Wednesday, December 30, 2015

:one page left:

We sometimes give time more power than it really deserves, especially on the psuedo-holiday of New Year's Eve. The social pressure to do something, anything to mark it can get overwhelming, when it's really nothing more than a calendar page change. Even a momentous one like 1999 to 2000 was a bit underwhelming in the end, although I did amuse myself by watching the new year transverse the globe with no disasters occurring like many thought would ("New Zealand's still here..."). Not even a Y2K bug. That said, I think I chose the stay home alone option maybe once in the past twenty years, but that's easy to do when you have no significant other.

That said, I do have plans for the new year, certainly in the creative side of my life and I'm sure I'll get to talking about most of them in here in the coming weeks. For now I'm finishing up the initial edits on shots from the October photoshoot, and we'll see where I go from there in the new year.

After an unseasonably warm Xmas, winter has finally arrived, and one thing I plan to do while likely being snowbound at some point is work on more Homunculus dolls. I haven't made a new one since 2013, and I'd like to see if I can get a gallery show for all of them again. The last time that they were all together in one space was in 2009.

See you on the other side.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

:coasting downhill:

More shots from the October photoshoot. This was at the end of it, when a wooden skull was the prop, and things got sillier, as you'll see.

As the year winds down, naturally people are looking both at the past year and what the new one could bring. I still tend to re-examine where I'm at at the start of every month, but a new year is a typical place for bigger plans, though I don't consider them resolutions. I'm sure I'll have a year-in-review entry soon too.

One thing I need to address is stepping up my photography skills. I believe that I am improving but can still do so much better, and I know a lot of it has to do with technical knowhow. Exposure settings still aren't a natural skill for me.

Instead of hoarding objects, unfortunately I tend to be a hoarder of information, which is even easier in the digital age. I will download guides and tips and they remain unread, so that needs to be addressed. I saved them for a good reason, one would hope.

Another issue is the long-delayed website redesign. It's been far too long, and there's no good excuses other than too many options to choose from, minimal coding skill, and no money to pay someone else to do it. So that needs to become a priority.

Linked to that is this blog, I suppose. I've gotten to the point where I've done a weekly entry without fail, which personally I think is impressive. And while it's partially for myself, to track progress and such, the lack of any sort of feedback is a letdown at times. Comments are allowed below, you should try it out sometime. I believe it can even be done anonymously if you so wish. Otherwise I'll have to consider abandoning this at some point in the coming year. One can yell into the void for only so long before tiring of waiting for a reply back.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

:long ago and far away:

I'm still working, slowly, on the photos from October. If I get an hour in a day I feel successful. Ideally I'd like to have the whole day, but, well, I'll get to that point some day. These are just the first steps, color correction and some editing, I'm not entirely sure where I'm going yet but these aren't the final results.

I really like this shot. She looks both at ease and strong and if you knew anything about the kind of year she's had, you'd be glad to see it too.

And I've said it before, but adding props just seems to add something to the shoot as well, in her case.

Unless you've been in a media black hole, and I honestly can't judge someone who is, you may be aware that a new episode of "Star Wars" is out this week. I was around for all the previous ones, and saw the original, unaltered one in the movie theater when it came out. It definitely sent my artwork in different directions to say the least. I managed to unearth this ancient drawing of what is probably still my favorite character.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


I have returned in earnest to working on photos from the October photoshoot. The thought had entered my mind to delve into my art as intensely as I did writing in November, but it can get exhausting really fast, and sadly there's many real world things that need doing as well, some of which were put aside for a month as it is.

I generally don't like using flash, or at least the one attached to my camera, so I may look into external ones soon. But by the end of this shoot the sun was setting and from certain angles there just wasn't enough natural light. However thanks to Photoshop I'm trying to recover a few of those. I also worked with reflectors a bit in this shoot as well, but the wind often played havoc with that.

Right now I'm just going through the roll of shots and cleaning up the ones I like best, but these aren't going to be the final versions, I plan to return to my method of adding layers and such using textures.

Another casualty while I was writing all last month was photography itself, I didn't take photos of anything, not even for Instagram. I made up for that this past weekend in Salem, MA, where a small horde of Krampus (Krampuses? Krampi?) temporarily terrorized the streets and a few bars, looking for the naughty. More often than not they offered themselves up willingly.

Salem Krampuslauf 15

As ever, more shots on my flickr page.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

:nanowrimo final week:

I managed to once again finish my 50,000+ word NaNoWriMo novel, and a day early again too. I'm amazed that I was even able to, what with all the frustrating car stuff that was, and sadly still is going on. So that's the biggest lesson that I'm taking away from it, that I can complete something even with a strict deadline and a world of shit going on around me. It was basically a month of dayjob, car shite, and writing. So other things have suffered during this time, like gym time, and other creative projects, and what social events that I was invited to. I had thoughts of trying to keep on this sort of schedule to get other artwork done. but it can get really exhausting, and isolating. The local NaNo folks hold a bunch of write-ins throughout the month, to try and keep some social aspect to it, but judging from the ones that I went to last year, it actually slowed me down, so I guess I'm not a "social" writer. Not if I want to complete a novel in a month, anyway.

Once again the story took off in directions that I had not planned on when starting out. It was supposed to be fairly dystopic in tone, but then it ended with a fairly upbeat conclusion, with touches of caution. I had at least two male characters that I thought would be the main ones, but they faded into the background in favor of two female ones. There was also a weird sexual aspect that emerged that wasn't planned from the beginning either. Again, it's all open to analysis, I'm sure. But I'm not even looking at it again until January at least. I already want a better title for it at least.

After Thanksgiving, there's just no holding back the Xmas juggernaut at all anymore. But the word of Krampus grows more and more with each passing year. There'll be some Krampus-themed events this weekend in Salem, MA, of course, including an art show that I have artwork in. Not a new piece, alas. I'll also mention again the book "Contemporary Krampus" that I have a different piece in. I would choose him over Elf on A Shelf any day.

After such an intensive month spent writing, there has to be some decompression, but I need to get back to other projects, hopefully more so once all the car bullshite is settled. I still need to go through the photos from my October photoshoot. The model mentioned today a wish that she could do an Xmas-themed pinup shoot. That sounds like it'd be fun, alas not likely for this year's Xmas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

:nanowrimo week four:

Can't stop to chat now, I'm at 38,000 words and 50,000 are expected for one to "win" NaNoWriMo at the end of the month.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

:nanowrimo week three:

Past the half-month point for NaNoWriMo, and mainly because of the car mess, I'm behind in the schedule that they give as a guide. I should be at 30,000 words, I'm at just under 25,000. I'll get right back at it after this blog post. I believe I found a car earlier tonight, so hopefully that mess will be cleared up soon.

I still find myself writing the female characters easier than the male ones. I was dragging on the last chapter because I was having difficulty with writing Joe. I was very close to killing him off just to not have to deal with him anymore, but I was merciful and only crashed his truck. One really becomes the god of your own personal universes when you're writing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

:nanowrimo week two:

At 11 days of this year's NaNoWriMo, I'm currently at 20,563 words. I think I'm going at a good pace, have a vague idea of an ending, but still need to fill the space between. I've found that, once again, I prefer to write female characters. Feel free to analyze that. When I first started this in 2009, one of the main characters was male. He's still in the story, but I don't think that he's the main character anymore. Another male I created as a bit of a comic relief, but now he's a bit annoying, and if he annoys me, imagine how readers will feel. Interesting how once again characters sometimes write themselves. One female character has stepped out of the background into the front.

That said, once again, when I finally get a real creative groove going, life takes a stick and sticks it into my spokes. My recent car accident has resulted in insurance not wanting to pay the damages on my "old" car (2001!), so it's considered a "total loss." Now I have to use what little free time I have which could be used for writing this novel, to find another car. And the settlement check isn't a very large one. No other words for it, this SUCKS.

I briefly went to Waltham's open studios, which are pretty much in just one building. Par for course, I once again wonder why I can't find a space like this for myself, why these events draw so many people but they don't actually buy any art, and why we have so many abstract painters in the Boston area (sorry but it does nothing for me). Or I could just be cranky from all the car bullshit.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

:nanowrimo week one:

Technically it's only been four days of  NaNoWriMo and not a week, but eh. Currently I'm at 13,287 words. Don't drop your jaws, that's because I'm finishing up a story I had started in 2009. Right now I'm going through what I had already written and breaking the rules by editing it before I move forward. But it's nice to have a jump start. I've already found that it was a bit difficult to write on breaks at work like I did last year. We'll see if that changes. I'll probably do the majority of my writing on the weekends, most likely in coffee shops and libraries again, just to at least get out of the apartment.

I already see that my characters will need a bit more fleshing out, and I of course already have favorites. Deleted some dated references, even though I didn't stamp a year on the story, and it's supposed to take place in a near future. Don't have a precise ending in mind just yet, either. But then I didn't have one in mind when I had started last year's novel either. It's interesting to see where it can come from. It's true sometimes that the story writes itself.

In other news, I honestly had forgotten that I had contributed artwork for a book about Krampus, who is becoming so well-known that a movie about him is coming out this holiday season. But then I received several copies of the book in question yesterday. Sadly that's my "payment" for it, but the man behind it was persuasive, and I also figured, fuck it, he had actually sought me out for it, so that's flattering. And there's always hope that it could lead to other things.

I also currently have artwork on display in a library in Warwick, Rhode Island amongst other artists. I don't have the full details available at hand right now. I did have some trouble finding "library safe" artwork amongst my more recent work.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

:walking wounded:

As October winds down, I've been mostly still sorting through shots from the last two photoshoots, but no extensive work on them yet. I finally got word back from Tiffany, she's busy as I expected, said something about sorting through 10,000 other images, so yeah, busy. Other work is going slowly as well because of events that took me out of my art space, mostly Halloween-oriented, and an unfortunate auto accident. Obviously I'm okay or I wouldn't be writing this, but I'm finding that I'm more damaged than I originally thought and some extra medical care is needed. Joy. But the insurance/car repair is going smoother than I expected. I'm going to dislike trading back my rental car for my old one, though.

Still on the road to NaNoWriMo next week, so depending on how that goes, there probably won't be much written here in the coming weeks except for small updates, unless something else catches my (camera) eye and/or I finish early. I already have a rough cover design for inspiration, though obviously not the final one since it's not my photo. I haven't gotten word back from the person whose photo inspired last year's novel concerning whether or not I can use her image, but no hurry on that as of yet.

I once again set up my "Halloween is My Xmas" illustration series as available for download over at deviantArt, mostly to see which one was the favorite. Hell, any interest at all is nice. This year's runaway winner is yet again this one:

So have a safe and happy Halloween and don't take any shenanigans from any delinquent spirits.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

:back and forth:

This past week was mostly prep work on older artwork than creating new ones....going through the shots from last month's shoot and sending them off to the model. Out of 300 shots I narrowed it down to 90. I may do further things with them but they stand fine on their own for now, I think.

Also going through the shots from last week's shoot. Again, just simple clean up and color correction for now. I probably won't be able to revisit them until December, as most of November will be taken up by NaNoWriMo.

I was also selecting artwork for display in a show in Rhode Island, and because it's being held in a library, not much of my recent work can be shown, either because of slightly gory themes, or nudity. Interesting. So I had to go further back into my catalog than I had originally planned.

While I want to move forward and keep changing, I used to do a lot more layering with textures and lettering. Far back enough that when I had to go out and photograph said textures myself, I used a film camera. It'd be so much easier now, of course. I wonder what the places where I got them developed at thought I was doing. I like that my current photos stand well on their own, but I may try and revisit this style. Still need to have my work to stand out in some way not like others out there.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

:in the park:

This past Monday we were blessed with wonderful warm weather in October, probably the last of it before the eventual decline into crappy sub-zero temperatures for too many months - trying to stay positive, honest - so I took advantage of it by having an outdoor photoshoot, with a model I haven't worked with since almost exactly a year ago. At least we seem to be getting in one shoot per year now.

We went to a park that I've done two other shoots in so far, and the nice weather seemed to inspire others; I've never seen so many people there at once, and many of them with cameras as well. Fortunately, unlike my last shoot there, clothing was involved (three outfits).

I'm finding that I'm learning something new with each shoot that I do, so of course I desire more. I learned a bit more about exposure settings on the last one that helped out this time around, and also experimented with a reflector too. Today's first lesson was that I'll need to get some sort of weights for that so that it doesn't keep falling over. And I also see why people have assistants to take care of such things, though I don't see that happening for me anytime soon.

I'm still sorting through the shots, of which there are roughly 100, and still have to finalize ones from the last shoot, but generally I'm happy with the results. Any mistakes, I can pretty much figure out what I did and will hopefully remember next time.

The shoot with this model was pretty relaxed as usual, getting moreso as the shoot went on, with things often getting goofier by the end, usually a sign that we've had our fill (the sun setting was another sign). She seemed to enjoy working with props more, this time a wooden skull that she actually requested that I bring. Here's hoping we don't wait another year for the next shoot.

I'm also gearing up for next month's NaNoWriMo, which I completed successfully last year, and intend to do so this year as well. I actually have a head start, an unfinished story that I attempted in 2009. Me being me, I already have cover art in mind, and will probably make a mockup of it before I begin. We'll see if it takes every bit of spare time like it did last year, leaving little room for other projects.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

:los gatos:

I finished the cat banks, done in a Dia de Los Muertos style. They were made on the request of my sister, for some online auction/benefit thingy. Sometimes I need assignments to get creative, it seems. Although from this one, since I did the same design on both, I found that I generally prefer to create something "once." I don't know if I'd enjoy making the same thing over and over to order, at least not one so labor-intensive. Guess I'm more "artsy" than "craftsy," one reason I've yet to find a way to make Etsy work for me.

Looking ahead, I am actually going to attempt NaNoWriMo again in November, gods help me. I'm actually "cheating" a bit, with a bit of head start. I'm going to attempt to complete a novel I tried to write for the project before. At that time I was in an awful living situation that was not really conducive to creativity. Once again I don't know how this story ends, yet.

Okay, a few more shots from Tiffany's photoshoot in Salem from a few weeks ago. I still need to go through them all for the best ones, and send some off to her as well. As I've said before, she was great fun to work with, as you can see in the shot where she's not doing her regular "model" face.

If all goes well, I'll be doing another shoot this upcoming Monday, with my favorite model in one of my favorite places, as the weather is supposed to be beautiful, for mid-October in New England. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

:vida y muerte:

October is here, with all that that entails. Halloween of course, and Dia de los Muertos after that. For the former I am once again setting up my "Halloween is my Xmas" series for download over at deviantArt. Part of me is curious once more to see which ones are the most popular. And no one is buying them, so...

I had been pondering trying to find some place that would display Ximena, the most recent Homunculus doll that I've made, but that was solved by it getting accepted into a gallery show for the next month. So you can see or even buy her at Uforge Gallery in Jamaica Plain, MA.

Along the Dia de Los Muertos theme, I've been also working on this project for my sister, for an online auction, doing a design on these cat banks. Note the lack of anatomical accuracy, and some of the symmetry is a bit off. That will affect the design.

Penciled lines...

...and then there were two.

Beginning with the black parts. If all goes well I'll be showing you the final results next week.

Here are some more shots from the Salem photoshoot. I have about 200 to sift through, and I'm not sure if I'll be altering them beyond their current state. I don't seem to do as much Photoshoppery as I used to, which can be a good or bad thing depending on one's point of view. I don't want to push my luck with what's allowed here on Blogger so who knows how many more that I'll show on here.