Current Announcement

Stuff always being prepped in the background.

Lots of stuff has happened in the last few years. And some of the older posts need maintenance. A buffer of entries is being developed.

In the process of updating tons of parts of my website, shops and web presence.

Tons planned for this year including splitting some topics into separate blogs.
See the Announcements page for a bit more info.

May 22, 2015

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sleep and the Creative

Been up to lots of things in the background lately. A flurry of activity mostly offline, and much planning too. We’ve had a house guest come to stay long term. This is taking adjustment, naturally. I’ve got several entries for Artistical Exploration started up and in various stages of being written.

My sleep schedule has been upside down for the last week or so. I’d worry except this absolutely nothing new. Silly thing flips upside down on a fairly regular basis. Me awake days for a week or so, me asleep nights for a week or so then the cycle repeats. It’s among the major reasons working at home is just about the only reasonable option for me.

It’s funny the different ways that this affects my creativity and other processes. In my more awake days I look for patterns, curiously seeking out the best bet times for doing specific tasks whether that be the art, writing, business and networking aspects. I’ve yet to find anything conclusive on this. The scientist in me is disappointed by that. The free spirit in me revels in it, muwahahaha conformity can suck it that part of me says. And well no one wants to hear what the practical side of me thinks.

I wonder how does your sleeping pattern interfere with enhance or otherwise affect your creative processes? And for those who run businesses around your creativity, how does your sleep pattern affect your business efforts? I’m curious how other people in similar boats handle the whole sleep issue…

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Making the Best of an Ink Spill

The Darkness Wants Milady. 2001
Spilling India Ink on the carpet is bad! Really bad. And pity, such a waste of ink. Or does it have to be wasted? Nah.

In 2001, I was doing a piece in my sketchbook using watercolors and India ink. I was using both a brush and sketching pen set (the kind with penholders and nibs). I had absolutely no plans to include such a large dark area in it. If not for the spilled ink, I never would have included that. Ultimately I think, and others have commented that, the large darkness within this painting adds a great effect to it. It probably wouldn’t have been all that compelling with out it.

The ink washes added due to the spill took the painting to a darker and more sinister place, more inline with the sort of painting I was in the mood to do. However, I’d been hesitant to use any large amount of ink. Never knew when I would be able to get my next bottle of India ink. I had no clue where the art supplies lived in proximity to where I lived. So, while I was certainly toying with the idea of foregoing a bit of food to replace my ink as randomly needed, that only works if you know a good place to regularly pick such things up.

Here’s how it went down:
  • In the mood to paint and play with my pen & ink supplies, I pulled out my sketchbook, India ink, watercolors, paint brushes, sketching pen set, a paper towel, water cups, stuff like that. The memory is a little fuzzy in some areas of what happened.
  • Lying on my belly on the floor of my bedroom, I began painting the basic figure of the girl, next I painted in the man. I did the watercolor background washes then. Then I painted in the basic shapes of the stairs. Since then, I’ve heard the washes are supposed be done before the main figure work, as ever I am the backwards sort.
  • Then I opened the ink I don’t think I put the ink into my lovely sturdy old glass ink well, I recall it being there against that hideous orange carpet with me, but I can’t recall exactly how the ink spilled. I do remember it wasn’t long after I began sketching in the inked details with my pens.
  • Ink spills, I freaked out for a moment swearing, crying, lamenting the loss of ink. I used my paper towel to try and blot the ink out of the carpet. Then I ran to my little bathroom to grab the toilet paper roll, not sure how much I’d need.
  • As I stared at the toilet paper soaked in ink and I looked at my picture sadly, I thought, screw this I’m not just wasting all this ink like that! So I squeezed some into my ink well and most I just applied directly to the painting with the toilet paper straight off the carpet.
  • I blotted as much out of the carpet as I could, my trash can nearby, for the used T.P. (that sounds wrong, ignore how wrong that sounds). I was careful not to rub I didn’t want to make the carpet worse. My fingers were covered in ink. I used my fingers a little bit on the painting too, just a bit.
  • I stopped messing with the carpet for a minute. Using a paint brush to enhance and blend what I applied with the TP.
  • Then I went and got a bowl of clean water, putting in a few drops of dish soap and finished cleaning up the floor, still using a little TP & paper towels. I finished that as quickly as I could, wanting to get back to the painting. The ink stain wasn’t too noticeable, well, not if you didn’t know exactly where it was.
  • I finished putting in the details with pen, did some very light ink washes using a brush & the carpet-recovered ink. There was surprisingly very few little hairs to pull off the art.
And voila, project salvaged!



Tell us a little about your own experiences with project near disasters.
Have you ever spilled India ink? Or some other liquid art supply? What happened? Did your art get ruined? Or were you able to make the best out of your unfortunate mess?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Doodle: Burn & Scorch, an art experiment

03-06-10_1537 Here’s a snapshot of a doodle I did clear back in freshman year of high school. The entire thing was a spontaneous experiment, an exercise in artistic exploration. I took this here doodle of mine then burned and scorched it to come out with this. It’s an experiment I enjoyed and occasionally revisit every few years.

  • Be extremely careful if you try this, you do so at your own risk. Paper is highly flammable, as I’m sure you know.
  • The way I do the burning and scorching is via an extremely controlled environment and manner with safety being the top priority, paying full attention to it.
  • Most people should probably never even attempt this.
  • I don’t recommend doing this often. People tend to get complacent and casual in habitual practices. Lighting stuff on fire is not a casual thing and should never be taken lightly or abused.
Here’s How I did this experiment:
  • I started with pen and doodled during class while the teacher was discussing something.
  • When I began to see shapes taking place I strengthened and enhanced those impressions and lines with my pen.
  • I sketched in the letters for the words I had chosen to compliment the image that had emerged - “Evil Dwells in the Hearts of Men”
  • Next I enhanced the shape and style of the lettering.
  • Then I thought I was done, put it in one of my school folders and randomly glanced at it during normal school activities. There it remained until one night of too much homework.
  • I pulled it out and stared, thinking this isn’t done yet huh… needs fire.
  • So I went to the kitchen got a mixing bowl, swiped one of my parents lighters and took them and the drawing to the bathroom.
  • I set the drawing aside away from the water, and filled the bowl most of the way full with water and placed it on the counter next to the sink in case the controlled burning of the paper got out of control. I also made sure no towels or other flammable items were anywhere near the sink. Also I left the door open and ensured that my two youngest sisters (who at the time were very young but old enough to attempt monkey-see monkey-do, and run in and jostle me), volatile step-dad and anxious mother weren’t around or wouldn’t be underfoot, my sis AJ appreciated art experiments and didn’t need to be avoided.
  • I brought the drawing closer then proceeded to spend about 10 minutes igniting the lighter. I suck at starting lighters.
  • Once I had a long flame going from it I picked up the drawing and carefully brushed it up against the paper, while holding it directly over the sink (in case the flames got larger than anticipated so I could drop the paper into the sink immediately and to catch any pieces that burned off).
  • I burned the edges all around and in further some places than others very slowly and only a small section at a time, this is where the flame gets it’s largest & has to be monitored very carefully and blown out once it reaches the desired point on the paper. At times I needed to slightly wet my fingers in the bowl of water and snuff out the still slightly smoldering edge.
  • I scorched parts of the interior image by holding the lit lighter below the underside of the paper not touching it with the flame. This typically took only a few seconds and I pulled the paper away from the flame quickly before it could do much to it beyond that, though the first scorch I did was too close to the paper and held there too long, I’m sure you can tell which one that was.
  • I made sure the artwork had cooled before I was done. When using matches rather than lighters be sure to wet the match thoroughly before throwing away, though I recommend lighters over matches for this. Lighters are easier to control, matches have that sulphur smell that could be a costly distraction (the burning paper smells like cooking flour tortillas I thought, which made me hungry), also having to light new matches through out could cause a grave error.
  • Luckily I have never needed to use the bowl of water beyond wetting my fingers to extinguish slight smoldering. But it’s the time that one forgets to have the bowl of water that it’ll be needed most.
  • I put away the supplies and kept the lighter. This experiment also kept my urge to play with fire safely in check, by busting it out every few years, well that and burning things like sprite boxes at campfires to see pretty colored flames. Fire pretty, it’s a thing I have to face. Yep, fire like shiny is compelling to me. Better to tame the beast than for the beast to tame me. At least for me anyhow, I imagine others with stronger compulsions for fire and less discipline would not be able to tame it this way.
Remember this is an experiment that must be done very carefully in a controlled environment or not at all.
Anyhoo, hope you found that brief artistic foray into mild pyromania an interesting diversion.

Who has ever tried using controlled fire as an art supply before? What safety precautions do you use? What types of effects have you developed?

Who has a workshop set-up for art or making that incorporates fire or burning, scorching and melting, or even kilns in someway? Who uses Photoshop (etc) to develop effects like this in digital art? How’s that going?



Be safe artists.