Various Times that I can remember being told to stop taking photographs, or stop doing something else artistic…

Various Times that I can remember being told to stop taking photographs, or stop doing something else artistic…

– New York City on Spring Break back in college. I was trying to photograph something in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was told to not flash the camera. Apparently, there, you are allowed to take photos, just not with the flash on.

– Turbosquid. I had a photo of building on there. It had a car somewhere in the photo, taking up a very small portion of the picture plane. Ford sent Turbosquid a Cease and Desist Letter asking that it be taken down, and so they took it down and emailed me notifying me that that was done and why. Nowadays, I try to avoid anything with logos or trademarks on it if possible, or if I shoot them, I purposefully try to just hone in on some image that is not clearly apparent what the picture is of… for instance I might zoom in on spokes of the wheel hub but avoid taking a photo of the entire hub that shows the name of the company, or I might take photos of brick textures and avoid the name of the brick manufacturer, or just go for something natural that no one has the right to – like tree bark, cement, asphalt, grass, clouds, or similar textural type of things.

– behind Columbiana Apartments. I used to live at Columbiana Apartments in Columbia, Missouri, several years ago. It’s near Stephens’s Stables on Old 63, right next door to the BXR Radio Station. I took photos of some clouds out there sometimes, especially when crazy Spring weather came around. I was shooting some upside down tornado-like clouds one day (looked like twisters, but they were funnelling upwards instead of down towards the ground) and got told to stop shooting back there by a lady next door because she thought I was aiming the camera too close to the place back there, which was violating privacy. Apparently, there’s a homeless shelter back there. I didn’t know prior to that incident that that is what was housed in that building…

– Columbia Mall. I was taking some pictures of clouds. I love taking pictures there or in similar places, like overpasses, where there’s no trees in the immediate vicinity blocking the view to the sky. Some guy thought I was taking a photo of him and yelled at me as he drove by. I simply told him that it’s a digital camera and that I hit delete… He gave me the bird and yelled some obscenity before driving off. Kind of funny that someone would do that when the mall itself is constantly taking security pics of everything in the place. If I ever do get someone in a photo, I try to not put that online, or if I do, edit that person out unless I have permission because I don’t want to get hit with privacy lawsuits later.

– A few times people have seen me drawing in crowded locations, and came up asking me about it. Usually, when I used to draw people, such as in the mallsmall sketchbooks – mainly drawn on breaks in cafeterias, at the mall cafe court, or similar public locations, I did quick sketches so it was hard to tell who I was drawing and/or there was so few details, and I could quickly close the book. Usually, most people are actually happy to figure out I’m drawing them if they do put 2 and 2 together… admiration type of thing. I’ve never had someone tell me to directly to stop this sort of activity. However, it is a little embarassing if you do get caught red handed doing that sort of thing. I have not done this type of thing for several years now, but might get back in to it someday since my drawing skills have gone downhill lately due to lack of practice.

– Once back in college, I did a quick little “show” that was not publicly announced or advertised. I simply asked the Art Department for permission to put up an exhibit in one of the halls where there was room for that sort of stuff. When I put it up some people looked at me weirdly and talked about it at a distance as if I could not hear them. No one actually said don’t do that though.

It was very interesting seeing how people going between classes reacted. I didn’t put up a nameplate or anything explaining who did the work or the title. I just walked the halls on various occassions when it was up to see reactions.

It was a small series that I called “Work In Progress”, or WIP – it was a series of parts of a canvas stretcher. The first part was one board, the next part, two boards forming an L shape, the next side, 3 boards, and the last part 4 boards. It was colored with acrylic paint that I airbrushed on there. No actual canvas was on the stretchers. It was just the idea of putting together the stretcher, and the work involved in that that was the focus/theme of the work. I painted the first part a light blue, next part blue on first part of the L and faded in to red on the second part of the L with a nice transition… Third part that had 3 sides showing more of the fade, and start of orange, and 4th part showing full color spectrum with primary colors faded from one in to the other… the idea was sort of that the creating of a canvas is in and of itself a work of art. Some parts of that still exist. Other parts have been torn apart since I kept it at my parents house for storage, and dad found another use for some of the 2x4s in it without asking me if he could tear it apart first… 😦

Someday, I would not mind doing another progressive piece like that again.

Luckily, I didn’t offend anyone directly with WIP. About 2 weeks after I took that down, another art student put a painting up in the same location, and it irritated the someone enough that the painting got taken off of the wall and thrown in to a trash bin below the balacony walkway between the building that this hallway that was on the second floor of Baldwin hall, and the next building over. If I remember correctly, that was Kjell Hahn’s painting of a nun in a slightly erotic pose or something similar to that. It was rumored at the time that the janitor did it, but no one had any proof… (edit 6/25/2014 – edited the link to Kjell’s site above to an internet archive version. Kjell is on facebook if you need to contact him.).

The janitor of Baldwin hall made himself appear to be a bit grumpy at times, but I think honestly, he was just a quite guy… and he actually had a bit of an interest in the arts or else he would not have kept that job, being seen listening to some of the music from the music students and looking at some of the art from the art students.

Back then in the 1990s (things have changed now) Baldwin Hall was the main art building at Truman State University… The top floor was the art student’s realm. The second floor was the music student’s realm, and the first floor and basement were the theater department’s realm. Across the quad, Ophelia Parish is where the art gallery was, but most of OP was just a big storehouse that was never done. Since then, they’ve converted OP in to the main art building… Not sure if sculpture classes are there though. Sculpture used to be in a building all the way on the other side of the campus, across the street – probably a half mile walk or so down the road. It used to be a pain to carry portolios and art toolboxes from Baldwin to the other building and back, so I put a bookbag strap on my portolio, and another on my toolbox that carried my art supplies and walked all over the place with that… One of the biggest gripes I had about Truman when I left was that the art students didn’t have descent sized lockers anywhere, and could not really store art supplies in dorm rooms – at least not legally if they went 100% by the contract with the housing people… major pain for those of us that liked to make big works of art. Most of my painting back then were around 2-3 feet wide, One was actually 6′ x 6′, and some of my sculptures were similar lengths in size…
The last two years I was up there at Kirksville, I actually had to rent a storage shed out on the edge of town to store my stuff.

I highly doubt that storage problem has gotten any better since then, but for the amount of money that college kids give the school to live there, they should fix it someday… if nothing else, the school should get in to some sort of discount deal with the storage places in the area to get college kids a discount.

a few poems… simple and complex.

=======================
===LUMPS IN THE DIRT===
=======================
———————–
new brick walls…
new lumps in dirt.

Quadrangles are now triangles.

CHANGES, CHANGES, CHANGES..

Rec center is now 4 times bigger.
Construction everywhere.

CHANGES, CHANGES, CHANGES…

The new garage is really huge.
The new facades are really fake.

CHANGES CHANGES CHANGES…
ALWAYS CHANGING.

but,
The art hall remains the same…
always dirty, always grimy, always in need of repair.

MU’s wasted money…

Says the Millionare
as he passes through the
doors that bear his name.

———————-
Creativity stifled.
Funds are now dried up.
changes everywhere.
———————-

==========================
===REMEMBERING LONG AGO===
==========================
Gone are the days of wandering
around the Ville at night
Gone are the days of wandering
a camera without a light
gone are the days of wandering
paintbrush in my hand
gone are the days of wandering
throughout all of the land

running barefoot in the groves
through the pavement
on the concrete and the stone

10 years and more have passed
time pushes on…

History and Present Clash.

Time to begin the new song.

Time to follow the new path.

singing in the rain
watching the clouds again.

prisms of light and dark.
The greys, greens, blues, violets,

and of course the reds, purples, and
hazy darkness behind the trees so
brilliant red

Don’t forget the Oranges too.
—————————–

=========================
==DISTANCE IN THE DARK===
=========================
In to the night
we shall traverse

far
and
close

only

a
flicker
of
light
between

a small dim yellow flick
or maybe a currelean dab

as the night screen closes in
with ultramarine and precious
prussian blues.

—————————–

==============================
===LITTLE WHITE BUNNY TALES===
==============================
Where the fuck did that go?
Never God Damned Mind.

The cursing times…

Hide the tounge
The kids are near.

Hide the truth
Bring out the Lies

It’s Santa’s time.

Tooth faires sprinkling
different colored glitter
all around…

Why’s the colors different mom?

H377 if I know… Oh no…

I mean… darling dear,
oh me, oh my.

Let me tell you some more lies.
==========================

======================
=======GAPS===========
======================
Gaps between the poems
make you stop and think

times to reflect
times to remember
times to pause

and think.
======================

======================
=====SLOW DEATH=======
=======================
you are alive and well
you are sick and ill

the coughs of sick old
middle aged people
coming from their kids

all life is a poem…
REFRAIN is not far away

sound of the
busy bees working away
in their prison cells

those little things called
cubicles…
=======================

==========================
=====Cube cell hell=======
======ever binding========
======ever grinding=======

10 punch numbers worn off

keyboards dusty for years.

Counting down the days
til the weekends is here.

and freedom from these 4 walls
is clear… at least a while.
============================

From the Archives 03: A Brief Homage to Franklin Gothic

The Franklin Gothic typeface is the primary influence for nearly all MoMA materials; it’s the basis of our logo (see the top of your screen) and our official font “MoMA Gothic,” which were both created by Matthew Carter. We were happy to see that MoMA used a version of Franklin Gothic as long ago […] http://bit.ly/aUWBit

—————
Want to get in to Typography? Check out some of these cool Typography books

Converting stuff from one pen and paper rpg game system to another – World of Darkness and Palladium Books

Converting Characters, Powers, etc. from one gaming fantasy world in to another is not usually too difficult because most stats in most games are fairly similar on some level. Usually there is a roll done to check if some action is successful or not. If it is successful, there sometimes is another roll to determine what actually happens, or how successful the success was. The different gaming systems have different ways of doing that – some use D20s, some use D10s, some use D6s, and some actions, especially those that are skill based instead of against a particular player character or non-player character, are based on on a percentage, usually determined by two D10s are rolled, and one counts as the 10s part of the % and the other counts as the ones part of the %. A roll of 9 and 9 would be 99%. A roll of 0 and one would be 1% unless the one was in the tens slot, in which case it would be a 10%. On skill checks like that, the Game Master, or some pre-planned skill check base is used to determine if the roll is over the amount needed to successfully do whatever it is that the character is trying to do.

Since everything in all gaming systems is based on a check for success of failure, it’s usually just a matter of comparing the two systems you are trying to convert to or from against one another to see in what way you can play with the numbers to get to the average and go from there in all conversions.

For instance, World of Darkness games are usually based on dots that make up attributes or skills. 5 dots is usually considered about the highest humanly possible attribute. 10 dots is considered about as powerful as god in whatever skill that it is that those points are in. In that system, each dot represents a 10 sided dice that is rolled to check against some number, usually determined by the books or the game master – oops, I mean “story teller.”

In other books like Palladiumbooks Rifts, Hereoes Unlimited, etc. Most non-combat actions are based on skill checks that are % based, and most combat actions are based on the roll of a D20 to determine if a hit, punch, or power that is used successfully hits. That is sometimes contested by another characters roll of a D20 for defensive actions such as parrying, dodging, etc. If no defensive moves are used, the attackers D20 roll is usually contested against the other character’s armor, which has an armor rating… Rolls above the armor’s rating does damage to the character inside of the armor. Rolls below that do damage to the armor itself, unless the armor is a special armor such as a mutant’s metal power that gives them a high armor rating, in which case a roll below the armor rating usually does no damage. A roll of a “natural 20” or 90% or more is typically a super success, usually doing twice as much damage, or making the successful check against a skill super successful. For instance, you checked against your lockpick skill to open a bank vault – a roll of 95% when you just needed a 70% might mean you got in, no alarms went off, and there is actually the keys to a lamberghini parked outside that has no alarm system sitting on the floor of the vault. A roll of 1 or 2% is usually a miserable failure – so in the same situation, that would result in a full swat team showing up, the alarm going off, and you broke your lockpick and got your fingerprints all over the place.

I have played both of those game systems and loved them and successfully integrated them by simply thinking about how the dot system works vs the % system and the D20 system. Different people doing different conversions might come up with other conversions, but what I typically came up with was that 5 dots = 99% or so, so each dot = about 20% for skill checks… and on average, one dot = +3 in d20 rolls, giving 5 dots +15 advantage on all d20 rolls, which is really just about the best most powers and things can give you in the Palliadium world.

Now go put all those vampires, werewolves, mummies, wraiths, and things in to your Rifts or Heroes Unlimited Campaign to add a whole bunch of new layers of complexity to the world… or go the other way and put some of those nearly unkillable vampires from Heroes Unlimited up against the Camarilla of Chicago or the Sabbat of New York City, etc. Perhaps a new vampire hunter is an invulnerable mutant with supersonic speed. Maybe a demigod from Rifts World Books have found a rift in to the World of Darkness and have decided to take on the eternal mummies or maybe even Caine and Lilith one on one. There’s literally unlimited potential to bring your heroes unlimited opportunities for role playing.

In a future post I might put in some rules about converting to and from other game systems.

http://www.zazzle.com/jeffthomann

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

Studio Tip – Get Rechargable Batteries – And use them!… Also get organized…

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.

Studio Tip – Keeping pencil shavings, and other things…

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.

Color Pallette… Color Blindness… When is a something done?

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.

Inspirations – Jimmy Kuehnle

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! 🙂 😉

Wow. Truman does have illustration again.

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…
http://concept.typepad.com/art219illustration/

Almost makes me want to head go back to school and take some more classes, lol.

Gameplan…

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….

Interesting Reading…

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.

Post-New Years Reflections

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.

Some of strangest compliments I’ve ever received…

Have you ever had someone say something extremely oddball to you, about you, that was meant to be a compliment, but could have possibly been taken as a slam? I’ve had that happen to me a few times. I love these little compliments because you remember them well and can look back on them, and sometimes say, yes, they were right, I am that way, or just look back and smile and laugh. Here’s some of the weirdest compliments I’ve ever received, which have a bit of truth to them…

Becca
(I can’t remember your last name Becca sorry – we attended TSU together. You had long black curly hair, a smile and laugh that is hard to forget, and a a neat little glimmer in your eye when it came to anything that interested you, and I think you were going in to art therapy after you graduated from TSU):
Jeff, when I watch you create your art, it is like you are an exotic farmer.

Chris (Gondee) Mast
(referring to an apartment bedroom that Tekla and I had converted in to a computer room many years ago) :
Gah! Jeff, it feels like I’m walking on to the set of a Star Trek movie when I walk in here.

=====================
I might make a post later about some of the weird remarks that I remember from various role playing games through the years, but am not sure if I want to do that or not, since some of it might not be suitable for younger members of this blog’s viewing audience…

I’ll also try to add more weird or oddball remarks about myself in this post over time as more of them come to me from the depths of my subconcious mind from many years ago, or as new ones come around in the future…

Exploring the wide world of blogging and updating…

I’m learning more and more every day about the wide world of the blogosphere. Up til a few days ago, I was manually doing a lot of updates in facebook and here, thinking of them as seperate worlds… The rumor that these here intraweb tubes all work together like magic is TRUE!

A few days back, I started using twitterfeed to update my facebook account with links to my blog. Within the last 24-48 hours I discovered http://hellotxt.com/ that does something similar but feeds a heck of a lot more than the 4 or so things that twitterfeed feeds… actually I learned about hellotxt from twitterfeed since twitter feed lets you use it to feed hellotxt… so now my blog is feeding twitterfeed… twitterfeed is feeding hellotxt… and hellotxt is feeding a bunch of other networks I never heard of, or heard of but never took part in before now. Amazing how these little social network things can connect you like crazy… It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago, I thought facebook was just for geeky kids fresh out of high school, lol… It’s gotten me connected with a lot of old high school and college buddies, almost all of my family members in different parts of the country, a lot of people that I play video games with, and a ton of other people… The world isn’t such a big place anymore!… I really wish all of this stuff existed about 10 years ago when I graduated from college – I’d probably be a hole different life if that happened. Of course, if that happened, I’d not have met my wonderful wife, and have the amazing life that I have now… so there’s no looking back… but…. Look out future. Here we come in this interconnected virtual world!

Fellow Artist – Ben Mudd

Ben Mudd and I were in college together. He was a photography major and I was a painting major. We had a few classes together. He got darn lucky because I think Truman State University closed down the photo part of the Fine Arts Department about a year or two after he graduated. He may have been one of the folks that got Grandfathered in. I am not sure if they ever brought it back, but am guessing/hoping they did. It was a pretty good program. Ben shot the photos that were used in my Senior Exhibit.

Ben’s website is http://www.muddphotography.com/.

Fellow Artist – Rachel (Michael Tiger) Elliott

Rachel and I were classmates together at Truman State University in the late 1990s. We attended quite a few painting classes together. I remember fondly having some in-depth discussions with her as we both sat fatigued on the painting studio floor after having been in our own little corners of the room pulling all-nighters.

Her work has a serene beauty to it. A few of her drawings are sometimes simple on the surface, but very narrative and complex under the surface. I really enjoy her mastery of color and simple lines to evoke a lot of feeling. Her use of compositional space draws the viewer in to the little worlds that each individual painting or drawing depicts and describes. Her works may be small, and intimate since they require the viewer to get up close and personal with the work, but they pack a powerful punch.

Rachel’s Blog is located at http://michaeltiger.wordpress.com/. Her blogging is one of the many things that have inspired me to start blogging again.

Fellow Artist – Chris Mast

Chris is the webmaster for the popular gaming website http://www.merqurycity.com/

I’ve known Chris since high school. He and I were on the high school newspaper staff together at Boonville High School way back in the day (16 years ago, geesh, I feel old now). Back then, Chris lived one and a half blocks away. Chris, Chris’s brother, Sam, my brother, Danny, a few other close friends, and I used to play many video games and pen and paper role playing games together. The main games that we played were Heroes Unlimited, Beyond the Supernatural, Ninja and Superspies, Rifts, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT – no longer in publication since the Copyright and Trademark owners dumbed the TMNT down and made it in to a kid’s cartoon instead of the gritty, urban ninja comic it originally was intended to be). In my college days, we even played a few games of Nightbane, and a weird role playing world that I created using Palldium Books game system with modified versions of World of Darkness characters on occasion. (I won’t publish the conversion rules here in this post, but might in a future post – they are fairly simple).

I have many fond memories of role playing with Chris. Him and I used to take turns being the Game Master. Role Playing is one interest of mine that got me interested in taking up theater in college. Chris was one of the grooms men in my wedding. I keep in pretty close contact with him and see him about once or twice a year most years nowadays. He’s a very talented artist, and with two bachelor degrees behind his name, is about as well rounded of an artist as there can be.

Chris’s portfolio website is http://www.chrisjmast.com/.

Fellow Artists

Items tagged with the tag Fellow Artists are going to be dedicated to some of my fellow artist friends and their websites. Here, I plan to link to websites, blogs, and other interesting online projects that some of my fellow art friends have created, run, or maintain. I’ll try to keep the list narrowed down to artists that I personally know, or have some affiliation with. A copy of these postings will also be added to the Fellow Artists Page in my blog.

Growing up… .stream of conciousness… fleeting thoughts…

growing up … train-of-consciousness running me down!..stream of conciousness… fleeting thoughts, racing through my mind.. dream like visions… life is flashing before my eyes as various realities that I have known come colliding together in kaleidoscope forms making a rainbow prism for myself to see… myself… who I am…

Watching sunsets on Aunt Jo Ann’s porch (the brilliance blinding and beutiful), ruts in dirt roads. Covered bridge. Cows crossing the stream..
lincoln logs,
He man, Spider man, GI Joe and Fonzy
etc.

Fond memories of my dad’s flannel jackets, my great granma’s bonnet, clubhouse/treehouse… space cadets, imagination running wild. I feel like I’m awakening from a dream as I type this and begin letting my brain reconnect with some old memories… neurons are all a chattering away … excitement like a Child awaitng opening presents on Christmas morning… Christmas, Ceder Tree, tinsels, icicles… taking the icicle from the coyote’s cave near grandpa’s farm…

mind is racing as I conciously do what I need to do, at work, and elsewhere… however, I am no automaton. My subconcious races thinking about many thing… both wonderous and mundane. Creativity is flowing through every neuron in my body as I feel a tingle. I know that I am alive. It is good to feel this level of happy exhileration again… to be in touch with who that I am…. knowing that I am… being who I am… I am.

I am reminded of an old meditation that several nun’s and other Catholic mentors that I have related to at various retreats throughout my life have taught me…
Be Still and Know that I am God… Be still and Know. Be still… Be…

zest for life after mourning… inspirations of Jon – He is alive and is proud to be alive… spirit quests… change is good although we don’t like it when and fight it tooth and nail… understanding… wisdom…

It is good to be alive.

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I am…
I am that.

ALIVE AND WELL here. How are you today?

Fantasy Lands…

Wikipedia is bad for studying fantasy game worlds in mmorpgs since they have rules that keep that sort of thing from staying in posts there…. can’t verify blah, blah, blah… which is weird since they have entire sections on fantasy places in literature

like Oz…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_Oz

Land of Oz

Mavel Universe,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_universe

and even Heroes…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heroes_(TV_series)

etc.

I guess for now, folks in Entropia will just have to continue to use places like http://www.entropedia.info/ because the place that should describe all of these sorts of things in detail, wikipedia, refuses to do so. Gigantic bias against virtual game worlds there on wikipedia in my opinion, which is really too bad… How are places that real people visit with their avatar every day less real and needing to be in there than silly make believe places like the land of Oz?, especially since places in Entropia Universe are paid for with real world money?

Something that really frustrates me about all of this is that they apparently have different rules for different virtual worlds… since they apparently don’t mind listing locations inside of the virtual universe of Warcraft… even though it’s an MMROPG and is “less real” than Entropia since it’s based entirely on a virtual gold system instead of a PED system that has a real world monetary system as the PED is tied to the dollar in a 1:10 ratio.

A few healthcare tips…

As someone who works for a hospital, in a Department that works closely with insurance contract interpretion, I’ve seen a lot of behind the scenes sort of things that a lot of people don’t necessarily think about when thinking about their hospital and doctor bills – things that might be costing them a lot but that they are not aware of, costs both in healthcare being provided to them as well as monetary costs…

Here’s a few tips related to healthcare that you might want to keep in mind in the future when dealing with your insurance company, hospital, doctor, or any healthcare provider. I’ll probably post more tips in future postings as I think of new tidbits. I’ll try to keep this as specific as I can so that it’s useful information for the general public but as unspecific as I can so that I don’t get in trouble for HIPPA violations or get in trouble with my boss if anyone I work with ever stumbles across this in the future.

Reciepts…
Always ask for a receipt any time you pay a bill. Sometimes clerical errors can cause bills to continue to be sent to patients by a hospital after the bill is sent. Other times, it’s possible that the bills are being computer generated by a system that is automated, and it’s impossible to turn the system off if a bill comes in… In many cases, at some healthcare facilities, hospital bills DO get sent to patients after the bills are already paid, and in some cases, those bills will have a date on the top of them that indicates that they were produced AFTER the payment for the bill has already been paid by the patient. This usually happens because of the fact that many hospitals, doctor offices, and other healthcare providers outsource some or all of their billing, and/or rely on billing systems that are not able to always be 100% up-to-date. In some, rare cases, this could be considered fraud because the bills are being created after the claim in question is already paid, making it highly confusing to patients, who sometimes send in payments any time they receive a bill, resulting in overpayments.

Overpayments… and Small Dollar Writeoffs…

Many healthcare facilities, and some insurance companies as well, typically write off small dollar debits and credits below a certain amount. For instance some hospitals might write off debits and credits below a fifteen dollar amount, and some physician offices may write off debits or credits with values around five or ten dollars. The actual amount varies from place to place, and office to office. What is important to know about this is that this means that they are likely going to write off a certain amount of money up to a certain dollar amount if it is either OVER or underpaid. For underpayments, this can work to your benefit since it might mean that you are getting away with not paying your copay, etc.

However, As mentioned in the above paragraph on Receipts, that might mean that your overpayment on bills that you’ve already paid are being written off and you’ll never be refunded for the amount you overpaid on your bill if it’s an overpayment amount under the threshold that the facility in question is using to determine writeoffs. You would think that it would be unethical for healthcare facilities to keep your overpaid money, but they don’t think twice about it because they have deemed the amount below that threshold, whatever amount it’s set at, to be not worth their time since it’ll cost them more in paying their staff to refund you the money than the actual refund itself is worth. This can really add up over time, since some people may put off going to the doctor for many months, and then go and see several doctors in clinics in a hosptial all on one day – resulting in multiple bills for the same day…

For example… If a hospital has a 15.00 small dollar write off, and physicians at the same facility have a 5.00 writeoff policy that is similar… 15.00 overpayment could be being thrown away in a write off for one bill, and another 5 for the physician bill that’s for the same service… for a total write off of 20.00 overpayment for one clinics for one day… maybe one for diabetes, one for an eye exam, one for a follow up on something else, and a couple of others for various other problems… Lets imagine what could happen if you saw 5 clinics on the same day, and got an x-ray or mri too, both of which could result in additional bills… That could be 7 or more hospital clinic bills, and 7 or more physicial bills since the physicians and hospital send out different bills… You could have possibly overpaid 20×7 = $140.00 in total for just that one day… and never have a chance of getting it back since they consider it written off as a small dollar amount that they don’t want to mess with… Imagine how much money you could be loosing in something like this if you have ongoing problems such as chemo treatments, diabetes, or any other numerous health related issues that require ongoing visits?…

Make sure to ask what the small dollar write off policies at the facilities you deal with are. Also, be sure to always ask as many questions as you can think of related to your bill so that you know what is going on with your money.

Applying Overpayments…

Similar to the issues mentioned above, some facilities tend to move money around on various bills that a patient has where they see fit. In other words, if you overpay a bill one month, and you incur another bill the next month, some facilities will apply the payment up to the amount owed, move the overpayment and apply that overpayment amount to the next bill that still has a balance, resulting in a very messy accounting of where the money you paid was actually applied, and also making it very confusing to know if you have overpaid anything or still owe money on something. This typically happens if you pay a copay or coinsurnace payment to a healthcare provider at the time that the service was provided, and then later, after your insurance is billed, it’s discovered that the insurance paid your bill in full, and there was no actual balance you should have paid in the first place, or the insurance has left you with a copay, deductible, or coinsurance amount that is smaller than what you paid at the time of service. Make sure you know your benefits, and are kept updated with changes, and know exactly how much to pay when, if possible.

Discounts

Many healcare providers and insurance companies have negotiated contracts between one another so that the insurance company can pay a smaller amount than 100% of the charges billed by the healthcare facility, and the payment with that discount makes the payment considered to be “paid in full” by the healthcare facility. These managed care contracts can be very confusing, and often can be interpreted in a number of different ways by a number of different parties, depending on how the contracts themselves are worded. Many of these contracts also have new amendments, negotiations, etc made to them yearly, or on some sort of regular basis. Make sure to check all explanation of benefits that your insurance company sends you to make sure that you only paid the amount that you should have to the healcare provider. If you paid the amount that should have been discounted, request your money back.

Some facilities will work with uninsured people, or people that have out-of-network benefits at a particular facility that they go to (out of state provider that specializes in something that a place more local cannot handle, etc.). Similarly, some facilities are willing to negotiate with under-insured people, such as Amish communities, Church groups, people who have no health insurance that are willing to pay a certain percent of the bill immediately, etc. Make sure to ask as many questions as you can think of to both your insurance company and healthcare provider to make sure you are not overpaying on something that should have been discounted.

Medicare… and other Governement Programs can be very odd sometimes…

Did you know that Medicare pays a flat Diagnosis Related Grouper (DRG) rate on inpatient claims? They also pay something called an outlier in addition to that if the amount billed is high enough and falls in to certain conditions. What is very important to understand about this is that sometimes, the flat DRG payment rate is MORE than the amount that some healthcare providers charge. In other words, if a DRG rate is something like $1500.00, and the hospital is only charging $1200.00 for the bill, Medicare is paying the hospital $1500.00, and this is considered to be legal since Medicare paid the DRG rate. What is even more odd about this sort of thing is that even though the hospital is getting paid more than it’s billing, they can still legally hit you up for even more money in addition to this because you still legally owe your copay or deductible amount… In other words the hospital is getting paid more than it’s charging and you are still on the hook for more money than that. No wonder the folks in Washington are trying to reform Healthcare. Tricare (the insurance for our armed service men, and retirees) is set up very similar to Medicare. In addition some insurance companies use Medicare as a bases for establishing the amounts they pay… so in the past some commercial insurance companies have been known to pay hospitals more than the hospital charged for certain services, due to the fact that the insurance(s) in question were paying based on flat DRG rates, in contracts that did not have a “lesser of DRG Rate or total billed charges” clause in it – and patients still were getting billed copays in addition to this payment over the total billed charge amount… Ask as questions to both your insurance company and healthcare provider(s). Things can and are confusing sometimes…

Scanning money…

It is illegal for healthcare facilities, insurances, or anyone else to scan paper money at 100% of the original size of the money in question. Doing so is considered by the United States Government to be counterfitting. In the past, some healthcare providers have scanned dollar bills as proof of payment for some low dollar copays. If you ever see anyone scanning money, ask them why they are doing that, where they are saving it, and at what size they are saving it or printing it. Some newer software, such as Adobe Photoshop, will actually try to not save scanned money. It is legal to scan money, so long as certain rules are followed, so Adobe actually is going a few steps too far in completely stopping the scanning of money. http://www.ustreas.gov/usss/money_illustrations.shtml

more posts will likely come in the future about healthcare…

Old Blogs… and websites…

Just for reference and historical information, I’m going to list my old blogs, and possibly old websites here if they still exist. This right here that you are reading now is my real blog for today and going foward in time, but I’m going to link to my old blogs from here for my own reading and for yours too if you want. I am going to do that so that there’s a link back and forth between here and there so that you can see where my thought processes have been in the past, and I can too… since there’s a lot of themes and ideas that I come back to over time…

http://oldnewsstories.blogspot.com/ – the idea with this was to edit public domain news stories in the archive since the text that came from the scan was horrible…

http://midnightmoonrunner.blogspot.com/ – this was a highly cliche’ identity thingy for me a long time back…

http://paintstorm.blogspot.com/ – When I get creative I become like a storm… it starts slow, then speeds up and goes hyper with thousands of ideas crossing my mind silmultanously… but there’s a constant quite in the storm… sort of similar to the search for IT in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road

http://role-playing-onion.blogspot.com/– I used to role play a lot back in high school, college, and some after that too, at least in my mind and online…

http://poet-traits.blogspot.com/ – I envision poet-traits as more or less portraits created with poety describing the individual or quoted by the individual where the lines of the poetry are shaped with curves and splines and things to create the face of the individual. I used to do a lot of drawings like that back in college somewhat in sketch books… sketch books are probably best for it, or something like illustrator or inkspace… but sketchbooks are best because of the immediacy of the work and the fact that it’s easy to just keep turning the book and the drawing instrument..

http://satelliteman.blogspot.com/ – I’m in to FTA Satellite…. It’s a neat hobby.

http://entropia-delight.blogspot.com/ – this was my first Entropia Blog…

http://jeffthomannart.blogspot.com/ – This was my latest art blog…

http://haikumostdays.blogspot.com/ – I like writing haiku sometimes

http://mariasgoods.blogspot.com/ – this was another Entropia blog from the days when Maria did not own a shop yet and did street trading in Port Atlantis and Twin Peaks.

http://jeffthomannsart.blogspot.com/ – This was another take on an art blog…

http://obscuremissourilaws.blogspot.com/ – This never went far… but studying the laws, there is a lot of loopholes and plainly stupid things going on, not just in Missouri, but everywhere.

http://photogametry.blogspot.com/ – 3d math and the stuff behind 3d animation is fascinating.

http://harm-onica.blogspot.com/ – I have a harmonica but have not ever learned to use it yet. I was going to learn a while back since my wife and I carpool and worked different hours. I was going to try to practice the harmonica while waiting in the car for her, but never got too far with it because, as you can tell by reading this post, I’ve got a lot of hobbies, and so never found the time to master the harmonica (yet)

http://jeffsdoodles.blogspot.com/ – This was another art blog – based on quick little works…

http://spameaters.blogspot.com/ – I was going to try to copy spam, but decided not to go on with it after a few posts since lots of other websites are out there and it’s stupid to actually make that stuff popular.

http://three-d-news.blogspot.com/ – 3d industry is fascinating. I read 3d World, HDRI magazine, and a lot of other various publications sometimes… also visit lots of forums related to the industry.

http://publicdomainremix.blogspot.com/ – I love public domain stuff and editing it.

http://grababeat.blogspot.com/ – I was going to try to do some music since I own a midi keyboard and a voice recorder, but never got too far with it. I still like the idea of mixing things up like that.

http://720x480doodles.blogspot.com/ – I was going to do doodles that were 720×480 pixels… but never got far with it really… sort of a silly format to go with…

http://knowledgeyoucanuse.blogspot.com/ – this was a good idea blog, but I never did much with it. This blog will likely have good ideas mixed in with various posts as we move forward in time.

http://jeffthomann.blogspot.com/ – real original… lol… almost as good as jeffthomann.wordpress.com, 😉

http://makesomemoneyrightnow.blogspot.com/ – My wife and I are in to online businesses. I was going to try to explain to people my experiences with all of that… I still probably will in this blog since this is my ONE blog moving foward…

http://5×7-doodles.blogspot.com/ 5×7 inch drawings and doodles… I love that format since it’s a size that can be used in postcards on cafepress, and is also a size that fits in 5×7 inch picture frames, and also can easily be shrunken down to artcard sizes.

http://archaicsymphony.blogspot.com/ – this was going to be a music and public domain remix blog, but someone else already was using that same basic name on a website, so I gave up on it quickly.

http://great-quotes.blogspot.com/ – I love reading quotes, especially from artist and other creative individuals. I may do a few quotes in this blog moving foward in time since this is the only blog I plan to keep moving forward…

http://publicdomainartbyjeff.blogspot.com/ – I love public domain works and was thinking about creating some of my own public domain works. I might still do this in the future.

http://hackinghealthcare.blogspot.com/ – I work for a University Hospital. I was going to use this blog with a false name since I may have revealed some basic info that some might see as trade secrets, or at least things that would make the organization I work for look not so great since there is a lot of little dirty secrets out there that most folks don’t necessarily know about in the public. I may still do a tidbit now and then but will be careful to word things so that I am not putting my job at risk… especially since this blog makes it very apparent who I am by the name on it…

Long List of 3d and 2d editing software

This space will is reserved for a list of 3d and 2d editing software that I’ll drop in here in the near future, and/or build over time. I don’t have time to list it all right now, but am putting this here as a sort of reminder to myself to come back here later and add more. There’s tons of great 3d and 2d freeware and shareware out there as well as higher end stuff. I’ve played around with quite a bit of it and will post my comments on each one I have some experience with here.

Blender – http://www.blender.org/
Gimp –http://www.gimp.org/
Wings 3d – http://www.wings3d.com/
Project Dogwaffle http://www.thebest3d.com/dogwaffle/free/index.html
cinepaint http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CinePaint

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_vector_graphics_editors

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_modeling_software

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_raster_graphics_editors

http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Multimedia_and_Graphics/Graphics_Editors/Wood_Workshop.html

http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Shell_and_Desktop/Wallpaper_Tools/flooring_contractors.html

http://wareseeker.com/free-popular-seamless-texture-generator

http://www.brothersoft.com/texture-generator-download-283505.html

http://software.informer.com/getfree-how-to-create-seamless-brick-texture/

http://www.bricksntiles.com/download/

http://www.3d-rekonstruktionen.de/de/download/

I’ll add more to this list over time… You might want to book markt it! 🙂

=== note to self – http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=6717946#post6717946

Also add more like it.. other lists have been in various forums before.. but forums disappear over time. Blogs can too, but not as easily all the time.

Welcome to Jeff Thomann’s “official” new blog. (or JEFF’S ONE BLOG)

I’ve started a number of various blogs on blogspot.com in the past on a wide variety of topics, but never got many or any of them too far because I would start something, get on to another topic, abandon the blog, and not come back to it later.  I am sort of doing a “redo” here and starting over from scratch here on wordpress.  I’m doing this so that I have ONE blog and only ONE blog… I’ll post a link to this ONE blog from my multiple other blogs later so that they all eventually lead you here.  I like it over here a lot better than over there because here you can do tags and things a lot easier.

I’ll warn you now… I’m a bit of an eccentric individual with a lot of various hobbies, interests, and things, so will likely post about a lot of different things over time.  I’ll try to post Tags to each entry to make it easier to maneuver around the upcoming massive amount of posts about all sorts of things under the sun…  I’m in to drawing, painting, 3d animation, photoshop, sketching, video gaming, role playing, theater, the tech side of movie making and theater, art history, free-to-air satellite reception, internet tv, and a lot of other things.

A little about me… I’m a 30 something (possibly 40-60 something by the time you read this) year old, married man.  I live in the mid-west.  I have a BFA in Studio Art,with an emphasis in painting, and a minor in Theater.  I graduated from Truman State University in last century (December, 1999). I have the most amazing child who was recently born! We love her dearly.

I love oil painting, but don’t paint much these days due to lack of time and lack of a studio with a descent ventilation system.  Instead, I doodle with color pencils in my sketch books and panels in my spare time, or mess around with creating sketchy type things in Photoshop, MS Paint, 3d Blender Portable, Lightave 3d, or whatever other artsy tools I can get my hands on at the time.

When I graduated from college, I had a lot of interests in finding ways of combining my backgrounds of theater and art, and found myself studying 3d animation on my own.  Because of that, I got in to Newtek’s Lightwave 3d, which at the time was the only halfway descent priced 3d package on the market that could do some descent levels of animation.  I never got too far in to doing a lot of in-depth animation projects with that because I didn’t have time to create a lot of stuff, and also constantly found myself having hard drive failures, cds that got busted due to improper storage, and other hardware problems that erased everything.  I might get back in to it eventually.

I also like taking digital photographs of various objects and textures that I use for reference photos or to upload as reference photos for others on Turbosquid.  I like Turbosquid vs other places because it’s more forgiving to people that upload things without doing a lot of editing.  I like for photos that are reference shots to stay unedited so that there’s more of the direct just shot looks and feel to the photos, making it like an unblemished, raw material ready for an artist to pick it up and mold it in to something on their own.

I like playing and creating video games, but have not really done any real video game creation full scale yet.  However, I have several tools to do so if I venture in to that someday – Photoshop 5 LE, Torque Game Engine, 3d Rad, 3 Impact Game Engine, Lightwave 3d, Motion Builder, and a lot of various 3d and 2d packages that I’ve picked up for cheap or free on magazine cds over the years, or outright purchased.

I like poetry.  I would not mind writing a book or play someday.  I have tried to write for nanowrimo before, but never completed the book that year since it was the year we bought our house in the same month that I was trying to do that. (We don’t have that house any longer, but it was a nice accomplishment for me to obtain it, a wife, and dog all by age 30! 🙂 )

I will post more later.  I’m out of time right now.  Thank’s for visiting.  Hope to see you here again.