Smoke Stack at Night
Copyright 2010 by Jeff Thomann
Original Status: Original is Digital Photo
Print/Purchase Status: This digital photo may be purchased online at http://www.turbosquid.com/FullPreview/Index.cfm/ID/512311
Themes: MU, Mizzou, Tigers, Columbia, Smoke, Smoke Stacks, Tower, Towers, Columbia, Missouri, Lighting, Night, Scene, Photo, Photography, photos, Jeff, Thomann, stack, fog, light, downtown, outside, atmosphere, mood, building, beacin, airplane, warning, city, urban, color, 2009
Genesis – The Golden
Copyright 2010 by Jeff Thomann
Media: Color Pencil on Gessoed Hardboard
Original Status: Not for Sale at this time
Original Size: 5″x7″
Walmart has a neat little chart of quite a few free photo sharing places.
Walmart itself will do free unlimited space too if you buy at least one photo per year. I might look in to that too and share the membership with my wife so that Walmart doesn’t hit the kill switch and wipe out an account with thousands of photos.
http://www.snapfish.com/ – I’ll give it a try… Hope they have something as cool as Winkflash’s transporter, but something that won’t break. I need something like that because manually uploading each photo one at a time would take a very long time for me or anyone else looking in to this sort of service that has literally thousands of photos!
I DO know they have some problems on high res side…
I just started uploading a little over 3000 photos to Snapfish… let’s see how this works. I’m going to walk away from the computer now for a few hours. In theory, when I get back, it should be done or still whirring away in the upload process.
I’m still shopping around for free image sites since Winkshare’s Transporter stopped working for me…
Picasso only has 1 gig free…
Tried T35 before… it’s an ok server, but they used to put in tons of ads. Also, not sure it’s good to use for simple photo sharing.
Sounds interesting…but it’s for India?!?… also bad Policy…
Now this is interesting… Unlimited Photos? Going to have to lookin to this one but probably won’t use it since it’s not free…
We’ll never ask you to choose which photos or videos matter most, because storage at SmugMug is unlimited.
So is traffic. Become a rock star and invite millions to view your amazing self.
Use us as safe backup and retrieve your photos anytime.
Call me a cheapskate or whatever, but someone should offer this stuff for free… Why, mainly because for photographers, it’s really going to suck when they die and their estate accidentally reformats the hard drive or something and blamo – AN ENTIRE LIFE OF ARTWORK IS GONE simply because someone forgot to pay the monthly bill for one of these online places…
I get an error that Winkflash Transporter has stopped working whenever I try to run it. Email from support was less than useful – they say to just use the individual file uploader. That’s not a solution. I have done some googling and found that Blinkflash worked under Linux a while back. Wonder if anyone’s come up with a similar creative solution? I think I may have uploaded too many files at once with Transporter or something and am causing some sort of memory leak problem that causes it to stop instantly before it really gets going.
I’m going to start using Zazzle more. It’s similar to Cafepress, but also different. I will likely go back to each of my artfolio images and re-upload them to Zazzle eventually, putting a new link to my zazzle account in each of the posts that I’ve already created on Cafepress. That way my products are in both Cafepress and Zazzle. I am also probably going to do likewise for Createspace, and Lulu. Additionally, I’ll likely move some of my images that are on Turbosquid over to Zazzle and Cafepress so that the good photos are on all the markets out there. I’m also investigating a few places that let artists sell their real world artwork directly and not electronically. I might use one of those places to sell originals of some things eventually.
My Zazzle shop is located at http://www.zazzle.com/jeffthomann
If you have a digital camera, mp3 player, voice recorder, or even a cell phone, you probably already realize how important it is to have batteries that work on hand at all times. If you ever get in to creating stock photos or just using a digital camera or video recorder to give you source material to work with in whatever form of art you work with, this becomes even more important.
I can’t tell you how many times when shooting digital stock photos that I was out clicking away with a camera in a park or downtown somewhere and the camera I had on hand quit working because I ran out of battery power. That is a huge annoyance, especially if you like shooting clouds like I do, and you are in a time when the sun is either rising or setting, so each second lost that you did not get a shot of is gone forever because the clouds shift on you constantly and/or the “magic hour” changes dramatically as your big lightsource, the sun, is moving quickly under or over the horizon. “Magic Hour” really is not an hour. Twilight hours of sunset can cause dramatic changes in the light and way that things look on the horizon, and everywhere else outside in literal minutes or seconds.
My advice is that you have a lot of rechargeable batteries on hand and a couple of rechargers for them, and use the rechargers often. Some people say that rechargeable batteries have some sort of memory thing in them and remember how long each recharge took, so it’s bad to put the batteries in to the recharger before the battery is completely worn down. For some batteries, that may be true, but for most regular AA and AAA rechargable batteries, I don’t think that’s really quite the truth. I typically recharge my batteries when the camera shows that they are about down to one quarter power and have never really had a lot of problems. Of course, I am constantly recharging some batteries, so it’s hard for me to tell if that is an issue…
I have two rechargers. One of them holds a lot of batteries and I keep it at home, the other only holds four batteries, but it has a plug in that folds down. I keep that one in my camera bag, and carry it with my camera so that I can plug in at any time, anywhere. The bigger recharger is too large to do that with. However, I keep the bigger recharger full a lot of times and rotate out batteries from there often. I basically try to keep a handful of batteries charged at all times. If some of the the batteries sit unused for a few weeks, I go ahead and recharge the pile anyways so that they are ready when I need them.
Storing a bunch of batteries in a camera bag is a major pain, especially since most of the time, when you buy batteries they come in boxes that are meant to be thrown away after being open. For storage at home, I keep the clear plastic part of the boxes that the batteries came in, and might cut that down to size, and fit it inside of a Altoids box. Those little metal boxes that Altoids come in make fine battery holders since they are just big enough to hold a few AA or AAA batteries and still allow the lid to close. You would think the metal boxes would shock me since I’m putting batteries in them, but so far, I’ve never had any shocks or anything, so I guess the paint or ink they use on the box must not conduct electricity. Even if it does, I’m putting plastic liners from the boxes the batteries came in between the actual battery itself and the metal of the box, so that makes it all work well. To keep the Altoid boxes closed, I simply rubber band them shut.
I used to keep at least one of those Altoid boxes in my camera bag, but lately, I’ve gone to not keeping those in the camera bag since they are a bit of a hassle to mess with out in the field, especially as the rubber bands age, get weaker, and break, leaving the batteries to roam free in the camera bag, where all sorts of potential problems could happen if the acid ever did leak…
Now, in the camera bag, I keep the two batteries in the camera that the camera requires, and keep two batteries in each of the two voice recorders I carry in the bag, for a total of four spare batteries, or two battery swaps between the voice recorders and the camera in case the camera battery charge runs down. I find this ideal since the batteries are stored nicely away in the recorders, and if I do feel the need to use the recorder to record my own voice for notes or just feel like recording something out and about, like a bird chirping, a motorcycle whizzing by me, or whatever, I can just pop out the recorder and it’s ready to go. The reason I have two recorders is that I bought one, thought I lost it, bought a second one, and then a few months later, discovered where I had put the first one… It’s funny how that happens sometimes with little gizmos and gadgets.
If you don’t have a vocie recorder, but have some other tiny gadget that uses the same sort of battery as your camera, you might look in to getting something like that to hold your batteries so that you don’t risk having the batteries just jubmled in the camera bag or case, ready to give some nice acid burns to your camera or whatever else is in there. I’ve only seen a battery leave an acid burn on something one time – it was an old plastic mug that I used to store non-rechargeable batteries in many years ago before I started using rechargeable batteries. The marks it left as the acid dug in to the plastic of the cup were horrible looking. It’d really suck to see something like that happen to a digital camera.
Other things I keep in the camera bag other than the camera, the voice recorders, and the little battery recharger are the top part of a big tripod that actually attaches to the bottom of the camera, and a mini-tripod. I also keep a couple of thumb drives and spare digital camera chips in there to make it easy to store things. The thumb drives are attached via a little stretcy cord that the casino gives out with it’s cards for people to use to remember to not leave their casino cards in the slot machines. I like that because it keeps me from loosing the thumb drives as they are attached to the camera case.
I actually have 3 camera cases. The first one is a little one that holds my little bitty camera itself and came with the camera. It’s very flimsy, but I keep it on there to cover the lens. I put the camera and that little case in to the second case, which is a big bigger and is what I mainly use to carry the camera around my neck when out and about. The third is a Polaroid camera case that I keep the other case in. I use it because it’s big enough to hold the littler case and a few other odds and ends – the tripod top and voice recorders, mentioned above.
I have an entirely seperate bag that I use to keep color pencils and sketch books in the car. At one point in time, I tried to avoid using the Polaroid case, and just put the little camera case in that bag, but that got to be too much of a hassle. Now I just leave the color pencil and sketchbook bag in the back seat of the car, and take the Camera in and out of the car, and with me wherever I go so that it’s handy, and does not get left in the car during hot/cold temperatures that could damage the electronic equipment inside.
At home I have a few toolboxes that I use to keep other things around the house/studio organized. I love the big tool boxes with different slots in them – nice way to organize pastels, pencils, ink pens, etc.
When I was in college, I used to haul a lot of big sketch pads, drawings, and some paintings in a plastic portfolio that I carried around campus to class. That was a major hassle since the classes were in various buildings scattered around campus and my apartment was several blocks away. Carrying big portolios is a tough enough job by itself since they are big and bulky… That only gets worse as you get more and more things in there to carry. You would think paper, being as thin as it is would not be heavy in big bulks, but you would be wrong… especially on humid days when the paper absorbs a lot of moisture just to make itself heavier for you. To make that walking around campus more handy, I ended up taking a duffel bag strap and attaching it to the portfolio handles. That made it much easier to handle the bag and still carry other things like books that I needed to take to class. I have NO idea why porfolio making companies have not made it an industry standard to put shoulder straps on portfolios yet. It’s something that really is needed to help make it easier for all those art students and aspiring artists everywhere be able to carry their stuff. Some Art Directors might like the neat little polished look of the little bitty handles on portolios, but I suspect that they would like the portfolios a lot more if the artists were more comfortable actually walking around with the portfolios so that they could bring them in more often, and have a descent amount of work in the portfolio to show off. I know a lot of artists aching backs and shoulders would be thankful if big art portfolio started getting made with shoulder straps.
Getting organized, and able to transport your art making supplies, is one key to creating great art. A tool such as a camera, voice recorder, pastel, conte crayon, paintbrush, or color pencil is not very useable if it’s buried in the back of a closet in a box underneath of a lot of other things. Each individual artist has to come up with their own organizational strategy that fits their own personalities and needs. If you are not organized yet, you might look at ways that you can start getting that way in the near future. It really can help you be creative when you have tools that are handy that you can grab any time and just start using. Digging around for stuff is a major hassle.
Nice to see your portfolio Grant.
I love keeping the shavings off pencils as I sharpen them. Sometimes there is just enough color or graphite left to allow for one or two more uses of the leftovers on there that might come in handy someday. Additionally, the shavings are handy for doing interesting things such as creating brush strokes with paint that would be impossible to create with normal brushes, blending color on paintings or drawings by using the shavings as blending stumps, or they can be useful to just have around, sitting in a plastic bottle or jar to look at for inspiration since they various colors and shapes can sometimes give me compositional ideas.
Similarly, I love keeping paint covered palletes and clothing that I’ve used over the years. The splatters on the clothing of various material, whether it’s plaster, paint, tar, or something else mix to create interesting forms and shapes. I think Jim Dine used to keep his studio clothing as seperate pieces of artwork in and of themselves. This is a very good idea. The various materials I see on the various pieces of clothing that I’ve coated with artistic make me think about what was done to create each splatter, and shape, and form. Lately, for palletes, I use paper or stryofoam plates since my latest easel is made to hold those – that makes it a lot easier to keep the pallettes after the painting is done than it used to be when the palletes were expensive items that I typically ended up damaging as I tried to clean them off. It’s a memory jarring thing for us artists. My wife just calls me a pack rat, lol. I might take some digital photos or scans of some pallets and painted clothing sometimes, and create digital works from that. That’s what’s very nice about art – you can recycle ideas, shapes and forms, or elements of various artwork over and over… Infinite possibilities…
I also like keeping old paint brushes. The shapes they can create are likely unique. The same applies to any art instrument or some non-art instruments that can be converted in to art instruments. I love using various items as paint brushes sometimes… Some of the various items I’ve used in the past as a paint brush or brush to apply ink to paper or canvas are tooth picks, old tooth brushes (only use my own for that though so I don’t get a lot of other folks germs, lol), pieces of fabric, sculpey, thumbtacks, branches off of pine trees, pine cones, feathers, blades of grass, nails, screws, and broken light bulbs just to name a few.
I also like to keep a few oddball items around just to play with or to get ideas from… I don’t smoke, but keep a ciggarette lighter in my drawing toolbox sometimes – burnt edges on paper can look neat. I also keep a small handheld mirror or two as well as a full length mirror in the studio to play around with. Knives can be useful for digging layers off of paintings too… or just be neat to look at and draw…
I have one really wicked looking hunting knife in my drawing box that I used to keep in there for protection purposes, not that I ever had to use it. You never know who might come up to you and start bothering you if you are an artist out in the wilderness somewhere at a park or something and are trying to do a pein air painting… I don’t condone violence, but I hear about rapes, murders, and theft in the news way to often to just be out there in the woods by myself on the side of a hiking trail to not have some sort of protection nearby, even if it is just an old cell phone that can be used to call 911.
They say that any cell phone has to legally be allowed to call 911 regardless of whether you still have service on it or not – might not hurt to keep one in your drawing toolbox, basket, book bag, or whatever you use carry around with you to hold your brushes, pencils, or sketchbooks, especially if you are female. In the worst case scenario it could save your life. In the best case scenario it can be useful to call your spouse or significant other to come and pick you up, or to call for a pizza delivery or something. Most cell phones these days have cameras on them – so that is a useful art tool in and of itself, and makes carrying one around with you at all times something you should really think about doing if you are not already.
http://mastermesh.winkflash.com/ is where I’ll put stock photos and various other free images on occassion going forward. Right now there’s only two pics there in the Public folder. In the future, I may add more. I like winkflash. I just hope they stay around as long as their website claims they will, forever.
Also, for you folks in my family reading this, I’ll probably upload some family photos out there in a non-public folder to share with you in the future. So far, finding a place to upload photos to share privately that has unlimited space has been a major hassle. I’m hoping winkflash is the solution to that major problem.
I have not tried this yet on paintings that are larger than the width of my scanner, but I might give it a try.
It’d have to be cheaper than trying to get a professional camera studio together, trying to buy gigantic flatbed scanners, or taking paintings off of the stretchers to have some place like Kinkos scan them in their big roll scanners (cost of doing that is like 7 bucks just for getting a digital scan – no printing cost – tha’d be extra, and then I think only flimsy paper stuff works.. and I doubt they’d put charcoal type stuff in their scanner, but I could be wrong?)
On the other hand…
Some of the arguments against flatbed scanning mentioned over at http://photo.net/photography-lighting-equipment-techniques-forum/00Tl26 are pretty good ones…
I have mentioned color pallette in a few postings already, but don’t think I’ve gone in to a lot of detail about my personal preferences in my own color uses, why I have those preferences, etc. so I figured it might be time to post a little bit about that here, even though most of the stuff that I’m uploading to the artfolio is not color yet – It’s mainly black and white or blue and white sketchbook scans for now, but I’ll get around to uploading the color works later, and at that time, it’ll be good to know a little about my use of color.
For those of you that don’t know this yet, I am partially color blind. Greens and Reds that are medium toned or darker tend to look alike to me, which appears to be the same color as a grey color (just black and white) tone of the same value. Luckily, I’m not fully color blind, or else this little issue would have a much more major impact on my artwork than it does now. Bright reds, and greens are very visible to me. It’s only the darker tones that are usually seen in shadows that make things a bit difficult for me.
Because of this, I have a tendency to drive myself towards pointillism type of styles, or similar types of styles that use visual color mixing instead of real color mixing, at least in this part of the color spectrum. That way, I can move in very close to the canvas, and look at what is going on with the color blobs up close and personal to try to resolve issues and create a plan of attack to figure out what move to make next in this chess game of creating art.
Eye strain headaches does come to me after a while of doing this sort of stuff, especially since I’m near sighted… because I’m constantly looking at different areas of the painting, or color drawings at a distance, and then up close, and then at a distance, and maybe upside down to check composition, etc. I did not even realize I needed glasses for my near-sightedness until after I graduated from college, but I really should have probably gotten glasses a very long time before that. My dad loves transitions lenses and got me hooked on using them since they keep me from having to constantly buy sunglasses only to lose them. However, the transition lenses do cause me problems when making art and viewing art sometimes since they put a dark tone on everything I see through them. Because of that, I have to take off my glasses to view things in museums, galleries, or as I paint sometimes so that I’m not making major color/tonal mistakes. That causes even more eye strain on occassion. I do like the transition lenses since my eyes are pretty sensitive to light, and they make staring at a computer all day at my 40 hour a week job more tolerable. However, I hate that they cause me to not be able to see a lot of true colors at a distance… All through school, I remember squinting a lot in painting classes and drawing classes. I just assumed that this was normal at the time since I had never thought to check with a vision specialist. I knew that I was color blind, and just sort of assumed that the squinting and headaches were a normal part of the process of creating art. I sometimes wonder how things would have been different if I had glasses way back in elementatry school….
Strangely, all of this does not have a huge impact on viewers of my work because a lot of artists use green to muddy down red and vice versa to get shadow colors and tones as they are on opposite ends of the color spectrum.
My favorite colors are somewhat bright and intense. As mentioned in another post, I love the color pallette that folks like Remington use, where there’s lots of vividness to the work and it sort of brings a positive cheery mood in to play.
I like mixing colors on the canvas itself visually more than a lot of other painters do. I do mix colors when I can but like using paint staight out of the bottle when possible so that it’s easier to come back to an area and re-work it or balance it out with similar colors on opposite ends of the canvas if I need to… Stuff that comes out of a bottle is usually mixed fairly closely to other stuff that comes out of a bottle that has the same label and is made by the same company. That makes it easier to not have a lot of worries about painting an area and then needing more of that same paint mix later, but not being able to find it because you cannot figure out the exact proportions of which paint you mixed to arrive at that color, especially when, like me, you are color blind so physicially mixing the paint is a very difficult chore. That label on the bottles of paint helps ease my mind in making decisions since I know that the green in that bottle is the same green that I got out of that bottle an hour ago. Pointillism type effects can be used to help mix and match just about any color that exists, at least at a certain distance.
My favorite oil paint colors are usually Cadmium Red (for bright bold red intensity), Crimson Red (for darker red tones and colors), Currealean Blue (for highlights that are in blue – lots of artists are afraid to use blue in highlights, which is a huge loss to their works), Cobalt Blue (for mid-intensity blues), Prussian Blue (for really deep dark blues), and occassionally a very bright yellow, and maybe something strange like violet, which can be very bright and noticible if applied thickly or almost unnoticible if applied thinly with the rest of the colors mentioned above, either scumbled on or put in to small dabs in small pointillism type fields of color on the canvas. I also use just about any other color out there that I can on occassion in small bits, but the colors listed above are the main ones that I usually end up utilizing the most. Most of my works usually end up heading toward red/blue side of the color spectrum because of that. There’s just something about Purple/Violet combinations or near-purple violet that is reached by visual color mixing that I really love – it’s a deep passionate, and dramatic color scheme.
I have a bad tendency to sometimes fall in to the elementary color trap that many artists fall in to on occasions, thinking of blue as dark/cool, red as bright/midrange, and orange for brighter areas than that, and yellows for highlights, instead of really looking at the way things are in reality and trying to match it as closely as possible – where all areas of the color spectrum exist in both bright and dark areas. I do try to balance out that fallacy, which is not always a true representation of reality when I can, but it’s usually a lengthy process since I try to put more and more color range in to both shadows and highlights as I proceed throughout a color pencil drawing or painting — many times I fail horribly and overwork the artwork. It’s hard to know when a work of art is “done.” There are defintitely “levels of doneness” as I like to think of them to any work of art…
Simple abstract forms with simple lines is the first level. The second level takes that and adds more tones or patterned areas to break up the light and dark more. The third level balances things out more and more, making the really complex patterns more worked out with brush stroke placement becoming one of the most important aspects of the work – a small line that’s the wrong color in the wrong place can unbalance everything and cause compositional balance to completely dissappear. Then, on the next level, things really start getting complex… as Professor Bohac used to say, that’s when it’s time for an artist to “fight their way out of a paper bag…” because a simple little thing that’s as wide as a centimeter or smaller can unbalance the entire work…. and as paintings start coming to a level of “reality” that is almost near photo-quality things get even more complex, and the “living elements” of the work start dissappearing more and more… The more realistic a painting gets to be, in terms of photo-realism, the less gestural qualities the work has… Artists, especially those that work with narrative, portrait, or landscape subjects can find themselves in hard to get out of places with their works as they get in to internal conflict about “how realistic” to make the work… since each level of realism requires more work on the entire canvas…
A simple line drawing done in 30 seconds or less can be thought of as a final work of beautiful art just as a photo-realistic painting that took thousands of hours to create can… Any and Everything in between these two extremes is where most artist live. It’s a very dangerous rocky terrain with a lot of smooth valleys full of beautiful smelling flowers. It takes a true artist to know how to balance it all out and make sure that the level of realism is right for the work in question, and each individual area of each work’s composition in question. There’s a different answer for each artists and each individual work.
As I post more artworks in to this blog, I’ll try to explain my own individual tendencies, techniques, and ways of doing things to get my works to where I want them. It is often said that an artist is his/her own most critical judge. I agree with that somewhat. However, that judgement is what makes us who we are, and makes us strive to do better in the future, or to strive to make horrible and hideously disgusting works that cause fear in the hearts of mankind…. It’s all about figuring things out and making them work… knowing the messages you are trying to communicate and trying to find ways to make those messages clear. For me compositional balance is a very important thing. For others, maybe not so much. I’ll try to post more artwork here in the blog later this week.
Another couple of great and inspiring works that I found at the Modern Museum of Art in Fort Worth, Texas were Anselm Kiefer’s Book with Wings
, and Die Aschenblume.
I have always been a fan of Kiefer’s works. The first work that I ever saw of his is located in the St. Louis Museum of Art, Breaking of the Vessels.
Kiefer’s work is gigantic, and epic, but also sublime and simple. It questions history, and our place in it. It takes Germanic Expressionism to a whole new level. It brings the painting/sculptures to the people, quite literally… It calls to mind the supernatural and makes us think about why it is, what our relationship is with it. It makes us question our reality and opens our minds to thinking about things more. I could write tons about the psychology behind Kiefer’s works, but think many great authors have already done so over and over, so I’ll leave you to explore their ideas on your own time.
Kiefer’s works are something that you need to experience in person. The hugeness of the works, and strange physicality to the works is something that digital photos and art books do absolutely no justice to.
Anselm Kiefer is a master of mixing physical things in to his paint and integrating sculpture in to his painterly works. Frank Stella is the only artist I know of that has works that combine 2d and 3d elements in such strange combinations that they start to come close to the mastery that Kiefer has over this realm. However, Stella’s works are typically pretty happy colors from the pretty happy rainbows that the pop world embraces while Kiefer’s is made of the mud-like dreary colors that are true dramatic tragedies that explore the psychological world a heck of a lot more in-depth than Stella’s simple facades ever can.
I’d love to do artwork the size of Anselm Kiefer’s most popular works, but don’t because the sheer enormity of such works make storage a gigantic problem unless the works are going directly in to museums and galleries. Taking photos of the works is also problematic because of the huge size. A photo just does not do these sort of works any justice since there is so much more to the works than a simple photo can capture.
When I was at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, I saw Dennis Blagg’s Passover.
I love this painting, and think that Dennis has a color palette that is similar to the color palette that I try to go after with my own works. The darkened purplish sky in the horizon sitting right next to the yellow wheat in the foreground that breaks up the landscape is an intense visual image that is hard to forget, not that anyone would ever want to forget it. It burns an amazing sensual one-ness with nature in to the viewer’s brain. It is not just a landscape, but a landscape that you feel as if you are a part of. There is a harmonic balance between the hills on the right and the weat on the left. There is a lot of invisible triangular compositional balance going on, but that intense splash of yellow on top of a darkened sky is something that can truly be called beautiful.
I have seen prints of this work before and loved the piece at that time, but it is far more amazing to view in person!
Last weekend, I went to Forth Worth, Texas to visit my Brother, Sister-in-law, and my niece. They live down there, and this was really the first time that I’ve had a chance to visit there or see them for over a year. It’s a great cultural city to visit.
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth has some outstanding works of art. The entry fee is a bit steep compared to some similar Museums elsewhere (that’s bad because it puts off a lot of would be Museum goers in the general public – such as my sister and parents who I was staying in a hotel room with, lol.), but when we were there, the fee was half off as half of the Museum was closed (Warhol Exhibit was in the process of being put up, so they had a lot of rooms blocked off), so it was not too bad.
We did not see the Private Collection of Texas there unfortunately (as mentioned above, my parents, and sister don’t like spending too much on entry fees to museums since they don’t always understand art and find walking around in museums to be boring sometimes – Hey, like I said in previous posts, part of the reason I’m uploading scans and photos of my artwork is to protect it from mishandling by those around me, lol. Luckily, if I ever do die, my artwork will likely end up in the hands of my loving spouse, Tekla, who has a much greater appreciation of the arts than some of our other relatives…)
While in Fort Worth, we also had time to see the Amon Carter Museum which is only about 2 blocks from the other two Museums mentioned above. The view of downtown from the Amon is amazing. I might upload a photo of that that I took here if I can find it…. The exhibits on display were amazing. I loved the photo exhibit, and the Remington and Russell exhibit. I think of Remington as one of my favorites art inspirations in the wide world of illustration. His drawing technique, use of forshortning, and vivid and bright color scheme are some of the many things that I try to emulate in my own paintings and illustrations when I can. That sort of bringing the world of the painting to life in color and form is something I find very inspiring, even if some of his themes and subject matter eventually turned fairly cliche.
While in town, we also wandered around the stockyards a while. There was a major livestock show going on at the time, along with a carnival and there were horses all over the streets down there. I didn’t know this sort of thing happened regularly in the middle of January. I guess the 60 degree weather justifies it. It was sickening to come back to Missouri’s 30 degree weather and massive amount of fog…
The search for image hosts continues… The following place has a lot of promises but I don’t know if they’ll be around long enough, like many of their predecessors with similar promises…
Unlimited is a lot
We have no limits on how many photos you can store at winkflash. Send us as many photos as you want, there’s always room for more. We are constantly adding storage capacity to handle more and more photos.
Forever is a long time
We will NEVER delete your photos, unless you want us to. We don’t make you place an order to keep them on there either, forever is forever. Did we mention this is for free?
This is all ancient news to those that pay attention to the 3d industry, but I’m posting here anyways just for folks that may not be aware…
1982, Roman Ormandy defects from Czechoslovakia and spends three years in New York. Starting in the shipping department of a suitcase factory making Apple suitcases, he breaks into the PC business.
1985, Roman attends Siggraph ’85 in San Francisco. He admires the SGI workstations, but buys an Amiga PC and the trueSpace vision is born!
1986, Video tape of Caligari prototype is displayed in Commodore’s booth at 1986 Siggraph which generates tremendous interest. Octree Corporation is founded, setting out to revolutionize the 3D marketplace.
1988, Caligari1, one of the first 3D visualization products for the Amiga is released. It does not do much yet but it has a novel interface and integrated workspace.
1990, Caligari2 is released for the Amiga. Positioned as a design and video production tool, it supports photorealistic rendering and “real time response to all user actions”. (2Mb of RAM required)
1991, Caligari Broadcast sports animated deformations, sweep tools, interactive spline based hierarchical animations, a visual time editor and resolution up to 8000×8000.
1992, Caligari24 is released with upgraded features such as 32Bit color, organic deformations and further improvements in perspective interface. It soon becomes clear, however, that MS Windows would become the standard operating platform.
1993, Octree moves from New York to the Silicon Valley. Leaving the East Coast behind, it designs a new software architecture and changes its name to Caligari Corporation.
1994, trueSpace, powerful, usable 3D graphics and animation for Windows is released. It changes the landscape of the 3D market with the first integrated 3D animation and modeling package.
1995, trueSpace2 is released to receive critical acclaim and industry awards. It is the first 3D software to support 3D acceleration, alas no 3D accelerators are shipped at the time.
1996, Pioneer is released as the 1st VRML authoring tool integrated with a built-in browser. Wins critical acclaim but VRML fails to live up to user expectations.
1997, trueSpace3 builds upon the excellence and ease-of-use legacy by integrating VRML, inverse kinematics, physics, metaballs, 3D paint and collision detection. More awards follow.
1998, trueSpace4 – Born to Accelerate. 8th generation and a major step forward in 3D authoring, trueSpace4 closes the gap between high end and ease of use.
2000, iSpace – a web graphics tool that enables the creation of stunning 3D graphics in HTML and Flash format. It delivers photorealistic web sites and uses simple drag&drop interface.
2001, trueSpace5 – Reality Designer, providing designers access to an affordable and powerful 3D design tool for all stages of the creative process including conceptual design.
2002, trueSpace6 improves workflow and professional design tools like layers and deform tools. It also reduces repetitive tasks through arrays, mirror modeling and more, making everything from modeling to final render, faster and simpler than ever before.
2003, trueSpace6.6 – introduces non-linear animation, and improved physical simulation. Workflow and modeling are further enhanced, keeping trueSpace the ideal choice for animation, design, illustration and game creation.
2003, gameSpace – 3D content creation for game development software and game engines, based on the trueSpace6.6 core and providing tailored modeling and animation tools, import and export, at a realistic price point. 2006, truePlay – free application to allow anyone to enter the shared 3D spaces, for collaboration with colleagues, friends and peers.
2006, trueSpace7 – introduces a whole new software core, which includes the first ever collaborative workspace that allows people to work together in the same shared 3D space. V-Ray renderer, new DX9 real-time view, and new scripting, physics and procedural objects also introduced.
2007, trueSpace7.5 – expands on the tools introduced in trueSpace7, adding better character animation, and more tools in the new workspace aspect of the program.
2008, Caligari and Microsoft join forces – Now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation, Caligari is able to release trueSpace7.6 for free. With further expansions and improvements to the tools, now anyone can make professional 3D at no cost
It’s been interesting seeing this company come to life, and die by being bought by one of the biggest companies around. Caligari was a neat startup. Unfortunately, a lot of neat startups get gobbled up by gigantic corporations. This is just one of the latest examples of this in the 3d industry…
Autodesk and Adobe are too other giants that eat their competition like Microsoft did with Caligari, and other companies are too to various degrees..
Alias bought Kaydara in 2004. Kaydara had created some awesome software called Motionbuilder, and they actually were selling it to individual artist very cheaply. Go check out the history of it on the forums at 3d buzz… Back when I got my personal edition from Kaydara itself it costs about 100.00 or 200.00…
Autodesk bought Alias in 2005 thereby taking over both Motion builder and Maya…
and looky here at what happened… Now the personal edition is long gone and Motion Builder costs $3995.00!
It is nice that what used to cost a lot (TrueSpace) is now free… I originally bought version 3, then upgraded to 4, then 5… and quit upgrading after that because I switched over to Lightwave around that time… but it is sort of sad to see a company get gobbled up… especially one that was nice to new users and had a very good interface that helped developing 3d artist learn the ropes.
If you like the fact that trueSpace if free since you are an artist or want to become one, you might check out http://www.wings3d.com/, http://www.anim8or.com/, and http://www.blender.org/since Wings, anim8or, and blender are also free. Other freebies are out there, but these are the main ones that I know of that a lot of folks use.
Gmax is also free, but it’s several years old and is really just a dumbed down version of 3d Studio Max, which the big corporation Autodesk owns and wants you to pay a lot for…
It’ll probably just be a matter of time before Microsoft execs figure out some way to make Caligari’s trueSpace and gameSpace technolgy become massively expensive toys for the rich.
(If you can’t tell by the tone in this post, I’m not a huge fan of Micro$oft. I can’t tell you how many crashes have killed my artwork and other creative endeavors because Windows 95, 98, and XP all were pure junk. Vista is not far behind, but it a little more stable… Also, as someone that plays Entropia Universe a lot, I have a little bit of a grudge against Microsoft for when they tried to kill of Project Entropia in it’s early days by falsely accusing them of being pirates.)
I looked up Jimmy the other day on facebook after looking through a list of artists that I went to school with at Truman State U.
http://assessment.truman.edu/components/5year/Art2004.pdf is the list of artist I found. That list is far from a comprehensive list as it only names a few names, and it actually has a lot of false or half truth info. I don’t work nor ever have worked for Boone Hospital. I do work in a University Hospital in the same town though.
I remember Jimmy from back there in college as being an interesting individual, just as I was. However, he was a lot more outgoing than I was.
It looks like that has not changed much, and has actually become the focus of his work to some degree. Drawing attention to ones self is something artists must do on some level since it’s all about bringing the fragile inner psyche out for examination by the artist and those around him or her that become viewers…
Here’s an interesting article on him that is linked to from his facebook account:
Don’t be alarmed: The walking balloon is artist Jimmy Kuehnle.
Using baloons to create gigantic mobile sculptures is a very cool idea. We all expect to see this sort of stuff going down a huge parade or something, but not just out in the everyday. It is neat to see that Jimmy’s becoming the pied piper so to speak.
I guess this sort of thing might make him seem silly to those that don’t know him, but that’s actually a good thing since it opens the general public’s eyes up – makes them become aware of their environment, surroundings, and gives them the privilege to meet someone that is a great artist! 🙂 😉
I just heard about this on the news. Yesterday was 9th annual no pants subway day. Kudos to the brave souls that literally froze their butts off!
Clarissa left me a little comment over at http://jeffthomann.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/mall-small-19-drawing/ talking about her friend’s website at http://www.wordsaroundtown.com/ so I figured I’d visit and do this Inspirations posting about it. I have not really done many (read any, lol) inspirations postings up til now that have to do with anyone’s art that I did not know about before now. Time to change that, and start exploring the art world in these here intra-web tubes.
Kevin appears to be a very good photographer.
The words around town site seems to be made of various pictures that Kevin has taken and converted in to fonts to spell out words.
He’s using the forms he finds in his compositions as letters.
The challenge of finding objects around us that we normally pass by everyday without a second glance which look like letters has been exciting and fun!
Finding the hidden beauty in everyday things that we often pass by without a second glance IS, in my opinion one of the great things that exploring art does for people that get in to art.
Finding the invisible forms as Kevin is doing and making it visible is sort of a theme that has run through art for many years. It is an obscure idea that can be traced back to the Surrealist movement, especially in Salvador Dalí’s paintings… but the idea actually goes back a lot further than that.
Trompe-l’œil means “fool the eye” and that phrase is what is best used to describe or categorize this form of art. Actually, almost every form of 2-dimensional work that goes back to the earliest known cave arts is somewhat in this to some degree – since after all making a window out of something that is not a window as paintings do is fooling the eye so to speak.
It’s all about hidden messages or meanings, and really being a keen observer of the world in order to see the form and the way that simple basic design principles can allow multiple things to happen in the same plane.
The idea of bringing the reality of the 2-dimensional canvas of a painting or photograph in to the viewers plain sight so that it’s simple beauty can be observed in and of itself outside of all other rules and principles of creating illusion is a very modern idea that is seen over and over and over again in 20th centrury art. That’s why I say that genres like Cubism, Op-Art, and a lot of other genres that focus on the 2-dimensional existence of the plane in an artwork are MORE REALISTIC than simple little paintings that pretend to be windows showing pretty landscapes or cityscapes that most other people classify as Realistic…
Is it realistic to pretend that the 2 dimensional surface on a wall is something other than a surface on a wall? Sure there can be little pictures in there, just like there is on that flat plane you are looking in to to see these words, or that you will view tonight as you watch Prime Time TV… but isn’t it more realistic to acknowledge that what you are looking at is really a 2 dimensional flat surface?… as Kevin has done by seeing the letters in his photographs?
Some folks even take this sort of idea in photography to a whole different level in the form of Photomosaics… After all, if a photograph is really just a bunch of dots made up of 4 colors, CYMK (Cyan Yellow, Magenta, and blacK), it makes sense that each photo is balanced more towards one of those 4, so it makes sense to use an entire photo as one small element in a larger picture… Actually, given enough time and photos, photomosaic technology could go to a whole new level and allow an infinite amount of images to exist hidden inside of a set of photos… the first level would look like something from space, then as you approach it to the airplane level it would phase and each level as you get closer and closer could phase in to a new image, hidden… only to dissolve as new ones come in to play. The hidden typography that Kevin is searching for is a little different than Photomosaics, but not completely. There is a lot of similarities there – searching for what is hidden in plain view.
It’s strange but all language and all these ideas that get thrown at us daily in these little windows that are not windows are something that connects us all as a society. People from 200 years ago would think we are crazy staring at computers and tvs and spending as much time as we do daily on these devices that are really 2 dimensional boxes producing light. Works like this make people think. They can become kitsch or cliche sometimes if overdone, but they do start to open the mind, and let people begin to question reality itself on some level, which, in my opinion is what all great art should do.
Keep looking for the hidden meanings Kevin. Your typographic photos are amazing. Keep spreading the Love.
While I say I love illustration, and want to get in to the illustration field, I think it only fair to give you a little bit of background about me, and some of my own personal biases and things about illustration… In the wide world of illustration, usually the client always comes first. The artist does work for the client. The artist creates things, but seeks approval from the client at each step of the process. The preliminary concept art is just thought of as something to hand to the client to seek approval. The client and artist then have a disucssion and talk about things, and go to the next step… and the artist continually changes the idea to be in agreement with what the client is wanting since the client has the ultimate say as the artist is seeking payment for the work from the client.
A little bit of a philisophical problem that I have with that sort of thing, at least in my own works, is that I consider each work of art that is created in every stage of creation as a seperate and unique art form… something that is not just a preliminary work for something later, to be discarded like pretty wrapping paper that is torn apart as a Christmas present is opened. The process of creation has multiple stages. Quick little doodles done in a sketchbook are just as valid as a final work of art as something that’s been re-worked three hundred times by an illustrator or designer that is seeking permission from his or her client.
Another huge issue in all of that is the “work-for-hire” issue. Many clients want illustrators and designers that work for them to consider their work as “work-for-hire.” According to the way contract law works, art that is created as “work-for-hire” is artwork that the client will own the copyright to. In other words, if an artist creates work-for-hire artwork, the artist will have to seek permission from the copyright owner to republish the work that he or she created, and the same thing applies to and “derivitive” work… that is work that is dervived from the original… That puts artists that work in “work-for-hire” contracts in a really sticky situation since they can never use the work for hire stuff unless they get permission again, which might actually end up costing them money, etc. The derivitive issue makes the bad situation even worse because most artist tend to build a sort of visual library in their subconscious that forces works they create later in life to resemble works they created earlier… which is something they could possibly get sued for if the earlier work was a work-for-hire form of art.
For this reason, I’m not sure if I could ever “really” be a full time illustrator. However, I do like the idea of illustrating things, and creating narrative structures, so it’s possible that I might be able to get in to this field sort of. One reason I really am attracted to using Public Domain stuff as the basis of illustration is that the original copyright owner no longer has copyright over that stuff, nor does anyone else… so it’s free game for anyone… However, writers that no longer have copyrights on their books are probably long gone, and so other people probably have created derivitive works of those books and artforms over and over throughout the years, so it leaves the ancient stuff as content that will be difficult to gain any economic profits off of in a direct manner… since dead writers won’t pay anything usually… That’s why I got interested in Cafe Press, Lulu.com and other similar types of places in my exploration of all of this stuff. The internet has created a lot of new little niche areas for many of us to investigate if we want to take the time to get in to it. There’s a lot to explore and play around with in the huge playground of tweaking public domain concepts, ideas, and works, and redistrubting them with our own little additions, changes, etc.
Eventually, if I do get in to making book covers and interior illustrations for Public domain books I will build up a lot of variety and introduce new fresh ideas, in hopes that maybe someday a real writer that is alive today might ask me to do some works for their books, magazine articles, blogs, etc. If that does happen, this whole work-for-hire issue will likely come up down the road. I guess I’ll cross those bridges if/when I get to that point. Regardless, if you create artwork, this IS something you should be thinking about somewhat. There’s a lot to copyright and trademark laws. I don’t claim to be a lawyer, but do know that this sort of stuff can be a major hassle if you don’t think about it before you dive in to a contract or situation similar to a contract that is all done with verbal agreements, etc.
Do you really want to give away your right to be creative?!?… Just something to think about.
A similar thing to think about – be sure that you are honoring the Copyrights and Trademarks of other… If you want to create a work of art depicting a soda can or car, are you aware that you could be sued by Ford or Coke, or any other company if the work looks too much like theirs? This is especially true of photographs. Speaking as someone that has had some photos removed from Turbosquid a few years ago because Turbosquid received a Cease and Desist Letter from Ford due to the fact that there was a Ford car somewhere in the forground of a picture I shot once, even though it was not the main focus of the composition, I can say this stuff is a reality you SHOULD think about before and while you are making your artworks. The possibility of having to go to court and pay high lawyer fees and court fees just because you clicked your camera in the wrong place is not a fun situation to be in! Ford is probably one of the biggest companies that chases people down for this sort of thing, but any copyright or trademark owner can do similar at any time because copyright and trademark law DOES apply to “derivitive works.”
For yourself, this can be a good thing, as you could possibly sue others if they create artworks that are in your style or just look too much like your work for your liking… However, what comes around goes around, and the you can find yourself on the receiving end of the same issue if you create works that are too much like other folk’s stuff too… which is something we all need to think about a LOT as everywhere you turn today there’s some namebrand, logo, or copyrighted thing in your face 24/7.
Your computer has a logo on it… oops better not photograph or draw it. You want to take a photo of a street – oops there’s a car on it that was created by an automobile company that has a trademark on that design. You shoot a photo of a gargoyle on a building – oops there’s an architect or sculptor somewhere that owns the copyright to that design. You shoot a picture of the sunset – oops there’s an airplane flying low there that was designed by a company with a trademark on that shape. You take a picture of a wall in your house – oops someone has a tradmark, and probably a copyright on the design of that wallpaper… Where is nature? That is one of the few things people can’t copyright… Nope?!?… someone has done a picture of a deer posing in that posture before! YIKES!
If you take a photo of someone, or create any form of artwork depicting anyone – you have even more issues to deal with since there are privacy laws. That’s why you always see notices in various films, literary works, etc. say any resmblence to real people in the characters depicted is coincidental, etc. It’s also why photographers need to get the permission of anyone they photograph, usually in a written form so that they can prove that the permission was obtained. The little photo of Barrack Obama standing next to the China Wall that was put in Times Square by the coat company is just one of the newest little examples of where these sort of issues can come up and cause major problems for all parties involved…
All of these little issues are amplified by the fact that Zombies, or at least Golems really do exist! As mentioned in How to Argue & Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Everyday, corporations and money are both lifeless beings that we give life to… things that are really dead that we give power to.
(*Perhaps the Golem are the invisible corporations and the Zombies are the employees that become “dead” 40 hours a week to serve the golem?*)
Sometimes, actually far more times than we probably want to acknowledge, we actually give our entire lives to these souless, lifeless beings! Corporations are our society’s gods from the ancient world. They don’t really exist but everyone knows that they are there. Everyone talks about them… shares stories about them… We even give them Social Security Numbers and call those Tax Identification Numbers… We give them life through our <a href="Memes“>about them.
Logos and employees are just one sign of their existence, as are all the contracts created in their names… Curators of Universities, CEOs, Company Presidents and others in power in the coporate world, just to name a few, are the priests of this religion that we don’t call a religion, but they are NOT the corporation itself, even if they think they are. They are hired and fired by the invisible zombies or golems that we breathe life into, just like everyone else. The piece of paper that creates a corporation is NOT the corporation itself. The corporations don’t really exist in our world, but we all pretend that they do and continue to bring life to them in our belief in them… continue to pay homage to them every time we think about that brand name we want to pay for, etc…. They are the true gollems that all of us helped bring in to power to submit our entire beings too in some way, shape, or form.
Advertising, and all of the little illustrations that come from it is just one of the many little offerings that are given to these souless, lifeless zombies to help them exist. You can call me a crazy lunatic if you want, but when you really dig deep and think about it, you have got to know that it’s true!
Does this mean I don’t want to be an illustrator. Of course not. I love to illustrate things, tell stories, bring life to the lifeless objects around me.
In a strange way, all people that create art, or anything really – letters that you made when you hit the keyboard on your computer (you do know that each letter and phrase is different from place to place in the world which is why there’s different languages that exist – we all breathe life in to our own perception of reality that the elders in our tribe have taught us IS reality and so we make it become OUR reality too), recipies you put together to eat, All Things that we do really… sort of do the same thing, whether it’s for a corporation or their own needs and wants to create. Art itself is something we breathe life in to, and it sort of takes on a life of it’s own in that process. Maybe all of this is something Jesus was talking about when he said you cannot serve God and Mammon?… but in reality, that’s not really possible is it, at least not if we want to live in this world and exist – Give to Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser…
Anyways, I am a living being, just as you are, and as The Universe’s Creator is. The act of creating things is in some ways the real and ultimate goal and meaning of the universe?… or is it? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, be sure to make your works your own, and unique enough that you don’t get sued for copyright infringment by other humans or the golems that exist in our society.
Just something to think about…
I added a few Truman State University Art Department Blogs to the feeds in this blog. You should see them over in the right hand column. Maybe viewing this stuff from fresh young artistic minds might inspire me to become more creative myself! 🙂
It’s been a LONG time since I visited Truman State University’s website. Looks like they have an illustration class again. For a long while they did not have one. Not sure when they got it going again, but it’s there…
Almost makes me want to head go back to school and take some more classes, lol.
I know that I probably seem like an unorganized slob sometimes since my thoughts seem so scattered sometimes, and I post about such a wide variety of things… but all the pieces of the master plan will come together over time… Here’s the gameplan for this blog, as it stands now. Remember, game plans are just that – plans, and they can and do change over time, so some or all of the goals listed below can go up or down in priority over time, or change completely as new goals come along…
Current Primary goals for this blog:
– Get as many of my sketchbook drawings scanned and uploaded to Cafepress and linked to from here as I possibly can. Please bear with me… I know that some of this old stuff is rough looking, maybe even what some might classify as “ugly” and amateurish. That’s ok. The newer, fresher, better stuff will get uploaded eventually. I am uploading everything that I can so that I will see it online here in the blog and it’ll act as an incentive to do better work in the future. The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is very true in many ways. I believe that each image I’ve ever made in my entire life sort of has something to say about me, my technique, and my way of doing things… some of which the casual observer can see… some of which only I can know since I was there when the artwork was created, and know what was going on in my head at the time… what logic flow there is, why certain elements are as they are, etc. The same is true of photographs, and any artwork really. A picture is actually worth many, many, many more than a thousand words.
– Get as many of my paintings, and other artworks photographed and uploaded somewhere and linked to from this blog. Most of the stuff will probably go on Cafepress. Some of it might go elsewhere. For stuff that I really don’t ever want deleted in the coming decades, I might even upload some of it to the Internet Archives since I believe that place will probably be around a lot longer than most other places, including both wordpress and cafepress. It’s just a major hassle to get stuff in to there since the interface is slightly clunky and slow, etc.
Although distributing my work in this way is not the best or neatest way of doing things since Cafepress is sort of kitschy, some of this really old stuff is not all that great of a artistic quality, etc., it does get the stuff out here where people can and will look at it. That’s a very powerful motivator for me because it gets people actually seeing some stuff I’ve done, which is a LOT more than the stuff is doing sitting in the basement collecting dust in a sketchbook, deteriorating slowly year after year. Yesterday I was watching the news and there was a story on about this whole mess Google has gotten itself in by copying entire books before getting permission from each author of the books so that they could put it online. Google’s primary argument is that that makes the stuff accessible to the masses when otherwise it would just sit in the libraries untouched as it has for years, sometimes decades or centuries. That’s sort of the same sort of idea that I have going on with all of this. My artwork is a living, breathing thing, and I’m still a living artist, at least for the moment… so why not try to get as many people seeing my stuff as I can. There’s a whole huge world out here, full of many interesting people. Is artwork really artwork if it doesn’t have a viewer? My opinion is that it is, but it’s not nearly as good as artwork that gets viewed.
– Start creating new artwork in the future and continue to upload it on to the internet and link to it here. This part of the plan may take a little while since I still have the backlog of all the stuff I want to scan or shoot photos of to upload. Ultimately the goal is to make more new stuff the primary content on here… and still have the older stuff available here to view for historical purposes, etc. What form my new works will come in is largely undecided and will likely be a lot of various forms. One of many ideas that has been bouncing around in the back of my brain the last couple of years (and actually is part of the reason I started messing around with Cafe Press in the first place) is to start doing illustrations for the books on Project Gutenburg and re-publish the books in Cafepress along with new books that I create myself, etc. A sort of similar vein of though is to create 3d animated movies that use Public Domain or Open Source projects as the basis for where to start. Some folks in the Blender community have created entire full length movies with Blender that is all open source now. At least one guy that I know of has tried to do similar on his own with Lightwave a couple of years ago. This sort of stuff could never have been a one man show just a handful of years ago, but now things have progessed to a point where that is not really the case as much… More people can do more with fewer man hours than used to be possible, and things keep improving to make it easier with every new version of every piece of creative software that comes out…
I enjoy creating a wide variety of different types of art. I would not mind breaking in to Illustration industry, animation industry, or stock photograpy industry a little more than I have, or maybe even becoming a full time art critic, game designer, movie director, or something else creative somewhere down the road. I have a lot of hobbies and ideas. This blog is a bit of a soul searching thing as well as many other things. Some day I still might write a novel for Nanowrimo or some other sort of book.
Main Secondary Goals with this blog:
– Maybe do a post here and there about each of the various subjects that I find interesting and used to have blogs on… hobbies such as Entropia Universe, Role Playing, FTA Satellite, etc. With Entropia Universe, I was in email contact with some of the folks in FPC, and there was some discussion about having me create a World Book for them. HOwever, that idea is sort of nixed at the moment and has been replaced by my Entropia posts to this blog. I still may do something like that eventually, using some of the posts in here to help me along that path. However, there’s just too much work for one person to tackle with a project that huge, especially since it’d be a never ending battle as a lot of things change in Calypso and all of the Entropia Universe with every Version Update (VU).. so anything that got written would have to constantly be re-written as the rules of the universe and everything about it would be, is, and will be in constant flux… That’s just nature of the “Dynamic” system that is Entropia Universe is…
I still find it hard to believe that not too long ago I thought blogs were just for people who are mostly self absorbed (*Hopefully you don’t think that about me, lol), that I thought that facebook was just for teeny-bobbers, and that I thought that that I’d never get around to finally getting my artwork online after having so many false starts over the years (My first “website” was something I was starting my sophmore year in college but that was WAY back when the world was still on Windows 95 because 98 did not happen yet, and 100 mb was considered a lot of space, lol….
This blog is still not as high in google as my other old blog… oh well, that’s to be expected since this place is still fairly new.
There’s a post about it over at
Here’s an interesting link I found with info on how to create a homemade light box.
I’m not sure if I’ll do something like that or not. I need to get a setup to shoot some descent quality photos of my paintings to get them in to a digital format to have for my own portfolio as well as here on the blog. I do have a couple of pricey 1000 watt lights I bought from Orchelens a couple of years ago for doing this sort of thing, and never opened them yet… I got them because I read online somewhere that some people were using these sort of things to do sort of a photography studio lighting setup on the cheap by cutting the wires off of the front of those suckers. I think the 1k lights are mainly used by construction workers to light up places that they are building that does not have actual lighting installed in them yet, or maybe for farms for some reason since Orchelens main customers are farm folks…. etc.
I am honestly afraid of those things since I suspect they put off a heck of a lot of heat, and also they have this warning label that I didn’t notice at the time I bought them that says something about they having lead in it so it’s a health hazard!… I also have no idea if 1k lights would work too great for this sort of thing, or what sort of lifespan they have – or if you can even replace the lightbulbs in them?!?… Anyone have any ideas on this stuff? What’s your suggestions on how to get images of paintings in to a digital format via a camera? Normal indoor lighting, even with 100 watt light bulbs usually won’t do the trick.
I’m on a budget so can’t afford the expensive lights that real photo studios usually use… although that would be the best bet, obviously.
I’ve read a lot of places that suggest using real sunlight, but I find that sunlight blows things off the charts in light balance sometimes unless it’s positioned perfectly in balance with where the sun is… Also it’s a major pain in the butt to work outside doing this sort of thing because of wind, bugs that are attracted to bright stuff like drawing paper and brightly colored paintings, and then you also have to worry about clouds and rain… clouds can change your lighting almost instantly outdoors. The bug problem is also a problem if you ever create artwork outside. It’s a major pain to try to paint something outside, walk away from the canvas to get a glass of water or something and come back only to find a bug embedded in your paint.
I just wanted to throw these out here because they are amazing books that I use a lot and recommend a lot of other people to use too!
The Photoshop Bibleis THE book that you will want to get if you want to learn how to use Photoshop. I am sad to say that I’m still running Photoshop 5 LE, so I have not picked up a newer version Photoshop Bible that is for newer versions of Photoshop myself, but have read a few pages out of the newer versions in a bookstore now and then. It still appears to be the best source to go to for all things Photoshop. It covers just about every main function in the application and gives you a simple plain English explanation of why everything is there and what you should be using each function for and which Icons you should push on or quick keys to hit to get what you are trying to accomplish done quickly and competently.
The Artist’s Handbook, or The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques: Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated (Reference)
is just about one of the best “Bibles” on traditional art methods.
Both of the books cover many of the same topics. Mayer’s is considered a little “better” by some since I think it is actually the older of the two.
They cover just about every technique that there is in the traditional arts, and gives some really neat in-depth information that you just won’t find many other places, especially in a single book. It’s actually pretty hard to believe how much information there is packed in this book…It tells you some of the little known facts about how to make pigments, what formulas to use to make your own gesso, explains in-depth information about various surfaces and how you should treat them and more importantly, why. It just has a lot of little key bits of information that are invaluable to anyone that really wants to create artwork.
Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (California Studies in the History of Art) is another great art related book. While this book is not really a Technical Bible per se, it is a bit like the more traditional Bible in that it goes directly to the source to get first hand accounts of what is going on in the minds of various artist in the contemporary art world. The book is filled with tons of interviews done with artists, diary entries created by artist, and a variety of publications created by artists and those that have an in depth understanding of artists. It gets to the heart of why contemporary art really exists, and has more in-depth, behind the information than you are likely to find ANYWHERE else all in one place.
You folks reading this might think I’m nuts doing this many Interesting Reading posts in this short of a timespan, but there’s a lot of various books that I’ve read and/or am in the middle of reading that have a lot of relevance to this blog and life in general really, and are just great books that I think everyone should at least take a glance at some point in time… I’ll probably add more interesting reading posts in the not-too-distant future…
Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: A Historical Look at the Old and New Testaments is a very interesting book. Asimov, possibly one the greatest science fiction writers of all time, explores the bible from a scientific and historical perspective in this book. He’s an athiest, (and a former Jew I think) but that does not matter. He covers a lot of the historical aspects of each chapter of the Bible in this book from a scientific perspective. There’s not a lot of mushy love and miracle belief talk in the book like you see in a lot of the bible study books that are written by Christians. Also there’s a lot of discussion about geography and history of the locations in the bible, and how each of the main characters in the bible is thought of from a historian’s perspective and how they sort of fit in to the Social Studies and History books. That is something you don’t typically get a lot of with a lot of other books about the Bible. I don’t know that I agree with him on everything (since he is an atheist after all), but I do think he presents a lot of ideas that anyone interested in Religion, History, or Geography, regardless of whether they are Christian or not a Christian might find interesting.
His explanations that seem to explain away miracles or give them a new twist by allowing you to think about them in a different way than the way you might have been taught in Bible School by adding a bit of science is somewhat refreshing, and for the most part does not make the Bible any less relevant or True.
Remember, there are multiple perspectives to our reality… What everyone that witnesses anything experiences is likely slightly different than others that witnessed the same darn thing. It is good to sometimes think about things from a different angle. There might be a slight challenge to your faith in some of the info in this book, but that actually might be a catalyst that will help you gain a stronger faith by reading the book. There is a lot of historical and geographic info in here that you probably won’t come across many other places unless you are theologian and have read a LOT of ancient texts and have a masters degree in religion. It’s good to learn a few new things. and think about things in a different way on occassion! 🙂
Manuel J. Smith’s book, When I Say No, I Feel Guilty is a very good book about being assertive. If you have been unassertive in the past for whatever reason, as I have been sometimes, it can help you get past that, and start placing value on your own opinion and rights so that people are not always walking all over your every day.
The book introduces something called the Assertive Bill Of Rights that should be thought of as rules that you can and should apply to your everyday thoughts, and way of living, but probably have not always done in the past.
The Assertive Bill of rights are:
I have the right to be the ultimate judge of my own behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon myself.
Yes, you are the judge of your own reality ultimately. The Church, your parents, your boss, your coworkers, even the bobble heads on the News Channels and everyone else in the world is not the ultimate judge of your own thoughts, and emotions. You are a real person, just like everyone else. Underneath the surface there’s no difference between you and the President, any kings you read about in history, any slaves you read about or have seen yourself at your place of employment. Since you are responsible for yourself, you have the right to be assertive in this crazy world and not let everyone else tell you what to think, do, and be.
I have the right to offer no reasons or excuses to justify my behavior.
Just because someone asks you to logically explain any action you take does not mean that you have to give them a logical reason. Logic is really just a way for people to try to manipulate them in to doing what they want sometimes… That’s why statistics lie a lot – change the population of any stat, and the odds are likely that the result of that statistic will change as well. The world is malleable, and not all black and white. People change their thoughts and actions daily. You have the right to not have to justify yourself to anyone other than yourself, and even then sometimes you don’t even need to do that because your subconscious mind knows what the right thing to do is even if your conscious mind does not…
I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
You don’t have the entire world on your shoulders unless you choose to put it there… Take care of yourself BEFORE you take care of others and you might find that you do a better job taking care of both!
I have the right to change my mind.
In other words, your ideas about the way the world is should not be thought of as the only way at any given point in time. You have the right to change what you think about anything at any given point in time, just like anyone else.
I have the right to make mistakes – and to be responsible for them.
No one is perfect. Own your mistakes, but don’t let guilt about them ruin your life.
I have the right to say, “I don’t know.”
That’s right. You can say, “I don’t know” no matter how many people say that you can’t do that. However, don’t take this to the extreme and use “I don’t know” as an excuse for laziness as some people do when asked anything. You have a brain, use it. However, just because you have a brain does not mean that your ideas about the right course of actions to take at any point in time is always 100% yes or no, or whatever. Sometimes you just have to say, “I don’t know” when someone asks you something and expects a yes or no out of you immediately. Take your time and think things over. Don’t let the people around you in your life ruin your life by forcing you to commit to things immediately all the time.
I have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.
Some people many not think so, but you do have the ultimate right to take care of yourself before you take care of others. Who cares what the ladies at church think, or the guys that want you to come out to the bars to drink until you are smashed on a work night. Forget what frat guys using peer pressure are trying to get you to do… Of course your boss wants you to work overtime every day and every weekend. You are the ultimate ruler of yourself and your behaviors. Be responsible and good to yourself! Stand up for your rights!
I have the right to make decisions without using logic.
As mentioned above, logic is really just a way for people to manipulate one another in to thinking the thought patterns that the logic giver is giving. Throwing logic out the door can sometimes get you what you want. That manager at the grocery store won’t come to talk to you – maybe you should stand in line at the check out counter and refuse to move until he changes his mind. If that doesn’t work, maybe you should take your shirt off (if you are a guy – no need to break the law ladies)… and then yell a bit louder… pound your fists on that darn table and raise a ruckus. Who cares if logic tells you that you are embarressing yourself and will get no response. Taboos are a part of the logic that is deeply embedded in our society and sometimes they exist for stupid reasons that really are not all that logical at the core…
I have the right to say, “I don’t understand.”
The only dumb question is one that’s never asked.
I have the right to say, “I don’t care.”
That’s right. Who gives a hoot is sometimes the best answer! Who cares if your sister is mad at you for not coming to her Christmas party when you really want to go to your in-laws that is at the same time instead. She’ll get over it. Who cares what the ladies at Church think. They are not your God.
The assertive bill of rights is to mainly be reserved for use when you are dealing with people that are manipulating you because you don’t want to make yourself out to be a real pushy jerk… but for folks that are not too assertive naturally, sometimes, that may not be such a bad idea… perhaps they will think twice before they try to stress you out by getting you to do something they want you to do when you really should be doing something else, or just don’t want to do what they want you to do… YOU ARE ALIVE! YOU ARE HUMAN! YOU HAVE RIGHTS TOO!
How many people in the world eat apples and oranges daily?!?… How much of the world is getting hurt by green house gases because of trees that are now gone? Imagine what could happen if we all saved our apple and orange, or whatever other fruit seeds you come across in your daily meals, and send them to people to plant, or plant them yourselves somewhere? I am always eating apples and oranges in my lunch and now have started collecting the seeds and planting the little baby trees inside of a little bowl at home that has a light directly above it most of the day. What I’ll do with these saplings when they get bigger, if they get bigger, I don’t know… Wonder if others have similar ideas or are doing likewise?!?… Is there some sort of national forest type of place that could allow us to plan these little orphan trees? Maybe we could start a national orchard that has free fruit for everyone! 🙂
Dave’s Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness is a very good book. In post-stock market crash world we live in today, it’s reliance on using stocks as the main method of making money once you get financially stable is a bit questionable. However, all of the steps in the book to get to that point are sound, and simple enough that anyone can do them.
The main “baby steps” that need to be taken as the first steps to get financially stable that are listed in the book are:
1. Save $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund. The goal here is to get yourself to a place where you never use a credit card again, or have to take out a loan again in your life if possible. If you can get 1k in savings, and ONLY use it when you have a real emergency (car blows up, etc.), you can slowly get yourself off of relying on plastic and loans.
2. Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball. The idea with the snowball payments is to pay off the smallest debt (loan, credit card, etc.) that you have first, and pay minimum payments on everything else until that little debt is killed off. Then keep paying the same amount you would have to the little loan, and just apply the extra to the next biggest debt, and keep doing that so that you are basically doubling or tripling your payments over time as more things get paid off so that you minimize the amount of time it gets to get completely debt free to a few years instead of to a few decades.
3. Save up 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings. This step is important since it gives you a chance to really build up your savings account. The reason you do this now instead of earlier in step 1 is so that you could drop more cash in to the debt earlier before you do this so that you are not killing your savings interest rate with the interest rate of outgoing cash going in to paying off the stuff in step 2. Honestly, I think for most people, in todays unstable economy, it might be smarter to actually save up 1-2 years instead of only 6 months if possible, just so that you are safe. The unemployment rate is raising a lot more, a lot faster than it has in the past, and I personally know a few people that have been on unemployment (except for a few part time job seasonal monthly jobs) for a couple of years… so it’s a good idea to save!
4. Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement. I’m not sure I agree with Dave on this. I do agree it’s good to invest in something, but since IRAs are still one form of stocks, they can loose money if you the market goes down again… It might be better to invest in US savings bonds. They at least have a guaranteed interest rate that is backed by the Government. I’m pretty sure the government back out on paying bonds any time soon, even if our national debt grows every year at the rate it has for the last few years…
5. Save up College funding for children if you have kids, or alternatively, save up a little nest egg for yourself to get yourself ready to start up that home business you’ve always wanted to start, or to give you enough cash so that you are safe and can try to switch jobs and start doing what you really want to do if you don’t have kids. If you don’t want to do a business and don’t have kids, save up anyways. You never know what the future will bring. I think I read somewhere the other day that on average, a retirement home can eat up about one million dollars over the course of 2-5 years!
6. Pay off your house early. This one just makes sense. Get that mortgage gone so you can be completely debt free. However, don’t make it a priority over other debts unless the total payoff on it is lower than other debts because typically interest rates on houses are a heck of a lot lower than on credit cards and other unsecured debt. You also might put off paying minimum payments on your college loans right before paying off the house, depending on how many college loans you have and if you consolidated, etc. since college loans typically have a death clause and a low interest rate. (The death clause pays off the debt if you die so those you leave behind won’t be paying off your college loans forever after you are gone).
7. Build wealth and give! The ultimate goal is to be completely debt free, and never to rely on loans or credit cards again. Once you get to this point, you can start looking at a lot of different ways to invest and let your money grow itself for you. When you get to this point, and you are not living paycheck to paycheck, you can start looking in to giving money away to charities or people in need. Help them out. It’ll help you out spiritually, and probably mentally too. It’s nice to help people when you can. It’s just hard to get to a point in your life where you can do that without worrying about all the other debt… If you follow Dave’s baby steps, you can get to this point a lot sooner than you might think! 🙂
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book) by Miguel Ruiz is an interesting book. It talks about a lot of things, but mainly how to handle your internal train of thoughts to become more at peace with the world around you.
The 4 Agreements are
1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
4. Always Do Your Best.
One of the many themes in the book is that Original Sin does not really exist since the Fall of Man is just a story in our head… but it is much more than that too…
because our conscious minds that are always trying to make up stories about the world around us to help us understand and cope with the world around us based on our own unique psychological pasts, IS that the true Serpent in the Adam and Eve story… not really a serpent so much as a story teller – something that is constantly feeding us lies about the world that we can choose to believe or not to believe.
In many ways what the book is getting in to is a very DEEP and profound understanding about the world, and how to look at the world. I don’t know if I agree with everything that the book’s author believes, but I do believe that a lot of his ideas presented in the book are applicable to all of us in our every day lives.
Sometimes if we take the time to just shut up that little voice in our head that is telling us the way that things are, based on our own perceptions and mis-conceptions that we believe are Truths about reality we can come to realize that there is a lot more to the world around us than our own little single solitary point of view and can start to see the other sides of the multi-faceted jewel of reality that is hidden in the the story of each individual in the world around us… and can go 3 or 4 steps beyond that and start to come to realize that Reality itself is not really necessarily all that we have been taught, but is something much more than that…
and can come to realize that maybe, just maybe, we really were made in the image of God, like the Story of the Fall of Man tells us that we were, and that there really can be heaven on earth and peace everywhere, at least inside of us, if we just change the way we think about things a little sometimes and stop trying to continue to use our past biases and little lies that we have told ourselves in the past that made our reality a little more black and white than it should have really been.
Many years ago I remember that I had an in depth discussion with a Catholic Priest and he told me that the true Fall of Man is that we forgot that we were made in God’s image… Sex was not the problem… it was that Adam and Eve discovered that they could be their own mini versions of God to themselves, and saw things in their own ways, and started trying to make logic out of things, and taking actions to mold the world around them to suit their own needs instead of molding themselves to the world to be at peace with the world. It’s something to think about… It is a very interesting book. It really gets in to some deep psychology that is very simple on the surface, but has deep implications and can help you see the world around you in a new light.
Don’t continue to listen to that biased voice in your head all of the time assuming that it’s always right and has the true Truth about all of the world around you. Sometimes that voice can be wrong. Sometimes it can have a lot of little biases too it that have come in to creation based on some things that have hurt you in your past that you might not even be aware of today. Sometimes it is good to look at that multi-faceted jewel of reality from a different perspective.
Perhaps if more people started looking at things from more than one perspective, and started to really get in to thinking about the world around them instead of rushing around doing things based on assumptions, lies that they’ve been told or told themselves, taking everything personally and seeking revenge because of that, and being overall morally lazy by not doing their very best in all that they do, the world could become a better place, and we might not have as many conflicts about silly things… maybe there would not be as many battles in governement. Maybe there would not be as many wars. Perhaps we could start to bring peace to the entire world around us, both socially, ecologically, and environmentally.
Perhaps we could get back to the true Reality that we were born to embrace – a Heaven on Earth. That reality does exist today. It’s just a matter of changing your attitude and way of thinking about things to make it more of a reality for yourself. Negativity is all around us. It’s blasted at us in the newsrooms. It’s shouted out in all the advertisments everywhere – “You are not good enough to be happy today – Buy a Coke and put it in the coaster in your Ford Truck today so that you can have a supermodel sit next to you as you get a happy life. It’ll just cost you several thousand dollars… ” Stop listening to the lies. Start trying to find the true Reality. It does exist, and is in your grasp, and this book might just help you find it a little easier.
I’m constantly reading various books, blogs, websites, reviewing new material, reviewing old material, and rethinking about some of the content in those books, blogs, websites, etc.
Moving forward, I’m going to reserve the “Interesting Reading” tag and category in this blog for interesting reading articles, website links, links to books that I’ve come across, new thoughts I’ve got on old material, etc. This is not necessarily for “book reviews” so much as to toss an interesting piece of information that I’ve come across at you to think about a little – a pebble of thought, in to this wide Ocean that is the Blogosphere.
Over the years I have come to enjoy the fact that that I graduated from college 5 years after I graduated from high school because that means that each of my 5 year and 10 year class reunions for both college and high school all fall on the same years. That makes scheduling things a little easier. It’s also interesting that those years end in 4s and 9s, which means that they are always one year before the 5s and 10s that are my wedding anniversary 5 and 10 year increments. It also means that the times when we add a new digit to the tens part of the calander happens between the time that I have class reunions and the time that my wife and I celbrate our anniversary. All of that combines to make that extended period of several months every few years a neat time to reflect on the past, think about the present, and make plans for the future.
Part of this personal time of reflection this time round is actually what’s driven me to start this blog. It’s been a little over 10 years since I graduated from college, and a little over 15 years since I graduated from high school, and will soon be 5 years that I’ve been married to the most amazing woman in this or any other universe…
Therefore, it’s time to start doing more art related stuff before those turn in to 30 years, 60 years, etc., and I will be looking back in time thinking “what if…”
If you have a deep desire to do something creative, daring, or completely out of the ordinary compared to your average everday life, but have not done it yet, maybe you should challenge yourself to try to take the bull by the horns and try to do whatever you have been dreaming of doing before your next high school reunion….
or actually in a shorter time span… You made your new years resolution, now stick to it no matter the cost. You’ll be proud of yourself as you accomplish things that you actually want to do instead of continuing to just do what others are telling you to do in the mundane chores of your everyday living.
The Exhibits Tag and Category of this blog is reserved for artwork that I have enterered in to various exhibits. I will try to mention in each individual posting, or in the first comment of each posting which exhibits each item was in. I will also try to create a tag, and possibly as category for each individual exhibit. However, the main exhibits tag and category will be applied to all works that were in any exhibit.
Similarly, I’ll try to tag each item with a tag denoting the original year that the item was created. By default I’m tagging all artwork that I know that I created in College with the college and 1999 tags since I graduated in December, 1999, and I might not be able to pinpoint the exact year between 1994-1999 that the college artwork was created. (Yes, it took me 5 and years to graduate from college, but that’s mainly because I took a few extra classes in order to get a theater minor).
Artwork created in Highschool will be tagged with the tags 1994 and highschool because I graduated from highschool in 1994.
Has anyone found a way to get a Canoscan N1220U Scanner to work under Windows Vista yet? I’ve been trying various google searches for this and am seeing websites and forum info on it that says that there is a fix in the works, but no actual fix yet. Surely there is some way to make this work… If nothing else, maybe there’s a way to get cygwin to do it with some linux driver or something. I would have tried XP or 98 under Virtual Box or some other virtual solution, but I don’t think that sort of thing is workable since usb connections on virtual stuff is pretty slow, and/or might not work at all?…. Need to get my scanner working so that I can actually try scanning some stuff small paintings, and sketchbook things…
I have a found a temporary solution – I’ve hooked up my scanner to a second computer that is using XSane in Ubuntu Linux to do the scanning… but if you folks do find a solution to the Vista problem with this scanner, please do leave a comment with your solution, because I’m not sure this temporary fix is doable for the long term.