I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell –
my designs sell out!

Friday, December 8, 2017

"Nightmare"

I finished another painting.  Woo hoo!  This one went faster than the last, though it still took considerably longer than it feels like it should.  Maybe it would go quicker if I didn't spend hours staring at it and pondering?  Whatever.  It is what it is, and the process was the point in this case.

I wanted a beer bottle in my box, but didn't want it to dominate.  I knew it should stand in the corner, but that involved perspective and foreshortening, and I really didn't want to get into that.  I spent a few days procrastinating, avoiding, and plea bargaining with myself.  Eventually, the beer bottle ended up where it was always meant to be.

It's been a while since I actually had to map out such things correctly, and the process made me think that it was a good tutorial, especially since this piece is comparatively simple perspective with only one vanishing point.  I'm also aware some people have nightmares about perspective.  (Yeah, I know, that's a stretch for this week's word.)  You can click on the pics to make them larger to see details.

1. Establish the vanishing point by following the corners of the box until all the lines meet.  (I changed the vanishing point later, so don't get confused by that.  I also broke the rules in one area for my own reasons, but that's why we get artistic license.)


2. In one-point perspective, all vertical lines (things that move away from the viewer) will go to the vanishing point.  All things facing the viewer will be flat circles and rectangles.



3. For the beer bottle, draw a circle where it will sit, then draw a square around the circle because it's easier to plot squares in perspective than circles.  Draw lines from the vanishing point to the corners of the square.

4. Draw another square where the bottle is fattest near the top.  Line up the corners of the square with the same vanishing points as used for the first square.  Put a circle in the square, and draw lines from the vanishing point to the edges of the circles.  Congratulations!  You've just drawn a cylinder in space!

5. The process is the same for the bottle neck.  Find the center of your first circle and draw a line to the vanishing point.  This will be the center of your neck too.  Of course, beer bottles aren't quite as simple as 2 cylinders floating in space.  They're full of curves, but after placing the cylinders you can tidy it up within a framework of logic.

In reality, I made this all harder than it needed to be when I was actually painting the bottle.  I made the tutorial afterwards and could smack myself for all extra work I put into it.  But, my extra work is an opportunity for a lesson.  Don't get caught up with the details.  What is the basic form of what you're trying to reproduce?  Start there.  It's like drawing a face.  Don't start with an eyelash.  Start with an oval and figure out where the eyes go first.  Maybe I should do a tutorial on faces sometime?  This painting was a whole lot of itsy bitsy portraits on bumpy canvas.  The finished painting is 18" x 24".

Saturday, December 2, 2017

"Wealth"

Did you know a fortune cookie has 27 ½ calories?  That's ridiculous.  A ½ cup serving of Sylvia's turnip greens is 50, which includes actual food value and bacon bits.  I was sidelined with migraines this week and had some extra time to contemplate my food labels.  After some careful consideration, I decided 27 of the calories in a fortune cookie is in the fortune, so I didn't eat that part.

(...drumming my fingers on my keyboards trying very hard not to type anything about my traitor-filled, racist, misogynist government passing a bill to rob the poor and middle-class to give more wealth to the wealthy since I just ranted about sexual harassment last week.  The news may have been a contributing factor in my migraines?)

I've been privileged to live near or with wealthy people even though I never had any of that wealth myself.  It's nice to share their perks.  They have cool toys, great food, more land, house, privacy, and other stuff.  The thing is, they don't seem very happy.  They're often very lonely.  They don't trust anyone likes them for themselves, just for what others are trying to get from them.  They can feel guilty and inadequate for being over-blessed.

I sometimes call my childhood home "the slum of Willoughby Hills" because flood plain houses are often inexpensive, converted summer cottages while the uphill areas are generally middle to upper middle class, and my nearest neighbors had extreme wealth.  As a lonely child, I often visited the lonely old people ensconced in their mansions surrounded by their manicured and spacious estates.  I picked flowers for the old man with the golf cart.  I drank tea with the old lady amongst her doilies and fragile figurines.  I listened to their stories because nobody else listened to them anymore.

I made my rounds to the old people in The Glen too.  I wasn't particular about perks.  I enjoyed perks when I got them, didn't miss them when I didn't.  In some way I thought my rounds were my charity work.  In another way, I was getting friendship and attention.

I don't want to portray myself as somehow sainted for my charity visits.  I was bored.  When my childish energy couldn't take the echoing halls of mansions anymore, I ran around the grounds and I petted sheep and goats and fed apples to horses.  I liked being privileged enough to have the freedom to enjoy these special places that were worked by hired hands and admired only through windows.

Maybe the lesson I received from all my old people is patience?  Maybe it was the art of conversation?  To listen, to try to understand, to find common ground?

I hate seeing people ignoring each other while texting garbage on their phones.  Talk and listen with each other.  Share cookies.  Find ways to bridge differences and explore common ground.  I'll try to remember that when I'm incensed about the news.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

"Inside"

I should either rake leaves outside or clean house inside today.  What I've actually done is watch news and play computer games.  Today is supposed to be the chilliest day of the week so the housekeeping idea is gaining a little traction, and staying inside would allow me to continue my news obsession.

There's all sorts of major things going on in the greater world, but the news isn't talking much about that.  It's mostly about sexual harassment.  You may remember this is a topic that hits close to home since it was major factor at my last job, and most of my other jobs, and it seems people are noticing it happens to quite a few women.

I've had quite a few conversations with men lately on the topic.  Some get it, as well as anyone can who isn't living it.  More seem ignorant or misinformed.  It doesn't occur in front of them, so they have a hard time believing it's as prevalent or serious as claimed.

One male friend asked why I thought it had happened so often to me.  Because I've been single?  Because I worked in a male-dominated profession? Because I'm assertive and accomplished?  Because I turned down cheating coworkers for dates?  As more and more women come out with their stories, I wonder if I'm not as alone as I've felt.  It's part of our culture where a woman is paid and valued less than a man.  This article expresses someof the issues, but it only addresses the conditioning females endure.

I've been adding up the perps in my life and I'm flabbergasted by the sheer quantity of them, and I'm not counting cat callers and ass grabbers.  I've been assaulted, harassed, and discriminated against.  I've suffered stalking, break-ins, window peeping, and phone calls.  Some of this lasted years, and the police and other authorities were useless.  And for the record, I wasn't dressed like a slut and it wasn't my fault.  The perps were usually attractive and well-off.  All were white.

Women forced to leave jobs due to harassment have to work their way up ladders over and over in ways men don't have to do -- which is another justification to pay women less and pass them over for promotions.  Keep in mind, they climb those ladders while coping with the traumas they've been accumulating on the job, and often go home to verbally or physically abusive mates.

We need to speak up and support each other, and that includes good men who are willing to talk about the subject.  Everyone needs to understand that it's going to continue because perpetrators aren't caught or prosecuted.  Too many events are he said/she said without a chance of justice.  But, women are finally getting believed.  It's a start.

Reluctantly climbing off of my soap box where I could rant considerably longer, the leaves are calling.  It's cathartic to listen to the news when perps are finally getting outed, but my lawn is orange with leaves.  Fresh air and exercise feels like it's winning over housekeeping.  This is older art, done at another job where I was harassed and discriminated against, where my boss exposed himself, where his female boss laughed it off as "boys will be boys"... ohmmm... yeah, fresh air, exercise, happy thoughts!

Friday, November 17, 2017

"Skill"

Nobody is born a "master" at anything.  Child prodigies aren't born with skills.  The child sits in front of a piano, loves plinking at the keys, and continues to plink until the noise becomes music.  They're praised, and they plink a lot more.  Maybe the kid was born into a musical family, maybe a parent teaches them some things.  A prodigy develops over time in a fertile environment.  So too with art and any other pursuit that requires skill, even if most of us won't be child prodigies and learn our skills as adults.

I've been in the archives this week.  I'm working on another painting and was looking for reference materials.  In the hunt, I discovered these rare, preschool drawings.  To my knowledge, these are the only evidence of my early art efforts until I started saving my drawings many years later.  I can only wonder about my concepts of anatomy back then, or what was going on around me to inspire love and hate.

I tend to think art is an inheritable tendency.  I'm from an artistic family, and because they're artistic, my parents encouraged me.  I suppose they probably also appreciated the fact that art is a quiet activity and easier for adults to be around?  But, I started out like every other kid with a crayon.  I looked at my world and tried to copy my vision of it.  I got better at doing that over time.  I enjoyed doing it, so I did more of it.  I was competitive enough to want to do it better than my peers.  I wanted praise.  Eventually, I got to the point where I developed some real skills.  I studied and acquired more skills.

Now, it seems like the world doesn't care about those skills that I've spent so many hours accumulating.  The painting I'm working on could be accomplished much faster, and more technically perfect, on the computer.  I've been giving some thought to the practical stupidity of spending so much time on things that aren't going to pay the bills.

And I don't care.

It might be the first time in decades that I don't care.  I'm painting for me.  I'm working through personal issues with paint and feeling a pleasure that I haven't felt for a very long time -- and kind of stumbling into an awareness that this kind of painting is far more important than all the BS I did as an illustrator/graphic designer through the years.

It would be nice to get money for these paintings, but the paintings are more important to me than the bucks.  Of course this is only true because I still have enough money to keep the lights on.  Life would be so much easier if I had a trust fund or a patron.  (If you didn't see the other painting, you can see it here.)

This is just a part of the unfinished painting.  At the moment, it's a mostly empty box which I'm going to fill up with things.  I'm having some trouble planning out how to make things fit inside, but even that problem is a pleasure at the moment.  One thing is for sure though, this painting will go much faster than the last one!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

"Wax"

Sis ate one of my crayons.  It was a broken bit of a useless color like mustard or flesh, but still, eating non-food items was curious, and eating my crayons was criminal.  Even at my tender age of about 4, I wanted to know why she did it.  "A girl in my class eats crayons.  I wanted to know what they taste like."  Well, what did it taste like?  "Like a candle, like wax."  Sis sorted through my colors and picked up another broken bit of an expendable color.  She popped it in her mouth, chewed thoughtfully, and pronounced crayons weren't worth eating.

I waited until she was off to more exciting adventures before sampling an expendable color myself.  Blech.  I felt sorry for that girl in Sis' class.  Something wasn't right about her.  This was before I went to class and found out quite a few kids eat non-food art supplies.  I sampled glue and decided that was right up there with crayons, but paste?  Mmmm.  The paste even had a convenient plastic paddle inside for convenient licking.

"If everybody jumped off a bridge, would you follow them?" Dad asked.  Yes, as it turns out, I would jump off the bridge, but that was quite a few years later.  I felt like telling Dad it was fun too, but then I heard about kids getting paralyzed doing that kind of thing and kept quiet.  I also learned that eating my paste meant I had less paste for art.  Less art is stupid.  Don't eat paste.

Sometimes I look at people and see a world filled with lemmings running off cliffs.  Think for yourself!  I can feel superior in these moments and completely forget that I ate a crayon and jumped off a bridge (plus a plethora of other ill-advised activities).

There are other times I think being an independent minded person is punishing.  I can see the cliff coming.  I can warn others about the cliff.  We all go over the cliff anyway.  Ignorance is bliss until you hit the bottom, and then I'm pretty sure none of the lemmings are thinking about their choices anymore.  Sometimes I'd like to be ignorant too.

We've all eaten a crayon or licked paste or some equivalent action because we saw someone else doing it.  I was going to write that nothing good ever comes from it, but I remembered learning to use a computer.  I tried reading about it, but I didn't get it until I watched someone else use it.  We learn by following.  It's just the next step, tasting the crayon and deciding not to eat another that's important.  What do you do with all of the things you've learned?

In art, we can see when someone takes off their training wheels.  There are millions of Bob Ross knock offs, and then you see a landscape with life and colors that weren't shown on the tv how-to show.  That's the magic, when someone expresses themselves instead of simply copying.  Art mirrors life.  You can feel the joy when someone takes off the training wheels of their lives and thinks for him/herself.

I'm pretty sure we're all some mix of crayon eaters and artists.  We're all works in progress.  It keeps life interesting.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

"Women"

Harvey Weinstein's despicable behavior may have a positive outcome for women?  The fame of many of his victims has brought national attention to a subject women have known a long time.  The fact that many of the famous women, and Weinstein himself, are Democrats have Republicans excited to report it.  Democrats sin.  Take your attention off alleged presidential treason, tax evasion, and money laundering.  Republicans are also delighted about the Democratic party making a deal with pre-convention Hillary Clinton.

As a Bernie supporter, I'm seriously annoyed with the Democratic party.  I addictively watch news about the varied investigations into the Russian scandal.  T whines he wants investigations into HC's emails whenever he's in trouble though authorities have already said HC made poor decisions without breaking the law.  Let's get to the main issue that effects everybody, sexism.

I'm delighted to hear men talking about the topic.  Granted, a sorry amount of those men seem to completely miss the point of the subject, but they're talking.  It's a start.

Sexism isn't about sex.  It's domination and bullying.  Offenders are often married or in relationships.  They get consensual sex.  Harassing a woman at work makes them feel powerful.  In no way is this a "flattering" or "friendly".  Here's some statistics...

  • Nearly 1 in 5 women report being raped.
  • About 1 in 20 women experienced sexual violence other than rape in the last 12 months.
  • 20% of all US crime is domestic violence and it is the leading cause of injury for women.  The FBI estimates violence will occur in 2/3 of all marriages."
That's enough statistics.  It's a violent world.  That violence follows us through office doors.  The greatest tragedy is that the violence is tacitly condoned by the powers that be.  Human Resources departments exist to protect companies.  Policemen are often child abusers and wife beaters.  Laws are written to protect men in power.  Victims fear to band together because they are afraid they'll lose their positions.

Many otherwise good people seem blind to reality.  Maybe Weinstein's abuses finally breaks through decades of concrete bubbles around other abusers?  When Bill O'Reilly was outed, many enjoyed his downfall without much sympathy to his quickly forgotten victims.  When Anita Hill testified to Congress, she was criticized and diminished while Clarence Thomas was given a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Sexism is a huge topic that effects women at work and at home.  I suppose it takes some famous women to make the point, but it happens to your mom, aunt, sister, daughter, niece, friend, neighbor, and maybe to you.  Also, as Kevin Spacey demonstrated, not all victims are female.

Keep talking.  Don't let this bubble fade without awareness and change.

This art is something I did for American Mensa's Bulletin magazine.  In this context, it's a reminder that the world can be a place of comfort and support between genders.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"Spooky"

DadadaDA!!  I finished my painting.  Woo hoo!  Yay!  A painting I realize has very little to do with "spooky" -- then I remembered painting The Ghost of Dibble Hollow, so I'm clearly completely legit about following the word for the week :)

There's a lot I could say about this painting, but I'm curious about what you think of it without anymore explanation than I've already given.  I've even got another painting  or 2 in mind that will follow similar themes.  Hopefully they won't take years to complete!

As for "spooky", when we were kids, Sis2 and her friends played "Who's Afraid of Bloody Mary?"  They took turns locking each other in a closet and scaring themselves silly.  I got shoved into the closet for a turn too.  I reluctantly said the words 3x and felt torn between terror and healthy skepticism.

The other girls wouldn't let me out.  As the youngest, they thought they could get me to scream the loudest, and they kept me incarcerated for a very long time.  I amused myself by examining the contents of the closet by candlelight.  By the time I was allowed out, I'd lost most of my fear and come to the decision that the girls weren't really playing, they were just cruel.

The girls thought I lacked the proper attitude for play.  Maybe?  My 5-year-old self felt pretty sure about my conclusions though.  I told a school friend about the torture test and she agreed with me.  We polled our other playmates and everyone agreed, with an observation that most older siblings are mean.  We were sensitive middle children.

This experience oddly turned into a life-long interest in collecting other people's ghost stories -- not fake stories intended to frighten, but real stories.  It started that day on the playground when 2 of my classmates shared their experiences.  We were all awed and wondered together about the nature of reality and the afterlife.  I remain charmed by the unknown and magic in life.

My grandma died suddenly when I was in my 20s.  I still hadn't gotten my mind wrapped around this new reality on the day of the funeral.  My unusually well-dressed family picked up Grandpa at his house and loaded up the car.  Mom sent me back in to make sure the back door was locked.  It was.  With my mind on getting to the funeral home, I went through the kitchen, dining room...

"Linda.", Grandma said from the kitchen.

I turned around expecting to see her.  Empty air in the arch between the 2 rooms.  Uh?

"Grandma?"

Silence.

I didn't want to move.  Didn't want to break whatever just happened.  Mom tooted the horn, and I got in the car for a funeral I didn't want to attend.

For an extra oddity, Mom told me the same thing happened to Grandma when her grandma died.  She was playing piano and she heard "Laura."  That's it, nothing more.  I'm grateful Grandma said goodbye.

As for last week's rambling about giving kids candy on Halloween, Paula at Mindful Drawing shared a practice in Ireland of giving stickers out.  I think that's a great idea :)