Art, Melting Pot, Whatever Wednesday

Whatever Wednesday

My kitchen sink is functional again! J came over yesterday. It took two rounds of a sulfuric acid drain opener he got, but it did what drano could not. Thank goodness. I never thought I’d be happy to wash dishes. But I sure am, now!

The weather is cooling down now and the leaves have started changing and falling from the trees. The squirrels are busier than ever, which makes outings with the dogs a challenge as they both want to go after the squirrels especially Princess. Rascal mostly behaves herself, she’ll pull on her leash a bit and maybe make some small noises but she tends to remain reasonably calm though she’s internally very excited. Princess on the other hand starts pulling very hard on her leash, jumping and barking like crazy. And the insane squirrels around here, for the most part, do NOT run and hide but sit and taunt which just riles her up even more.

I wanted to do a cute, cartoony Halloween picture. I thought over all the options and knew just what I wanted to do. I will need to redo it as I struggled a lot with the facial features for some reason, particularly the mouth, and all the erasing made that area look a bit wonky in the final picture. So I will be tracing over it to redo it so that area will look better. I’ll put more effort into the coloring on the new one once I get to it as well. But even with the issues I had with it I’m pretty pleased. I think it definitely fits the bill for being a cute, cartoony Halloween picture. Even if it’s not quite how I had pictured it in my head. I never can get drawings translated properly from my head to paper…

I have been playing around with my brownie recipe, as I no longer care for the original version. I think I’ve about perfected it for my brownie preferences now but I need to give it another go to be sure. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can share. It’s been a LONG time since I have done any food posts or shared one of my own recipes here vs linking to someone else’s recipe. I just don’t really bake all that much anymore and the bulk of my cooking is nothing that needs a recipe either (I mean, pasta and garlic bread… kinda simple…) and I’ve been eating cereal or sandwiches as meals more often than actually cooking anyway. I only have myself to cook for and I generally don’t like leftovers, and even the leftovers I do like I tire of after a day or two, so it’s easier to just have cereal or something than to put effort into cooking a proper meal. And all that adds up to when it comes to the blog, I just don’t have the content to do food posts these days. Maybe that’ll change at some point. But for now, food/recipe posts will be a rarity. 

With that in mind I have a non-food idea I would like to work on. Thinking of a simple knit project for the past couple days and I’m wondering if, unlike translating my drawing ideas to paper, I can translate it to yarn with success. So I’m off to poke through my stitch dictionaries and see if I can come up with something. 

Until next time. xoxo

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Art, Melting Pot, Saturday Somethings

Saturday Somethings

I have a mountain of dirty dishes I need to hand wash but I really don’t want to. My kitchen sink is clogged up, so my dishwasher is out of commission, and I have to hand wash things in the bathroom. Which is cumbersome and annoying. I’ve tried my best to fix the problem on my own – aka I dumped a bottle of drano and let it do its thing, but it didn’t help. I watched a video on youtube that made me think I MIGHT stand a chance of doing a little something under the sink to possibly fix it. Then I realized what I have is different than dude in the video and what I have I am not about to touch. I was feeling desparate for a functional kitchen sink this morning so did the only other thing I could think of: I got the plunger out. All that resulted in was me somehow injuring my shoulder, but the sink is still just as clogged as it was before. This is why when something needs fixing/done around the house I ask a man to do it. If I try to do it myself I either hurt myself, make the problem worse, or both. 

Now as I sit with generic icy hot cream on my shoulder  (and not helping much, but I can’t find my heating pad so it’s the best I can do for now) and as usual listening to music that is coming from across the street, I can’t help but think how much I just want to go back to bed. But my sleep schedule is already out of whack thanks to insomnia (currently running on about 3 hours of sleep), so I best stay awake. 

Princess decided to roll in something stinky this morning, then she ate whatever it was before I had a chance to get her away from it. Dogs are awesome but they sure can be gross sometimes. I immediately gave her a bath once back inside. Then Rascal got one too. They were both overdue anyway so I figured if I had to bathe one of them, may as well tackle getting both of them bathed so it’d be done.

I finished a new drawing last night that I am fairly pleased with. I should have waited till today to finish it as when coloring it in my wrists did get tired and maybe it’s just me but I can absolutely tell which part was colored first and what waa colored with a tired wrist. But I lack patience and really wanted to see it done. 

The quote is from one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite 90’s bands, Sugar Ray. I considered this one for the next Tuesday Tunes, but I’ll throw it in this post instead as there’s another song I want to share on Tuesday. 

I hope y’all are having a better weekend than I am so far. 

Until next time. xoxo

Art, Melting Pot

Friday Post 2

I didn’t get much sleep last night. What sleep I did get was very fitful, not restful. I don’t even know what time I went to bed or what time I got up this morning. I just know when I did get up I was exhausted, cranky, and had a horrible headache. Said headache continued to plague me as I got dressed and took the dogs out to potty.

I treated the back yard with more Biefen IT, for mosquitos. They were becoming relentless. Even when I sprayed myself down with deet before going out, they’d bite me. I could see dozens of them going for each dog, too. I knew I needed to re-treat the yard but either the weather would not cooperate (needs to be dry) or I just didn’t feel like dealing with it. This morning I decided, headache or no, it needed to be done. I didn’t do the whole yard but focused on the perimeter, where they seemed most problematic. This stuff is supposed to last “up to 6 months”, and it had been maybe 2 or so since I first treated the yard. However I do need to mention that I think it would be more effective and longer-lasting if I had an actual lawn. What I do have is bare dirt, pine needles, dead leaves, and ivy. All of which leave loads od hiding places the spray won’t reach. If there were actually grass covering the yard, like most folks have, I feel like I’d see better results. Maybe some day I’ll get to live somewhere with a proper lawn and find out. But anyway it was indeed a battle for the yard – I had generously covered myself in deet before going out and as I sprayed the yard, I acquired numerous new mosquito bites. They attacked me as I attacked them. I think I won the battle but I won’t know for sure till I head out later once the product has dried.

After cleaning up from that adventure my head was still pounding away. With the added bonus of a bit of a stomach ache and some dizziness, not to mention the sunlight getting a rather vampiric reaction from me. I know all too well what that combination spells. Thankfully a couple weeks ago I had spotted some migraine formula meds at the grocery store when I was there for something else. I hadn’t had a migraine for roughly a year or so, and before that one I’d been blessed to have several years without one. So I didn’t  NEED the stuff. But I thought I should get it, just in case. So I opened that up and took a dose, which seems to be helping. I still feel a bit nauseous and my head is still throbbing, and light is still far, FAR from being acceptable… but it’s less intense than before. Thank goodness. I’ll still likely be out of commission for the day but as long as it runs its course and I feel good tomorrow, all will be well. Migraines are miserable enough when they knock you on your ass for one day, but their tendency to park themselves firmly in your life for multiple days is REALLY sucky. If you have never had a migraine, you have NO idea how lucky you are.

Moving on. If you follow me on Twitter (where I post like what, once or twice a month at most? 😂) you might have seen that I mentioned a new drawing yesterday. Well, one drawing turned into three. Why? I didn’t want to ink or color a penciled portion that looked pretty good and risk ruining it. So I tested on scrap paper then couldn’t decide if I liked colored pencil or marker better, and I still really liked the penciled original. So I did what any (in)sane person would do: made two copies and colored them, for a grand total of three finished drawings. 

I used a clear plastic Rubbermaid bin and the flashlight feature on my cell phone to create a light box to trace the original drawing to make the two copies. For the record this works perfectly. Granted you may want to use a piece of plexiglass or something for a smooth work surface if necessary but the little bit of texture to mine was not a problem. I used the container upright and put the lid on, due to size (tapered to be a bit smaller on the bottom than the top) but you could alternately just flip the container over. 

I still can’t quite decide which of the three is my favorite. 

Top to bottom: original pencil, colored pencil (which is more orange in person but my phone liked the yellow in it), and marker

What do you think?

Since I am sure most do not know, this is inspired by one of my very favorite movies: What About Bob? If you have never seen it I highly recommend it. 😁

Ok, I suppose that’s all for now. I need to lie down a while, and then will have to find some sun glasses to take the dogs out again, and find out if I won the mosquito battle or not. 

Until next time. xoxo

Art

Intuitive Journaling

In a recent post I shared a youtube video on intuitive art journals. Click here if you missed it and want to check it out before continuing with this post. I’ll wait here for you. 

As I mentioned in that post, Marta once again left me feeling very inspired. I’ve got a thing about respecting books though so I knew it would be hard for me to get started on my own intuitive journal. 

I tend to not keep books I don’t absolutely love or put to moderate use but I looked over my bookshelves and found I do in fact have a couple books I didn’t care for but had not yet gotten rid of. I selected one and set about beginning my own intuitive journaling adventure. 

Thus far I have completed just three pages (“pages” referring to technically two pages, but I wanted to do it this way). It all looks like something a three year old would do, but that’s ok. The point of intuitive journaling is to not think too much about it – don’t plan, just do. You can use whatever mediums you like, mix and match as you please. You can include lettering/writing if you want which I may do on a future page but haven’t so far. It’s all 100% up to you how to fill your pages, but always remember to just let your creativity flow uninhibited and “go with your gut”. The results may not always necessarily be pretty, and probably will not be anything super amazing… but that isn’t the goal. The goal is to just relax and enjoy yourself. 

My craft supplies are currently and for the foreseeable future very limited so I have just been making the best of what I have to work with. 

My first page was absolutely random nonsense… acrylic paint, markers, glue, glitter, rhinestones, and bullion beads went into this oh so masterfully created page. 🤣

Hey, I DID say before you saw that, it looked like something a three year old would do. I never claimed to be good at this art thing either so if you were expecting otherwise… well I don’t know where in the world you would get that idea. Lol  

(Just for the record the pieces I share here that actually might be considered good are things I spent many hours on and usually take at least a couple days if not weeks for me to complete. This is the kind of stuff that happens if I try to just go with the flow and spontaneously create something in a brief amount of time. 😂)

My second page was also quite random, but a little less chaotic. Sort of. Haha. It involved acrylic paint, clear gesso, and a LOT of glitter. And I do mean a LOT of glitter, even by my glitterholic standards.

Embrace that glittery goodness y’all! Lol

My third page involved acrylic paint, some thin painter’s tape, glue, rhinestones, and bullion beads. 

There are heart shaped rhinestones on this page

Flower shaped rhinestones with bullion beads placed in the center to add a finishing touch

So far I am quite enjoying intuitive journaling. 

It also occurred to me that this would be an awesome thing for parents with small children (or grandparents with their grandkids etc – anyone with kids in their life) – little ones are always creating artwork and once they start school they bring a lot home from school as well. Much as you want to keep it all, there is just too much and you have to choose a few pieces to save and toss the rest. An intuitive journal for your little ones wouldn’t put an end to that necessarily, but if you gathered a couple old books and supplied the kids with lots of craft supplies and allow them to paint one page a week (or however often, just be sure the pages have time for any paints and glues to be completely dried/cured before moving on to the next or your pages will get stuck together!) then you will eventually have a whole book full of their artwork you can save! Even if they fill up several books over the years, storing several books takes up a lot less space and is much easier than trying to save the mountains of loose pages and other crafts they create and bring home from school! And if they do bring home something particularly special you want to keep it could potentially (depending on size) be glued into their intuitive journal. 

Just remember when selecting a book to use as an intuitive journal to choose books with nice heavy pages so they can hold up to the various mediums you will be using to decorate the pages. Think cook books or school text books (obviously I mean ones that you have purchased and own, not ones that belong to a school and are meant to be turned in at the end of the school year!) – and if you don’t already have any such books you can easily get some very cheaply at thrift shops or yard/garage sales, or maybe even from a library if they are getting rid of some books they no longer wish to keep on their shelves.

Until next time. xoxo

Art, Melting Pot

Intuitive Journaling (Art)

Marta’s latest youtube video is yet another incredibly inspiring one. It is about “intuitive journaling”. Just watch and see for yourself what this means: 

This is such an awesome use for old books you no longer want or need! I think I have a couple books that while not necessarily old are ones I don’t care for yet I haven’t gotten rid of them. I may start an intuitive journal with one of them. I need more art supplies, my current stash is so very limited. 

This would be a challenge for me though as I have this thing about “treating books with respect”. I try so hard to keep my books pristine and new looking – I avoid breaking the spines, never EVER dog ear pages (the absolute horror! Buy some bookmarks people, they are cheap!) or write in my books etc. So the idea of “ruining” a book this way… well I have some serious mental barriers to get through, let’s leave it at that lol. 

Have you ever made an intuitive journal? I’d honestly never heard of it till watching Marta’s video. 

Until next time. xoxo

Art

Simple Sunday

I decided this morning to go grocery shopping at one of the actual grocery stores rather than WalMart as usual. That didn’t really stick. Once I got into the store and saw the limited selection of products and the prices on what they did have, I decided to check out with the handful of items I had found that were decent deals, then headed off to trusty ol’ WalMart to get everything else on my list. 

I made a pit stop in the art supply aisle, not at all expecting to find what I wanted. I was wrong – they did indeed have exactly what I wanted – a nice, simple set of acrylic paints. I debated for several minutes whether or not to get it. If you have been here a while you probably already know this post is happening because I successfully talked myself into the purchase. 

Once I got home and had taken the dogs out and had all the groceries put away, I gathered my supplies and got to work on a painting. My inspiration for this came from two sources: Marta’s previously shared YouTube (Maremi SmallArt) as well as a mug and plate set I have. 

First, here is Marta’s video that was the initial inspiration: 

The plate and mug set I have that was additional inspiration: 

And of course, the finished painting: 

As usual, it is far from perfect but I like it and I had fun creating it, which is the whole point. 

Rascal is making a fuss wanting outside, so I’m off. I hope y’all have had a nice weekend. 

Until next time. xoxo 

Art, Melting Pot

Thoughts & Things

My job hunt continues, thus far unsuccessfully. Surely there’s a job out there somewhere that doesn’t require a college degree, would have limited social interaction to suit my introverted nature, and wouldn’t be hell on my hands/wrists… but what the heck is it? 

My right wrist is still painful, but the left seems to have improved. Makes sense since I am a righty and my right wrist does see more use doing everyday things. I have been resting it as much as possible and trying to limit its use though; it really ought to be feeling better by now at least minimally. It’s frustrating that it’s still hurting as much as it is. 

Despite using an insect repellant every time I take the dogs out, I have still managed to have ticks crawling on me when I come back inside, the last couple days. I got fed up last night upon disposing of a second one, and ordered a product my sister’s guy recommended I use to treat the yard. It’s supposedly safe around animals and effective for up to 6 months even through rain, you just need a dry day to apply it. I got the ship notice on it today. As soon as it gets here, I’ll spray every inch of the back yard. Not worried about the front, I don’t use it anyway. The neighbors use it… but if they get ticks using my yard at their leisure I kinda don’t care. I am only concerned about protecting myself and my dogs from the nasties, and since we only use the back yard that means I will only treat the back.

I have taken some time over the past couple days, between the infuriating and disheartening job search and application sessions, to complete a series of drawings I started last year. I’d already sketched out two of the drawings in pencil. The original plan had been to color them with marker but I decided that wasn’t going to end well so I thought about colored pencil or even airbrushing. I ultimately decided to just finish them with charcoal and leave them as black and white drawings. Then I sketched the third and final drawing and yesterday got it charcoaled and sprayed with matte finish to seal it so it doesn’t smear or smudge. They are far from perfect, but I am happy with them. I wasn’t sure I wanted to share here but, why not? This is my Little Ballerinas series: 

 

I have been giving some thought to giving Etsy a go, though I am not sure right now what exactly I would sell or if it is worth the effort. I know some folks have great success on Esty, but I know others who could never make it work out. I even entertained the thought of potentially turning myself into competition for my sister, and hand dyeing yarn to sell. I’m not convinced that market is still all that profitable though; knitting/crochet really had a boost in popularity for a while but it seems to have faded away again. I’ve tried selling my photos before with no success. I dunno. All just part of the “I really need to earn some income” chaos/desperation flooding my thoughts these days. Hell, not even “these days” – it has been on my mind for many years while I have made failed attempt after failed attempt, it’s just a more dire situation now than it once was. 

Anyway. J was kind enough to pay somebody to mow the lawn for me. Yay for at least not having to deal with that myself! I’ve mowed the lawn (not here but back in Pittsburgh) a few times and it is NOT a chore I want to deal with if I don’t have to. Dude left a little bit ago so I need to venture out and inspect his work, see if he did a decent enough job to have him return when it needs done again. 

Until next time. xoxo

Art, Melting Pot

Oy with the poodles already

I am trying to make all the things that need to happen here, happen. It is a frustrating process, made even more infuriatingly, discouragingly frustrating when one considers the neighborhood I now live in. I know it is going to take time. That’s the problem. Time. I know that realistically it is going to take me years to be able to move away from here. I. Want. Out. Now. I don’t want to wait for the five, ten, fifteen (😖) years that I know it is likely to take. Sigh. I know, life is so very rarely about what we want. Shut up. 

I’ve got more job applications in that I can clearly recall, at this point.  Many are in places a bit further than I really want to have to travel. But I don’t have a choice – I need work and if positions I am qualified for are further away than is ideal, too bad; traveling more than I want is better than not having a job at all right? Even if that means more of the paycheck just goes poof right away to pay for the gas to get to and from work.

I have not felt very creatively motivated lately. I did do a new drawing recently though, that I thought I would share. It’s one of the more personal pieces I have shared… possibly the most personal – it is a self portrait of sorts. I admit to being hesitant to share it but… eh. What the hell. 

Ok. Gotta go. The dogs need to go out. And I need to find something to distract myself from the noise of the neighborhood. 

My final note is to just share this short video for those who don’t get the title of this post. 

Until next time. xoxo

Art, Melting Pot

Sunday Somethings – Paper Testing

I went to my favorite local craft store yesterday primarily to enter a giveaway an email said they were having with entries accepted on the 28th and 29th. They didn’t have anything set up for it though and of course I couldn’t find the email again while in store to ask. Found it later. Oh well. I took the opportunity while there to browse and got a new outlining marker as well as a new marker pad. I have been reading online trying to find possible solutions to the issue I have had with my outline inks bleeding when I color in my drawings, and many people remarked that the brand marker pad I have – Canson – is “no good” and to be avoided. Figures, right? So I picked up a pad that came highly recommended for the kind of markers I have been using to color with – Bee Paper. I did a quick test on the first page yesterday. Gotta say, I’m not impressed. 

I tested with each of the four options I currently have for outlining – the black marker that came with my knockoff copics set of markers, a sharpie, a Farber Castell artist pen, and a fountain pen filled with an ink that, when used on normal paper for writing, is pretty damned awesome. I chose four of the lighter shades of markers to test with since they tend to show the bleeding outline ink much more easily. I just threw some quick little doodles down (yeah, I got lazy on the Canson one lol) and then gave the inks ample time to dry before I went in with color. 

Canson on left, Bee Paper on right

While this Bee Paper pad definitely DID make a difference in how much the outlines bled, it was still absolutely an issue. My beloved fountain pen fared the worst on both papers, and my preferred Farber Castell artist pen fared only slightly better. The Sharpie and Ohuhu black marker were pretty much equal on both papers, with the sharpie perhaps having a slight edge due most likely to the fine tip and thus thinner lines. 

The Canson marker pad I have been using wins, no question, when it comes to the inks bleeding through the paper onto the sheet below. The Bee Paper pad, oh so highly recommended in various forums my googling led me to, was supposed to work well with alcohol markers without colors bleeding through to the next sheet. As you can see, just from my quick test, the colors DID bleed through to the next sheet on this paper. Had I actually been coloring a full drawing and layering colors for shading, it may well have bled through to an additional sheet as, depending on what you are doing and the look you are after, sometimes layering the colors can be pretty heavy. I have never had colors bleed through to the next sheet with my Canson marker pad, even on my most heavily layered portions. 

Canson on left, Bee Paper on right

They are both very smooth papers though the Canson paper is a bit smoother. It is also worth noting the Canson paper is sheer and lightweight (only 18 lb) with a slight transparency (which makes it ideal if you need to trace something). The Bee Paper is significantly heavier (110 lb) and opaque like most typical sketch pads. 

They are both decent marker pads, though neither is totally perfect. Between them I prefer the Canson since I don’t have to worry about remembering to place a thin sheet of cardboard or a couple extra sheets of scrap paper under the sheet I am coloring to keep the colors from bleeding through onto the next sheet in the pad. The canson was also cheaper, $14* for 100 sheets while the Bee Paper pad was $11* for only 30.  * Prices I paid with a club member discount at the store I buy my art supplies from most often.

I have also read that the Farber Castell artist pens are not the best option for marker pads, and that using a different artist pen for outlining may solve (or at least improve) the issue of the outline ink bleeding upon adding color. So, I will have to continue googling to see what other pens are available/recommended and try to get some to try out to see if they will provide good results. In the mean time I am going to continue with how I have been doing things – pencil, color, and outline last. Does not always work great that way, but it is better than having the outlines bleeding all over the place ruining the coloring job.

Until next time. xoxo 

Art

Ink & Pencil

The one medium I’ve not yet tried my hand at is ink and marker. Charcoal I like though it’s awfully messy, and requires a fixative spray to help minimize smearing of finished pieces. (Which I have yet to bother investing in. I know, I know.) I like chalk, but it is also messy though not quite as prone to smearing without fixative as charcoal, but my least favorite thing is that you just can’t do finer details with it as the pieces are too bulky, and it is impossible to retain a sharp edge which also plays into the difficulty in trying to fine tune things and work in details. Plain ol’ pencil is ok, it’s easily accessible but you can’t smudge it out and shading can be trickier than with charcoal. Paint and I are only friends in the world of abstract art, where random smears, splatters, and shapes can be happily considered art despite the total lack of actual talent that went into creating it. Which leaves me with ink and marker to experiment with to see how I like it.

The problem is that the markers that I’d like to have for coloring the inked drawings cost a fortune to invest in. Though I’ve just done a wee bit of sleuthing via google and amazon and have found the real issue here is that people use the BRAND NAME to refer to their markers, rather than using a generic term. And it’s that brand name that is expensive. Now granted maybe that brand is top of the line quality and the best markers one can buy, and in general the type of marker in question – alcohol markers – does seem to be pricier than your standard markers such as Crayola, but I have found a couple brands that are FAR more affordable than the brand name that seemingly everybody knows and uses. Or maybe it’s a bit of a Vaseline thing – even if you’re buying/using something generic and store branded that’s cheaper you still call it Vaseline. Regardless, the point is that I’ve found some cheaper options with good reviews on Amazon. So maybe owning some of these supposedly glorious markers isn’t such an impossible thing for me. Even so, for right now they’re not something I will be able to get my hands on for a while.

In the mean time, I decided to make do with the colored pencils I have on hand. Which, turns out… aren’t great colored pencils. They have a waxy quality, don’t blend well at all, and the actual colors don’t tend to match the outer color of the pencil (I can’t tell you how many times I have grabbed what I thought was the black pencil only to find it’s a light brown) and none of the colors are very highly pigmented. The black is more of a dark gray at best, and three very different looking shades of blue wind up looking astonishingly the same on paper, for example. (All things you’ll see evidenced in the first drawing below in particular.) Still it’s what I’ve got to work with, so make it work right? Or, try to, anyway. I figured this would at least give me a feel for creating ink and marker drawings, in a very general way, so I can better know if it’s worth investing in (even the cheaper brands) the markers.

I did two drawings today that, while perhaps not quite as I envisioned they would be, I am rather pleased with. I began by sketching out the images with a standard number two pencil, so that I could erase and re-draw as needed (and I needed to, let me tell you!) then once I was happy with the draft sketch I used my fountain pen to ink the design in. I gave the ink some time to dry then erased the remaining visible pencil lines, and then started filling in with color.

This first one I drew following along with one of Mei Yu’s tutorials on Youtube. You can click here to see the exact tutorial I followed, if you’re interested.

20170110_140941

The second drawing of the day was purely my own, using a google image search result photo of an actual fox just to guide me along a bit. I wanted something cute and cartoonish, not realistic. I’d say mission accomplished. =)

20170110_161809

What artistic projects did you tackle, today?

Until next time. xoxo