Thursday, April 20, 2017

:dead calm:

Perhaps it's part of the weird mood that I've found myself in the past few weeks, but lately I'm finding that the longer I work on artwork, the less enthused I am with it, and just want to move on to something new. More incentive to learn to work faster. The photoshoot that I did with Asha & Hex is now a month past, and I've finally gone through all the shots and narrowed them down, with well over 175 decent ones. At this point I just want to clean them up a bit and send them off to the models, and hope that they like them. As for any weird Photoshoppery, I'll look at them a bit later on from now and see if I want to do any. No ideas are currently leaping out at me.




A change of media often helps, so I'll return to the new Homunculus doll and see if I can't finish it within the month.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

:stranger days:

I didn't write on Wednesday as I normally do, as I didn't feel in the right state of mind and it would've devolved into self-pity. I'm not at 100% tonight, but have a better perspective than yesterday. And honestly? The advent of Spring sticking around might help, because even for a self-described night person like myself, I probably do need the daylight. I was taking vitamin D supplements during the doldrums of Winter, but stopped because I felt I wouldn't need to anymore, but some of the funk I've felt in the past few weeks could possibly be attributed to that, so I may as well go back on it for a bit more.


I finished this drawing the past weekend, and to be frank, I certainly could've done it all in one day, if I were in control of all the hours of my days. It seems to be the case that when I work on a piece for a long time, and am really happy with the end result, the lack of much response to it brings me a bit down. So do I need to work more quickly? Or place less importance on the need for outside acceptance? But I think parts of our current society place a lot more emphasis on this, and on near-instant reactions at that. Click those hearts and thumbs up icons and we're as happy as lab rats pushing the buttons for more food.

Been working continuously on the shots from the Asha & Hex photoshoot, and at least they seem appreciative of what I've shown them so far, more than I can say for a few of my past models. Here's a few more glances. Again at this point I may just leave them as they are, no weird Photoshoppery. Yet.





I'm also glad that I always have some sort of camera on me, to capture moments like these.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

:crisis of faith:

Little steps this past week; started really looking at the shots from the photoshoot with Asha & Hex. I'm still pleased that there's very few corrections needed. I'm not sure if I'll be altering them much further, to be honest. I seem to do that more with outdoor shots than studio ones with a plain backdrop. Again, the need to think about actual concepts for shoots. Some came to mind recently. I also noticed that the new lens I used captures a lot of detail, maybe a bit too much if it's a super close shot. No need to see every pore! But again, I'm not a fan of the android-smooth skin that all these retouchers that keep contacting me looking for work seem to be into.



In the home stretch on this drawing, too. I probably could've finished it last night but I really wanted to get some headway on the photos.


I've gone deep into my head lately about the whole art thing and the possible futility of it, as least as a means to an end. It's something I've done for as long as I can remember and I believe that I want to keep on doing it, but sometimes I wonder at the real purpose, beyond some hard to define drive. Which is also a problem for me in writing out artist statements, a requirement for galleries and such, when often all I want to say is I make these, use your eyes and figure out what it means to you.

But beyond pleasing myself, I'm not seeing much return investment from the outside world. Our wired world has increased the amount of visual imagery available many times over, and it's more difficult than ever to catch someone's attention, and even then, getting some sort of acknowledgement beyond a thumbs up or a heart icon. This blog has been set up for comments from the very beginning, by the way.

I think of this as more than a hobby, that was proven to me when my last living situation was so awful that I hardly created anything and that made it feel even worse. But I don't treat it as a business either, and have actually been "warned" about that from some other writers and artists. There has to be some way to be appreciated, even "compensated" for one's actual talents. But I've not been one to follow trends just to make a buck. One hopes to be recognized and maybe rewarded for having their own style.

That was a whole lot of rambling that I'm not sure made my point any clearer, for you or me. All I can say for now is that there was a lot of "why bother?" in my thoughts this past week, but I'm still not ready to quit.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

:striving:

Sadly I did not get to work on any photos of Asha & Hex last week. Other things came up, as they do. Thankfully I've been told there's no hurry. From what I've seen they have no shortage of photoshoots. Here at least is one new shot, having fun with skulls. I've forgotten the names that they gave them.


I took a few shots with a Polaroid camera during the shoot, too. Still trying to make that work. It seems you have to be at this perfect distance to make it look decent. No close-ups possible. I think Asha's came out okay.


Otherwise I was working further on my drawing. I'd say it'll be done by next week, but I have two DJing gigs coming up as well, and that's two evenings that won't be used for drawing. This photo doesn't do it justice, the lightbulb on the drawing table lamp is great lighting for making the actual artwork, but lousy for photography. I've been having issues with my scanner as well, so I'll have to take it into another room for a better shot.


Still messing around with "products" to be sold. Some coasters and a print on slate. I figured that the already damaged effects on the photo would look good on the rock surface. Still need to get Etsy up and running and maybe into some festivals, but so far I've signed up for a bazaar at my workplace again, in May. Although to be honest I was hoping to not still be working there by then. Need to up that search, but it's so dull if you have no idea what you really want to do for a job. Or if you don't want a job, period.


I ventured out to another one of the regular open artist studio days, held in various locations throughout the year, this one in the South End of Boston, and I left feeling underwhelmed. Nothing that really inspired me and the usual envy of someone else having an actual studio to work in.

I am feeling a bit disillusioned by the whole art thing in general lately, to be honest. Sure, ultimately I create to satisfy an inner urge that I've had my whole life, and it doesn't have to translate into fame and fortune, but those are nice side benefits. But unless I can really figure it soon, I don't know if it's happening within my own lifetime. Perhaps I should just work on in isolation, and someone can discover my hidden cache of artwork after I'm gone, and they'll profit from it. As the story seems to go most of the time in art history. Yet still I strive on.

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.