Fresh Start

Edit 5/27/2013
Got off of the workouts a few days the last few days and didn’t watch carb intake either. Going to try to get back in to it going forwards… Anyways, since it’s Memorial Day, here’s a video from this memorial day and one from last. If I remember, I’ll try to take one every year to show progress because I DO PLAN TO GET TO MY BMI GOAL WEIGHT BY AGE 45!!!

Memorial Day 2013:

Memorial Day 2012:

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Today is my birthday and I’ve decided that it’s time to restart the daily workouts after this weekend. I’ve had enough time to rest and recover after the surgery a couple of months ago. So.. here’s a new ‘before’ video…

Weigh in 2/8/2013: 277.5 lbs.IMG_20130208_072324

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Here’s a couple of Birthday Self Portraits. Many other artists do annual self portraits on birthdays, and I started this little tradition last year, so figure going forward I might try it more often.

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The self portraits got me thinking about things so I started some photo self portraits shortly after that…
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More photos:
http://halfwaytoseventyfour.shutterfly.com/pictures/187

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Today’s video:
2/8/2013
277.5 lbs

………..
The hernia issue happened October 29th, 2012. I overdid it on doing a Power 90 workout. Up til that point in time I was using 10 lb weights on each arm for most of the exercises. On that day I upped it to 20 lbs on each arm for the exercises, with was just too damn much… so I got hit with a hernia and had to have it repaired with a surgery. The doctor said that it was an odd type of hernia unlike one he’d seen before because it wasn’t a tear all the way through. Instead a very long piece of fatty tissue had essentially come out from the back area up through where it should not be and the overdoing it caused that to just strain all of it much worse than it should have been which caused the surgery to be needed. The surgery was in the early part of December and I was out of work a couple of weeks to recover from that. Then I went to work about a week and half and was on a scheduled Christmas vacation that was planned before the surgery thing came up… I kind of have not gotten in to the working out too much since then. I tried a time or two to do some of the workout videos, but the strain on the area where the surgery was for some of the kicks, crunches, etc. was just too much at the time. I am hoping that I’m now ready to re-start fresh now that I’ve had another few weeks of down time that I have not been doing much exercise.

Past videos and weigh ins on the weight loss journey up til this point in time:

10/2/2012:
273.6 lbs:

9/3/2012
292.6 lbs

I went up above 290 since the ‘rest’ I had to take to let the stab wound heal was days I gorged and ate extremely badly. That was a HUGE setback!… Hopefully junk like that won’t cause me to have setbacks again in the future.


Video of ‘The stab wound’ the monring after it happened. Sorry for the crappy video quality. I was using a low resolution webcam since it was the only video recording device I had available on that day. I accidentally stabbed myself with a steak knife while doing dishes. It was in the rack drying with the point up, but our sink is very small so I just moved wrong while washing a dish and accidentally the knife went right in. I bled a ton when it happened. Very scary situation since Tekla was not home when it happened. Very hard to hold the phone and call 911 when one of your arms has to hold a towel to stop blood and the other is bleeding like crazy.

8/21/2012
284.6 lbs

8/16/2012
285.3 lbs:

8/9/2012
281.8 lbs

8/1/2012
284.8 lbs

7/24/2012
286.2 lbs

7/17/2012
289.2 lbs:

7/14/2012
288.6 lbs

Before then

6/29/2012
292.1 lbs

6/24/2012
296.5 lbs

Memorial Day
May 28, 2012

4/30/2012

4/10/2012

Weight Chart prior to the videos:

Just as a reference for this old chart…
135 kg = 297.624 Lbs
130 kg = 286.601 Lbs
125 kg = 275.578 Lbs

The chart sort of outlines my ups and downs… The time when I was at the heaviest was a very dark time. It seemed like death was everywhere I looked.

(https://jeffthomann.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/2189/ – list of most of the recent funerals in the family)

I think I was in a pretty deep depression at the time due to many family deaths those few years and various economic problems, as well as a lot of stressful political bullshit at work… One of my coworkers quit/got fired in a big huge spat that happened after several months of building up to it. They fought her getting unemployment checks, and that all ended us all in a courthouse type of setting in Jefferson City… one of the most nervous days I’ve ever had… It was a big fiasco. I’m not sure if she ever got her unemployment or not, or if she sued in a real lawsuit or not like she was planning to do… but anyways, in some of it I had to get sworn testimony in there about how the Associate CFO, who was sort of the head of our area had pounded fists on a table in a meeting a few years prior to this in some heated contractual negotiations, etc. (she was trying to argue something about a hostile work environment, etc.)… A few months after that whole fiasco, I was told that there just wasn’t room in the budget for me any more, and I was ‘reassigned’ to another department.

There was quite a bit of hostility in myself after that retaliation for speaking up… which is exactly what I still think that was all about… add in that type of getting pushed around to depression, etc. and with my personality being to overeat when feeling down or nervous, and it was just a horrible situation all around… I was a walking time bomb and heart attack ready to hit. Luckily, my rationale side, and amazing better half kept me sane during these insane times – so I didn’t buy up big bulks of fertilizer to use as a weapon of mass destruction, and stuck with causing havock in video games like Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, San Andreas, various old NES games, etc. Entropia Universe, the video game, was a part of the depression, etc. as you can read about in my other blog as the developers in that game love to make promises they can’t and just won’t keep… and the love to break expensive items and estates in game that you pay for with real cash after you pay for it, sometimes for months, or years (taming still isn’t back since version update 10, etc)… However, even despite all the bull shit with that game, it was something I had some control over in my life… sort of this little escape from reality that was always there since I started playing it in 2007. There was some documentary on Eminem I watched on youtube the other day that talks about how his alter ego existed vs his real name use because it was this sort of alter ego he went in to deal with reality sort of and have control over… the documentary said that lots of folks that grew up in some conditions similar to his had the same type of issues sometimes. I think my avatar in Entropia has sort of turned in to that type of alter identity for me. I guess, like Neverdie, I am my avatar.

(note – blog link in above paragraph is now on a private blog, so it won’t work… new blog for entropia can be found at https://entropiascams.wordpress.com/ – I had to start the new blog and make old one private (although backup does exist in xml file that you can find a link to over on the new blog if you use a password in one of the posts over there… hint: password is a simple name that most folks that have played entropia a long time should know… it starts with an M and ends in an O… 🙂 ))

(August 2015 update on the job issue… currently working as a Dual Rate First Responder/Security Officer at the Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville, Missouri.  I’ve held this job less than a month so far. Before that I was only a Security Officer a few months, and prior to that worked as a Steward at the Casino. I have a few updates to resume still needed.)

I have grown to love my new job… so sometimes the God(s) do have a plan. I actually kick ass at work now since I’m 3000% hyper focused. Also, I don’t have the constant man hating bullshit that I had to experience daily in my previous department. At one time back then my Supervisor back then actually hung up the phone and outloud gabbed about how the problems they were having was all his fault because he was a man. It was highly funny/ironic/sad at the time because the only other guy in the area we worked in and I had to go to a human resource training session the day before that talked a lot about how sexual discrimination was so bad to have in the work place, etc. In that department, at least at one time there was a massive amount of sexual discrimination of men in the department was happening by the female supervisor and boss… All the while chitty chatty brown nosing gossipy bitch who sat in the cubicle next to mine got a raise. They never really did this discrimination stuff openly. What they’d do is this stupid crap of creating a new position that did the exact same job of who they wanted out… then after they purposefully got the job duties overlapped enough they’d assign the old worker they wanted out the bullshit jobs like manually closing out 50,000 or so accounts in a huge database where a pulldown menu had to be selected to close it, and this backlog of unclosed visits existed because the brown nosers never did their job but did a good enough job of hiding that fact until months later that they were never reprimanded… and then after assigning the crappy job they’d say that due to the overlapping of duties, there just is no need for the person that was there longest, etc. It’s all political bullshit…

However, luckily the new position I’m in now has much less of that type of stuff going on. For the first time in my life I work for a Department Manager that actually gives a damn about what her employees think! Just the other day I had an hour long meeting with supervisor and department manager just to discuss a handful of emails I’d sent where I explained some concerns I had about processes in the office that I didn’t agree with. At no other job I’ve ever had in the past has anyone ever taken the time to care that much… That’s an awesome feeling. It’s nice to have control over your own real life world a little, and have coworkers that actually care about what you have to say and think. Also, even though I do have to listen to some coworkers and their phone conversations nowadays, it’s nothing like the hateful bullcrap I used to have in my old department where the brown nosing bitches like to slam phones down after the call, call names to the other party after that, and then repeat back the entire conversation they just had voicing out loud with as much hatred as possible why the other party was wrong, on every paragraph in the conversation, EVERY time they take a call or make a call, either on the office phone or on their own private cell phone… That type of venomous poison is easily spread as it’s yelled out daily. Kinda sad to say it but it’s almost too bad that rattlesnake they found in the hallway outside of my old department didn’t find it’s way in the mail slots. Might have adjusted some attitudes in that area, but I doubt it would have done any good. Hopefully some of the self-loathing venom being spewed from that old office can recede from that area in the future as it really just causes endless cycles of negativity to draw itself in more and more daily…

Hopefully, as I continue down a healthy past in the near future, this control over my own life can only get better and better over time. We are now in the age of Aquarius. Enlightenment that was just beyond grasp is now within reach! 🙂 😉

http://sketchbookphotosshotjanuary2013.shutterfly.com/

http://sketchbookphotosshotjanuary2013.shutterfly.com/ – a few more photo of the sketchbooks taken today. I used the 1000 watt light (it’s really two 500 watt halogen bulbs) to light it. I think that helped the white get a bit more white than the last batch. This is a continuation of the sketchbook shot in the last batch and the start of a second one. These sketchbooks were mostly from college and a few years after that. Some of the portraits in them are actually of people I quickly did sketches of at various summer jobs during college, etc. I didn’t get a bunch done in this round of photos since that 1000 watt light is extremely hot. The wall near where the light was sitting as I shot these was still hot to the touch about 15 minutes after I turned the light off! I can’t do extended several hour long photo shoots with that light in that enclosed of a space. It’s too dangerous as a fire hazzard and also a danger on my health since it really drains me standing about two feet from that light as I shoot these sketches.

After I get a lot of these sketchbooks uploaded, I probably won’t do a bunch more unless I scan them or photograph them as I create them… something I didn’t do much in the past, which is why there’s such a big backlog.

I suspect a bunch of work in the near future will actually start digital and stay digital most of the way through since I recently got got an android tablet for Christmas and just in the last week or so installed Sketchbook Pro on it as an ‘early’ birthday gift. I’m starting to learn to love that app…

Notice some of the ‘yellow’ on the backside of the sketches… I suspect that ballpoint pen ink does that since it’s acidic even though the pages of the paper is non-acidic. Scary stuff. Makes me really glad that I’m actually taking the time to start shooting some of these before they decay even more in a few decades because of that type of thing.

http://january2013scanphotographartetc.shutterfly.com/

http://january2013scanphotographartetc.shutterfly.com/ – link to a little bundle of pics I uploaded to shutterfly tonight. Most of them are ancient sketchbooks from the late 1990s, but the acrylic paintings, encaustic paintings and photos are very recent stuff.

I might crop some of them and put them here on the blog later. Some of them are multiples of the same image because I like to shoot several pics of one work and pick the best of them with fewest blurs, bad contrast, etc. for various things. I’m not sure – I may have scans of some of these somewhere in the blog already?… Oh well, multiple images of the same thing isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Lighting was not very good on many of these… I was using interior lighting and that’s never good for shooting art. It’s too cold to go outside, and I don’t trust the wind outside when shooting photos of artwork on paper since paper tends to catch in the wind too easily. A few years back (a couple of months before we moved out of Boonville) I did try to shoot a bunch of artwork outside and a lot of it got caught in a big gust of wind. The same day a wind gust knocked over the tripod and busted the screw connector at the bottom of the camera that was on the tripod at the time. That poor camera finally died on me about a month ago or so… it’s had a hard life. I haven’t thrown it out yet in hopes that maybe it will get some life again someday… (I think something’s gone wrong with the battery connection or something).

Shooting photos of art is much faster than trying to scan them. I also scanned a bunch of my ‘morning pages’ today from the last year or so. I have not consistently done that every day, but there’s still a heck of a pile of paper. I probably won’t publish that to the public since there’s a lot of private thoughts on it… but might upload it somewhere secure for a backup like in email or google docs. Scanning those is not super time consuming since I’m going on very low resolution of 100 dpi or so for the scans since there isn’t any real big drawing/painting to it even if there’s a sketch or two here and there from dream scapes I tried to outline the architecture of, etc. Many of my dreams have a very architectural feel for them… various locations tie in together in various ways with hallways, placements of architectural elements, etc. It can sometimes get intricate in how I try to detail my ‘morning pages’/diary or whatever you want to call it because of that… Jung had archetypes. I have archetypes and architecture that those archetypes act in. All the world’s a stage…

Self Portrait with Cabin in Background

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Self Portrait with Cabin in Background
Acrylic, Watercolor, Pastel, and Charcoal on Cardboard
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

Draped Figure Drawing

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Draped Figure Drawing
India Ink, Colored Ink, and Charcoal and Tea Stains on Paper
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

Pastel Figure Drawing

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Pastel Figure Drawing
Pastel and Charcoal on Paper
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

Reclining Figure Drawing

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Reclining Figure Drawing
Pastel and Charcoal on Paper
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

Reclining Figure Drawing

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Reclining Figure Drawing
Pastel and Charcoal on Paper
© 1999, Jeff Thomann

A few scans…

A few sketches and acrylic paintings I’ve started the last while. I don’t consider Drips an Acrylic Landscape done, but do consider Bottomless Landscape Done, and the pen and ink sketches are just doodles.

Live
Live

Drips
Drips

Bottomless Landscape
Bottomless Landscape

10.25.2011
10.25.2011

10.24.2011
10.24.2011

Acrylic Landscape
Acrylic Landscape

11.21.2011
11.21.2011

a couple of quick little self portraits

8/3/2011 Self Portrait #1 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/3/2011 Self Portrait #1 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

8/3/2011 Self Portrait #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/3/2011 Self Portrait #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

a few new drawings.

Jackie's Rose © 2011 Jeff Thomann
Jackie’s Rose © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

Palm © 2011 Jeff ThomannPalm © June, 2011 Jeff Thomann

Palm 2 © 2011 Jeff ThomannPalm 2 © June, 2011 Jeff Thomann

Self Portait © 2011 Jeff Thomann

Self Portait © 2011 Jeff Thomann
Self Portait © 2011 Jeff Thomann

This was created using an old car rearview mirror so I could only see half of the face without shifting location so it was a bit of a challenge. As you can probably tell, I was focusing primarily on the lower nose/chin/neck area more than the rest of the face.

It took me 29 minutes overall, and time flew by because I was so intently focused. Getting good greyscale gradation levels with a small drawing surface like a ball point pen is challenging, especially when on a timeline like I was with this. I did complete it in under a half hour though.

I can see some improvements already in the self portrait drawing skill vs the last self portrait like this I did. I use self portraits as sort of a checkup on my skills since the human face is a good indicator of art skills on a lot of levels. Drawing faces with glasses on is always a bit of a challenge too since it changes the lighting a lot and gives areas that need new details.

I did the glasses on though because I’m working on a color pencil drawing in the mornings that has Tekla with glasses on, and I wanted to study a little in these ballpoint pen drawings how the glasses affect the light and shadow on the face so I can do better in that and future drawings with glasses. The color pencil drawings are very tricky since I’m using a lot of different colors, layering techniques, and a lot of erasing and actual burnishing techniques – actually in some areas on those I’m using real print making etching tools to do scratcherboard type techniques in limited areas since I’m using gessoed hardboard. That is definitely something I would not be able to do if I was using paper for the color pencils. The color pencils are almost like mini-oil paintings. Now it’s after 6 Am so I better start on the color pencil as the time allocated to it is before 6:30 AM, lol.

19 Minutes – 6/7/2011 © 2011 6/7/2011 Jeff Thomann

19 Minutes - 6/7/2011 © 2011 6/7/2011 Jeff Thomann

19 Minutes – 6/7/2011 © 2011 6/7/2011 Jeff Thomann
Media: Ballpoint Pen on Paper

This is a quick little still life sketch I did last night.

5/26/2011 – 22 Minute Self Portrait

Image

5.26.2011-15/26/2011 - 22 Minute Self Portrait © Jeff Thomann 5/26/2011

5/26/2011 – 22 Minute Self Portrait © Jeff Thomann 5/26/2011
Media: Ballpoint Pen on Paper

I’m not too keen on the that big right eye and super dark area right below the chin in the neck, but that’s the sort of stuff that happens when you are doing a self portait. Actually, the eye kind of adds to that expression I think. I probably went in to too dark and harsh lines too quickly about 20 minutes in — easy to do in this type of drawing. Also, working near the edge of the paper is always a tricky thing to do, but an important thing to do.

Emotions play a big part in drawing. I had a pretty rough/stressful day at work, so I think that played in to this a little in the expressionism gestures in the line quality, etc.

I stopped it at 22 minutes instead of half an hour because I felt that if I kept going I was really going to overwork it way too much. Getting fine details in a quick sketch is always a tricky thing to do. How far is going to far. How much time is left. The clock starts to not matter much but I want to keep these below 30 minutes for now.

I ultimately want to do one quick sketch like this daily and then one longer work that takes a long time on the side after that. This is a transition in to that. Currently I’m working on some color pencil drawings for the longer drawing, but didn’t work on it yesterday or today. I want to make the quick sketches be done every single day regardless of how I feel or if I want to or don’t want to draw that day. If I keep them below half an hour, that’s a lot more possible and realistic then trying to do a masterpiece that takes hours daily, etc. Time management is an important and difficult thing to master.

5/25/2011

5/25/2011
5/25/2011 © 5/25/2011 Jeff Thomann

20 Minute Sketch
Media: Ball Point Pen and China Marker on Paper

I’m not super happy about the results here. I got the proportion off a little on this and was a bit distracted too since the tv was on when I was drawing. I was going to skip tonight since I skipped working out tonight due to the weather (tornado watches and warnings earlier this afternoon) but really don’t want to do that. I really need to do at least one drawing a day to get in to the good habbits I need to develop. Ink is not a forgiving medium, but that makes me know that I need to work harder to get it right the first time.

a few more quick drawings.

I’ve been sketching after work for 30 minutes or less to just sort of work my way back in to drawing. I’m using ballpoint pen for these so far since they are easily scanned without a mess, and also are not messy. Here’s a few of the recent drawings. I’ll try to upload more of these as they are made in the future. I KNOW my skills can get better, and practice is the ONLY way to make that happen.

5/3/2011 – 5 minute drawing
5/3/2011 - 5 minute drawing

5/23/2011 – 25 minute drawing
5/23/2011

5/24/2011 – 25 minute drawing
5/24/2011

A couple of fast sketches.

I’ve started sketching again a bit. Here’s a couple from the last week.

Copyright © 2011 Jeff Thomann

I’m going to try to make it a point to do these 20-30 minute drawings daily after work, and then do more complex artwork after that. It’s sort of a fast way to retrain my art skills, transition from work life to art life, and try different things out to learn or relearn techniques, etc. I may upload more of these type of drawings in the future.

more old sketchbook stuff.

Working on scanning more old sketchbooks, but I’m not sure if I’ll upload them or not since half of them are not completely readable, and some of them are old rpg stuff and dream journals that might not make a lot of sense to others then me… but we’ll see. I’ll have to look over it all and decide if I want it all here or not.

Halfway to 70

Halfway to 70 (Self Portrait)
Halfway to 70, Copyright 2011, Jeff Thomann
© 2011, Jeff Thomann
Media: Ball Point Pen

“Halfway to 70” is the name of this one. It was a self portrait I did the other day on my birthday (yes, I’m 35 now). I’m not super happy with it, but considering it’s a self portrait done in about an about an hour or so it’s not half bad. Did it with ballpoint pen. Lots of artists do self portraits on their birthdays, and that’s something I have not done much of in the past, but figure it’s a descent time as any to start this annual project.

I quit when I did because I was making the shading too funky and could feel myself “overworking” it… Hard to stay with a fresh drawing feel and look if you go after too much realism in the shading/tones

I Really don’t think it “looks like” me totally. It’s hard to do self portraits since you are constantly moving as you draw, so your reference is always changing. I used china marker on the bathroom mirror to keep basic shape in the roughly right location through most of it. I’m going to probably do more freehand drawing things like this now and then to get my skills back in shape.

spent some cash.

I spent about 20 bucks today on ball point ink pens. I got a cheap Wal-Mart Brand called Inc Discover Bold. Not sure if it’ll be up to the Bic standard that I used to always use, but maybe. Price was somewhere around 1.89 for a pack of 22 or so. Since I’m on a budget and am really loving looking at my old ink drawings with all of the scans I’m doing lately, I think I might get back in to doodling with ink pens. I like them more then color pencils for some things since they are fast, can literally have infinite levels of details and grey tones, cross hatches, stippling, etc. if you allow them to, and are really quick, easy, and non-messy to work with (at least if there is no ink leaks in the pens). Once the ink dries it’s even less of a mess then graphite pencils…

As far as the scans go, I have quite a few of the little bitty sketchbooks scanned now, but not all uploaded yet. I’m going back through the scans and cropping each page out since I scanned about 5 pages per scan in most of the latest ones.

The main little sketchbooks left to scan are mainly diaries/dream journals. Back in college, my Senior Project involved doing some oil paintings based on dreams. I’m not sure if I’ll upload the dream journals or not since those are some pretty oddball, hard to read, and private thoughts in some of them… However, I might since they are many years old now and some of the stuff is actually intended as educational or philosophical teaching material on some levels…

Need to edit my categories. I removed a lot of the tags that were not relevant yet, but may be in the future and moved them over to a google document mentioned a few posts ago. I’ll keep growing that list over time as I start honing in on various things to tie keywords to in my future image creations, whether in photos, 3d animation, or illustration.

I plan on having ink pens nearby no matter where I am during the day or night. I want to get in to the habbit of doodling, drawing, writing down ideas, and sketching more as I used to do but have gotten out of the habbit of doing for a variety of reasons.

Lefty Sketch/Doodle Book idea…

When I’m at work, I scribble notes from phone calls, etc. in a notebook that’s next to me all day long. Many times, I doodle out various stuff in the margin, just like anyone else does in any classroom across the country on any given day… Similarly, I have MS Paint up all day and doodle in it sometimes on breaks…

I cannot do the MS Paint thing and concentrate on other things at my job as well, but might be able to do something like that with the sketchpad/notebooks more then I have in the past… since the notepad is on my left sitting on a desk, and my right hand is constantly using a mouse to do various things at work all day…

so… one thing I’m thinking about doing is keeping tons of ink pens on hand to doodle silently as I work away. It won’t be masterpieces, but just various oddball images, etc. It’s something I’ve never done much of in the past, but think there might be possibilities here for a lot of various things. It won’t break my concentration on my job tasks etc…

I have color pencils at work too, but won’t use them too much for this sort of thing, even though I use color pencils on breaks sometimes, because color pencils are too loud, and disturbs the concentration of those around me.

Just seems that there is 40 hours a week that I’m not doing art stuff that’s more or less being wasted, at least artistically (even if it does pay the bills). Want to fix that problem and start doing more art without loosing concentration or focus on what I’m really there 40 hours a week to do. It is possible to multitask – and many times I’m doing that subconsiously anyways as things play around in my brain all day long – maybe it’s time for me to take that to the next level.

Genesis – The Golden

Genesis the Golden
Genesis – The Golden
Copyright 2010 by Jeff Thomann
Media: Color Pencil on Gessoed Hardboard
Original Status: Not for Sale at this time
Original Size: 5″x7″

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 – 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.

scanning paintings.

I have not tried this yet on paintings that are larger than the width of my scanner, but I might give it a try.

http://www.susansavad.com/t_scan.html

It’d have to be cheaper than trying to get a professional camera studio together, trying to buy gigantic flatbed scanners, or taking paintings off of the stretchers to have some place like Kinkos scan them in their big roll scanners (cost of doing that is like 7 bucks just for getting a digital scan – no printing cost – tha’d be extra, and then I think only flimsy paper stuff works.. and I doubt they’d put charcoal type stuff in their scanner, but I could be wrong?)

On the other hand…
Some of the arguments against flatbed scanning mentioned over at http://photo.net/photography-lighting-equipment-techniques-forum/00Tl26 are pretty good ones…

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.

Interesting Reading – Making a light box… and/or using 1000 watt lights…

Here’s an interesting link I found with info on how to create a homemade light box.
http://www.pbase.com/wlhuber/light_box_light_tent

I’m not sure if I’ll do something like that or not. I need to get a setup to shoot some descent quality photos of my paintings to get them in to a digital format to have for my own portfolio as well as here on the blog. I do have a couple of pricey 1000 watt lights I bought from Orchelens a couple of years ago for doing this sort of thing, and never opened them yet… I got them because I read online somewhere that some people were using these sort of things to do sort of a photography studio lighting setup on the cheap by cutting the wires off of the front of those suckers. I think the 1k lights are mainly used by construction workers to light up places that they are building that does not have actual lighting installed in them yet, or maybe for farms for some reason since Orchelens main customers are farm folks…. etc.

I am honestly afraid of those things since I suspect they put off a heck of a lot of heat, and also they have this warning label that I didn’t notice at the time I bought them that says something about they having lead in it so it’s a health hazard!… I also have no idea if 1k lights would work too great for this sort of thing, or what sort of lifespan they have – or if you can even replace the lightbulbs in them?!?… Anyone have any ideas on this stuff? What’s your suggestions on how to get images of paintings in to a digital format via a camera? Normal indoor lighting, even with 100 watt light bulbs usually won’t do the trick.

I’m on a budget so can’t afford the expensive lights that real photo studios usually use… although that would be the best bet, obviously.

I’ve read a lot of places that suggest using real sunlight, but I find that sunlight blows things off the charts in light balance sometimes unless it’s positioned perfectly in balance with where the sun is… Also it’s a major pain in the butt to work outside doing this sort of thing because of wind, bugs that are attracted to bright stuff like drawing paper and brightly colored paintings, and then you also have to worry about clouds and rain… clouds can change your lighting almost instantly outdoors. The bug problem is also a problem if you ever create artwork outside. It’s a major pain to try to paint something outside, walk away from the canvas to get a glass of water or something and come back only to find a bug embedded in your paint.

Interesting Reading – A few Technical “Bibles”

I just wanted to throw these out here because they are amazing books that I use a lot and recommend a lot of other people to use too!

The Photoshop Bibleis THE book that you will want to get if you want to learn how to use Photoshop. I am sad to say that I’m still running Photoshop 5 LE, so I have not picked up a newer version Photoshop Bible that is for newer versions of Photoshop myself, but have read a few pages out of the newer versions in a bookstore now and then. It still appears to be the best source to go to for all things Photoshop. It covers just about every main function in the application and gives you a simple plain English explanation of why everything is there and what you should be using each function for and which Icons you should push on or quick keys to hit to get what you are trying to accomplish done quickly and competently.

The JavaScript Bible is THE book to have on Javascript. You CAN learn some of the basics from visiting websites such as Web Monkey, but when you really want to start digging deeper and understanding how to do things on a more complex level, this is the to go to book that you will be wanting to get. Just about every aspect of Javascript is covered and there’s coding example after coding example that will get you up and running quickly and give you a working understanding of how all the spokes in the wheel run together to get your website advanced to a new level of interactivity.

Beginning Game Programming with Flash is another great book to have for web design. Surely you have played a few flash games on occassion. They are all over the internet. This book teaches you from the ground up how to start building those sorts of games yourself. If you thought Javascript was fun, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The graphics and programming power behind Flash can let you create just about any sort of game that you want online if you have enough time to program and test your stuff out. There are definite limitations to what Flash can do, but many of those limits dissappear with every new version of flash that comes out, especially as more and more people are getting off of dialup and heading to dsl or other high speed internet carriers.

The Artist’s Handbook, or The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques: Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated (Reference)
is just about one of the best “Bibles” on traditional art methods.

Both of the books cover many of the same topics. Mayer’s is considered a little “better” by some since I think it is actually the older of the two.

They cover just about every technique that there is in the traditional arts, and gives some really neat in-depth information that you just won’t find many other places, especially in a single book. It’s actually pretty hard to believe how much information there is packed in this book…It tells you some of the little known facts about how to make pigments, what formulas to use to make your own gesso, explains in-depth information about various surfaces and how you should treat them and more importantly, why. It just has a lot of little key bits of information that are invaluable to anyone that really wants to create artwork.

Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (California Studies in the History of Art) is another great art related book. While this book is not really a Technical Bible per se, it is a bit like the more traditional Bible in that it goes directly to the source to get first hand accounts of what is going on in the minds of various artist in the contemporary art world. The book is filled with tons of interviews done with artists, diary entries created by artist, and a variety of publications created by artists and those that have an in depth understanding of artists. It gets to the heart of why contemporary art really exists, and has more in-depth, behind the information than you are likely to find ANYWHERE else all in one place.

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.

Exhibits Tag and Category

The Exhibits Tag and Category of this blog is reserved for artwork that I have enterered in to various exhibits. I will try to mention in each individual posting, or in the first comment of each posting which exhibits each item was in. I will also try to create a tag, and possibly as category for each individual exhibit. However, the main exhibits tag and category will be applied to all works that were in any exhibit.

Similarly, I’ll try to tag each item with a tag denoting the original year that the item was created. By default I’m tagging all artwork that I know that I created in College with the college and 1999 tags since I graduated in December, 1999, and I might not be able to pinpoint the exact year between 1994-1999 that the college artwork was created. (Yes, it took me 5 and years to graduate from college, but that’s mainly because I took a few extra classes in order to get a theater minor).

Artwork created in Highschool will be tagged with the tags 1994 and highschool because I graduated from highschool in 1994.

N122OU Scanner Problem…

Has anyone found a way to get a Canoscan N1220U Scanner to work under Windows Vista yet? I’ve been trying various google searches for this and am seeing websites and forum info on it that says that there is a fix in the works, but no actual fix yet. Surely there is some way to make this work… If nothing else, maybe there’s a way to get cygwin to do it with some linux driver or something. I would have tried XP or 98 under Virtual Box or some other virtual solution, but I don’t think that sort of thing is workable since usb connections on virtual stuff is pretty slow, and/or might not work at all?…. Need to get my scanner working so that I can actually try scanning some stuff small paintings, and sketchbook things…

=====EDIT=====
I have a found a temporary solution – I’ve hooked up my scanner to a second computer that is using XSane in Ubuntu Linux to do the scanning… but if you folks do find a solution to the Vista problem with this scanner, please do leave a comment with your solution, because I’m not sure this temporary fix is doable for the long term.