be kicked off of the qualifying list, but I am not certain what I would do if I were offered the job. Nothing to do but wait now, I guess.

And I have realized by now…that having expanded piercings is kind of like having tattoos. I didn’t really “get it” until a couple of days ago, though.

I was able to get that Quinacridone Magenta paint I wanted! (I haven’t tried it out yet, though.) I’m hoping that it will give me clearer violets than either Permanent Rose or Alizarin Crimson. There was a complicating factor in that I went in to buy a tube of Winsor & Newton Quinacridone Magenta gouache (opaque watercolor), and they were totally out of that color!

I did recall that W&N’s Quinacridone Magenta’s pigment code is PR122, though, and that I did have a backup choice in Holbein gouache. What I didn’t know is that Holbein’s “Primary Magenta” color is PR122 (I found this out at the store) and at least from what I’ve seen online, is extremely close to Winsor & Newton’s “Quinacridone Magenta.” The major difference is that the W&N Quin. Magenta is bluer than the Holbein Primary Magenta, so there may still be a use in waiting for the W&N at another time.

Anyway, this is just a continuation of the Color Dynamics website that I wanted to put up on the Web (but which was much too voluminous in scope and content to use simply as a final project in my Web Design class).

It’s fairly apparent by now, though, that if I want to publish a full site to the Web…I’ll have to rent some server space, which is not something I’ve arranged yet. It would also help to know what I was doing when setting up that server space, though I have been doing some study to prepare me for that.

I had wanted to continue working on this project to help me build skills in Web Design! Now that the pressure’s off, though…hmm. I haven’t touched it in at least a week. But during that week, well…I’ve been going to work, organizing stuff, cleaning, and shopping.

We did go to Nihon Machi (Japantown) recently, where I found a retrospective book on Emigre (the “type foundry”) which goes back to 1986. It cost a bit, but I was like, “when am I going to find this again,” and I didn’t want to buy it from Amazon. (It does seem that having an in-person store is a service.) I’ve read that experience with typography is one of the only things I need to know that I don’t know, if I want to be a Web Designer. I don’t think that knowledge of typography is one of those things that goes out of date, though.

I also found a book called Everyday Watercolor (from a different bookstore), which looks really interesting! I haven’t been able to look deeply into it yet, though, because I’ve been cleaning. What’s annoying is that in my cleaning the bathroom, I apparently disturbed something that was hungry (likely a spider) that bit up my legs and caused an emergency cleaning of both my bedroom and my office. So I haven’t been able to get as deeply into things as I would have liked.

I also replaced the Borden & Riley marker paper that I’ve almost used up. On the trip, I should have taken something printed, if not the old pad itself — translucency is key to this stuff being of use to me. If I had something to view through the paper, it would have made my choices easier.

The marker paper I had was like a very high-quality tracing paper. What I found at the store under the same name, however, was not the same product. The type of paper which is under the same brand name now seems to be different (more opaque, thicker, whiter) than it was when I bought my last pad.

Because of this, I did a slight shift and got two pads of paper which I hope will replace the Marker paper qualitatively (as I don’t really care if the markers bleed — but the fact that they had “No Bleed-Thru” paper that bled, is likely why they decided to sacrifice transparency). Borden & Riley is relatively inexpensive, which actually helps me be creative (because I don’t especially have a fear of wasting materials).

One of the pads is Borden & Riley #110M Technical Vellum (which is sized to be easily Xeroxed, at 8.5″x11″); the other is #37 Boris Marker Layout, 9″x11″. The new #37 appears more translucent than the old #37 Layout paper.

I’ve also been going through my photo archives, and have a couple of images that would be nice to work through in painting, both variants of the same basic photo. One of them can be a 4″x6″ panel in acrylic…unfortunately, these dimensions (2:3) are not common in larger sizes, at least here. However, I can do a larger version in 11″x14″, easily — and I’m thinking of doing that one in watercolors. The major issue with the latter is paper buckling, so I’m going to have to figure out how to map a 10.5″x13.5″ space out on the photo (0.25″ will be masked out on all sides to hold the paper down)…ehhh…

Yeah, that’s not going to be the most fun thing ever. But it will give me some Photoshop practice.

And yes, using inches as measurements is a pain. I haven’t yet done the research to answer the question of why letter-sized paper is 8.5″x11″ (I have a feeling it’s some historical quirk), but it’s been bothering me recently.

Also…I have a very good library to go through if I ever get bored. I’ve just got to remember that it’s there. I’ve also got to filter out things I will likely never read or reference. In particular, I have a couple of books on HTML and Web Design which have got to be fairly dated by now (they were bought by a family member, a while ago: copyrights 1998 and 1999, to be exact).

Yes, I think that if someone could have been born and graduated from high school in between the time those books were written and the time I’m looking at them, it may signal that an update is needed. The HTML book is on Version 3.2. We’re on HTML5 now.

Yeah, I…am not sure how much help those will be, except as historical artifacts…

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Recording this so I see it, later:

Well, my fever temporarily broke today…unfortunately, it then went back up to 99º F. Consistent with what I’ve been doing for the last several days, I’ve decided to stay in, today. I did break out the aquarelle pencils (I have one set of “Watercolor” pencils and one set of “Ink” pencils), and tried to get a start on swatching them (again — I didn’t feel like trying to find my old papers), until I realized I was again sweating, and should give it a break. I know that yesterday, I was so loopy that I was misreading clearly written text…

There’s something to be said, though, for the “wow” factor for me in even being able to draw two lines of different width on a big piece of Mixed Media paper. I think that, now, other than times when I am just trying out a paper (like the hot-press Fluid brand paper which I found, pills), it would actually be best to go for a larger pad, rather than a small one. I usually don’t use blocks — I prefer to tape the paper down to a piece of Masonite. That way, I can work on more than one project at once, and switch them out when I feel like it.

And rulers! I have been using a large aluminum ruler for a good amount of time, to cut and draw straight lines. What a timesaver! I kind of want to kick myself for even thinking about trying to hand-draw straight lines for my swatches (mostly because I didn’t want to go get the ruler)!

Right now I’m (again) in bed, and typing like this is probably not good for my spine — but I have realized a potential twist in the story I’ve been planning out. Parallel timelines: different universes. What one character believes to be a “past life” or spirit action may turn out to be the mental overlapping of two timelines.

This will enable me to have the “spirit” character not be perfect, to tell her story at the same time I’m divulging the co-main character’s, and to tell both the stories that have been bothering me for some time, within the same text. As a bonus, the female main character won’t have to die for the male main character’s story to begin, and they won’t have to take place on the same world or iteration of that world’s timeline. But the time flow issue — and the issue of psychic “alien” life — will be all screwy, which, gratefully, I’ve somewhat prepared for.

My major dilemma at this point is knowing that I want to work this out visually, and wondering how to work such an internal story out in image + text (as versus text only).

I know the “smart” thing would appear to be not to divulge these notes, but I’ve had too many projects die without seeing the light of day because of my secrecy. And it’s not even like the execution was all that great, if I’m thinking back to when I was 12 and doing this stuff. The thing is that ideas are plentiful; but it’s the execution of the idea that makes it yours. It will likely be quite some time before I’m ready to show a concrete (non-changing/logically coherent) image of this story to the world, but what I can do with it and what someone else would do with it are two different things…

Fairly wiped out, today.

Starting ~9:30 AM:

I wish I could say that things were better:  I started off today with a headache and nausea. I’m not sure if this is related to being up last night, actually starting a Bullet Journal layout after midnight…it well may be, but right now I wonder if I should go to work. I haven’t eaten anything except a ginger ale…(well, that’s a drink, but). One of the Librarians had a stomach sickness last time I went in, though, so it’s possible I might have picked something up (even if it wasn’t from them). I also might have food poisoning, or a migraine.

At least I now have an idea of what to write, for one half of my homework. This is in relation to UX efficiency. I would try to implement a button which would ask, “Was this helpful?” on catalog result pages. The problem is trying to gauge the duration of a session and trying to ask this question at the exit point of each session, as well as trying to gauge what a user’s information need actually is, as versus what they search for. It would seem that this information would best be gathered with a survey, and that it isn’t a simple one-click measure, however. I’m not sure how best to implement it.

In brighter news, I have three new babies (tiny baby succulents), though I’m not sure how long they will last (I watered one with my hand after drying it on a paper towel, and so I’m hoping I am not going to get mildew in that pot). I got three little soy sauce dishes from Daiso (the Japanese dollar store), and the pots fit right in there!

I’m trying to give them as much light as I can, meaning that the first light of dawn woke me up, earlier. And I realized just how fragile they are, after bumping one of them and having a leaf snap off! >_<;; (At least, the plant seems healthy…)

Writing resumed at 7:45 PM:

I did take photos of these this morning, but have been too wiped out to optimize them for the web, so as of right now, there are photos…but not ones which are ready to show. At this point, I’m fairly certain that what is going on is food poisoning…I have been having trouble regulating my temperature, alternately sweating and feeling cold, with a slight fever. The good thing is that the nausea has faded. I am not sure why I’m the only one who got sick, unless this has to do with the melon I ate, yesterday…

There are three-to-four books I’ve either read deeply into or have looked through, within the last semester, which show how much I could learn and implement about how I run things with my blog and web presence:

  • The non-designer’s design book:  Design and typographic principles for the visual novice (4th ed.) by Williams, R. (2015)
  • Letting go of the words:  Writing web content that works (2nd ed.) by Redish, J. (2014)
  • Graphic design school:  The principles and practice of graphic design (5th ed.) by Dabner, D., Stewart, S. and Zempol, E. (2014)
  • Don’t make me think, revisited:  A common sense approach to web and mobile usability by Krug, S. (2014)

I’m still kind of tired/wiped out, so I’m hoping it’s OK that I didn’t list the publishers or write this up as a style guide would recommend.

It’s also actually fairly amazing, how much my skill at picking out books online, has advanced. I find myself doing things like checking out review sites, multiple library catalogs, bridging through subject headings, reading samples, and taking criticisms of books which seem interesting, into account; in addition to taking into account the other books purchased by a given book’s audience.

And, I’ve been paying attention to how a book sells itself, what audience it is marketing itself to, and why. That is, I don’t necessarily want a self-help book aiming itself toward the market of people desperate to escape writer’s block, because it likely isn’t going to address what I want addressed, and it may be designed to prey on its audience’s vulnerabilities.

I also have called ahead to brick & mortar bookstores to ask if they have the book I want in stock, which probably saved me about three hours (not to mention wasted gas) earlier this week.

I don’t think I could say that I have much of a Web 2.0 presence right now, but it’s very apparent how I could do small tweaks to increase my SEO, for example (if I wanted to). I’m hoping things will get better next semester, as well; I should be introduced to HTML and CSS, then. I hate stressing about grades, too:  it seems so insignificant…but it isn’t, if I want to stay in the program!

I have realized, though, that part of what I’m being introduced to is called, “Design Thinking,” and it’s the same sort of thing I think I would be dealing with if I got a MBA in Design Strategy elsewhere. Except…it’s in Libraries, which has a different ideological slant to it.  I also just heard about Stanford’s “d school,” as well…which, at least, seems very interesting.

I think I’m going to post this and get back to bed…

Yeah…a bit scattered…

I was looking around for information on techniques for filling palettes, and found a number of interesting statements.

  1. Apparently, Viridian (true Viridian, that is) doesn’t re-hydrate well, and I should avoid putting it into a well so that I don’t waste it.
  2. I will want to roughen up the inner surfaces of my palette with either baking soda or a scrubby sponge, before filling the wells.
  3. I’ve heard that M. Graham watercolors (like my Hansa Yellow) never completely dry and may move when held vertically because of it — but that information is disputed online.  Just in case, I will want to fill that well in stages in order to see how well it is setting.

I’ve also been looking around at information on fountain pens and Bullet Journals — the latter of which may enable me to keep track of school assignments and my presently-nonexistent Japanese study (which I keep forgetting about, due to the fact that my books are all neatly and unobtrusively stowed on my bookshelf).  I do have a dotted grid notebook suitable as a Bullet Journal, but it is stowed along with the Japanese-learning materials.

I also read not to use linocutting tools (I assume they meant Speedball knives with interchangeable blades) for woodblock prints, as the blades would dull.  I do have some tools to sharpen my old knives (aluminum oxide waterstone in coarse and fine grit, ultra-fine grit wet/dry sandpaper), but I don’t have the stones right now to hone the insides of my gouges (which would save me from having to buy new gouges).  I’ll stick with linocutting for now, though.  I’m pretty sure the Japanese carving store near me should have the stones available, or I can find them online.

I did look through one book on printmaking techniques, which reminded me of what I had been doing before I derailed myself into watercolors.  (Today I went through everything that I had checked out from the library, and made a pile of things that can go back.  Financial liability is not a good thing.)

Also, I realized that the entire set of my newer watercolor paint samples had been made out of the same sheet of paper; meaning that what didn’t settle roughly on the rough paper (as in the last entry) either must be inherently very smooth, or have contained less water/paint in laydown.  As a further note on that entry, I can now see texture in certain paints and not in others.

I’m also amazed at how many people are using Mijello palettes (or palettes that look like them), though that may be neither here nor there.

And I found out that D didn’t really lose my master tracing/final design for the flower linocut; I just never actually cut it off of the tracing paper (the only reason I know this is that I expected to see a missing square on the sheet, and did not).

In addition, I completed the major reading for this week on Monday, having started on it Sunday night.  My reading speed in English really is getting faster, or the book I was reading was very good at being clear (probably a bit of both).

So tomorrow, what can I do?

  • Go to dentist for cleaning and ask about the craze lines on front teeth
  • Return library books
  • Clean office
  • Clean bedroom
  • Prep loose trays in Mijello 33-well palette with baking soda scrub
  • Take a look at Beginning Japanese by Kluemper et. al and/or Elementary Japanese by Hasegawa.
  • Review kana.
    • Hiragana first
    • Katakana second
  • Shower, please

In the future,

  • Learn more about Bullet journaling system
  • Practice mixing greens, with awareness (and record!) of what color was used where (I think I experimented with Cerulean and Prussian Blue last time, but can’t be sure of the yellows) * — I may want to do this BEFORE filling the palette, — * as I’m not sure how many greens I can actually get out of this, without Viridian.  But I suppose I do have Aureolin, Hansa Yellow, Hansa Yellow Deep, and two different Yellow Ochres (I believe this is natural vs. synthetic), so it’s worth a good shot.
    • Practice mixing with watercolors in either scales or grids
      • Fill palette with watercolors
  • Transfer flower pattern onto new linoleum block
    • Practice with new X-Acto blades on linoleum sheets
    • Carve new linoleum block
    • Draw prints (in different colors!)
  • Draw gingko leaf design and puzzle out how to best work with that in a print (mixed warm [yellow, orange, brown] inks, white space for veins of leaf?)
  • Draw more than one ginkgo rendition, so as to create a falling-leaf image on bookmarks?
  • Straighten hair, trim off obvious damage

And I’ve got to remember I have both an eye appointment and an ultrasound coming up.

I should probably get going.  Sorry for the word count on these things…it’s even hard for me to go back and read this stuff, honestly.  Maybe I never grew to question the, “longer is better,” stuff I learned in high school…on the Web, at least, “briefer is better (so long as it delivers the required information),” may be more true!

And…back to reality

It does help to have something to do, that much I can say.

Summer Session 2017 has just started, for me.  In addition to my Vocational appointment, and a medical appointment which will soon be followed up upon (possibly a good thing), I was able to pick up study materials, work through the course intro, my first lecture, and complete one of two readings (it was only two pages long, not a big deal).  It looks like I will be able to make it to the group on Wednesday:  I have three chapters to read (about 55 pages), an introduction, and a Discussion post due by Sunday night.

Tomorrow, I have to get the rest of my bloodwork (blood tests) done (fasting), see my counselor, see my optometrist (I’ve already decided to keep my current frames).  After that, everything else is optional until Friday, except for work.

I’m not sure if it’s necessary to say that I haven’t done any art, today, although I have been curious about the watercolor thing.  And the Notan thing, not to mention that I found photos of acrylic ink swatches last night which I prepped, but didn’t post.  (That would be this:)

3253-cw

I think I’ve been over this, already, though.  At the time, I was intending to try my hand at comic illustration, and so invested in some muted hues in FW acrylic inks.  From left to right, I’m pretty sure they are:

  • Red Earth
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Flesh Tint (I’m not sure if that is white mixed in with it, to the right)
  • Burnt Umber

(By the way, those are just the names on the bottles.  All of them are convenience mixtures made out of two or more pigments.  Noting that, the original photo of this was so bad that I had to digitally alter the colors so they were visible.  I can see that the background looks a little blue — and dim — from here, though.)

However…maybe I want to try a form of drawing or painting with these that isn’t comic-centered, given that the world of humans can be an irritant to me.  (I wonder if I can work this into printing, or if I just habitually start projects and don’t finish them?)

One thing I do want to experiment with, though, and clearly:  I mentioned in a prior post questions about color mixing; how I had mixed secondary and tertiary colors but — for lack of a better word — had not fully explored muted tones.  A predominantly orange color (yellow + red) plus a little blue, for example, makes brown.  But what about the other mixtures?

How do I even map that out?  I can’t do it in my head:  I’ll have to write it down, then probably copy it over onto good paper and see what happens if, say, I make a color wheel and fill in as much as I can.  But then, what if I start mixing colors which are not split-complementary (like yellow/red + blue are)?

I mean, you can see where I’m going with this?  What about yellow-orange, what is that, “yellow/yellow/red”?  And that then shifts the complementary color towards violet…but again, I don’t have to use the direct complement.

I think I’ve been up too long.  I’m going to bed.

Anticipation: one more thing to go…then, 2 weeks of (relative) freedom.

I wasn’t able to bring myself to do one of my readings earlier today, or tonight; what I was able to do, was get a lot more readings lined up so that I possibly do not have to do the one I printed out, the other day.  I’m looking at 10-12 papers to read, at about 12 pages each.  It’s not hard; it just requires focus and commitment.

I have been wanting to get these out of the way as soon as possible.  Because of that, I didn’t maintain a social commitment tonight, opting instead to stay home — where I had the possibility of working on my last assignment.  Unfortunately, reruns of Futurama are more entertaining than my readings!

*sigh*

Anyhow, I’ll try and get as much done tomorrow and the day after, as I can; even though I know that may only be six articles, total.  But basically, what I have to do is scan and/or read the articles and provide a 100-200 word commentary on each.  I’m going to try and get this done before Saturday, though I’m not sure how realistic a goal that is, at this point.  (It probably depends on what I choose to read and how deeply I choose to read it — scanning first is probably the best idea I’ve had.  Other than, that is, reading the introduction and conclusion of the paper, and first and last sentences of every paragraph, prior to scanning.  I may not have a clear idea of what these things are about, because I gathered them so quickly.)

I should probably also put the files on a flash drive and transfer them to my secondary computer so that I won’t have to worry about not having anything to read, if I get stuck somewhere after the funeral on Saturday — my little tablet lasts about 4-6 hours on a charge.  And I can take with me, the notebook I intended to use for Cataloging and then mostly didn’t — it will work for notations on the readings, which should help summarize them later.  It will probably be simpler than trying to compose notes in a word-processing program.

As for artwork…I drew a border for my relative’s funeral program.  It was nice to be able to do something with my hands, again, though it wasn’t under the best circumstances.  Right now, though, I’m anticipating that program being thrown out by near relatives (different from nuclear family) because of others’ desire for control.  What is positive is that I formed the page I worked on in Photoshop (I did what I thought I had to do and composed the front page as one flattened image, and so the cover is not editable unless it’s totally scrapped, or someone knows how to work with digital images, besides myself.  (Not betting on it.)

My grades are looking relatively good, considering.  I’m looking at a C+ in Cataloging (I PASSED!!!) and A’s or A-‘s in my other two classes.

Also…on Monday or later, I’m hoping to take a trip to the smaller art supply store near me (at least), to pick up some materials for linoleum block printing…which may make working through the grief, worth it.  I found my carving tools, and I was mistaken:  there are no burrs on my knives.  At least, not on the straight ones, or the large oval gouge.  This is good!  I will be able to see if I need to sharpen them, once I start cutting.

(Some of my spiral patterns, or the mon I designed, would make a good first project.)

One thing I’m unsure of, though, is how to make a method of image registration, so that I’m lining things up on my paper the way I want to — a relative necessity in duochrome (two-color) printing or above.  I’m not sure how to do this, yet, though April Vollmer’s Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop seems to briefly go over how this is/was done in Japanese woodblock printing.  I suppose I can see if I can adapt that to linocuts…though Japanese-style printing uses different basic materials than Western-style printing.  Still, though:  I only have four more days to get through in which I’ll have to deal with this last semester…I can make it.

Two weeks after that, my User Experience class starts up.  I took it in part because I wanted to do all the reading (as bizarre as that sounds).

I can also try and do some reading in library books, the two printmaking books I have, or my future textbooks, if I’m at a loss as to what to do.

And ah — right!  I wanted to get back on with learning Japanese language!  That should be fun!

Lest I forget, as well:  I need to back up my files to my Portfolio.  And maybe get a cloud storage account, or something.  I have what I can download, downloaded, and backed up; I need to work online for this other part, though — and I will not have a long time to do so.

I’ve been offered more hours, but really I’m not sure I want to take them — especially because I’m uncertain as to how much of a time commitment UX will be…and it’s rare to get two weeks off with minimal work.

Anyhow, I should likely get going.

I also want to get bocha, but I am not certain where that desire is coming from…I already have another kukicha; two others, in fact.  It’s just that drinking a twig infusion sounds rather earthy, I guess…

Maybe I can make a trip to the tea store in my two weeks off of school…

Almost completely done.

I completed what work I had to do, last night — amazingly enough.  Though I wanted to post this last night, I ended up going to sleep at about 2 AM, having spent about 12 hours total at my workstation that day.  Accordingly, my upper back and shoulders weren’t up to more sitting at this terminal.  D has said that he’s not sure how I do it (he can’t sit for long in my chair), but he’s much leaner than I am.

I did learn a couple of things:  one, before turning in a quiz, be sure to carefully reread the question and make sure you’re answering all parts of it.  I got some points off on my cataloging quiz unnecessarily because I neglected to see that I was being asked to do something that I’d never been asked to do, before.

The second thing had to do with my oral presentation:  I ended up repeating myself a number of times because of the structure of the paper, which I transferred over to the structure of the presentation (although I have heard that repetition isn’t bad, in an oral presentation).  I also learned that if I freeze up, it’s best to stop recording as soon as I find it happening, catch myself, and then restart.

I went over the time limit by about four minutes, even though I found myself talking quickly and quietly (something I’m known for, and have been trying not to do — and didn’t do, the first two times).

Otherwise, there has been a lot of family drama, to understate the obvious.  I don’t know how much I want to get into it, here…but that — and being afraid to start the Annotated Bibliography — is something that kept me in bed for a while, today.  I did get up earlier, but then I lay back down and stayed there until a little less than an hour ago.

In any case, all that’s before me now is the Annotated Bibliography, backing up my assignments to my portfolio, and possibly watching one lecture I didn’t watch because I ran out of time.  And, ah, right — transferring over some notes into a notebook (I used the giant pad of paper and a Sharpie, which is going to destroy what adjoins it if I just cut and paste it).  Otherwise…I’m pretty much done.

Kinda hard to know what to do in this situation, eh?  I can work on the funeral program, though…