Two Months In

TwoMonthsWriting so frequently for these past two months has been a real saving point in my life. for about a year before this I had been getting progressively more depressed. Now this was nothing compared to the year I spent unemployed, but it was nonetheless a tough year. I have  beautiful fiancée, and a job I like, but they can only afford to give me eighteen hours a week. this would be fine if it didn’t mean that my fiancée has to work forty to fifty hours a week to make up the difference. in the past seven years we have been together and especially the last five since we have left school, she has been a solid rock for me, and I’d like to think I have been one for her in return.

I cook, I clean, I do the laundry, and help her relax when she gets home. It’s a fine situation for now but when we start a family it just won’t due. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night. I want to know what I can do. what can I put on my resume that will convey my intelligence, and work ethic? What can I say in a cover letter that will tell a potential employer that they would be saying my life if they only gave me a chance? How do you convince someone that when you say “I will at the very least, do this job better than anyone else you’ve interviewed, and at most I might just give you a run for your money in a year’s time” without seeming cocky or rude? And this is the sticking point for me, really, I feel like there is no position that would yield itself to me if I were only give the opportunity. I know I am not some perfect genius, but I also know that I am capable of learning anything, and if someone could give me a guarantee, I would have no trouble devoting all of my resources behind it.

As it is I can’t help but feel that the chance has passed me by and that in ten years time I will be no closer to my goals and that I will have worked myself into a debt that I can’t see because I have build a wall of delusion around myself and don’t want to see the truth. I have been told that you can make your own luck, and when I hear it it seem to make sense, but once I sit down and think about how to make my own… I am left without an answer. I have no friends with influence, that I know of, I have little influence myself and see no way of breaking into any industry this late in my life. I find myself chasing every job listing in my mind seeing the future at the company and how it will change my life, only to be crushed once again in a week or two when I hear that they have “gone in another direction”.

On top of all this I always worry about how it will affect my fiancée. Will she be able to cut down on her hours? Will she be able to quite? Will we have to move? How far would she really move? Would the new job take up too much of my time? And none of the answers ever make the decision easier. How high should my standards be? Do I go for anything that I can find, or make an earnest effort to establish a career?

It’s funny, how much your perspective can shift. Just two years ago I was overjoyed just to get the job at the library, it made everything better. We were able to start paying off our debt again, we bought a car. It feels like we’ve come a long way, and yet here I am bemoaning my current state. Will there ever be a time when I am fine, where I can stop scrambling just to be content? If what I have learned for my various readings and podcast listening holds any water, then the answer might be no. I hope that’s not true. And even if it were true, what am I to do? Give up now? move in with my parents? Stop trying?

No, that not an answer either, I’ll still have to go on living my life, you have to hang in there, keep applying to job offers, keep educating yourself, just keep going. Yeah that the only option really. It’ about this time in my mental argument that I remember that I am an optimist. I shouldn’t be so down because, things tend to work out. I may have had a rough five years or so, but what will that matter when I’m old and grey and happy, I’ look back on these days as the time when I floundered around; when I found my self. Yeah, that’s right. Anyways if I give up now, what will I do to occupy myself? No, I think I’ll keep up with this little project of mine, hope that something comes of it.

And that’s my take on… I dunno… Life.

Warp Cruiser

WarpCruiseToday I finished up a painting of a warp speed cruise liner. I was inspired by the theoretical technology that has been outlined for a practical solution for faster than light travel through space. It’s still taking more time than I’d like, but on the bright side I do find that flow that I keep harping on about, and that not bad.

So here the link for the banner image in full.

Color Theory

ColorColor. What is it? Well, there are several ways to answer this question, none of them are wrong and a good understanding of them all is necessary, I think, to using color properly. Color is light, or more accurately , it is light interacting with matter. More specifically still, Color is the narrow band of light frequencies that we can see interacting with matter. When light leaves the sun it has a presence at every frequency, many of those light waves are harmful to the human anatomy(gamma rays, x-rays, microwaves most of the extremely high and some of the extremely low frequencies), luckily for use out earth’s atmosphere scatters many of the dangerous frequencies of light. I’m not completely sure why so much of light of the light spectrum should be so harmful, but it has to do with how the light interacts with our DNA, Or rather the fact that it interacts with our DNA at all. Generally we prefer that our DNA be left alone.

But I digress, The point I am making here is that not all light is the same, and that the light that we see is actually a very small sliver of the whole light spectrum. We call this small sliver, Visible light, and it is what most people are talking about, artists included, when they talk about light and color. When you shine a beam of light through a prism, the glass in the prism warps the light slightly, and each frequency is warped slightly differently, so that they each come out at a unique spot creating a spreading effect. What you see as a result is all of the individual frequency of the visible spectrum spread out in order of wave length. We call it a rainbow.

It is these wavelengths that we, artists, are describing when we talk about hue. Hues are just the different names that we have assigned to each wavelength. They listed in the same order as the rainbow, from lowest frequency to highest, or Red to Violet, thought for our purposes we are going to call the high end purple (I’ll explain later). Generally, for artistic purposes it is most useful to present the spectrum in the form of the color wheel. The color wheel is organized by hue, so that red flows into yellow, which in turn flows into blue, which also flows back into red, forming the classic wheel. Red, Yellow,  and Blue, are, as it happens, the Primary colors so called because you can make any color necessary using this three starting colors.

However it should be noted here that there is a difference between mixing paints and mixing light. What I mean is, that when you mix red and green paints together you get, sort of a muddles brown. But when you mix red and green together in light wave, like say on the screen of a monitor, you get Yellow. There is a very interesting reason for this, and I think that I should spend more time explaining it, But I have spoken too much on the science of color already, and want to get back to the uses of color. But in summary, the RBG (Red, Blue, Green) scale, deals with what the human eye sees color, and the HSB (Hue, Saturation, Brightness) scale deals with how we manipulate color.

So to begin with you have the primary colors; red, yellow, and blue. Mixing each of these with one of its neighbors in turn will give you the secondary colors; orange, green and purple. Mixing each of these color in turn will give you the tertiary colors; red-orange, light-orange, lime green, turquoise, violet, and magenta (this by the way is why I swap out purple with violet on my color wheel). Mixing these final set of color together creates a level of nuance that is of little use and so the quaternary color are not usually named, though there are many color names that fall under the umbrella of quaternary.

Now, in my opinion this is the sticking point, terminology, in fact I think that this is the sticking point in almost all arguments, debates and misunderstandings. We all have specialized terminology the is specific to our areas of expertise, which other might not understand, so lets break it down.

Color = Hue = Base Value = Wave Length = Frequency

Brightness = Value = Illumination = Tint/Shade

Intensity = Saturation = Purity = Vibrancy

We’ve already covered hue, so let’s move on to Value. Value is the brightness of a particular color. To make a specific color brighter using paint you would add white to make a tint, or add black to make a shade. Manipulating value is a good way to show the turn of an object, depicting the depth and shape of three dimensions. You can also use value to show the recession into space, since as an object gets farther away from the viewer the apparent value gets brighter also with earth’s atmosphere slightly bluer.

Intensity is the measure of the purity of a color. The colors that are on the color wheel are generally at 100% intensity, also the color in the rainbow. Photoshop labels this aspect of color saturation. To change the saturation using paints you can add other colors to them, technically they can be any other color but for best effect most people add amounts of the complementary color. So on a color wheel there is an even number of color positions, and so there is always a color on the opposite side for any other given color. Across from red is green, across from yellow – purple, orange- blue, lime green – Magenta, etc. There is always a Complementary color, so called because when placed next to each other the dissonance in their frequencies causes them to pop to the eye; red makes green, greener, purple make yellow more yellow. Mixing the two colors together on the other hand make the colors less intense, and mixing them in equal part will give you a neutral grey. It actually will look more like a muddled brown, but a true brown is actually a very dark orange.

The final thing I’d like to mention for this post on color theory is  temperature, if you were to draw a line through your color wheel from yellow to purple and the colors on the blue side would be considered cool, and all the colors on the red side would be considered wam. This aspect of the color wheel s usually used to communicate emotion, but is also often used to communicate, as the name would suggest temperature. If you are painting winter seen most of you colors should be on the cool side, and if its and scene from a hot desert day then pick from the warm side.

That about sums up this post on color theory, I will probably want to write up another as some of the more nuanced point occur to me, but for now…

That’s my take on color theory.

Swamp Beast

SwampBeast1Today is the next installment of my painting series, today is a composition with a focus on an imaginary creature. I large amphibious creature wading through and swamp. This one took even longer than the first, so much for my goal of a shorter deadline, but it does have significantly more detail. This is good, since detail is another element that I have been trying to work on for this.

I find that I am able to spend hours painting these, which I love. I can find my flow, like I wrote about Saturday, finding flow in an activity makes the activity itself the reward. However I also have a vague hope that I will be able to find a way to make a living with these skills, and for that I need to learn how to produce.

Any ways here’s a link to see the full paining shown in the banner.

Developing a Style

StyleWhen you are first starting out as an artist, it may occur to you that all of your favorite artists have a particular style even if some of them are very similar. Now when you are at the begin of your career it is expected that you will imitate your role models; your teachers, artists you admire, your peers, even your parents if they have some artistic interest. This is what role models are for, it is would we learn to eat, drink, speak and walk. but eventually we all develop our own gait; our own voice. And so it is with art.

You may feel a pressure to find this style immediately, but what you should keep in mind is that you voice as an artist comes through as a byproduct really. What I mean is that, no great sculptor or painter ever sat down and decided what their style would be from then on. it developed from years of practice, and finding the forms and colors that spoke to them, it came after hours and hours of trial and error; finding the little tricks and shortcuts that made the marks they wanted. In the end the only prerequisite to finding a style that speak to who you are as a person and artist, is to know who you are as a person, and what you like as an artist.

That’s it. Now three step plan, no curriculum to help you through the process. Just figure out what you like, and start making that. One tip that I would put out there is: Don’t be afraid to pull from different mediums, genres, and professions. If you like a thing, let it inspire you and shine through to your work. Like video games? Put it in your work. Like fantasy fiction? Put it in your work. Are you religious? Put it in your work. Like the circus? Put it in your work. It is true that one of the best tools an artist came develop is the ability to edit, to remove that which is modeling the real essence of a piece, but this thought process does not extend to your style. A style , a perspective, came not be edited, because it is a part of who you are. Throw everything you love about the world, even everything you hate about the world; anything that stirs you deep inside, and inspires you to create should be acknowledged. You can’t edit a style, you can only censor it, and people can almost always tell when something is missing, or when a piece feels halfhearted.

If you throw your whole self into a piece, the viewer can see it. If you have fun while making a piece, the viewer will see it. If you have to drag yourself to the finish line? People will see that too. Your work is a reflection of who you are as a person. which is why you can always recognize student work. It not necessarily because its bad. Even people with immense talent start out as students, and even though their work might be good, it is still student work, it is the work that you make before you know what it is you really  want to make. The only way to figure out what that is, is to make, and make, and make.

Trust yourself. You know what you like, even if you are not sure why it is you like it. if you just let yourself play, eventually you will begin to feel the important bits, they will be the bits that stick. And if a series of pieces aren’t working, is is not because of the subject matter. I promise you that one thing. you may have trouble grasping the technique end of things; form, color, composition. But these are visual problems, maybe you are being too literal with an idea, but, the idea; the heart of the piece, that is a deeply personal choice, as long as it is a choice that was made with purpose. This is an important point to make. Make decisive marks. It is fine to start a piece without a clear direction, but then somewhere in the midst of creation, decisions must be made. Decisions about the direst of the piece, and decisions about editing back. If you are being decisive then you are letting you voice come through.

In some ways this is the most important thing to remember. Because it does not matter, if people don’t like your work, or  if people don’t understand what you are trying to accomplish, as long as you do. If you are making conscious decisions about what your work is doing, then you own it. Then at the very least you can say that it is true to yourself. Once you start to make marks because you were told to by others, or worse, make them for no reason at all, you have lost your voice. In a fully developed piece, that is complete, there should be no area of the composition that was not considered. There can be loose areas, even blank areas as long as they are that way with purpose. If you can manage that, then it doesn’t matter what decisions you went with, you can be sure that they were your decisions, and that no one else would have made them. That is where you style is.

And that’s my take on developing a style.