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.

Draped Figure Drawing

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

Pastel Figure Drawing

Photobucket
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

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

8/2/2011 Rose Study © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/2/2011 Rose Study #1 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann

8/2/2011 Rose Study #2 © August, 2011 Jeff Thomann
8/2/2011 Rose Study #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.

17 Minute Drawing – 6/6/2011

17 Minute Drawing – 6/6/2011 ©

17 Minute Drawing – 6/6/2011 © Jeff Thomann 5/26/2011
Media: Ball Point Pen

I almost skipped doing this drawing last night, but decided to stay up a little bit after doing the speed challenge in the last post to do it. I’m trying to work on color pencil drawing in the morning, and quick sketches like this along with the speed model stuff in the evening. Since I’m using ballpoint pen for these types of drawings, I really have zero excuses to not do one every day of the year! 🙂

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.

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.

Getting Organized, and Moving Foward…

Getting Organized, and Moving Foward…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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 – 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.

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.

I-70

Every day that we go to work (Tekla and I carpool) we get the pleasure of down I-70, crossing the Missouri River Bridge near Roacheport, Missouri. When we started doing this a long time ago, I didn’t like it much since I-70 can be pretty dangerous sometimes. Vehicles moving that close together at 70 miles an hour is a little wiked at time, especially if there’s ever a wreck and you have to slam on your breaks very quickly before you smash in to something or someone in front of you… However, over time, I’ve grown to not mind it, and actually enjoy it.

It’s a beautiful drive even if the sun is right in our faces going to and from work some times of the year since it’s right on the horizon almost directly in front of us. I really like watching the clouds and landscape as we drive in this beautiful area. There’s a lot of little things we see daily on these trips – you know, little landmarks and things along the way, that sort of act like a sort of metaphysical reassurances that we are on the right path home, etc.

There’s a big hill you go down right before and after you get to the river… really it’s all a large valley that used to actually be under water many, many, many years ago before people started using dams and things. There’s always more weather in this hidden little gem of a valley that has lots of rich colors, and soil. Fog comes here many times when it’s no where else along the road because of the river. Lightning and rain storms come here more often than other areas along the road between our home and Columbia. It is a very natural location. There are many trees and signs of life here in bushes, wild flowers, and occassionally animals we see along the way… There is also a rail road that is just before the bluffs that travels under the highway. Going away from Rocheport on the other side of the river, up that hill near the train tracks seems a bit steeper than going the other direction. Semis have trouble with that hill sometimes – if you want to pass them, on that climb up to the corner is the best place since they will slow down as they go up the hill… but do it quickly – they will gain speed again once they come around the bend. The hill in this location seems a lot more spooky and a lot longer distance at night than it is in the day time. In the day time is is a neat place since you are staring in to the horizon’s beauty. At night, it’s dark and there’s sillohettes all over the place so it’s a little freaky somedays, especially on snowy days when speeds on the highway are low for everyone. Snowy days in the daytime are a little bad too since that heavy blanket of clouds hangs over this location near the river heavily with a dull, middle grey tone to all the colors that are normally brilliant in the shining sun here…

I love taking photos of clouds in this area since the sky is so wide and open so you can see many colors and shapes in the clouds that you will not see in the city because of power lines and building structures everywhere. However, pictures never do the place justice since they are only two dimensional renderings using cymk instead of real life 3d rgb backlighting on the biggest stage in the world – the great outdoors. Similarly, there’s another area without a lot of overhanging trees and things near the first exit of Boonville and near Midway, both of which are about equidistance from this River spot on I-70. Since it’s almost impossible to slow down and stop in the middle of the river, even though it is possible to stop in Rocheport – the view from there is not that great until you get to the bluffs themselves… by where the Winery is… which is a hassle to get to… I use the places near Midway and Boonville to pull over and take sky shots on occassion because there’s such huge expanses of uninturrupted sky there. It is nice to pull over in places like that and take a few snapshops of God’s great huge abstract paintings in the sky! 🙂

Textures in cloud formations are always rich and ever changing. Many colors of the rainbow lives in these areas. Sometimes even rainbows themselves live here since the river creates neat misty clouds that are low to the ground occassionally.

A little closer to Columbia, there is a smaller river, more of a creek – actually it is a creek, that has a golf course next to it. The golf course floods out a lot, and it’s interesting to see the water formations on the little manmade hills out there on the green when that happens. There’s also a massive amount of power lines just across the highway from there that create a gentle, curvey black line that moves from pole to pole with nothing else around it… that shines in splendor on occassion as sunlight on the Western Horizon bounces off of it … creating an amazing Chiarascuro effect that I’ve tried to photograph before but have never captured. I have wanted to do a painting of it for a long while but have not got around to it yet…

Just a little closer to Columbia from there, just outside of the city limits really, there’s a side road that runs from Stadium Blvd to Dawn, where my Aunt and Uncle live. Going from Columbia heading West, there’s a very unique and interesting visually harmonous formation that I love that is created by this little hilly side road sitting next to the straight and wide black expanse of highway that is I-70. The overpass right there probably helps that effect become a little more apparent, as does the fact that the sun is usually on the horizon when we typically drive past there. That’s something else I’ve been contemplating about doing a painting of. I think part of it is just a love of that area itself – when I was a lot younger my cousin and I used to jog in that area, over the overpass, and swing back out past the junk yard hidden by the great wall that you can still see the beauty of the uglieness of the junkyard through, on around a vast expanse of trees, and over to the mall where you connect back to the other side of the road on the overpass at Stadium…. There is a lot of beauty everywhere if you open your eyes to it. That’s what I love about art. It helps me open my spiritual eyes to the beauty around me. My camera is my “light” version of a sketchbook – used to capture many textures, colors, and other things. Even the most mundane place can be brilliant if you look close enough! 🙂

I might post some pictures of all of this stuff here in the blog sometime. I have taken multiple photos of various aspects of it all before, but never really put it all together in one piece and wrote about it like I am here. Maybe I’ll change that in the near future! 😉

I’m glad that I’ve taken up blogging again, and am doing it in this weird way of putting all my thoughts on a lot of stuff in here… it’s sort of like keeping a diary or sketchbook back in the days when I did sketchbooks daily. There’s a lot of creativity I can feel brewing under the surface of my daily life. Maybe this blog can help me punch a hole in the bubble of cancerous negative false skin that’s keeping that radiance inside of me from shining to the world… 🙂 😉 No, I’m not on crack. I’m just glad to be alive and am glad that I’m able to percieve the world in a positive manner. Doom and Gloom hit me too hard sometimes. It’s good to get over that negative stuff that’s pulling me down and move on.

This little light of mine… I’m gonna let it shine… let it shine… let it shine… let it shine…