Several years ago I made “Politics Is Messy.” I knew there was something “off” about it (the nose, mostly) but it was a piece born of anxiety and anger. Once I let the feelings out through the image it was…ummmm…irrelevant. I filed it and walked away.
But its eyes are still worth doing something with. So is the graffiti-like overlay. The nose, though, needs help. It’s not horrible but it disrupts the composition.
Easy to fix! (I hope.)
In a day or so I’ll dig out the original digital file, open it in Photoshop Elements, and reshape the bridge of the nose. If all goes well I ought to be able to do that with a soft brush, “burning” lightly in the bridge area to create a shadow. Maybe I’ll work on the mouth, too, because right now those lips look like two amorous worms.
Wish me luck!
For those who are interested, “Politics Is Messy” is made from a pencil sketch, an acrylic painting, a digital painting, and scans of a magazine article and furious ink scribbling.
Are you wondering why she looked the way she did? She lost her hands and hair, and gained a headscarf. At the time I thought she had a sporty vibe…maybe she was on her way to the yacht club to go sailing?
Anyway: I found that photo this weekend, filed with this one:
That’s one of two sketches I did of her. Haaa! You can see how wildly enthusiastic I was about doing it. The hat’s from another of her outfits. I remember thinking that if I put enough clothing and accessories on her she’d be more interesting draw. Too bad that didn’t work. All I actually drew of her was her head, a missed opportunity given the fact that the reason I made her to begin with was to practice drawing bodies.
I’ve removed the Amadine and Autodesk Sketchbook apps from my iPad, and deactivated my Instagram account.
Vectors (the Amadine app) are incredbly powerful but vector art isn’t for me, not right now. Its natural tidiness still irks me! If I change my mind I can use Vectornator on my desktop.
And, as much as I loved having Autodesk Sketchbook around, its easy presence gave me too good an excuse to mess around instead of work. Some playtime is good. But there are limits.
I deactivated my Instagram account yesterday, too.
Not art-related: I just tried to adjust a widget on this site and discovered that “Widgets” have been absorbed by the Block Editor onslaught. Now, to change/add/delete a widget using the “Classic Widgets” we need to download a plugin for open source widgets. Normally I wouldn’t mind jumping in and learning about plugins but I don’t have the time or patience right now. Here’s hoping that my widgets stay healthy for a while.
Lately I’ve spent my art-time – what there is of it! – experimenting on my iPad. It’s not an iPad Pro and its storage capacity is limited, but that’s OK. Having to find workarounds adds to the enjoyment for me.
The basic structure of the experiment is that I create 1000x1000pixel images. That’s small enough not to take up too much storage space but large enough to post on Instagram without bad blurriness
Using only the Autodesk Sketchbook app and my existing photos I’ve created several multilayer images – nearly all faces. It’s been great fun and I’ve discovered new ways to use the app that I plan to apply to other imaging apps, on my desktop. Success!
But this morning I walked by a scramble of barely-used Derwent Inktensewatercolor pencils sitting under a box of tempera sticks and my fingers wanted to grab all of them. It’s time to take a break from pixels and use some traditional materials: I need to touch the colors!
Here are a few of the other images I’ve made or re-edited recently and posted on Instagram:
Is making art “fight?” Or is it “flight?” Fight or flight – that’s how we respond to stress. Along with most of the world my level of stress has been higher than normal for more than a year. Lately, mine’s been much higher and the remnants of Hurricane Ida made everything worse last week.
But this weekend my mind decided – on its own – how to cope with the additional stress effects. How? By making faces, one after another, each face different, all faces feeling something or being challenged by something. Faces, so many faces! Stress reduction through tiny weird faces made on my iPad? Sure! Why not? It worked. Each face brought me closer to stasis and, although I’m not as “relaxed” as I’d like, I feel more human. Yay for that!
Today I found time to sit at my Mac and try to make progress with Affinity Photo.
The good news? I learned quite a bit.
I’m now able to open several photographic images as layers, compile and edit them, then turn them into one new image – using Affinity Photo. That may sound like nothing but it isn’t nothing if the program you’re using now is nothing like the program you’ve used to perform those actions for the past 16 years. I lost Photoshop Elements when Big Sur arrived. I know Photoshop Elements. Affinity Photo is new to me. They’re nowhere near as similar as I’d like them to be. But, as of today, I can create a multi-layer digital compilation again.
Earlier attempts to use Affinity Photo weren’t as successful. My preferred method of learning is to click and hope. Instructions? Step-by-step videos? Nope. Just let me open the program and TRY STUFF. If it’s possible to get there I’ll get there. But I may do a lot of grumbling along the way.
Anyway…today was the big day when all that clicking and hoping paid off. I took a few micro setup shots of plastic in sunshine with the camera, transferred them to the computer, then began working with Affinity. The result was decent. I still found it awkward to work with the image as a whole in Affinity Photo because selecting it takes me places I don’t want to be. That difficulty made the composition weak and I’m not satisfied with it for prints. But taken in pieces or tiled, for products? That could work! The image (above – as a product mockup) looks good. I may or may not post it for sale on Redbubble; still thinking about how to re-compose the thing without losing the features that I like.
After Affinity and all those synapses crackling in my brain I needed a break with more tactile toys so opened a storage box I haven’t looked in for years. I knew it was art supplies but I packed it up so long ago I didn’t know what it contained. It was acrylic markers! Ooooo…those fat, slurpy plastic tubes filled with liquid acrylic paint and fitted with felt tips! What a find! Luscious acrylic gooeyness!! Tomorrow is all about the markers!