workout and weird dreams…

Last night Tekla and I worked out with Power 90 tape for the first time. We are off to a nice start! Hope to keep it up. I’m really glad she’s working out with me. It is so much easier to stay on course when you have a great workout partner. Together we are going to Kick ass and take names.

I had a weird dream about 3:30 or so this morning. I journaled about it… Then tried to go back to bed since REM time was broken by it, but laid in bed about an hour and a half never fully falling asleep. I did have the bipap machine on though so got some rest, just could not sleep too deeply after that.

Lots of odd bits and pieces to that dream… I might write more about it someday, but for now, I’ll just say part of it involved “G-I-N-G-WHORE” being sung to the tune of B-I-N-G-O in reference to someone named Ginger…

I did a little more writing this morning, but am not doing the midi keyboard practice this morning since I feel like I need a full night of good rest to take that on.

Day 2

We didn’t do the Power 90 last night… and I also didn’t do any art. I did go in to the ‘art room’ last night… which is our second bedroom which is currently used as a storage room in half of it and I have a few tables set up for art in the other part of it. It was extremely cold as we have it blocked off to keep the cold air from the rest of the apartment to save on heating costs, etc. I tried to set up an encaustic painting area, but got a major headache. I played around with taking the feet off of a skillet in there since they are partly broken. I re-arranged quite a few things… However, after that I think the stress from being in there mixed with the cold and the thoughts of how little I’ve been in there, etc. just sort of gave me a migrane headache… I was in there a couple of hours probably, just re-arranging things… shortly after I left the room Tekla got home since she worked last night. After that we went out to eat at a Chinese buffet across from Golden Coral. It’s a nice place… and it’s fairly cheap. I think it’s usually about twenty bucks between the two of us. I was really feeling ill during the meal. I think it was the cold from the room mixed with some sinus problems I’ve been having as well stress from being back at work the first day in many days dealing with very complex system issues (adjusting some hold bills are tricky – have to queue claim, print to screen to create an Account Receivable Counter on the Plan, then manually adjust off the balance, and note the visit – a very multi-step process that should only take 30 seconds but really takes about 5+ minutes per claim, and I had quite a few of those to deal with the last hour of work… among the many other things I did the rest of the day – have to jump through hurdles to just get the system to do what it should do automatically but never does as it was not programmed to do things the right ‘smart’ way of handling EVERYTHING… )… Tekla rubbed my head to try to help the migraine a bit, but it only helped so much. Needless to say after the dinner we pretty much went directly to bed shortly after that… Today, I did write some more in morning pages. I also did practice midi about half an hour, but only about 15 minutes of it got recorded since the computer ran out of memory or something as some error message popped up about virtual memory running out. Not sure why it worked yesterday in recording half an hour, but not today?.. Here’s today’s recording. I tried to practice more of the C-scale. It’s very difficult to get my left hand to do the transition when heading back down the scale. My middle finger just doesn’t seem to land on E all the time since it’s such a complex wrist movement… It also doesn’t help that the keyboard is probably on a desk that’s a little too high compared to where the office chair is at maximum height. Elbows are probably about even or a little below the keyboard, and they should be above for optimal use… might have to get a new desk or chair someday down the road?… might need a new keyboard too someday as this one has a lot of static in the sound coming out of the speaker in the earphones (I use earphones since it’s so early morning and I live in an apartment)… so here’s the short version of what did actually record. I was hoping it would be the full 30 minutes, but the computer thought otherwise.

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B5pC9Gwr9zBIOEgxbVlpdzA2aXM

Day one of 2013 goals

Goal 1 of the day – 3 single space ‘morning pages’ – complete.

Goal 2 of the day – half hour practicing on the midi keyboard – complete. Mostly practiced the C Scale using 123-12345 fingering. Prior to watching a piano practice app/youtube video the other day I was always in the past following the 12345 way of fingering the keyboard that is taught in some entry level books. It’s far more difficult to do the 123-12345 way of fingering the keyboard, but it is more professional and it seems like it will ultimately be an easier way of doing things and learning the full keyboard eventually. With 123-12345 you put thumb on c, index on d, and middle finger on e, then thumb goes under those to f, and so on up to the next c. With the other hand it’s little finger on c, then ring finger on d, middle on e, and then move middle over those to f… that move with the left hand is more difficult, especially on the way back down the scale since fingers are going under instead of over… I did a little bit of ode to joy in the middle in this practice. I recorded the practice just so I can reflect back on it later at how bad I was just starting today, and to see improvement over time, etc.
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B5pC9Gwr9zBIZC1QWEhsSG93OEk

Goals for this afternoon/night: make some art, and do some working out. Tekla and I are going to try to re-start the Power 90 from scratch at the beginning… but this time we are doing it together. I am so very happy that she will be joining me this time. I really think that will help motivate me to keep going.

I’m hoping I can help motivate her too.

We bought new yoga mats last night! That was an exciting purchase we made together. The mat I was using prior to now is really a ‘camping mat’ so it didn’t have trenches in it, so it created a bit of a suction cup effect on a sweaty back if when doing crunches, etc. if there was no towel or tee shirt on top of it… this new one should avoid that problem since it’s got some breathing trenches in it.

I believe that “The Age of Aquarius” has now begun… The new calendar has begun now that the Mayan one has ended, and it is a new one of love, peace, prosperity, and many blessings.

New Years Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Exercise Regularly, and avoid setbacks like the stab wound, hernia surgery, Bursitis, etc. from this year. If a set back does come my way, get back on course and stay on it with a quick recovery. (no more weeks off at a time). I’ll probably start light with once a day workouts. I don’t know if I’ll go back to the twice a day like I was doing before the hernia (which wasn’t technically a hernia, but was close enough that they had to do a surgery). I probably won’t keep up the 1000 day tracker thing any more since that is ultimately still the goal, but tracking it puts too much stress on myself (might be part of the reason these set backs came about? The UNIVERSE/Subconscious/Collective Subconscious/Gut Feeling is telling me that’s not the right way to do it. I still will track things, just not exactly that way)…

I DO PLAN to still eventually get to my goal BMI weight over the course of roughly 1000 days or a little over 3 years, regardless of if I’m tracking it or not. I HOPE that it won’t take that long… but if I do things slowly and only workout 20 or 30 minutes a day, I suspect that it might take that long or longer… the two a day workouts exist basically to increase the calorie burn per day to get to goal faster. Time-wise though, I’m not sure 2 a day workouts are really feasible… I might try walking on breaks at work again to help with that, but am not sure about that or not. ‘breaks’ exist to take a break and center/calm… adding more stress in the form of physical activity at those time might not be the best thing to do?…

2. Get back in to creating art regularly. This includes drawing and painting at the moment, both digitally, and on paper/board/canvas, etc. It might eventually include creating 3d models too, and probably will include photography, but only time will tell if those will be main focuses or not. I will likely have to fire up the ol laptop to get the scanner running again since it doesn’t work with this computer… However, instead of scanning stuff, I might try shooting it with a camera instead?… I’ve never done a very good job of shooting my works with a camera, in part due to lack of practice. Might have to change that?

3. Learn to play music. I’ve had this midi keyboard for years, but have never really learned to master it yet. I’m not just going to do midi though. This includes some other stuff too probably. I found this learn to play music app/youtube thing the other day – and so far it’s taught me that I have been playing wrong up til now since all the beginner books teach you the wrong placement of fingers… 12312345 is better than 12345. I’ve read/heard some interesting info about studies on how music can help those with Alzheimer’s. It helps them increase verbal skills/patterns, etc. I don’t think I have Alzheimer’s, but I do think that the more I get in to visual art, the more tendency that I’ll have to get some symptoms that are similar somewhat. It has to do right/left brain usage. The more I dig in to the visual pattern thinking mode, the more I start loosing memory due to loosing connections verbal pattern thinking mode.

If I study music and visual art simultaneously I’m hoping to overcome that hurdle because even though I think having memory loss, etc. is not a ‘bad’ thing, it is an annoying thing. It’s never good when getting so deep in to creating a painting/drawing that you forget where your keys are, forget pieces of conversations you just had 2 hours or less ago, forget where you placed some tool you just had in your hands less than 10 minutes ago, etc. In the past I’ve overcome that sort of thing by mentally just telling myself it’s ok… When it first started happening many years ago, it would freak me out big time, and I’d go on crazy panic attack induced searches around the area for those lost keys, tools, etc. til they were found. I learned that it’s not as important to do that the more that I studied/learned the connection between that sort of thing and right/left brain connections. However, I’m hoping that learning music can help that sort of thing just get bypassed… also am hoping that maybe it can help me stop the eventual possibility that I’ll actually develop true Alzheimer’s down the road as it does run in my family a little.

Learning to play music will probably include learning to do some remixing type of stuff, and possibly writing some music, etc. I’d love to be able to integrate visual and musical arts sometime down the road… but only time will tell how that will happen. I don’t necessarily like animation since it takes so many hours of work to get just a few seconds of results. However, I’m not going to limit myself and say I won’t do animation/3d type stuff. I likely won’t upgrade Lightwave though since it’s expensive. I might possibly try to learn blender, but that seems like a difficult task. Only time will tell what I’m going to actually do. However, I do know that I want to try to set aside some time to learn to create music before I try to teach myself to manipulate it as background noise for visual arts since that’s a skill I’ve needed to learn for a long time but never took the time to really master yet.

4. Eat Right. I’m probably going to try to do more of the ‘No S’ Diet… “No snacks, no sweets, no seconds, except sometimes – on S day(s).’ I’ll probably try to check sugar more regularly too maybe. I’m say maybe because the Doctor says that if I keep on track I probably won’t have to check it but about once a week or so… the trick is staying on track… it’s so easy to fall off track…

5. Write things down. I’m going to try to do ‘morning pages’ from The Artist’s Way again. I’ll probably also blog some since that is sort of similar to doing that. I will likely burn through a lot of paper, and it won’t all be on acid free stuff that will still be around after I’m long gone for many years as it will age and turn yellow, but that’s ok. I might also try keeping multiple notebooks to notate various things like I’ve tried in past years some…. I might get in to using sketchbooks more too, but we’ll see. I’m not sure I can afford to buy a ton of sketchbooks regularly, at least until after Tekla graduates from Massage Therapy school in about 8 months.

New goals…

I’ve been procrastinating on things a bit, but no more! I’ve decided that I want to start getting up at 4 AM instead of 5. Up til now I’ve been trying to get up at 5, but usually ended up going back to bed til 6 sometimes, or more often got up and just wasted time online on forums, etc. Going forwards, I want to change that… I have no idea if I’ll be able to do this or not but think if I can I’ll see some major improvement in my art, in my attitude, etc.

Goal is to do more art, do it in a way that suits me and gets things accomplished, and make time to live life a little too more than in the past. No more wasting time…

so… tentative schedule is…
Up at 4 AM. Do 3 pages of Morning Pages for The Artist’s Way/Journaling/diary type stuff… Then eat breakfast (probably a bowl of cereal, maybe fruit on occassion) In theory, that’ll take up til about 4:30 ish… maybe 4:40 or 4:20 sometimes?

4:30 AM – 5:00ish (maybe earlier depending on the above) do a 10-30 minute drawing… probably with ball point pen since it’s a speedy thing, but maybe other stuff like charcoal or color pencils sometimes?… maybe even graphite even though I hate the shine graphite produces. Number one reason I hate acrylic too unless lots of matte medium is used – also why I love oil paint and have decided on encaustic as painting medium of choice…

5:00 AM – 6:30ish = Work on 3d Modelling. I’ll probably do speed modeling for now… then go back and redo the fine details as needed later on. Maybe do a whole week of work without going back in to finish it up til the weekends?… I’ve been on Turbosquid for a very long time, so am at the level in there where you can get the keywords for free, so those keywords will be my subjects for these 3d models since that’s stuff that is known to sell, etc. I’ve been trying to copy/paste the keyword lists in to an open office file every morning, and will continue to do so and then will pick the subjects that interest me… I may sometimes stray from that and use my own ideas or keywords/topics, but there’s lots of ideas in there, so I think I’m going to focus on that a bit.

6:30 – Take a Shower, Make Lunch, Get ready for work, etc.

7:00ish – Head to work…

At work, walk with my Aunt on my morning and afternoon breaks (assuming I’m not on hold with blasted insurance companies when she takes a break)

11:00ish (my time for lunch varies) Eat Lunch and Read a page or two out of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain or The Artist’s way… Maybe other books on kindle, etc. Possibly do a 5 minute doodle session at lunch, but probably not as there’s not really much time since I only have half an hour lunch.

After work – Start up the Encaustic heating up as soon as I get home… Maybe draw for a few minutes while it’s heating up and the wax is melting. Paint after it’s hot with the encaustic til Tekla gets home.

When Tekla gets home, we’ll head to the Arc to workout. This is something I’ve neglected doing way too long, and is really why my sugar’s not under better control at the moment, even if it’s not too hugely bad yet.

After that we’ll have supper, and enjoy the rest of whatever is left of the night spending time with one another and enjoying our time together.

Go to bed around 10 or so since that’ll give me 6 hours of sleep. If I can get myself off of caffeine, I think 6 hours of sleep is enough… Going to be hard to do, especially at work since it’s free there and they have a huge thing there that keeps 3 pots going all day every day… they usually have one pot of decaf, one of regular, and one double strong – I usually try to mix half decaf with regular but half of the time the decaf is gone… need to drink water more, coffee less… very difficult to do, but I think if I can and can excercise more, this crazy schedule might work…

Speed Model Challenge: Spear

Spear © 6/8/2011 Jeff Thomann

Spear © 6/8/2011 Jeff Thomann

Spear © 6/8/2011 Jeff Thomann

This is a 3d model I created tonight for the speed model challenge over at http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=122&t=984188.

The Model took me approximately an hour and a half to create, but I was a bit distracted since we were watching America’s Got Talent at the same time, and I was also using an internet browser to look at various spear reference images at the same time. I was originally intending to base this on the Hofburg Spear of Destiny that supposedly the spear that pierced the side of Christ according to some, but decided that since I was on a timeline in order to complete this in less than 2 hours, I was going to sort of go off in my own direction with it as a generic spear that just has the rough basic shape as that spear.

I probably spent about 45 minutes adjusting various settings in the procedural texture settings in Lightwave to get the texture I was aiming for. I didn’t focus too much on lighting the scene. It’s just using the generic default light from Lightwave. I didn’t do my usual 30 minute ball point pen drawing tonight, but that’s ok because we spent some time at the mall in Barnes and Noble tonight where I looked at several books and magazines related to 3d modeling and drawing. I’m going to consider that a part of my weekly ‘artist date’ for this week. The ‘artist date’ is a part of The Artist’s Way Process. It involves spending time ‘filling the well’ by doing various things your inner artists guides you to do.

Another part of my ‘artist date’ earlier this week was playing Grand Theft Auto, Vice City for a few hours over the weekend. It’s always a little fun to go and act like a crazy stuntman driver in that game causing all sorts of havoc. Neat way to blow off a little steam.

Speed Model Challenge – Dumbbell

Speed Model Challenge – Dumbbell
© 2011 Jeff Thomann

© 2011 Jeff Thomann

The above is a quick ‘speed model’ I did tonight for the speed model challenge over at cgtalk http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=122&t=984188

I plan to do more of these speed model challenges in the future to get my 3d modeling skills up to a level where I want them to be. The above model took me a little over an hour to do, and the texture (which I’m not 100% too happy with at the moment) took about 20 or so minutes. The model was created in Lightwave 9.

Assertive Bill of Rights:

Assertive Bill Of Rights (from When I Say No, I Feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith):

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.
I have the right to offer no reasons or excuses to justify my behavior.
I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
I have the right to change my mind.
I have the right to make mistakes – and to be responsible for them.
I have the right to say, “I don’t know.”
I have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.
I have the right to make decisions without using logic.
I have the right to say, “I don’t understand.”
I have the right to say, “I don’t care.”

Basic Principles of The Artist’s Way:

BASIC PRINCIPLES
1. Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy, pure creative energy.
2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life — including ourselves.
3. When we open oursleves to our creativity, we open ourselves to The Creator’s creativity within us and our lives.
4. We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
5. Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.
6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is conter to our true nature.
7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction
8. As we open our creative channel to The Creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.
10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.

CREATIVE AFFIRMATIONS
1. I am a channel for God’s creativity, and my work comes to good.
2. My dreams come from God and God has the power to accomplish them.
3. As I create and listen, I will be led.
4. Creativity is The Creator’s will for me.
5. My creativity heals myself and others.
6. I am allwed to nurture my artist.
7. Through the use of a few simple tools, my creativity will flourish.
8. Through the use of my creativity, I serve God.
9. My creativity always leads me to truth and love.
10. My creativity leads me to forgiveness and self-forgiveness.
11. There is a divine plan of goodness for my work.
12. There is a divine plan of goodness for my work.
13. As I listen to the creator within, I am led.
14. As I lisetn to my creativity I am led to my creator.
15. I am willing to create.
16. I am willing to learn to let myself create.
17. I am willing to let God create through me.
18. I am willing to be of service through my creativity.
19. I am willing to experience my creative energy.
20. I am willing to use my creative talents.

5 basic skills of drawing (from The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards)
1. The perception of edges
2. The perception of spaces
3. The perception of relationships
4. The perception of lights and shadows
5. the perception o fthe whole, or gestalt

6 and 7 are for Art with a capital A.
6. drawing from memory
7. drawing from imagination

In order to gain access to the subdominant visual, perceptual R-mode of the brain, it is necessary to present the brain with a job that the verbal, analytical L-mode will turn down!

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…