Wednesday, January 27, 2016

:like it, love it:

The last week was spent more working under the hood, as it were, than working on any new artwork. Still trying to chart my path in this silly creative life that I've chosen, or rather that's chosen me, no sense in denying that. But I have been posting my "calendar" photos, so far just on deviantArt, and did so one per day as opposed to all at once.

Sometimes it seems to me that "likes" are replacing actual currency for artwork (although I'm pleased that I have sold a few copies of my Bowie piece), which can be flattering up to a point. On a site like deviantArt, however, you can both see who liked your work and also what other artwork that they'e added to their "collection," and, well, it doesn't always seem like an appreciation for art so much as it is one for women in various state of undress. I suppose beggars can't be choosers regarding who likes your artwork, though, regardless of the reasons.

I still puzzle through finding a way to make my work more desirable, or more accurately sellable, without drastically changing what I create, or why. I honestly don't do what I do with dollar signs in mind, but it is a nice bonus. And of course seeing others succeed makes one think that you can do it as well. I think that's partly what's freezing me on my website redesign, I want to get it just right.

For the time being I still have prints and such available through the afore-mentioned deviantArt, Fine Art America, and a few through Etsy. On the latter site I have available once again my Valentine's Day card design.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

:ashes to ashes:

As stated last week, David Bowie's passing both stunned and inspired me. I had the ripples of some artwork idea at the end last week's blog entry, but it suddenly came to me while in traffic on Friday morning, of all time and places. Another reason why I always have something with me to write or scribble on.

It's not too difficult to see that outer space was often an inspiration or subject matter for a lot of Bowie's work. I had that on my mind, plus the not uncommon quip from some people that he didn't die, he just returned to his home planet. So it wasn't far from there to see him as evolving like Dave Bowman (whoa - is that name a coincidence??) at the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey (of which the title of his breakthrough song "Space Oddity" played on).

By far the easiest way would've been to just make a digital photo collage of the elements, but I wanted to actually create it from scratch. I drew the Earth directly in Photoshop, using my underutilized Wacom tablet. It was hard to stop from drawing more clouds at one point.

At first the biggest obstacle in choosing a Bowie reference was which look to use, as he was inventive with his appearance to say the least. But I ended up looking for a shot that at least had a profile that fit into my concept.

I wasn't confident enough with the tablet to draw it onscreen as well, so I went back to pencils. I chose to do white on black, the opposite would've worn a black pencil (and probably my hand) down to a little nub.

I combined the elements in Photoshop and added some effects. I'm pleased with how it came out, and how quickly it was done as well. Of course I could continue to work on it indefinitely, but as ever I have to learn when to say "enough."

I didn't create it with sales in mind, but a few people so far expressed a desire for copies of it, so it is now available as such (and other ephemera) on my deviantArt page.

The sad event inspired me to create, but it also inspired me to keep on doing so. It seems apparent that Bowie was well-aware of his limited time and worked right up until his exit. We should all aspire to be so dedicated with our lives, even if we don't know when our actual expiration date is.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

:serious moonlight:

Any news this week has pretty much been eclipsed by the unexpected (to us) death of David Bowie. Mere days after his 69th birthday and the release of what is now his final album, he succumbed to a long battle with cancer that the general public was unaware of. He had actually been away for the better part of a decade, with all the public rumors and fabrications sure to go along with such an absence, then from out of nowhere he releases two of his strongest albums in years, which go on to become his epitaph, even more so now, and we listen to the words and look at the images of his last videos and think, now, well of course. For example people are theorizing that the dead astronaut in the "Blackstar" video represents Major Tom, which brings us to a conclusion from his first major hit song of decades ago.

I've pondered why one should be so affected by the death of one who's not a relation or even anyone I had ever met, but someone online today put it into focus; "we don't cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves." His life itself was art, and now even his death proved to be so, with the music, lyrics and images he left for us at the end. I can only hope to leave such a legacy or make such an exit.

It of course also reminds one of mortality. I still have so much to do. I am pleased that I pretty much spent the Sunday before I heard the news either working on writing or photography. As near as I recall I've never done any artwork of or inspired by Bowie, but ideas are swirling about. The fact that he so often referenced space and the moon is at the forefront of my mind now.

The aforementioned photography was shots from the late summer photoshoot that I was a part of. Again I think the shots as they are now stand fine on their own, but this year I want to get back to textures and such that I used to work with before on my photos.

The first half of the shoot took place indoors in a garage area, and it brought to my mind the old pin-up calendars that were most likely to be found in auto repair shops. For all I know they still make them. But I wanted to make my new ones look like the old ones, with faded colors and some damage. I'm guessing most calendars aren't treated as high art, least of all in a garage.

So I searched down some old images online, and used the match color adjustment in Photoshop. I also hunted down some damaged paper texture to overlay over them as well. You can see the before and after below.

Appropriately enough I chose twelve images to work from, here are a few more.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

:2015 rewind:

Looking back at the past year of entries written here, I saw a lot more artwork done than I originally thought I had before reviewing, although most of it was photography. Not in itself a bad thing, but I don't want to abandon other media. The simple fact is still that it takes less time to take and work on photography than to paint or draw, and sadly an excess of free time is still not a luxury in my current life.

That and other things were repeatedly commented on, like redesigning the website, so I have to make sure that another year doesn't go by without addressing that.

The winter and snow was condensed into nearly one month, and I tried to combat the doldrums by working only in black & white, which was interesting, but there already was an excess of white all around us.

I made up for the gloom in summer, getting to the ocean and sunsets whenever possible. And a spur of the moment trip to Montreal as well.

I did get a few drawings in, from pencil to ink and computer coloring, and I'm pleased with them, but again wish I could complete them quicker. I could never do a monthly comic book at this kind of pace. I do have a graphic novel idea or two still in my brain.

I finished another regular novel for NaNoWriMo again. I haven't revisited it since I finished it in November, but I plan to this weekend. I want to get one of if not both of them published this year. The lack of actual readers last year made me not bother offering it to people this year, but I do need some sort of outside editor to help complete them.

I'm not generally a crafty person, but I painted a few cat banks for my sister in a Dia de Los Muertos style.

There were a few pieces in gallery shows, and I plan to keep on that path. I'm hopeful to make a few more Homunculus dolls and get a show for all of them again.

The nearest I got to being published was being included in a book of artwork of Krampus. It'll do.

I had two fun photoshoots this year, and of course I hope for many more this year, although I'm well aware that I still have room for improvement. I already have ideas for some extra gear. I still wish others would realize that I'm available, or that those who showed initial interest would actually follow through, but I'm probably just going to have to resort to paying for models again.

Last weekend I visited an exhibit on Pixar, at Boston's Museum of Science of all places, and once again it filled me with the desire to somehow find a way to work there. It looks like such a wonderful place to do so, and of course it'd finally be a place to utilize my talents, not like the entirety of my day job history. I've actually applied to them in the past. But I didn't see any current job openings on their website. I know enough from my job hunting research (yes, must escape from that day job, still) that often jobs never even make it to being listed a fair amount of the time. But I need to have something more relevant to show them if I am really to pursue it.