photo dump…(implicitly spiritual)

Yes, I am perfectly aware that I will likely have to spend all of tomorrow, studying.  Especially as I came home, ate, lay down in bed, and slept until 9 PM — nearly through dinner.

I’m kind of getting a bit tired, though, of not working visually.  With that in mind, I’ve been browsing my image archives and pulling out things that interest me.  It’s after midnight here now, though, meaning I’ve been working at this for about two hours.  And…I’m having a hard time putting things into words.  Sorry about the lack of context, here:

I’m a bit…a tiny bit shaken by the idea that I may be an artist pursuing a path in Library Science because Art doesn’t pay well.  🙂  And it’s hard.  Maybe I should stop saying it isn’t easy, though.  Do you think that if I told myself, “yeah, Art is easy!  Let’s do it,” I would have an easier time at it?

Sounds like that webpage I read sometime last decade where the author was saying that his friend told him (in Japanese) that “Japanese is easy stuff,” and his comment was, “yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my ***.”

Anyhow, I’m making this page in large part to remind myself of what I find interesting, artistically.

I can see a trend with organic forms…and a gradual movement from monochrome to full color.

I also see pretty much nothing here painted in acrylic, which…maybe tells me that I find the medium a bit intimidating, although the intensity of color I get out of acrylic is higher than what I get out of watercolors.  I think the heavy body paint in Liquitex is also stronger in chroma (intensity) than my FW acrylic inks, as well.  Drawback:  I paint with acrylics in a way that others say looks like watercolor…

I could keep going, but I think that’s enough for now.  (Some of these images have been published before on this blog; some have not.  I fully realize that by releasing them to the wild, they may be copied and reused by others.  Can’t help that…)  This is basically a blog entry for me (reminding me of what’s important in life), but I bet you’ll enjoy it, too.

I should also remember that acrylic paint has a shelf life and needs to be used before it cures in the tube, or the tube itself biodegrades…

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There’s a photo here that I’m missing, precisely because I want to make a painting out of it.  I can’t find the copy of the image I printed, and it is now 12:40 AM:  a bit early to restart PhotoShopping things again.  I have a copy of the image by me.  Maybe I can find the file after I get my work done.

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Last night’s work:

Last night, I had basically had it with technology.  Between not being able to have full functionality at my main station and my mobile device constantly, randomly losing time, I decided to work on something which did not depend on high technology to get a good result.

I’m drafting this out before the fact.  Right now I’ve been awoken by a really strong skunk smell, and the resulting commotion; it is just before dawn, here.  Thus, I need to wait for good lighting, but if I play my cards right, maybe I can get this posted before I have to go.

Pencil sketch.  Needs adjustment -- will do soon.
Pencil sketch. Needs adjustment — will do soon.

This piece really…surprised me.  I had been encouraged by my Professor in Creative Process to keep working at the “flower” angle, especially after I told him what flowers meant to me.  What I did was intended as a mandala, but also works fairly well as an abstracted floral design.

This is done, so far, nearly entirely in HB pencil.  The work to this point took about an hour and a half…but was really calming.  I can, after all, do things independent of computers!  (It just requires getting a bit dirty.)  There was a slip-up near the beginning where I picked up an 8B pencil, thinking it was a 2B, though; I’m not sure that mark will come out, fully.  Right now, for me, the question is which media to proceed with.

I’ve realized that I can do a value-rich underdrawing, coat it in clear gesso, and paint on top of it…but I’m not sure how gouache (or transparent watercolor) will perform on top of gesso.  Plus, I have heard that my Scarlet Lake color (in gouache) may also be fugitive (which means it may fade if I display this piece without a UV protectant)…

I’m fairly certain that I don’t want to use acrylics on this.

I did the linework on a 6″x6″ watercolor paper block…not canvas; and the texture of my heavy body paints is such that I may lose detail if I use them.  Transparent watercolor would be an ideal medium…if it weren’t for the messiness of the underlying drawing.  I have a tendency to smudge my marks in pencil with my hand, so basically everything has at least a thin coating of graphite on it — not to mention the guidelines which I used to keep things close to even.

I have realized that I don’t want to just use the lineart, though.  I want to have some guide as to values (value = the lightness or darkness of a tone), because I don’t want this to be completely flat.  I could…go in with heavily diluted acrylics (using Glazing Medium), if I put clear gesso over the whole thing; then I could keep the underdrawing.

Or, I could erase as much unnecessary pencil as I could, then work at this with transparent watercolor, colored pencil, and use gouache for highlights.

Or I could go over the underdrawing with clear gesso and work with gouache on top, which is what I had initially planned.  I’m not sure whether this will work, though.  I’ve never used gouache on top of gesso, before; let alone clear gesso on top of watercolor paper.

I do have a throwaway piece of watercolor paper, though (it was flawed, so I cut it off the block before drawing this piece), with which I can test out my media.  That seems like the logical next step, before deciding what media to use on the final piece…

Or, hey, I could just use graphite and other pencils over the whole thing.  Maybe including watercolor pencil…

In completion the new seed is born

I have actually managed to finish this mandala.  I’m fortunate that I have time available to devote to this.  But recently, I’ve been thinking on how lucky I am to have my family still with me, and along with that goes my own aging, along with the career setup.  I’ve got to remember, though, that the hard part is to keep going (the message that came along with this mandala was along these lines).

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Pencils done, no ink yet.

The first image here is from having finally gotten the bravery to finish drawing in my pencils.  I’m including these first two images for my own records…

It was actually kind of a bit of a decision to make, as to whether to ink this, or paint directly on top of the pencils (I could have blotted up some of the darkness of the graphite with a kneaded eraser).

I should probably mention, as well, that the graphite here never came fully out of the paper.  There are some lines that were incised into the paper…even lines that I thought were light.  The only thing I can think of to do about this is to use a more erasable pencil, like a Pentel mechanical pencil, which has leads designed to be easy to erase.  Either this, or I’ll have to be careful of the thickness/lushness of the paper I use, if I ever want to color these with dry media.  (Incised lines show up under colored and regular pencils as whitish lines, as the later leads can’t penetrate into them to color them.)

Eventually, what I ended up doing was using a set of light grey Copic fineliners to go over the pencils.  These weren’t the finest nibs — but the 0.1, 0.3, and 0.5 mm are the ones I think I used.  I need to learn to press more lightly on these, as well — I could have wrecked the 0.1 and 0.3 by using too much hand pressure.  The tips are just delicate.

For those of you who are interested, these are from the Warm Grey set, as I intended to work with warm colors, and wanted the lines to recede (otherwise, I would have used black).

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Inking done with warm grey Copic fineliners

Something, to me, seemed to have been lost when I erased the pencil guidelines (as much as I could, anyway), and was left with the bare linework.  It seems like there was kind of a dimensionality to the pencils that went flat once the graphite was (mostly) erased and I was left with just this two-color skeleton.

Now that I’m looking at these together, I can see that there was some form of an advancing trumpet shape in the pencils, which I somehow lost in the inking plus cleanup.

Completed...relatively.
Completed…relatively.

I’m not totally satisfied with how the coloring went.

From thinking on this last night, I knew that I wanted to do something with orange, yellow, pink, and blue.  I also knew that I wanted the angular shapes around the outside rim to be darker in value than the background.  The flame shapes around the outside needed to be yellow.  But that’s as far as I had gotten, in regard to what colors or values went, where.

The base of the outer orange of this set of colors was a deep Hansa yellow, plus Cadmium Orange Hue, which I later glazed over with a warm red-orange mixture (I used four colors and can’t remember exactly which they were — except I used Vermilion Deep [high tinting power!] with at least one or two yellows to cancel the intense red) which seemed to help it, a lot.

And, yeah, Winsor Yellow is probably one of my weakest colors, despite the fact that it could fight off Vermilion Deep…I’m thinking of trying a different brand when I have to replace my tube (or get a large tube instead of a tiny one).

Right now I’m wondering whether to work wet-into-wet with Ultramarine, around the base of the pink petals.  The trumpeting effect is not something I saw up close, but now that I see these photos (akin to seeing things from a distance), I can kind of sense where I could have enhanced the image.

The teal is Phthalo Blue (GS) with Sap Green (a chance I took; Sap Green has a yellow overtone which I wasn’t sure would work out); the purple, Magenta Permanent with Dioxazine Violet.  The pink petals are Permanent Rose, which also forms the base of the red circle at the center, though in the latter I glazed over the area with Winsor Red.

As for anything inside that center…I used mostly Ultramarine there, with some kind of cool yellow plus water, scrubbing, and a relatively clean brush, to create the greens in the very center.

I was trying to keep relatively clean colors, which is why there wasn’t any mixing across the color wheel — and why I went in with some pure pigments.

I’m fairly certain that my color scheme doesn’t lend itself well to a traditional reading of what the mandala may signify.  😉  Four-petaled lotus and Ultramarine Blue don’t necessarily mesh, iconographically…but yeah, I was just trying to get this out some way similar to how it wanted to come out.

I’m still wanting to add more red around the outer ring; though in what form, I’m not sure.  It was kind of a pain to paint those arrowhead-looking things, including the areas inside them — though I think I got a balance of positive and negative space going there, fairly well.  Maybe if I painted Vermilion around the outer edges of the circle, edging in toward the shapes (to break up that negative space), keeping an ovoid halo around the flames, and added Ultramarine to the center of the pink flower?

That could work…the question now, though, is whether I draw in guidelines or just try to wing it…

And, right:  the title of this post simply means that I can see other ways that I could have worked out what I did.  This, then, gives me the inspiration to try again, and try something different.  🙂  So many more ways of doing things present themselves than are able to be expressed, that it takes multiple additional iterations to try and answer the questions of, “what if I did things differently”…and those later iterations raise even more questions, so this becomes an ongoing process.

When I met my Art teacher at work the other day, I almost felt apologetic to tell her that I was simply working with mandalas, but even this will give one a taste of creative process…and that’s invaluable.

Wave propagation

It’s been a few days since I wrote, last.  In the interim, I’ve tried reaching out to one of my old classmates from the Art program (still haven’t heard back), and ran across the head of my old Art Department, at work.  I also have found that I will need to talk to my Head Librarian about the possibility of work-study from the job I already have.

So far as University goes…I’ve realized that if I’m doing a distance-learning program, I will need to keep all of my own records, organized.  I started mapping out what requirements the classes I’ve taken so far will cover.  Also — from within the basic program, I may not be able to (or want to, for that matter) take as many technical courses as I thought I wanted, prior to getting a slightly better feel for the LIS (Library/Info. Science) terrain.

I did sign up for two classes which looked interesting (beyond my required core course), both of which prepare me for being a Public Librarian.  I’m very aware that I’ve said I don’t want to work in a Public Library for the rest of my life, but my interests and work experience aim me in this direction, ironically.

Today has been fairly quiet.  I am finding a bit of reluctance to revisit the mandala I was making, although in the process of making it, I did come to a metaphysical “realization” (or vision/hypothesis, rather); which was fairly profound, and a new synthesis of a number of philosophical threads I’ve been working on for years.

I didn’t feel quite ready to post it, here.  If I did post it here, I’m not exactly sure what I’d be after, by doing so (except maybe trying to pay it forward and/or have a preserved record of my thought).  I’m not wanting to show off, that is, and I have a Jain-like drive to not want to unintentionally lead anyone astray, in case I’m wrong.  There is also the potential for misuse…like the Theory of Relativity leading to the hydrogen bomb.

Hence, the reason why I wrote what I did to a friend…but response times take longer through email, than here.  That email was pretty gigantic, too…I think I counted three pages when I transferred it back over to my own archive.  (I just checked:  it spills over into a fourth page.  Sorry!)

I probably should have asked about his tolerance for reading and talking about spirituality, before I sent a metaphysical tract…

And I really do want to get back into working on that mandala, but I think I’m having a little bit of fear coming up now (sometimes art influences writing, sometimes writing influences art; and sometimes either one can introduce profound psychological changes).  I’m thinking that what I’m finding…is that I’ve stumbled upon my life mission — which is, in short, to be creative.

This brings up two new threads, though:  one, I can’t predict the consequences of that which I create; two, I cannot predict how what I create will change me or the world.

If I were a more adventurous type, I would say that this would be the fun of it; but right now I am more in a place of having some knowledge or thought or suspicion that the good thoughts I have come from somewhere in effect external to my waking thought process.  I’m aware that not everything I think is sourced from the small egoistic “I”, that is, and so when that’s confirmed, it can be a bit challenging.

Anyhow.  What I want to do right now is go and work on my mandala, so I think that’s what I’m going to do.  I’ve also got to remember that I can look in my career books if I run out of reasons to stay awake.  🙂

I started writing about mandalas and ended up writing about inks.

I feel like maybe I should be looking at alternatives to Library School, while I have the free time.  I have just been thinking about how most Library Assistants who float between branches can end up with six hours or so at Circulation (or so it seems) when substituting for a Clerk.  Circulation can be easy — and it usually is — except when I get cases which I have to refer to higher ranking staff.  Which I’d be, mind you, if I took that job.

I’ll try not to go any further into that.

Earlier, I did continue on the little art-making spree I’ve been on since late last night (I think I’m going in little “spurts” of energy with everything:  I haven’t, for example, touched the career reading for days).  What I can say is that it’s been so long since I’ve seen multiple mandalas (though I just spotted both of my mandala coloring books), that I had to go and look through the “mandala” tag on the Reader just to get a sense of what basic shapes other people have filled the spaces with.  I didn’t want to stick with the cliché lotus petals.  I mean, they’re nice, but I need some variety, you know?  😉

It could be interesting, to make a research project out of this…unfortunately, as for now, the post I have in mind to create isn’t fully formed, yet.  I want to make examples of how space can be divided up (360/?), the differences that the orientation of these spaces can make, and what simple shapes can take up those spaces — which will require either photography or my Wacom.  I have a strong feeling that reference to the Seven Basic Motifs of Best Maugard will come in handy here…though again, to explain this is much eased by using visual aids.

Right now, though…I feel like it’s writing time, not art time.  It could be the sunset, or it could be the fact that I’m not wearing my glasses — or maybe that’s just enough “art” for the day.  I got to the point with my second mandala of the day (not counting the one at midnight last night) where I really had to take a photograph, because I could see this mandala diverging in a way that I hadn’t expected.

Right now I have a kind of Art Deco-type pattern going on in the background which is reminding me of shark teeth.  I had expected “arrowhead,” not so much “shark.”

But with my mental state as it is, things like that are going to come out.

I’m also experimenting with an asymmetrical fill pattern, for the first time — it looks fairly nice, except for the fact that it’s swirling counterclockwise and I noticed, but made no change to it (because, I expect stuff like that to come out at this time).  For those who don’t know:  counterclockwise spiralling can indicate decay or death (IIRC), though this is more of a fire-type motif (probably a “Wheel of Fire” reference).

Right now, I have maybe three out of ten spaces filled with the shark pattern.  I’ve also realized why others have used edges to their work with mandalas — there’s a lot of underlying work which happens before any of the final elements are laid in, which has to be decluttered before painting.  I’m just not sure whether I want a deep black in there, or not (I have a tendency to paint pastel-toned paintings; going all the way in tonality to black could be shocking as regards the rest of the work…or it could force me to use a decent amount of paint, which may not be a bad thing).

Right now I have four options, as regards inking:  Black, Sanguine, Warm Grey, or Cool Grey waterproof fineliner.  Both of the Grey tone pens will be barely noticeable.  I’m using a 2B pencil (Faber-Castell; I love these, even though I have expressed frustration with 2B before) to do all of the basic pencil work, intending to erase it out, later — so it’s nice to have some inks that can withstand eraser scrubbing — and water.

Why only these four colors?  The other fineliners I have are all water-soluble (Stabilo and Staedtler); and I’m not intending to underpaint with them.  🙂  Both Micron and Copic have relatively decent waterproof qualities, though I’m much more familiar with Microns.  Pitt pens by Faber-Castell…they say that they are waterproof, but my own tests have shown a bit of pigment movement under water; a second student in my program confirmed this when I mentioned it.

I do also have bottled ink, which I didn’t remember until just now.  I was in class with someone who would use ink wash as an underdrawing and then layer color on top of it.  I’m not sure what type of ink that was, but it didn’t budge under the later painting.

I suspect it might have been waterproof Sumi ink, but there is no way that I’m using the bottle I have of that, with all the caution signs that are on it (it contains shellac, meaning it probably also contains camphor as a solvent…and I don’t remember either of those as being safe.  The bottle says to wash your hands for 15 minutes if you get it on your skin, IIRC).

I have Yasutomo bottled ink, already (needed it for a Drawing class); and I don’t remember it moving under subsequent layers of water when I used it on Illustration board (the latter of which, I still don’t know how to use — it’s kind of weird how the board warps [and unwarps] with water), even though that ink is not said to be waterproof.  I think it just soaked into the board and got stuck.  It would be interesting to see how this ink behaves on a different material.

I’m thinking that traditionally, the setup for Sumi-E is very different from what we would use with Western watercolors; it would be on top of an absorbent surface, and the paper would not be thick cotton-rag watercolor paper, but probably more like washi paper (which is very thin).  I’ve never done this myself, mind you; so I’m not an expert…but watercolor paper is likely not a traditional surface on which to use Sumi ink!

Stick-based Sumi ink (with a brush, for toned areas) would likely be physically safer than the waterproof liquid stuff, but it’s been a really long time since I’ve ground my own ink…and I would need to learn how to recognize the type of stick I would want (Sumi ink is generally either pine soot or vegetable oil soot; the two of these formulations have different properties).  I’m lucky that I can already (somewhat?  I see another spelling) recognize the kanji for “pine” (the one I’m thinking of is very basic, and another reason I’d like to just simply insert images here [not that I would have known beforehand that I’d want to show a kanji for “pine”])…but going further than that, I’d be best off asking a specialty provider of Asian art materials:  one of which, I know; shipping just may cost as much as my order.  Then there is Japantown, but I’d be relying on the salespeople there to read things for me.

My biggest concern with using bottled ink is what type of nib to use.  I need fine lines, meaning I’d probably need a steel nib (not quill [which it seems one needs to be able to make on one’s own], bamboo, or reed), meaning I’d have to prep the steel nib (there is an anti-rust coating on them that repels ink and has to be burned off; meaning I’d need some way to hold that nib while it’s smoking hot, and I may have softened one pair of plier jaws already by doing this; I count myself lucky that I can even still use those pliers)…it may be too much trouble, for now.

Anyway…these are side streets that I don’t have to take, for now, but which may be interesting in the future.  In particular, I’m looking at this train of thought I started with the Sumi ink, brushes, and nibs.  I kind of wonder what I can do, with that…I had been thinking about using inks more, at the beginning of Summer Break.  Then I got more into the work with the Watercolors — particularly after acquiring a more-full palette.

I still really do want to see what possibilities of colors I can get with the newer pigments I obtained.  The major ones are a deep Hansa Yellow, close to Gamboge or Indian Yellow; a light Hansa Yellow (they’re very different); Deep Vermilion; Magenta Permanent; Dioxazine Violet; Sap Green; and Payne’s Grey.  I also want to see what I can get by mixing my Earth Tones with more concentrated color!  (I started at this today with Burnt Sienna + Deep Vermilion, which…oddly enough, gave a flesh tone?)

What I need to start doing is working at some mixing charts…it would have been easier today if, for example, I knew what my colors were going to do when I mixed them!  I guess there is a place for preliminary play…

Testing the water(colors?)

I think that I am beginning to come out of my slump.

Having reached the point where I’ve realized that doing any art at all, no matter how small that effort is, will benefit me…I have moved some of my art materials back into my bedroom.  Easy access from my bed means I’m more likely to get out of bed (which is where I hang out when I’m depressed) and work with them.

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Firefly?

Last night, I was playing around with some pens…as they’re one of the most attractive (although not the easiest) media for me to go to.  I also started playing around with something I had been experimenting with in the Art program — spirals within other shapes.

This little bug was the result.  🙂  Apologies for the blurriness — this must be at least 5x as big as the drawing is, IRL.

I don’t really know what a firefly looks like, in reality, but again, this was just me playing around.  Research tends to come after rough drafts (at least for those developing ideas only loosely based on truth), and rough drafts are generally not very good — but they often contain or point to the essence of what is trying to come out.

And, then…well…last night I also started to work again in vine charcoal.  What I was doing seems silly, now, so I have hesitated in posting about it.  I’ve decided to include it anyway, though, for my own records.

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Vine charcoal

The experience of working in vine, again, did get me thinking on going outside and using my charcoals and Conté crayons to sketch…as these media are relatively nontoxic and simple to use.

I had noticed when trying to express myself with pencil, I was having a difficult time breaking out of linework.  Which is, of course, something a pencil is ideally designed for, but if you don’t want to do that anymore, switching media isn’t a bad idea.  (When I was a youth, I would draw with mechanical pencil.  Talk about precision!  But that’s not something that’s always desired.)

I did try and “color” with the vine, which is something that vine charcoal isn’t suited for — but I’m not in classes, anymore, so I get to do what I want to do.  😉

I was also using a charcoal paper by Strathmore — I think it’s 25% hemp fiber content.  It just feels really nice to use, in a tactile sense, but there is a grid texture to it which can be unwanted, depending on personal preference or the project at hand.  You can see the pattern in the image I’ve posted, above.

Last night, I also started on another mandala, utilizing the paper-folding technique that I had used for my last large attempt at making mandalas.  It’s too faint to photograph, though.

Today, I got out my compass (first I had to remember that I had one, and where it was), and I think that using the compass will be a really good first step for me in most mandala work.  When I use the paper-folding technique on its own, I tend to get mandalas which are more square than round.  This can be useful at times, but there’s something about a circle which is more attractive to me.  I don’t have to base my work on the bounds of a square format, after all.

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Practice with watercolors.

In any case, I drew a simple pattern out today with my compass, in my AquaBee journal.  The paper is heavy enough to take wet media, but it still warps.  I did, though, try playing around with watercolors on top of it…and this, this was fun!

I didn’t realize when I was drawing out this very simple form, how many different areas it would give me to play with colors.  TBH, the only reason it is this form is that I didn’t want to go find my protractor.  ^_^;;  I know where it is, I’m fairly certain; but one thing I’ve learned from my job is that most people are relatively lazy.  😉

(So I’m not the only one!)

In the process of working with the watercolors, I tried to stick back down the areas in my palette where the paint separated from the wells.  In the center blossom there, too, I started using desaturated and earth tones, whereas most of the rest of the mandala has areas which are one to three colors of paint, mixed — I think the only straight pigment is Magenta Permanent on the far left; the most complex is probably Phthalo Green + Permanent Rose + Phthalo Blue (GS).

I did get some interesting effects when I laid down a color (in both cases, a yellow) and then layered other colors on top of them while they were still wet (Sap Green, and likely, Cadmium Orange Hue).  I also got a little bit of a bleed on the right side, of an orange into Burnt Sienna + Deep Vermilion, but I think that this really only adds to the “magic” of what happened in the painting.  That is, randomness added to what happened, there, as versus screwing it up.  😉

And, just to let you know, there was little to no prior planning of what color would go where, which is why I’m kind of amazed that this doesn’t look like a mess.  I’m also really surprised that the underlying drawing fades back so much, and that it’s OK-to-good that it does this.  Most of my prior work in watercolors, aside from Watercolor class, has had a hard-edged look because of using fineliners…but maybe I don’t want to block myself into that route.

I’m thinking that my paper should be dry now, so I can go and play more in my sketchbook…

There is one more point, though, that is at the back of my mind.  This is the idea that when I don’t do art, I’m unwell…or when I do work at art, I am well?  Maybe the latter is more true.  It’s something to revisit, soon — but it’s the reason I’m going through all of this with Library School; so that I can have time and money to do this, so that I can be healthy.  I should remember, though, that becoming a Librarian is not the only route to a secure living…it’s just the one in front of me, at the moment.

Inspiration? Too many directions?

I spent most of my free time yesterday and today, going through old artworks, sketchbooks, etc…reorganizing the shelves, scooping up beads I left out a year ago.  I must have vacuumed up 14 dead spiders.  Right now…I’m looking at the sketchbook I had been working in at school, where I was toying with sun symbols.

There are a lot of things I could do, creatively.  The issue is remembering what they are, and letting myself play.  For instance:  acetate stencils, painting on oversized plywood (be careful, this ate up one of my nice boar-hair brushes — though I’m not sure if it was the acrylic base of the paint, the gesso, or the plywood), painting “after” others’ paintings, suminagashi printing, subtractive drawing, color studies, mandalas, experimenting with inks and steel-nib pens, ink-wash drawing, combining ink-wash drawing with watercolor (I haven’t tried this yet, but know it can be done), doing swatch comparisons between watercolor grades and pigments, playing with new pigments in Watercolor, going out to draw/paint botanicals, drawing in opaque media on black paper, ‘zine preparation, developing my Symbol story into an actual manuscript, working on (creative) stick figures and graphic representations, completing one or more of the many unfinished works I started years ago, screwing around with my Neocolor IIs to see what I can get out of them, trying out acrylic inks, etc.

I’m sure I could go on — I know there’s at least one of these options that has slipped my mind — but I think the point is clear.

Ah!  Beadwork!  Macramé!  Almost forgot about those!  Not to mention having found two dichroic glass cabochons and my stash of stone cabochons, yesterday, which are just begging me to try bead embroidery on them, with a woven chain.  I ran across at least four unfinished beaded objects while I was trying to consolidate the space these projects were taking up, though to be fair, most of those were experiments.  One of them I started and then left off of, frustrated by the color work — one to two years later, it looks really nice:  rainbow red-violet with gold.  😛  Another is in tangerine and capri blue — still a striking combination, just not “me.”

If I’m going to be doing macramé, as well — there’s no better way to start that than just to start playing with cords, and see what I can come up with.  (It’s how I created my first original pattern.)  I should try and find my Alligator Tape for that, though — it’s an abrasion-resistant self-adhering tape for wrapping skin — knotting at my normal tension is really hard on my hands.  Particularly, my pinkies get worn and start developing calluses after about two days of knotting.

I think that if I just want to do something creative, without too much brain drain, playing with the beads, suminagashi printing, or color swatches and playing at color mixing, are probably the “easiest” things here.  I’ve got to remember, though, that it isn’t a sin to use up paper.  😉  And actually, mandala generation also falls in here, too — I found my old packet of patterns, which should help me get back into the swing of things.

I’ve noticed something that I hadn’t for nearly the entire time that I was in the Art program, which is that my approximations of angles and precision where it comes to where I put my stylus, when drawing or painting, are much more refined, now.  I was able to draw a 16-point Sun symbol between classes, without a compass, with pretty close to even spacing between each feather.  What I don’t know about, but could ask — is whether there is a meaning attached to having a specific number of feathers.  I could also look on the bracelet which was the basis of learning the symbol, to see how many feathers it has — that might give me a hint.

One other thing that I noticed:  I’ve begun to unconsciously use geometry in my work:  dividing spaces into thirds and fifths (in ideal form), without realizing it.

Yeah, maybe I’ll work at the geometry thing!  It sounds fun enough.  Or I could go to one of my Dover books and look over it for inspiration (color changes everything)…