Illuminathia. She started out as portrait art, but caffeine gave her superpowers.
Illuminathia. She started out as portrait art, but caffeine gave her superpowers.
Poster artwork. It’s a little bit psychedelic. Had some fun creating this one.
One more post about the Phoenix Art Museum. These images, also taken by my husband David, are of the Digital Print Fashion exhibition. Everything you see here is digitally printed textile, which allows for some fantastic color and pattern. With digital printing, the sources for fashion inspiration are without limits. Many of these designs inspired me to write, because they look like they’d be at home in a science fiction or fantasy novel—yet, I’d still wear a few of them out to a party this weekend if I could! Which ones catch your eye the most?
Butterflies. Swarms of them. Over the walls and ceilings.
So striking. I think the angles he used for these shots help convey what it’s like to be there yourself. I hope you enjoy David’s photography as much as I do.
This time last year [click here for last year's post], I shared my love for an installation at the Phoenix Art Museum. The work is called You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies by Yayoi Kusama.
We continue to be fascinated by this room of infinity lights.
It’s like being out there in space. As I said last year: it becomes complex and you become small. The specks of light in the depths of darkness… beautiful.
Yes, we still plan on having a room like this in our home someday.
In the meanwhile, we visit. This installation is one of the primary reasons we haunt the museum. This last trip, my husband took some photographs. Nothing said they weren’t allowed (sign outside of the entrance) and he tried it only when we had the room to ourselves, so we didn’t ruin the experience for others.
Here are two of those shots:
My hands, cradling a ‘firefly’ on a red-yellow cycle.
Might be a person—possibly myself—in the middle of this blue-green field.
Crazy long weekend. Family time. And a meeting of friends too: I had a lovely brunch with Faye. Talked about writing and life. We have a lot in common. We both take a similar approach to the day-to-day: that you have to grab life by the… well, whatever’s handy—and make the most of it. Especially creatively.
Never mind what others say about you or what your inner editor whines. The key to success is trusting the madness and embracing what makes you unique.
Reminded me of a favorite quote. One I needed to remember. And so, I ended up doing a little art therapy and the image heading this post was the result.
Also, while I’m at it: more about Allen Ginsberg here.
Life’s been throwing me curve balls lately. It looks like the game is going into extra innings and will just get crazier. However, instead of getting glum about it, I took some art therapy time and ended up with a piece of quote art. Might be doing more of these, in between cups of mojito tea and glasses of fine local wine.
Quote attributed to Faith Baldwin.
I was talking to my mother online the other day and she made the cutest typo. She said that she had gotten some cupcakeets. Of course, she meant cupcakes… but I immediately imagined a cupcake-parakeet hybrid.
And yeah—I got silly and made one while I was still chatting with her.
Vanilla and strawberry, with a touch of cherry!
Cars are art. Didn’t Top Gear already argue that several times? I agree: cars are indeed art. Cars are poetry. Cars are inspiring. They are things of beauty and speeding along in one makes the heart flutter. They have personality, spirit, and attitude… much like the people who drive them.
We went to the amazing Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction this weekend and spent many hours gawking at the cars. If you ever have the chance to attend one of these auctions—take it. There is just so much shiny to see! There are even food and merchandise vendors. Perfect way to spend a family afternoon.
This was a creative experiment. Turned out better than expected, so sharing. Shown almost full-size for detail, but it reads surprisingly well as an itty bitty icon. When small, the words hop out. I wanted a window into the sunshine of this character’s future while still trapping him in his present darkness—and used the title itself. Not sure if I’d try the technique again, but it was a lot of fun to make.
Sometimes I like to create something (art, writing, cooking, knitting, LEGOS, etc.) just to see what I come up with at the end of an unplanned project.
Do you ever just make something to see what happens?
Hope you all have a great week!
Prismal: design created with stock photos and digital painting. Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. First as the design itself, second as a book cover (just for fun).
Before you guys shoot me for all the Debris Dreams posts, I promise I’ll keep those on the light side soon. However, since I’m doing my posts alphabetically and happen to be on the letter ‘L’… I figured I’d show you what inspired the CAA and Luna logos/patches I designed for the book.
Around the time I was assigned the project, we had visited the Pima Air & Space Museum to have a look at the planes and the space-related stuff they have. I’m a geek and love planes—and cars, and especially boats, but I digress…
Lucky for me, they also had plenty of patches to gawk at. Here are a few of the photos I took (with my ancient cell phone, hence the amazing quality), along with the CAA and Luna logos below them. In case you’re curious, the crane’s banner on the CAA logo says “Semper Fidelis” in Chinese.
Remember when I reviewed Katya's World and complained that there wasn't stuff like this when I was growing up? Add David Colby's Debris Dreams to the list of "WTF, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?" books.
How to describe it? Part Ender's Game, part Firefly - not the hardest of sf, but no pandering to young readers either. This was one of my Read-a-Thon books, so I kind of zoomed through it, but I knew I would going in.
Since I didn’t go rambling on about Greek mythology for the letter ‘G’ in my alphabetical posts, I’m sharing another one of my favorite mythological beings for the letter ‘H’: the dryad—specifically the hamadryad.
Dryads are nymphs that live in trees. Tree spirits. Hamadryads are bonded to a tree and live and die with their tree. There are many types of dryads.
This artwork represents one of the eight daughters of Hamadryas: Aigeiros, whose tree is the black poplar. It was done in honor of a dear friend of mine who taught me about the beautiful and loyal souls of trees.
And here we have it: the cover reveal for Debris Dreams by David Colby, published by Candlemark & Gleam. I did the cover design and illustration. Old-school sci-fi style. Although you can’t see the wrap-around on this version, the framework is a heads-up display that continues along the spine and creates the copy area for the back as well. Fantastic story. Can’t wait until everyone can read it. Visit SF Signal for the synopsis and ways to get a free copy of the book!
I have the unique experience of having been a pet groomer for a good part of my life. Not too many writer-artists can say that, so it was a clear choice for the letter ‘g’ in my alphabetical posting.
I started in grooming during high school as an summer job. I bathed dogs. It was awesome. Later, after my first attempt at college and a few more degrees I never did anything with (including beauty school), I went to pet grooming school. Not just any school, but a well-respected one in the industry: Nash Academy.
Nash are the people you see judging competitions. Nash are the people who take the craft seriously. And, as much as I managed to screw up my 20s in lots of other ways, I’ll never regret my time at Nash. I loved the place. As a student there, you’re family. Covered in dog hair—but family.
In the years to follow, I groomed on and off. Even after getting my degree in graphic design, I groomed part-time. Poodle sculpting is an art. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise. But grooming is tough on a body-there’s a lot of standing and arm strength involved, plus a good dose of carpal tunnel inducing scissor work—and my aging body now prefers a desk or an easel.
Which is fine. I come from a family of artists and writers and I was the black sheep who resisted the siren call the longest. Design and words are in my blood and it’s what I do now full-time, just like the rest of them.
In the last decade, my grooming speciality was cats. That’s not too common in the grooming world, as groomers are often very much dog people and cats kind of like to rip dog people to shreds, especially in shops filled with barking dogs. I had a special hand with cats and miss grooming them the most. I also miss telling the “I shave pussy for money” jokes.
Onward before this gets too long!
Grooming is a lot like being a freelance graphic designer.
You can have some seriously hairy projects. You can get bitten or have your arm humped (okay, maybe not literally in freelancing). You have to know a lot of formatting and design rules, whether it be for dog breed or publication. You’re always updating your equipment and sharpening your tools (good shears are expensive, no joke; so is a MacBook).
There are time crunches and deadlines and usually more work to get done in a day than minutes on your watch. Long hours are expected, but the money can be good (especially for a cage-bank of Persian cats or an e-commerce web site). Ridiculousness abounds, but there are tearful moments of job pride too.
What’s really cool and amazing about both being a groomer and being a graphic designer is that ooh factor you get when people ask you what you do for a living. And the chance to look forward to work every day, because no matter how weird things get at the shop/office—they’re always fun.
From Wikipedia: In Greek mythology the Erinyes (Ἐρινύες, pl. of Ἐρινύς, Erinys; literally “the avengers”) from Greek ἐρίνειν ” pursue, persecute”—sometimes referred to as “infernal goddesses” (Greek χθόνιαι θεαί)—were female chthonic deities of vengeance.
Erinyes corresponds to the Furies or Dirae in Roman mythology.
My inspiration isn’t exactly random. I’d recently been thinking of a performance I’d recorded off PBS over twenty years ago (with a VCR—remember those?). It was Sir Peter Hall’s version: Aeschylus: The Oresteia, performed at Britain’s Royal National Theatre. Done with masks, piercing notes, chanting and lyrics, it stuck in my mind. As a theatre major later, I always thought, “Oh hey, we should do a Greek tragedy with MASKS!” but it never happened.
All the same, the part with the Furies always stuck with me the most. Sometimes we can feel like we’re being pursued by our mistakes (although most of us don’t have murder on our hands). In Sir Peter Hall’s version, the Furies had red hair and gaping mouths. Bit scary! My version is more on the lovely side—but don’t be fooled: she has fangs beyond those lips. *grins* Then, don’t we all?
Here I am at the the letter E and it’s not difficult to choose a topic: ergonomics.
I’m not going to go on about the (not enough) options out there, despite my daily battle with wrist/arm pain. One of my dearest friends in the multiverse, Natania Barron, has already written what I think is the best post on the subject, and since she writes for Wired’s Geekmom, you can trust her thoughts on the matter.
Like Natania, I write for a good part of my day. The other part of the day, I paint on an older Wacom Intuos. I’m always at my desk.
My desk was a hand-me-down from a local friend. It’s an IKEA Galant and as much as I think it’s attractive in my office—and matches my Billy shelf—it wasn’t made for writer-artists. Even after installing IKEA’s Summera keyboard tray, I was miserable. It’s a short tray and doesn’t quite hold everything I need.
But: FREE DESK. So!
For my tablet, I keep a laptop desk nearby. Seriously: just for the tablet. Hey, it’s adjustable! And forty bucks is a lot better for an adjustable art table than the high cost of other, more easel-like, options.
I have a Macbook, but it’s always attached to a ginormous monitor, so it pretends to be a desktop. I also have a G4 tower on the floor I can swap out when the need arises; it’s old, but it has all of my STUFF on it. And there’s the first-generation iPad… which I use with Corel’s Cinco for Painter.
I currently have two Apple keyboards—and I hate them both. Until it died on me a few months ago, I relied on an ancient split Nu-Form keyboard. I miss that thing like whoa, so I finally ordered Adesso’s Tru-Form. I chose it over the Goldtouch because of my fond, comfortable memories of that old split-key.
But neither the Adesso nor the Goldtouch offered a USB for the mouse. I know what you’re thinking: who uses anything but wireless now? Me. Sometimes.
I own a lot of mice. Really: a lot of input devices. Trackpad, trackball, wireless, and wired… and that’s not even counting the four-button mouse and pen that the tablet came with. Yet, the only thing my hand really likes is the low-profile, adorably round, single-button, often-slighted puck mouse.
I have a collection of puck mice from my days working in a computer lab. I love the things so much that, when I ordered my Macbook, my customer note to Apple said: “This Macbook will be used with a puck mouse.” —because I knew, having once worked for Apple myself, that it would give someone over there a laugh. That feature-free little puck hurts my wrist the least. Maybe it’s because I end up using the keyboard shortcuts more with a one-button mouse.
Right now, I’m hoping the new keyboard will help. Plus, I’ve got a little clamp-on mouse shelf for whatever input device I choose to use with it. I also have a selection of gel-filled wrist rests and even microfiber covering my desk chair armrests. Next thing will either be a new desk or at least a better keyboard tray. But ergonomics—man, what a pain in the wrists!
Just playing around. Created in Photoshop and Corel Painter.
‘C’ is a letter that I can make a long list for, but I might go around again with alphabetical posting, so today I’ve chosen the subject of technology and artists.
And each geeky-artist thing will conveniently start with ‘C’.
First, I put my portfolio back online. It’s got a page at the top of this blog, but it’s hosted by a portfolio service called Crevado. It’s a sharp way to showcase your work, and it’s free for a basic account.
Now, I just have add more to it. Bit at a time…
Second ‘C’ is for Corel’s iPad app: Cinco. This app has done wonders for my ergonomically challenged workflow. I have a first-generation iPad and this app hasn’t crashed on me yet. Rare, that. Cinco syncs with Painter and allows quick Minority Report-style access to your favorite Painter tools. Cinco adds to the functionality of my (old but lovable) art tablet and keeps my hands off the (usually pain-inducing) keyboard.
Less pain = WIN. Bonus that it’s also fun.
Best way to see what Cinco does is to watch the video on Corel’s site. Right now the app is free, but they’ll eventually charge for it.
Entirely my opinions and no one paid/bribed me to review anything.
Ooh, wait. I have one last ‘C’—a wishlist entry: the Cintiq by Wacom. Interactive pen displays. Draw right on the screen. Gorgeous things. *swoon*
As I mentioned, I have an older tablet. 12″ x 12″ Intuos. Yep, the first version. This tablet has been my friend for the last decade and I’ll be crushed when it finally dies. Hopefully, it won’t; maybe not ever. But if I need a new tablet, I’ll be eyeing the Cintiq. Eyeing for sure—affording?—not so much!
If you’re an artist: what are your favorite tools when you work digitally?
What invention do you wish for?
Silly invention wish:
I’d like a desk-hologram model similar to Princess Leia’s hologram message in Star Wars, only not her but whatever figure I need for life drawing. In color, and not just human models, but everything else—from cats to dragons! Yeah.