Getting Organized, and Moving Foward…

Getting Organized, and Moving Foward…

Over the last few days, I’ve decided to start getting organized again and make more plans on how to get motivated and move forward in my life and in my art.

The cgtalk forum thread over at
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&s=f7856855978ca716d6c6734dd8c5ecb7&t=969336 got me thinking, and as I noted over there, I’m starting to work with a few notebooks and sketchooks now.

I started the Artists Way again, and am at least trying to do the Morning Pages again. I had given up on that a month or two back because my allergies were really hurting me a lot, so making the time to get up earlier in the morning then necessary to write down the 3 handwritten pages needed for that every day was too much.

We also were going through some personal crises type of things recently that was having big emotional impact on me… My mother-in-law passed away April 10th and her funeral was on the 14th. In the last couple of years my wife has lost her mom, dad, and last living grandparent as well as a six month second cousin who she never got a chance to meet that now rests in peace next to her mother and grandmother. All of these tragedies make me realize how fragile life is an how short it is, and how important it is that I start following the Artist’s Way more strictly since, as the book discusses, it really is ‘selfish’ to have talents and skills and not share them with the world or take the time to perfect those skills and talents as a gift to myself and those around me, even if it does cost a bit to do so in the form of art materials, etc.

I’ve started a notebook that is acting sort of like a diary and daily planner type of thing like the one described at http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&s=f7856855978ca716d6c6734dd8c5ecb7&t=969336 and http://studium.tobiasdeml.com/2011/04/02/making-your-life-more-efficient-than-ever-before-the-notebook-battleplan/
I’ve also started a second notebook that is a to do list similar to the one listed at http://www.erica.biz/2010/getting-things-done/.

As mentioned at http://advancedphotosolutions.blogspot.com/2010/07/why-you-need-grimoire.html we all need to do this sort of thing, especially if we focus on technical things like art, computer programming, game development, and hacking, all of which are sort of niche areas that I have some interest in on some levels.

The calander/diarly/battleplan book is sort of a daily summary thing so far, where I’m keeping small notes on mostly everything I’m doing that is of some importance in my life daily and out of the ordinary. This is sort of a reflection guide that tells me what I’ve done and when I’ve done it that will come in handy later since the calander part of it you do forwards to backwards and then back and forth… so each page has dates that are months apart so you can sort of mentally review what you did earlier that year or last year and keep your mind fresh and clear on where you’ve been so you know where you are going…

The Morning Pages notebook I’m doing is just a bunch of loose leaf papers in a 3 ring binder I keep on the coffee table and I enter 3 handwritten pages in the mornings. If I just ‘have’ to sleep in an hour I only do one half page or one page as time permits before work. I don’t try to sleep in much, but if I had too much caffiene the night before, or allergies are extra-ordinarily bad that caused me to loose sleep, or stomache is upset or loud neighbors disturbed rem time, I’m not oppossed to skipping the morning pages and just doing a shorter version since it’s all about getting healthy and wealthy on a lot of emotion and psychological levels, and you can’t be too healty or wealthy if you are lacking sleep…Eventually if that 3 ring binder is full, I might either bind the pages in some other way (likely using leather, yarn or something, or just buy another 3 ring binder… Plan on doing this the rest of my life essentially, so it’ll take up a lot of room over time I suspect.

The TO DO list is something new that I’ve not done before. I used to do to do lists in excel and notepad some for daily and weekly stuff, but never one that I wrote out by hand and updated every day. I’m finding that writing the stuff down and actually crossing it off as I do it gives a nice sense of accomplishment, and a motiviation to actually do what I put down there every day in the morning after I do the Morning pages… I want to get really detailed with this to do list and add all sorts of various technical things in it eventually every day. That way it’ll act sort of as a grimoire type of thing along with the daily calander/battleplan book.

I’ve also got a couple of voice recorders. I bought them several years back to record sounds when I was getting in to 3d animation a little in 2005 or so, but never did much with them. Now I pack them with the ‘manbag’ type of laptop case I carry with me everywhere to record notes to myself on the way to or from work and also to just do various sounds. Sound driver on computer is glitchy though, so can’t always listen to what I record there… Need to fix that eventually but not sure how. I DO NOT CARRY A LAPTOP with me ever, so don’t even think about trying to steal it from me if you see the laptop bag. All that I carry with me is a paper notebook, a cheapo mp3 player and a cheapo voice recorder in there, and somedays a cheapo digital camera somedays, lol.

Over time I might scan these various notebooks and put them online somewhere at least as backup… Also might buy myself some more external hard drives (only got one small one right now) to save backups to and actually keep one at my parents house that I’ll do backups to on a monthly basis or something going fowards.

All this writing and organization is helping me think clearer and be organized. The morning pages sort of ‘clear my mind’ in the morning. The other two notebooks help me ‘clearly define my daily goals’ and keep track of what goals I’m getting done and not getting done daily so I can become more productive as an artist and guide myself towards where I want to and need to be.

If I’m not doing all this, which is the way I used to be, my mind becomes unclear on what I need to do and when I need to do it, so I would find myself watching forums and emails or youtube and movie channels for hours without being productive. I’m probably one of the few people that call myself a painter but have not painted or sketched a lot in years… Hopeing to change that… Hoping to do small skill challenges and things to increase my skills in drawing and painting to where they were back in college, if not go beyond that level, far beyond it… to the professional level I want to be at, and that I know I can be at with a little practice… daily practices… practices that will be in that to do list that I will actually do and cross off as I do them! 🙂

I do plan to buy acid free sketchbooks too, but that, along with other art expenses will be something I’ll tackle one thing at a time… Art materials don’t have to be super expensive, and to do lists and stuff like this don’t need to be on acid free paper since scanners exist. The old me would have just not suited for anything but acid free sketchbook paper, but that’s silly and way too darn expensive just for writing stuff like the morning pages and to do lists…

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The Artist’s way

A couple of weeks ago one of my friends on Facebook posted about the difficulty of doing a week with no media because she was working through the Artist’s way. It was very ironic because Facebook is a form of media. Anyways, that sounded like something interesting to me, and is something I had vaguely remembered seeing or hearing about some many years ago somewhere… so I went to Banes and Noble and bought the The Complete Artist’s Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice.

It’s actually 3 books in one, but the first book is a 12 step process that you are to do one chapter of weekly, but according to the forums some do it in more then one week per chapter or even a month a chapter, etc. It’s a very cool process. The first chapter deals with doing “morning pages” and “artist dates” where you have to write 3 pages out every morning to sort of clear the mind of thoughts that sit and hinder your creativity unless you get them out somehow, and going out somewhere to explore the art world around you for inspiration about an hour or more a week.

It is a neat little process, and it’s been about a week since I started this. I am looking forward to working through the rest of the process.

Find out more about all of it over at http://theartistsway.com/

Walking the dog in the morning.

In the mornings when I walk our dog, it is a peacefully quite and serene time. The rest of the world is not fully awake. Some lights are always on though, even if the sun is not up yet shining in it’s glory. In many ways I feel as though I am walking through an Edward Hopper painting. It’s a peaceful calm, yet there is still some movement – some signs of life.

There are many small shops in the town we live in, and I walk past the display windows. Some businesses keep their lights on to deter crime. Others are completely dark. It is interesting to peer in to the windows of these closed shops as I stroll by with my four legged companion. I sometimes take a digital camera with me to shoot the display windows and various interesting patterns that the street lights create. There is an an artful beauty to it all, which many will never witness. That is why I take my photos. There is an entire interesting beauty to it which I’d like to show the world. I see myself, both as a painter and photographer, as someone pointing people in ways that will open their eyes to the beauty around them. Observation is a powerful thing – and it can bring you to recognize your place in the world. It can help you understand more of the connections between a variety of things and mankind.

It can help you see the small things that you don’t always notice as you rush past in a fast paced hurry to get to the next thing so that you can sit and wait, sit and wait, sit and wait until it is time to hurry again to the next pointless thing you will do, whether it’s sitting like a couch potato listening to the bobble heads on TV tell you various myths of their false stories which has very little eductational purpose to it other then to fill your head with useless knowledge, going to work daily to do other people’s jobs so that they will pay you money that they obtained in ways that are typically not really honerable underneath it all, or rushing home along paved highways that destroyed the beauty that was once there so you can sit in your house which will not be carried with you in to the next life and watch the 10′ o clock news about the angry protesters fighting a war against a war that should never have been started in the first place but was because no one stood up for the rights of life and compassion at the beginning and just let things rush on and on and on til they got to where we are now as the mindless masses listened to the shouts of the arogant ignorant who were rushing and rushing, never taking the time to stop and think, never taking the time to realize what the powers of creation could do, and instead chose the path of destruction, which has caused entire nations to be destoyed throughout the course of history over and over and over again… Why is it that people like listening to John Lenon songs after a war, but not before it? Something to think about…

I don’t mean to be a pessimist, but it just seems that many times we rush around doing things that ignore our basic essential needs to connect with one another and the world around us. We should make it more of a priority to listen to the birds chirping, watch the river flowing, study the patterns of the tree bark growing, be in awe of the things our ancestors have created that are still visible in the old parts of our cities, see the squirrels running and jumping, watch the grasshoppers, see the ants crawling in the grass that we miss when we walk past this hollowed ground daily, constanly being in a hurry to rush past as fast as possible… constantly hurrying to get to the next place to sit and wait – slaves to our society, obeying the rules that others set up for us, not thinking about how to live our lives the way we want to live them in harmony with nature and our neighbors.

Review of the Twilight Movie – Eclipse

Tekla and I went to see the Third Twilight movie, Eclipse, last night. It was a pretty predictable movie.

Actually, the whole Twilight series is that way, but that’s to be expected since the target audience is a bunch of teenage girls for the most part. The fight scenes were not overly exciting. The “vampire army” was made to sound like they had a lot of strength and power, but really the army was defeated in no time flat by the Cullins and the Wolf pack.

The army was really only a small handful of vampires – maybe 10-20 or so, if I remember correctly. The “army” only injured Jacob by breaking his ribs when one of the neophyte vampires in the army squeezed him. I have not read the book, so don’t know how closely they kept this true to the story, but based on what I’ve read on wikipedia, it sounds like it was fairly close. That is one problem I have with all of the twilight movies so far – the action, when there is action, is fairly calm. Sure, they are throwing one another around, and biting off limbs, but it’s all not very scary, dramatic, or meant for a movie in my opinion.

The main battle in this movie takes place in the middle of the open field in one of the earlier movies. It’s a nice sunny day in the meadow. The environment just does not lend itself well to a gory, bloody fight scene. It also is not really remnescent of the foggy, cloudy days environment that is typical of the area in real life where the movie suppossedly takes place. I guess the reason for that is because the target audience is a bunch of teenage girls that they don’t want to gross out or something?… I want to see more drastic color in a movie about vampires and werewolves…

There is hints of red here and there, but not a lot of bloody, gory stuff that is typical of vampire and werewolf movies. The horror just seems to not be there really – even when Victoria’s head is ripped off, and her boyfriend’s arms are ripped out, the gore is not there and the limbs just look like stone statues…making this more like an anime movie, or teenage soap opera then a real movie about vampires and werewolves.

I mean, sure it’s a love story, but it’s also suppossed to be a horror movie, right? Where’s the shakey camera shots? Where’s the foggy night scenes? There is a chase scene or two through the forest in some places of the movie, but it’s never really “scary” – more like an anime movie or something. When the vampires do go “hunting” for their animal blood, it’s never on scene… The sunny meadow is very cheery. The gory scenes of the army in Seattle are dark-ish, but even those are not really gross me out or scare me out of my wits horror like they should be in my opinion. We should be afraid that this big scary army is coming to the Cullins land and as an audience should be feeling some empathy. It didn’t seem like anyone in the audience had that empathy level because the movie is just too silly… We have a bunch of people jumping around like they belong on Dragon Ball Z more then a vampire or werewolf movie. We see bright sunny skies (ok, it’s suppossed to be overcast, and that’s why we don’t see the sparkles in the vampres – but many of those scenes look way to bright on gamma to be too cloudy to me – or maybe they just dulled it out too much so it looks a lot brighter then it really is or something)… Yes, the movie was ok plotwise, but as I mentioned, somewhat predictable.

The focus on the live triangle is important, but they could have at least put a little gore in there, or done some of the camera angles up closer to hone in on the battle scenes more from a first person perspective instead of leaving it all in third person from a distance in a very passive manner. There should have been a lot more drastic colors and things.

Sure, they have mountains scenes that look like they are shot from a helicoptor (probably a 3d camera view from a 3d mountian) but they could have done so much more. Mountains have gigantic 5:00 shadows all over the place. We could have seen lots more doom and gloom. More dramatic flair… More brightly contrasting color schemes to pull the audience attention in on certain things. No, they should not turn it in to a Kill Bill type of blood fest with blood spurting out everywhere, but they could have done something heading a little bit in that direction a lot more then they have done… As it is, the werewolves seem like newborn puppies, even when they are at the most savage scenes in the movie. The vampires just seem like normal people that don’t get a tan. Even though Jacob’s ribs are supposedly broken, we don’t see any camera angles focus in on a closeup of his chest at all during that time of the movie, even though during the rest of the movie he’s running around bare-chested all day long… Aw well, it was worth seeing, but it’s not really worth the money to see it in a movie theater. If I were you, I might wait til it’s out on DVD.

drivers are a pain!

I’ve been playing around with swapping operating systems, dual booting and stuff lately. Here’s a tip – find some forums with knowledegable people. Some folks think they know what they are talking about and others really do know. Ask around multiple places if you ever run in to problems. Also, remember the ol’ saying, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.”… on other words sometimes just changing one little thing can sometimes change everything. I have been trying to install a sound driver for the last few days, and kept hitting a roadblock. Turns out that instead of picking the folder for Windows to search in, I had to actually tell Windows to not search and that I’d pick the right driver, even though it was the same blasted place that the search was looking in and not finding… Can’t tell you how many times I hit that roadblock and kept coming back to it, doing the same thing over and over… sometimes things are MUCH SIMPLER then we think they should be.

Can Art Change the World?

As Director of Digital Learning, I might just have the best job in the world. Take today as an example. At 10:00 a.m., I reviewed video for an online studio course about the materials and techniques of Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Barnett Newman (among others) that my coworker Amy Horschak and I hope […] http://bit.ly/d14bAR