Monday, May 28, 2018

Pages & Opinions about Horses

I have been busy doing wholly uninteresting things the last little bit. I have a few bigger projects on the back burner, (cute paintings, cursed fox statuettes saved from the dump) and a whole bunch germinating in the vegetable drawer, so to speak (single page comics, poetry zines). I'm not really keeping up on a watercolor a day for 100 days, to the point numbering them is pretty pointless, but here's some more pages.

I hate horses. I hate horses significantly more after having worked in a call center for a horse wagering company on the Kentucky Derby weekend.

Buildings. What can I say.


A lot of people were thrown off by the ear and this being a little unpleasant, which gets to how sterilized a lot of my art is lately if this is a shock coming from me. I like surreal and a little unsettling juxtaposed with my cute.

I spend a lot of my spare time in the local park by the library.


Abstract swoopies after a long weekend at work.

Our back porch.

This is my life right now, art wise. This and a smashbook I just started. Which, really isn't anything to scoff at.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Too many photos documenting a creepy painting

Like it says on the tin, here's too many pictures about a painting I did.

Concept sketches plus first background layer. Pretty sure I was dry brushing with a pastry brush, but it was in my brushes so.

Background. Layers of acrylic and gloss medium and ink and alcohol ink....



Using chalk to outline the composition. Chalk is 100% my best friend for big paintings like this.

Had to take a moment and draw a rough design on myself to see how it would look with a smirk like she has. I had decided at this point that instead of painting her make-up in black, I wanted to have the original background show through to push a more ethereal look instead of just woman with spooky make-up.

When I do big mixed media paintings, I always go ahead and paint in some white acrylic where I intend to add oil later. It makes it a lot easier to see what I am doing and also usually seals in the background so it won't interfere with my oils. Usually. This time, I did layer after layer after layer and the damn alcohol inks just kept bleeding through, which was fine everywhere except where it was doing it the worst, her eye. I finally used heavy matte medium to seal in the eyes and all the skeletal spots. I also used some molding paste to texture up the hair, because at this point, why not? This is before it dried.

Eyes, in. And already I'm seeing I am miles and miles better at oil painting than I was when I made the other creepy mixed media paintings in my room. 

(It was at this point I had to take a 3 day break from painting to assist people with online gambling on the kentucky derby. I have learned so many things about horse racing, most of which being that I don't give a fuuuuck about horse racing.)


And you know on my first day off I got right back to it. Her face in progress. Taking a selfie with the make-up and smirk was so worth it, that's one of my favorite details in the entire painting.


Finishing up on her face and neck and that. The kid voted I leave her hair ghostly, but I thought there wasn't quite enough contrast. I did take his vote into consideration though and kept it lighter than I had planned.


So she ended up a pretty bleached out strawberry blonde, which is perfect.

And all done. This post is long enough so I'll save a comparison of my creepy paintings over time for another post, but I have to say I am completely over the moon with her and somewhat shocked how much I've improved in the last few years that I have been doing these.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I thought this was a mail art blog. -_-

I've really had the antisocial mail blahs lately. Mostly been job hunting my ass off, which has paid off as I have orientation for my first temp assignment tomorrow. Hopefully once I get settled in I can start working through my replies or even make something neat to mail off. But for now, I wrote my 30 poems for NaPoWriMo, I am still doing my daily watercolors, I have worked the kid through so much teen drama and all that jazz. Here's a cute picture of Fen and a few more of my dailies. 

Current mood.

Fire spider.

Doodly little excerpts from a drive back home from the Coast.


On day 25, I coincidentally turned 25. (Yes,  I know I'm a baby.) I really liked how this turned out and want to do it again with a lot more time and planning. (I think I spent an hour and a half on this dang page and it's hardly 5x5)


hmmm could this be a sketch for a painting I would rather be working on right now? Why yes, it could.

I felt like a creeper painting this, but I was sitting at a park bench and this cute little house was in view. I really, really, really, love painting buildings.

That's all I got this week.

Monday, April 23, 2018

the voice in your head doesn't have to breathe

so it can just keep screaming non-stop. Try it. The kid and I agree our internal voices sort of scream inwards when we breathe so it goes AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh with each exhale/inhale.

Anyway. Watercolor a day continues.

Monochrome, hand and prayer beads.

My usual supplies.

Quick and intuitive.

I spelled dandelions wrong, first time I tried to do the writing I called it a daffodil, so I just kinda gave up. The skin tone was actually helped by the fact I was using the last of my earl grey tea instead of water to mix/ rinse.

I spend a lot of time hanging out of my balconies right now while I wait for a call. Sometimes I paint or write. Sometimes I try to get the ferret to enjoy the great outdoors with me (he always goes flailing and chirping back into the house)

I also painted this little painting of a border collie in a shower cap. Just to get myself to do something besides wringing my hands together.

And that's my week-ish. That and poems and small batch chocolate chip cookies. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

100 days of whatever

There's this trendy thing that pops up on Instagram yearly where half my feed picks a thing to do for 100 days and does it. I thought it was pretty dumb when it started last year, but by the end of it felt bad for not playing along. (So much for avoiding peer pressure.) 

I decided I'm doing 100 days of watercolor. Although, at nine days in, I also have a really nice start to 100 days of cupcakes and cheeseburgers. 

Actually, yeah, let me just take a second to pretend I am a food blogger and acknowledge my current cheeseburger fetish.


Look at that beauty. I'm not going to be one of those obnoxious vegan-ish types who claims that a meat-eater wouldn't notice the difference. Because really, it's made of beans and rice and oats and quinoa, there's a fricking difference. But I will say, as someone who really loved cheeseburgers before becoming allergic to dairy and then becoming too neurotic to eat meat, it's really good. Oh, and it's sturdy enough that you best believe I will be popping some on a grill this summer with my carrot hotdogs or whatever the hell bullshit I am into in a few months. 

Anyway, now that that's out of my system. Here are the watercolor things I've done that I like so far.

In addition to focusing on watercolor, I am also focusing on not using grids/ any other high precision techniques. I do my sketch. Add my paint. Be on my way. It's a lot faster and less stressful and also more beneficial to actually brushing up my "look at a thing, art the thing" skills.

Hair is another soft focus for these.

I was so happy with this rose. I didn't have a lot of time/energy this day and flowers usually just muck my shift up.

This was the view out my first apartment and it cracks me up because it looks like the nicest apartment ever. In reality, this was the place where I woke up one morning, went to check on the lizard and found that ants had crawled out the electrical socket under this very window, dismembered the crickets we had bought and were dragging their severed eyeballs back into the outlet. They also didn't keep their big ol' Eucalyptus trees trimmed properly so we got a knock on our door at 10pm from the upstairs neighbor informing us a branch had fallen and dented the shit out of our car. Also. There wasn't assigned or enough parking, so we got back at one am from seeing a movie and had to just spend the rest of the night driving out through the desert until people started going to work. I could go on. This shoebox of an apartment was a little bit of a heckhole, but we were just married and it was in our price range, so it was our heckhole. 

And here's the view from the lower balcony at our current place. Which is a lot less of a heckhole. 

So that's been what I have been doing. Daily poetry for National Poetry Writing Month, Watercolor a day, too many cheeseburgers and cupcakes, a stupid amount of interviews. Trying to smoosh replying to letters in that list. Maybe I'll do a letter a day once the Poetry thing is over.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Has it been a year?

April 5th, 2017 I pulled out a sketchbook with a few half-assed drawings and shopping lists in it, tore those out and started actually keeping a sketchbook/low key art journal for the first time since high school.

Now, a year later, I filled my third (fourth, if we want to acknowledge one of the books was done both fronts and backs).

It was a trip flipping through all the pages last night. There, in sloppy sketches, short notes, little pictures, was the full last year. Roadtrips, early character sketches, pie journaling, child obtainment, court process, the great 2017 migration, bad days and good days and holidays. It felt impossible at the time for me to even finish the first sketchbook, I'm really happy now I started then.

Anyway, here's a few highlights of this sketchbook.


No cover-art this go around, save for this derpy lil dragon. No title either. Just straight into it.


I did mostly watercolor again, but I used it in a lot of different ways and styles.


I caught a few memories that had been floating around in my head.


And started a project illustrating and recording my dreams. 


The dream paintings, like everything else, didn't stick to one style either. This is my favorite one of them, I think, for how understated it is.


I drew/ painted/ carved a fair amount of skulls. "Memento Mori" was probably written/painted in here more than any other phrase. I spent a lot of time meditating on the transient nature of life and detachment from self the last few months. Which has somewhat helped in my creating, as a person paralyzed by the idea of perpetuality, it feels a pressure off to live in the moment and not focus on always attempting to make art of eternal great importance. Ironically, in accepting this, I have created more artwork that I think I will still find important years from now.


And sometimes, when I was not busy basking in the comfort of my mortality, I found time to draw some dumb shit that makes the kid laugh.


More dreams. I liked this one a lot, very loose and dream-like.


I took more time to paint from life as well. The kid plays some beautiful music and I sit on his floor to paint a lot and just spend time in proximity of each other. It's nice. He lets me pick out sheet music for him to learn, which is an endless source of amusement.


We even took a trip to the park and I painted the little coffee shop building there. I had no idea I would love painting buildings so much.


Still at the park, a quick study of the ground and the sky.


The last page. 
I've been thinking a lot lately about the little red pump by the pond in my grandparents' backyard. I would spend so much time playing with the pump, using a cottage cheese container to pour water in and pumping my arms frantically to try to get the water flowing. I felt like that pump this last week, like I just needed some water and faith and flailing to get myself going and where I wanted to be again. And that maybe I need to accept that sometimes the pump will dry out again and I'll need to start over again with my cottage cheese container and flailing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

One Song Album Covers

I listen to a lot of music... or more accurately, I listen to a little bit of music a lot.

I was thinking the other day I wanted to go ahead and paint some of the album covers of stuff I listened to all the time because, well, I am pretty sure I can see some of these album covers when I shut my eyes by now and I need the practice. 

I took it a step further and went for painting album covers as their songs came up on shuffle, one album cover per song. I went through the effort to link the actual album covers in case anyone is curious since these aren't exactly iconic albums.

Speed is not my strong suit. Neither is my taste in music. 


6:18 
A Violent Emotion, Aesthetic Perfection

I had plenty of time to sketch out this cover and slop on some color, even enough time to recreate the ugly sofa. At this point I felt good about the whole ordeal.

4:53 

This album cover was a lot more difficult. The art focuses on the hand of the man in the ill fitting suit, everything else is blurry, her head angle is stupid and I spent too long sketching, wasting valuable seconds on the crappy lettering.

4:19 
No Instruments, Neuroticfish

I got to spend these four minutes wondering what the hell is even going on with this album art. Bald woman with horrible breath holds arm at awkward angle to consume mortified fish. Yes. Solid design choice.

5:30
The Hunter, Mastodon

Ok, for real, this album cover features a photograph of an absolutely gorgeous surreal wood sculpture that would take me the entire album to do justice. This is actually one of the ones I am happiest with.

5:09

There is so much going on in this album art, I didn't even try to sketch it first. I went straight for the kill and realized I have no idea what a helicopter looks like but that's ok because the people who made the album art didn't seem to either. 

6:44

Another one I am happy with. I really love this album cover and would have liked to have spent more time on it. 


4:53
How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Florence + The Machine

The hardest part of most of these was not being able to actually let the watercolor dry at all between layers. It was a choice between bleeding and a sort of blocky frantic look. Turns out I like blocky frantic. 


3:22 
Filthy Apes and Lions, Mark Stoermer

There is so, so much going on in this album art and I knew three minutes was not near enough time to hit everything. It was also after midnight by now and I was running low on steam.

4:07
The Looking Glass Society, Ashbury Heights

This is what giving up looks like. The kid and I affectionately refer to the lead singer as "the sad mirror eyeliner man". So I prioritized those traits while laughing maniacally. 

And that was valuable insight as to how I spend my Saturday nights.