Tuesday, December 31, 2013

27 things (365 days, holidays, a new year, etc...)

Oh by the way,  I had the pleasure of writing up a little bit for the 27 Good Things blog, here's my contribution (three things to read, three things to watch, three things to use.) If you are ever, ever sitting around wondering what to do with yourself, GO PERUSE THAT BLOG. It's a wealth of really cool, entertaining, and useful ideas of just really great stuff (plus, some of my dear friends Andrew Romine, Wendy N. Wagner, and Paul Weimer have also contributed and they are the coolest folk ever, put their suggestions on your list for next year and all will be well with you. I promise.)

Ah, and it's last day of 2013. There's some impulse in me to encapsulate the year neatly (one year it was 365 days of drawing) but then this morning I woke up and read my friend Gerry's post about trees breathing and now I just want to go for a hike and find beautiful trees.
not a sugar maple, but I do love a tree with some drama

However, here are a few personal highlights from 2013 (in no real order): I have run almost 900 miles this year, including a marathon with my partner and friend. One of my illustrations was accepted into the Spectrum 20 art annual. I won the Hugo in the Fan Artist category. I've made huge strides in getting a handle on record keeping and budgeting as a freelancer. As a family we have gotten a much better handle on record keeping and budgeting. In fact, for the first time in, well, quite a long time, December, usually our leanest and most difficult months, has been kind and gentle and we still have a savings.  My kid turned 10. I turned 39. A few relationships that were on the brink have made strides towards healing. I read not as many books as I was hoping, nor did I finish any personal art projects this year (2013 was the year of the client, and that has been just fine by me.) I'll keep those on the to-do list for 2014.

There's more, I'm sure, but I'll leave it at that for now, I have a few illustrations I was hoping to have finished by year's end so, yes, ducking out now to get to work.

But here, I stumbled on this by Tim Minchin yesterday and it was just what I needed. (I've struggled to like the holidays lately, this helped. Quite a bit. And all proceeds from downloads of this song for the next two months are currently being donated to the National Autism Society. Very Worthy.):

okay, that's all. See you next year.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Superstars and Whatnot (etc)

Over the weekend I wrote up an inkpunk post, some (meandering) thoughts about talent, ability, and creative success:

"It was at the Illustration Masters Class where I first heard Greg Manchess declare that there is no such thing as talent. A rather startling premise to tell a bunch of aspiring artists. But no, Greg stated that artistic skill “is built, not possessed”, created by hard work and training. I wonder about this idea, chew on it occasionally, still not sure what I think. It makes me think of films like Amadeus and Finding Forrester that portray bitter rivalries between merely adequate creators and their brilliant counterparts. I have no idea how historically accurate the portrayals are, but today Mozart is a household name while Salieri is mostly for history buffs. I itch and scratch away at what that thing is that makes one individual a superstar while another is just adequate." ~read more

Then this morning John Scalzi posted about Self Loathing as a creative person, how, basically, it is NOT a given that all writers (or artist, etc) must deal with the throes of depression and self loathing. It was a good one for me to read this morning: last night I was actually agonizing a bit, feeling utterly talentless and terrified of my mediocrity. Today is looking to be a much better day. Shake it off, get back to work. It's all good. Anyways, here's a bit from Scalzi:

"...Are there writers who are self loathing? Absolutely, because there are people who are self-loathing, and writers are a subset of people. There are also doctors who are self-loathing, plumbers who are self-loathing, farmers who are self-loathing and so on. There are also writers who are not self-loathing. There are excellent writers who grapple with self-loathing; there are excellent writers who don’t (there are mediocre and terrible writers in each category as well, of course). Trying to typify all writers as self-loathing is as useful as typifying all writers as anything, save the base, practical definition of “someone who writes.”...
I think people who are writers and who are also the sort of self-loathe can possibly use that self-loathing as a tool in some way, but personally I suspect if you’re genuinely deep in the throes of self-loathing, as a writer or whomever, your first stop should be a doctor, to see if that’s something that’s treatable. It might be easier to deal with the writing the sucks if you’re not thinking that therefore, you suck."  ~ read more

 Now, here... I leave you with a page from my sketchbook from two year ago,

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

smoke and mirrors and Vermeer

Stuck in traffic last night I happened to catch this NPR interview with illusionist Raymond Joseph Teller, where he talks the documentary Tim's Vermeer which he helped direct. It was fascinating and applicable, new discoveries about technology Vermeer may have used to achieve his almost photo-realistic paintings. (Oh all the tricks artists have up their sleeves). One excerpt that really stuck: Robert Siegel asks Teller what it said about Vermeer if he really had used these devices to aid in creating his paintings, wondering if it smacked of cheating (maybe like an athlete using steroids) and Teller responded:
"Art is not sports. Art is an activity in which one human heart communicates to the other human heart. If Vermeer used this method, which Tim believes pretty strongly he may have used, that makes Vermeer better, not worse. What this means is that Vermeer was not only someone with wonderful and beautiful ideas, and someone capable of miraculous compositions, but that he was willing to put in the incredibly intense work to translate those ideas to paint on canvas. And it's very possible that Vermeer himself may have invented this device." ~listen here

So, here's the trailer for Tim's Vermeer,

But HERE, an interview with Tim Jenison in which he goes into the process even more:

This was the quote that stuck out to me: "...too accurate to have been painted by, well, it couldn't really be seen by the human eye".  Anyways, made for a good excuse to break open my old art history books again and revisit some of these amazing paintings and still, as always, be just blow away by them. (Also made me want to re-watch Girl With a Pearl Earring.)
Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window. Johaness Vermeer, ca. 1659

Monday, December 2, 2013

horses and such

Here's what came out of my pen the other day while waiting for a doctor's appointment:
Meanwhile, Jaym Gates is on facebook posting about Clydesdales showing off their speed and ohhh I'm swooning at the massive beauties thundering away with their feathered hooves. Here's video footage (but click through the link for just some take-your-breath-away photos.)

Reminds me of the post Jaym wrote several years ago detailing specific attributes of this noble "companion and cohort in heroics."

Oh, one more nod to Jaym; a couple years ago I used a some of her prompts for my 30 character challenge. Here's my take on Storm Crow and her steed:

Meanwhile I'm working up a little something for Kevin Hearn that has me playing with horses again and I'm just giddy.

Just feeling all tender and amazed about horses lately. That's all.