Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Good Earth: Trucking it from here to there and back again.

Pen & Ink, on 1/4 sheet 110lb a4 paper, this one from memory, Hollidge Tract, York Regional Forest, edge of trail.
We have a load of fresh dirt in the yard, not dirt, but rich dark earth, topsoil that looks like it came from somewhere good. I hope that we can do it some justice and grow green things with it. What a mixed up world we live in: chopping down whole forests, scraping it down to the bone, then covering it with concrete and asphalt, to make sterile places for cars, buildings, workplaces, and us.
And here I am, turning my own world upside down, having half of a concrete driveway (thank you Randy) dug up and disposed, and good earth trucked in from some murdered forest. Because what we got looks like really good earth, dark and black, with the fine hairs of roots mixed in, the crushed bones of some distant eco-system.  I can’t look at this soil without thinking it is in some part a graveyard of a place that once sprouted trees & mushrooms that now sprouts houses and cars.
I hope we can do it justice, growing green things here, broad leaved plants along it’s edges, and a mixed lawn of grasses, clover and wild oregano and whatever other benign things wander in. I hope the local wildlife find it good for forage and shelter, and of course I hope I too will enjoy walking through, sitting in and looking at this tiny new potential green square of space.
PS. This is Hosta Plantaginea, my favourite plant, gorgeous glossy giant weed destroying foliage all summer long, huge luminous fragrant white blossoms in August. And fragrant does not do it justice, the scent is off the finest perfume that on still warm nights will fill the garden.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to Make an Origami Bookmark, Part II


Here's the final steps to making a very simple but effective origami bookmark. Enjoy your placeholder, and enjoy your books.
Again, please use comments if you get stuck, I will try to edit the page accordingly.
Next up, I’m planning to post some sample print your own origami papers (I say sample because they will be free, small and watermarked); they’ll make great practice papers, for me and for you.

How to Make Your Own Origami Bookmark: Part I


I just learned how to make the ultimate origami bookmark. I am forever losing bookmarks so I don't want to invest a huge amount of time into a single one. Mostly, I've been using paperclips, which stick tight but can mark a pristine page.  I've tried origami bookmarks before but can't remember if it was this design or another, but my latest trials say this one sticks really tight even if you hold the book upside down, and since there is always more to be made, losing one is not the end of the world.
Here's how it's done in photo steps and my own crabby hand-writing (which leaves those of you who can't read it out in the cold...oops, sorry...sort of, do I need to provide a translation?)

You’re on your way, just a few more steps to go, in my next post.

PS. If you find anything confusing, use the comments, and I will try to edit my post accordingly.

PPS. My bloggy friends, so it's a brief interruption from the finer arts. I've always been fascinated by origami, but basically lack any kind of genius for it. Lately, I've been using it as an excuse to indulge in some purely abstract digital designs and artworks. Still not sure where that is going, but I meant to use the summer for explorations, and I guess this is part of one branch.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole

phoenix-on-fire Phoenix On Fire, Digital Origami Paper
Down the rabbit hole is how I feel exploring digital art. I ‘think’ I’m getting the hang of it. Instead of head-aches, time is starting to fly as I explore options, and layers, and just like taking a new path, I want to keep going to see what is around this corner, and that corner and on to the next. 
Buddah’s Star Chart (Red Phase)
Above, is how I spent my morning, taking a small kaleidoscope image made on my android tablet, ramping up the scale in resolution in many small baby steps finessing it up to 3300 pixels at 300dpi, and then, well, that’s where I fell down the rabbit hole as there are soooo many options and iterations. I decided to stop at this deep purple and hot red psychedelic mess (sorry about the watermarks, but necessary if I actually want to sell the resultant hi res file).  I could (and may do many more iterations) but I wanted to print, fold, and photograph the resulting origami crane so that I could post it on Etsy. 
Sadly, it seems that attempting to sell things takes more time than the actual creation. This is always the dilemma. This photo, for instance, does not satisfy, so I will likely have to redo, re-edit, re-upload, sigh…
but there are SO MANY Possibilties!!!
Byzantium’s Brilliant Summer Day, digital art mandala, can you tell I’m having fun just NAMING these things??? Words are wonderful things to.
This one too is the result of happy accident, multiple layers and manipulations that I have no clue how to recreate, but just writing about it, makes me want to do more like this one;
Roses are Neon, digital mandala art
But I haven’t finished prepping and posting images I created last week, so maybe I should resist the urge, and get back to more practical matters, or scrub the toilet, or draw, or… and now my thoughts are multiple baby rabbits. It’s Friday, thank goodness, because my concentration is getting canyon sized cracks.
Really really time to go, so many iterations, so little time.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Artflow for Android review: from drawing to digital art

I've been doing a large number of black and white drawings on 1/4 sheets of A4 paper. When they are done, some feel very much like finished miniature works of art, at least to me, but I still wonder what else they could be... should I be taking them further? So I thought I would use my 8" tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab) and my favourite sketchbook app to experiment and play with colour. Here is exploration 1.
The drawing was first scanned (using a scanner and laptop computer) at 600 dpi (remember, the original is tiny) in black and white, then saved on my external sd card which resides in my Android tablet.
Then I open up a blank canvas in Artflow, and add my black and white drawing as a 2nd layer. The left hand menu gives an option called "subtract" and while I have no idea what it really means, the effect is that I can "paint in colours" underneath my black pen drawings.
Now I can have some digital fun anywhere, anytime, even after dark (almost sounds naughty when I put it that way).
The images are screenshots.
The second image shows off the lovely tools I get to work with, which ultimately is high tech fingerpainting fun. Artflow is my sketch app of choice, as I tried out a number of them when I first got my tablet, and find that Artflow (even the free version) is the best emulator for traditional art, and has the most user friendly interface. I purchased the Pro version to support the development of a useful app that I love. The pro version gives me more 'brushes' and 'layers' but I was initially impressed by how complete the 'free' version was, which is entirely useable.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Need to Decorate

Today's pics are things I did (or purchased) just for me. They make me think of the need to decorate. From the dawn of mankind, perhaps long before, there is a need to transform our surroundings and belongings to suit more than our basic needs.

I've been keeping some shawl pins in my purse as I crochet a lot of shawls, so much so that it's starting to feel a lot like clutter, but I do love wearing it, and you just never know when you might need a shawl pin to fix things in place, or to get a better drape. I've come to realize that I love clothing when I make it myself; crocheting has become a means of public expression.

The lavender heart and matching pin are made by me using my own linocuts for texture, chalk pastel for colour, and polymer clay. It is an exact match for a shawl I made. The copper pin is a purchase I made from a seller on Etsy, Bonzer Beads; it was a real treat.
The cardboard pouch is something I made to protect the innards of my purse from peircing by pins. I couldn't resist colouring it up with sharpie markers before stapling and taping it up into something functional.
I just can't help myself, why put up with having one of millions, when you can have one in a million.
And is that one of the basic drives of the artist?

And here is a jacket I just started working on.

And this is a glassine envelope I "found" in my purse, a little dog-eared but begging for re-use and colour. Sharpies provided the latter, and a little clear packing tape turned it into a functional business card holder. It's now back in my purse.
posted from Bloggeroid

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Images from my sketchbook, words from my journal
August 7, 2014
I am escaping, I escaped into the woods. Off the travelled path, through the bog, and into an oxbow, hear I sit. Is it far enough? I hear planes, sirens, chain saws and helicoptors. Thankfully not all of them at once. Also wind in the trees, nuthatches and chickadees. The stream is running slow.
Work at home progresses, with a roar. I could not manage to concentrate with the bobcat rumbling, the sterio blasting, and the hammerdrill screaming all together, all at once, in my front window. So here I am, in the woods. I brought an ambitious load of art supplies, but it turns out I misjudged my time. I have 45 minutes max, whoops, but if nothing gets done, at least it's exercise and relative silence and a moment of time for journal entry.
The air is stuffy, or that is the state of my mind. My head feels like it's stuffed with wet rags, and the air is sticky, which goes together. Humid air is not comfortable for me.

posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Sketching Plein Air, escape from the raging bobcat

All the disruptions of our major landscaping had me making a desparate escape into the woods. And just getting to the woods was not good enough, I found myself bushwacking through the swamps off trail, because I wanted not only to get away, but to be so hidden that I would not have to deal with even seeing people.

And it was good, and it was quiet, or somewhat quiet, because take away the nearby noise, and you find yourself hearing the far away noise, cars, trucks, ems, prop plane engines, jet liners, but filtered by wind in trees, trickling water, chickadees and nuthatches, it's not so bad.

So I share with you my sketching apparatus. Believe it or not, all this gear fits into my bicycle basket (a back-mounted milk-crate), although it makes for sluggish ride and top-heavy enough to make balance precarious, but there is a freedom in getting around on your own power, so that is part of the fun.

The top image is my drawing held right up against the scene I was sketching. While my previous forays into plein air sketching seemed a disjointed mess, I'm doing better now that I'm indulging in the parts of the scene that interests me, rather than trying to 'copy' what I'm looking at. Camera's do that very well, but there is a synergy between the physical eye and brain that sees things in a completely different way. So I will let my camera do what camera's are good at, and see if I can make the most of the mind/eye collaboration in the form of a more interpretive style.

The camera's eye views.

posted from Bloggeroid

Monday, August 11, 2014

Help! There's a Bobcat in our Driveway

Yep, literally. Well, it has moved on, but there's still more to do. Home has been a little less than a sanctuary this summer. Strangers at the door, dollars flying out of the bank account, godawful earth-shaking (literally) noises all day long, but it's almost over (I hope). Mostly, necessary construction of long post-poned tasks, but the bobcat is part of our wish-list, as we are turning half of an 8 car mega-driveway of poured concrete (not our choice, it was like that when we bought the home) into green space.
I haven't taken well to the invasion, and it's been hard to concentrate. My studio is my front living room window, so the noise and the comings and goings and people I'm not totally familiar with have all been overwhelming. The upside, is that I've needed to hide out in the woods on some days just to get some art done, and more on that later. In the meantime, I leave you with the mess in full colour.

posted from Bloggeroid


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