High Spirits. Created with Procreate and Adobe Photoshop.
Please click the image to see a larger version.
Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy. — Albert Einstein
Graffiti Angel. Created with Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop.
Click the image for a larger version.
Don’t worry, you can blink. Had to say that, given I’d just finished this artwork and ended up watching Doctor Who ["Blink"] that same night. Odd timing.
Angels. Yep, some of them are scary. I’ve done (not scary) art with them before. Well, I don’t suppose an angel in graffiti could come to life and getcha…
Anything’s possible: so, don’t blink. ;)
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free. — Michelangelo
Another one of those pieces I got lost in while creating. I’ve been getting more and more like Sherlock in his “mind palace”. Of course, I think that’s a good thing.
If you’d like to see the detail, click though the image for a larger version.
There is no quality in this world that is not what it is merely by contrast. Nothing exists in itself. — Herman Melville
Fantastic. Beautiful. Living digital art.
I’d love a wall of my house to be like this.
What do you think of it?
This was one of the most enjoyable pieces of art I’ve worked on in quite a while. Like a few of my other mirrored designs, it began out as one section, then was duplicated and turned. However, this time, I spent many hours painting after that, adding more lines and highlights, layering colors—
I got lost in it for a while.
It’s kind of a world in itself now, with a bunch of stories and little creatures hidden inside. Which is really what artists and writers and other creatives do: discover and map worlds. Nice to be back in that zone again.
If you’d like to see the detail, click though the image for the larger version.
In looking out upon the world, we forget that the world is looking at itself.
— Alan Watts
Artwork: “Zuzamele in Blossoms” | Zuzamele, the first daughter of the Exalted Sovereign of Mahanizeh, disappears after leaving her eighth groom alive on the first year of their joining—an anniversary that traditionally allows royal grooms to relinquish their lives gratefully in the Rite of Delivery. Mahanizeh officials quickly announce her capture and imprisonment in Avizhdolin, but rumors flourish of her escape to Ruhizeya aboard a celestial freighter.
Oh hey—did you know NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming? Yep, less than a month. As I have in previous years, I’ll be participating. Are you?
Zuzamele may not be the story I’ll be writing in November, but it could be. You see, that’s the awesome thing about NaNoWriMo: you can use anything your mind thinks up and run from a single paragraph (I wrote the above details on a whim after I created the artwork) well into an epic tale.
Jump in. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun and make a mess. Scatter ink everywhere and watch the magic trip into life. I make new friends every year during NaNoWriMo (my user name is Keyrover). Hope to see you there.
The last few nights, I’ve noticed when I was dreaming. I mean, I dream every night and can usually remember parts of the dreams (and I try to write them down)—but lately, I’ve been aware I’m in a dream while in the dream.
Only I have yet to do anything fun with that fact. Sure, I’ve seen Inception and suspect there are levels of play within our dreams, but I don’t feel I’m in the right mental space to handle and control a lucid dream.
Still, the other night found me in a wondrous place: a city of colorful light. I was in a building where there were no floors—well, the floors were made of neon light that you could see through, level after level below, and continue to walk on. I was in a towering building. I went from room to room and finally found a window of polished glass. When I looked into it, I could see myself—drawn as light.
And I knew it was a dream. I woke up. If I get there again, I might do something crazy: jump through the window, fly across the skyline, or shatter the whole darn thing and discover another world entirely. Probably the latter.
I’m sure there are heaps of metaphors there. I’ll need more coffee to sort it out.
I suspect there’s no blog post out there with a title like that. Unless it’s about the birth of snakes or something. But I created a strange artwork while playing around in Photoshop. I do these things where I meditate over color and see what happens. Well, this is what happened! Quite a trip. It’s happy (the objects represented are actually fruit) and creepy all at the same time.
Hope you’re all having a good week.
I’ve been spending more time painting since my mother passed away. Because it gives me comfort, much of my artwork—now, more than ever—focuses on sea or space. This one is an abstract meant to be from a window of a starship… although it could also just as easily be from the view of an underwater craft.
Although I often tend to splash around heaps of kaleidoscopic color, this one is heavy on blue. Blue was my mother’s favorite color, never one of my own—but that’s changing, just like so many things in my world.
Colorful and paint-splattered digital artwork I made today to settle my mind. Created with Corel Painter, with the encouragement of much Irish Breakfast tea.
Okay, since I’ve had a few people—including my husband David—suggest I share another Photoshop Tennis result, I’m sharing the silliest one. Can’t remember how many players we had for this game, but we ended up with an image ripe with meme-stuff and pop culture references. So. Silly.
I was wary of sharing, due to some copyright-y things in there, but since the online world is FULL of these images (I mean, one look at Tumblr, people) I figure sharing a small-sized version is fairly harmless. Top image is “before” and bottom is (obviously) “after”. This is hardly art but we had a blast with it.
Speaking of image editing, there was a game my friends and I used to play involving image manipulation. We called it Photoshop Tennis but the graphics program used didn’t matter—Photoshop, Gimp, Painter, Paintshop Pro, whatever. It also didn’t matter if the players had great design skills; the point of the game was to have fun! The game went like this:
Three to six people would take turns adding and changing a base stock photo. The original image was pretty plain and we voted on it from a selection of five images before the game began. Depending on our schedules, a game could take weeks. The final image was always amusing.
The image with this post was a game played in 2010. The top was the base photo we started with and the bottom was the finished result. Good times!
A few weeks ago, I made a post that mentioned stock image sites. I’ve been asked how to make stock images into blog-worthy artwork. Well, that’s a Photoshop or Painter class, but I have some suggestions, so here goes:
The first thing you can do is crop an image. Even better, rotate the image and then crop it. Right there, you have a different angle. Next thing: color. Change the colors. Make a copy of the image layer and play with the opacity and blending.
It doesn’t always matter if you know what you’re doing—experiment! Honestly, experimenting with graphics software is a fantastic way to learn to use it.
Speaking of experimenting: this is your brain on art.
Most stock images can be altered once you purchase them. Read the license agreements. At the head of this blog post is an image I created last night as a bit of art therapy. I used this stock illustration and this stock photo. Main changes were angle, color and texture (okay, lots of layers of that).
Sure, it could use some shading and more editing, but I only gave myself an hour and it’s still pretty cute. Had a lot of fun playing with the colors. It’s like my coloring book days, only with digital crayons. Periwinkle, yo.
I had a dream last night where I saw the embodiment of ideas. My ideas, your ideas, or maybe all the ideas of Earth or the universe. Not really sure. But I got the vibe that ALL THE IDEAS was what I was looking at. And so, here goes:
It started out like a spirit guide, only a spark that I followed in darkness. It didn’t speak to me. Instead, it circled like a firefly—tiny and glowing. It had no true form and was made up of the elements. Fire, water, air, and even scattering bits of earth. It soon grew so that I could see its details better. Like a tiny galaxy, floating around the blackness where I stood.
Quickly—BAM—it expanded and surrounded me. Then it took me inside it and enveloped me so that I became part of it. I couldn’t see my hands or be sure that I still had a body. All I had was an intense warmth and the sensation of water washing over me, air I knew I was consciously breathing, and the view of what looked like a million little worlds before me.
Very super cool. I mean, I was a speck among specks, but it was awesome.
Now that I’m awake and back to reality, I’m left with a sense that we’re all so small and yet so powerful. Dreams like that drive me to not waste a moment of life.
Although I did take some time to create what I saw so that you could see it too.
Do you ever have dreams that stay with you and inspire you?
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?
I didn’t win the Powerball. Pretty sure you didn’t either. Bummer, right?
However… last night, I “won” NaNoWriMo for the second time. This novel(la) was more of a struggle than the one I did last year—due to less laughs and more doom—but I reached 51,071 words and crafted a decent ending.
My main character (yep, that’s him in this post’s image) went through a lot of changes as he fought his way through the story. He began as a teenager and ended up a grown man, much faster than he’d expected. And, although he may live for another hundred years, he still still has a lot of galaxy to save. I’ll return to him for a rewrite/edit and maybe a sequel.
Still, I’m glad to finally put NaNoWriMo aside and begin editing the novel I finished just before NaNoWriMo began. Those characters never got out of my head throughout all of November, and it was like having two people in the room with you, talking while you were trying to work!
“You really writing that? It’s creepy. Come back to us. We’ve got flying cars!”
This year, I saw a lot more banter online regarding the value of NaNoWriMo. Plenty of hate along with the love. Valid points on both sides.
I agree that not everyone “has a story in them” or is meant to be “a writer”. I agree that too many people submit/self-publish their “masterpiece” without proper revision, editing, and general professionalism.
Doe NaNoWriMo encourage this?
No. There will always be people who are naive, disillusioned, misinformed, or think that rules don’t apply to them.
I’ve been one of those writers. It was only through years of reading and failing and getting smacked on the head by professionals that I realized I wasn’t pouring magic from my fingers. Same goes with my art and design work.
As Alanis Morissette once said: you live, you learn. I’ll never stop learning. Or failing, I’m sure! I’m human. But I’ll keep doing what I do because I love doing it.
Sure, the online bookstores are full of junk. But there are gems too. Some of those gems even began in NaNoWriMo. Only those writers re-wrote, edited, got beta readers, and enlisted the help of professionals for the final product.
My favorite example, of course, is my best friend Natania Barron and her fantastic book Pilgrim of the Sky, which began in NaNoWriMo (although it went through plenty of changes before publication). I’m proud to get the blame for planting a wine-soaked seed for another book in those worlds, featuring one of my favorite characters, Joss Raddick. Mmm-hm.
Participate in NaNoWriMo. Have crazy fun with it. Get the short draft done. Then prepare to spend a lot of time fixing that draft before forcing it on others, if that’s your plan. Be proud you got the thing out of your head and onto the paper.
As my friend Katie cheered to me all this month: YAY YOU!
NaNoWriMo encourages people to give something a try—and to give themselves a chance to create something awesome. In a frenzy, without censorship. It’s so freeing. It’s a wonderful mess. It’s dreaming awake. For me, it’s embracing my inner child and remembering what it was like to hop in a sack race. It’s pure fun, even if no one ever reads it, and even if you don’t “win”.
That’s why I’ll keep doing it, year after year.
Congrats to all of you who did NaNoWriMo this year. And congrats to all of you who dare to create, no matter what you bring to life or what month it is.
Another alphabetical post: this time for the letter I. Given the last few weeks, I’m choosing intervention, because I probably need one. I’ve got this writing addiction, you see. Only—like many of us with a serious writing habit—I’ve got all these other things that I’m also supposed to be doing.
So, I guess I can throw insomnia there too, because I’m willing to lose sleep to maintain my writing addiction along with my real-life responsibilities. And I’m cool with that. No need for a therapy session; you can put away your touching letters. I can handle this myself. I’ll keep the phone close.
“Did you happen to bring any candy?”
I’m guessing there’s quite a few of us addicts out wandering the online realm right about now, because the big showdown of “who can do the most hits the fastest” is just around the corner: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where the goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel in 30 days.
Hell yes, I’ll be participating again this year. You can find me here.
“How are you preparing? Outlines? Synopsis? Notebooks of character bios?”
Not this year, my friends. See, this year I’ve got a novel to finish by the end of October. Self-imposed obsession.
Hey, hey… I said I’ve got this. Dude, I can handle it. Well… barely, with all the other things on my list, but who needs sleep when you have caffeine?
“Here’s the first of the day, fellas! To ol’ D.H. Lawrence.”
Can you tell I’m finishing a book that’s a little heavy on drug culture? Anyway, I’ve got about 5,000 words left on this book and then I’ll hop the NaNoWriMo train.
I’m diving in on November 1st like it’s a rave. Crank that bass, yo.
Oh yeah. You’re a writer too? Yeah? Been doing this a while? First timer or not, man—I’m telling you, once you try it… you’ll be hooked. Writing is not just a party drug. As Jimi Hendrix might say: it’s an experience.
And all of us writers want to be experienced. Our stories, given to others to explore. Part of us, in the hands of the world. Or just into the heads of a few people who matter to us. It’s all good. But you only get to see if you mellow out and follow the pretty colors to the story you want to read. Just enjoy the trip.
I know, I know you probably scream and cry
that your little world won’t let you go…
30 days. Go on. You never know what you’ll discover inside your mind.
I figured an alphabetical post series would be a great way to inspire more blogging, even during times when I’m super busy—which has been the case lately.
As I begin, I realize I can choose the obvious things… that I’m American (after all, it’s the 4th of July), or that I’m an artist. I could narrow that down, talking about living in Arizona or describing my favorite abstract art.
But I’d rather blog about the things I obsess about—the weird things.
I begin with the letter A, which turns out to be a fun one:
Won’t lie. I believe in them. Well, some of the time. Depends on the science news I’m reading, the television program I’m watching, or the book I’m getting lost in. It’s a fascination I’ve had since childhood—the idea that there are other planes of existence, either right along our timeline, completely removed from it, eerily similar to our reality, or as foreign as another galaxy. You tell me your tale is about alternate reality and I’ll dive right in.
I have three novels-in-progress in Scrivener right now. Two in first draft and one only a few chapters in. They all have some form of alternate universe. My artwork, when it’s not commissioned, is often drawn from worlds similar to our own but seen through strange veils.
I’m not alone in imagining alternate places. One of my dearest friends, Natania Barron, wrote a fantastic book called Pilgrim of the Sky, which contains not just two, but eight worlds. Across these worlds are facets of the gods themselves. Our own mythology could be very much real but wrapped up elsewhere, difficult to see, but possibly within reach if your heart calls to it.
One of my favorite television programs, Fringe, has shown us a parallel universe with differences in the timeline that puts Nixon on the silver dollar and drivers in double-decker cars (although we’ve only seen those as toys, never on the streets of Manhatan—spelled differently on the other side). Here, the alternate worlds are threatening to collide.
Some popular shows have featured alternate worlds and characters season after season. Doctor Who and Star Trek have a reputation for it. Even comedies like Community have had success with the concept. Mirror—especially evil—personalities make for a great plot tool.
You can’t forget alternate places like Narnia, and where Alice goes through the looking glass. Even the Wizard of Oz was a classic alternate universe tale. Dream world? Maybe. But it was Dorothy’s mundane world that remained in black and white. Personally, I’d have stayed in Oz, even with the flying monkeys.
What if? It’s the question we love to ask.
But is there—in some other alternate now—another we asking the very same thing? Would you really want to know? I think I would.
I’m a member at the Phoenix Art Museum, which, coming from the New York area, isn’t a huge museum, but what they have there is pretty awesome.
My favorite installation there is called You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies by Yayoi Kusama. It’s basically a pitch-black room of mirrors with computer-controlled LED lights.
Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s far from simple when you’re walking through it or even standing still within it. It becomes complex and you become small.
You are wrapped in the sensation of being in space, and with little navigation. Particularly when there are few people making any noise outside of the room. The quiet and the specks of light in the depth of darkness—it’s beautiful.
I’d love to create a room like this in my own home. Space to clear my mind.
Yayoi Kusama has other light installations, and there are a few videos online. This one offers a good impression of the experience. However, if you have the opportunity to visit one in person, you won’t regret making the trip—especially during slow times of day when the staff might let you linger.