Wednesday, March 22, 2017

:duality:

Last Thursday I did get to do my first photoshoot since last spring, and I'm mostly pleased with the experience and the results. I worked with two models (Asha and Hex), a first for me, so that was one deciding factor towards doing this, even if I didn't feel completely confident leading up to it.



I had a lot of ideas and props in mind, but didn't get to all of them, even after two hours. Better to run out of time than ideas, I'd say. One idea was to change from a white backdrop to a black one and use limited lighting. Next time, then.

These two have been traveling models for quite some time, and so quite experienced and requiring very little direction, although that was welcome as well. It was a fun, laid back and quickly-moving shoot, and I'd love to work with them again, separate or apart.


I shot them that way as well, allowing for a few outfit changes along the way, of which they had plenty. They weren't short on ideas either. Any prop I handed to them led to interesting poses. The skulls and top hat showed up again, along with some new things I've picked up in the past year.




The cat masks were a big hit, so much so that they asked if they could keep them. They weren't vintage or expensive, so why not. I've since then replaced them. But for the latter part of the shoot they pretty much remained in cat mode.


This was also the first shoot done with my new 50mm lens, and I'm astounded by the results. Both in the details and the depth of field. There was no telephoto ring so I would have to move around to compose in the frame. At times I would have to move all the way to the wall of the room.



So, for the negative parts, and of course me being me I have them...I still need to find a way to master exposure settings. Through trial and error I eventually find one that worked but I'd like to be skilled enough to hit the ground running and not waste time and shots just trying to get the lighting right.



I also really should have more conceptual ideas for shoots. This was pretty much my usual improvisational method again, and the models made it easier, but I'd like to have a "story" in mind going forward, as opposed to always creating one from the images later. I think a lot of these stand fine on their own but I'm sure I'll be doing some Photoshoppery again.


Around doing this I've also been working on a new drawing, in color pencils this time. I'm not always one for caricature, so I'm remaining faithful to the original photo. But I'm using a limited palette, just blues and some red, resisting the urge to use black for the darkest parts. Drawing hair really gets me into another zone, I could do it for hours.







Wednesday, March 15, 2017

:watch this space:

Too busy for a full entry this week, I'm preparing for a photoshoot tomorrow. I'm sure I'll update you on that next week. Until then, here's work in progress on something else I'm creating, in color pencils. I'm actually further along than shown here, yes, I'm teasing you. It might even be done by next week.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

:closer:

This will be short update, and to be honest, most likely next week's will be as well, as I'm preparing for my photoshoot next Thursday. I need to go through props and also set up my "living room" to become a photo studio again. I must admit I'm looking forward to trying out my new camera lens, one that was recommended to me.


I'm still completing other steps in other projects, for example I was digging through the boxes and shelves of flotsam and bones and such to see what will be added to the new Homunculus doll.


Also started on a new drawing. Honestly it's partially to make sure that I can still do it. I've leaned more towards photography due to the length of time it takes to finish a piece, and that's relatively quicker. I'd really like the blue of the hair in this one to be extra vivid, which would be ideal in digital, but I'm starting with color pencils as I'm still not confident enough with my Wacom tablet. Or at least how I have it set up right now. I might have to scan this one in to enhance the blues.


I'm certain that I'll soon add the growing pile of mini-framed Instagram shots to my Etsy shop. I'll make it work, dammit.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

:projecting:

As hinted at last week, I did indeed set up my first photoshoot of the year, to take place two weeks from now. It'll be with two models at once, a first for me. I don't have any concepts set in stone yet, but from what I've seen of their work so far there should be no problems with improvising. I'll just have to dig through my props soon. I do have these two masks that will likely get used.


I continue to test out more products to put my artwork onto for sale, some more magnets this time. Hey, if certain companies keep sending me discounts or freebies, I'm going to use them (these were through Shutterfly). Time to start piling them onto Etsy, until I get a space at some art festival.


I returned to the Boston Dr. Sketchy's drawing event this past Monday. I haven't been to one since last April. Bad. But I'm pleased with the results, especially on the one and two minute poses, as in the past there wouldn't be much more than a scribble. Our model was one Gigi Marx, from Montreal.






We had unseasonably warm weather this past weekend, and I escaped to the woods at one point. I came across what I believe was part of the remains of a deer, at least as long as my leg. Sadly it was wasn't completely cleaned off by nature so I wasn't going to bring it home in that state. I'm still soaking off the dregs of a bird skull that I found last summer, and I have nothing big enough to put a deer's backbone into. So I'll return in a month or so to see if it's still there and cleaner. I also found someone's lost iPod and I'm going to see if that's recoverable as well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

:evolution:

With all the projects that I alluded to last week, I'm finding that to get anything done on any of them I need to work a little bit at a time on each. At least that's the method I'm going to try for now. This past week I've been progressing further on the new Homunculus doll, and it's pretty much evolving on its own, I didn't have any preset idea for this one. To be honest that's how a lot of them were produced, almost like they were creating themselves, and the last thing to emerge is a name. Not even near that part yet.





Also making sure that I can still draw, by using another Suicide Girl as subject (not in person, alas), mainly for the blue hair. I think this one will have to be done digitally to get it as intensely blue as I want it to be. Some day I will actually do a photoshoot with one of them, perhaps.


On that note, the promise of spring has me looking forward to photoshoots again, and I've been contacted by several traveling models already. Two of them of are possibly available for a session together, which would be intriguing, as so far I've only worked with one at a time. Always look for new challenges.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

:the tyranny of time:

I didn't post on Wednesday as per usual because of the issue I'm going to go into now; the lack of (free) time.

I recently unearthed some old journal entries of mine, from the early 90s. I started writing pretty regularly in 1992. It's clear from what I wrote then that I was mostly angry and frustrated, partially from the atmosphere that I felt trapped in, but also because of the lack of time to do what I really wanted, namely create art. That much hasn't changed, even if the world now has a lot more distractions. I only "discovered" the internet around 1993 or so, and that required a dial-up modem. Be glad if you've never had to depend on that method. But even then I could see the pull of it.

I voiced a lot of the struggle to create the artwork, get it seen or sold, or to actually find a job that utilized my actual talents. I've lost track of how many places that I applied to! Possibly why I don't try as hard now, although job searching is an entirely different world now too.

That said, the main purpose should be just be to create the damn artwork, not looking ahead to where it might end up. One unofficial resolution for this year was to produce more, and in that I've technically faltered so far, but what I seem to be doing is little parts of separate projects, and I'm not sure if that's the best method.

My attempts to sell Valentine-themed artwork through Etsy didn't succeed, so I need to further tweak that. The next idea is to further push my Instagram photos. I keep ordering small prints and buying small frames for them.


Progress on the new Homunculus doll has stalled. Trying to decide on what else to do with the face for now. Drastic eye makeup, and maybe an extra eye or two. And even so I spot other dolls and buy and add them to the pile of future ones.



Which is a theme in other creative avenues too. I find or buy things that I think I'll use some day in something. Found some interesting papers that can either be backgrounds or drawn/painted on themselves.


The bones keep piling up.


Haven't done a photoshoot since last spring!! But truthfully I was working on final shots from them for a good portion of this time. And I find things for future shoots, like hanging lights, and surely I can get someone to wear a cat mask or wield a samurai sword.



But the need to reschedule my life so that things get done is still there. Outside distractions are okay as long as they don't sidetrack me too far. I have to literally keep myself out of bookstores, my to-read pile is ridiculous, and am in dire need of another bookcase or two.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

:piece by piece:

As promised, I put up a framed original art piece up for sale on my Etsy page. It intentionally has a Valentine's Day theme (through my twisted eyes), so who knows, maybe someone will consider it for a last minute gift. But I'm just trying to get more of the artwork out there, a sale would be a bonus.


I also keep taking advantage of print sales that I manage to come across. Bought a ton more of these small prints of Instagram shots that I intend to put into equally small frames, and will probably add them to the shop, along with selling them at any markets and fairs that I manage to get into. Been trying to get into one of the monthly ones in Lowell, but twice so far they've passed on me, citing too many vendors applying for spaces. Try try again.


The current Homunculus doll is slowly progressing, yet if I spot another one out in my travels, I still buy it if I can. Of course I have no idea what this one will become either. The long hair on it is just ridiculous.


Much of creative time lately has actually been taken up by continuing to work towards a final draft of at least one of my NaNoWriMo novels, and that's not really easy to show in this blog. I've been editing with the aid of a online tool called AutoCrit, which literally goes through the novel piece by piece in various ways. It's amazing how much you can change when you go sentence by sentence. And already I know I need a whole new first chapter. A title is still up in the air for it. The working one is "Devices," but that sounds a bit too plain to me. Another idea is "#embraced," which is from a major plot point, but I'm worried that a hashtag in the title would date it, even though I don't specify a time in the story other than the near future.