Saturday, October 25, 2014

Homework - Extraction and Textures

This week has been a lot of much so that I am neglecting some of my other homework to 'play' with the tutorials in this week's class.  Our homework assignment was to extract a figure, waist up picture, and put it on a textured background.  We were given a couple of pictures of some cute guys, but I went instead with my own pictures.  Except I didn't actually take this picture of Savvy.  The year of this Ren Faire it was rainy and I was in the tech crew.  I made sure there was plenty of straw in from on the vendor who was selling portraits so people could get into their tent.  They were so thankful, they made a set of pictures of Savvy in garb for me.

My thought, which I actually had late at night before I fell asleep, was an old portrait.  One that needed cleaning.  This is what I submitted for the assignment as it didn't say to alter the picture of the person any.

Then I had the idea if this was to be an old picture, then why not actually make her look like she was painted and not a photograph.

There is a bit of a difference.  I think I like the second version better as far as the overall effect goes.

In the meantime, I will end my evening of 'photoshop play' by sampling some new tea I ordered from Teavana.  I'm having Wonderberry Chocolate Truffle and Savvy is having Chocolate Chai.  Great way to end a hectic day.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Having to Think....

...which is difficult for me at times!  Actually, what I am thinking about is one of my classes for next semester (yes, already thinking about January, 2015).  It's a portfolio class.  And while it is mainly taught online, there is a 'going on campus' component because you have to discuss your portfolio with your instructor.


I talked to the department head who I have had several classes with online.  She suggested I talk to the instructor about doing it all online.  I did.  Now comes the thinking part.....

Homework practice layering textures

I have to go through work I have already done and submit several pieces to her so she can see the level of work I am doing and whether or not we can manage this via email/phone calls/scanning/and the computer.

Which brings me to the thinking part.

I have been toying with the idea of 'putting my art out there' for several months.  This would be the next big step - actually creating a portfolio of my work and having someone really critique it for something other than a grade.  The coming semester would also include a class on Print and getting things ready for a printer - which would be my next step in actually offering my work for sale.

Textured letter for homework practice.  More will be coming for a possible new banner on the blog.

And that's the really scary part.  I have my own critic perched on my shoulder going "nope, terrible, bad, awful, who are you kidding".  

So for the next couple of days, it's going through pictures I have done and deciding what to send out into the world for this tiny step.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another Fun App

Actually, I think I got I downloaded ProCam as a freebie app from Starbucks.  I love taking pictures, but lugging my camera around just isn't feasible most days.  But I was waiting for Savvy to get off work one afternoon and started playing with the 'adjustment' features on the camera and this is the results.

My seed pod picture and I darkened it and added a bit of a vignette.

Adding some funky lines to the pictures - circular, straight and cross hatch.  But then the real fun starts.

Kaleidoscope time!  I love kaleidoscopes and you have several settings to play with pictures in this mode.  One thing about it is I keep thinking 'quilt pattern, quilt pattern' while doing so. Same picture and tons of different looks to go around.  This is a fun app and I can see me 'playing' with it more and more as time goes by.  A great alternative to lugging heavy camera and lens and instant editing. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mandala Monday

Over the weekend I made a good meal for my family and created some food I had always wanted to make.  I think being 'creative' with food is just as important an area of creativity and artistry as any other art.  I find a lot of relaxation and comfort in cooking.  So I used my beef stew to create this week's mandala.

And I love the quote I found by Dorothy Gilman.  How true.  We need food to nourish our foods, but we also need dreams to survive.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Saturday Soufflés

A souffle' is something I have always wanted to make.  When I first started working for American Airlines, one of my managers loved food.  As in fine dining food.  I was a little country bumpkin who thought a trip to Dairy Queen was fine dining.  But no, he showed a whole other side to eating.  On one occasion when the department had pulled another tough one off, he treated us to dinner.  Dinner as in about 6 white tablecloths on the table and a waiter for each of us.  More forks and spoons than I had ever seen at one place setting.  And for dessert we had soufflés.  I remember the waiter taking a pair of spoons and 'opening' up the top of the soufflés and pouring in a warm sauce flavored with a liquor.  This was the early 80's and I haven't had one since.

But I always wanted to make one.  Something always seemed to be in the way.  I didn't have ramekins and every time I thought about buying some, I didn't want to spend the money on them (even though I can think of a ton of uses for them) or the girls weren't big enough to appreciate or enjoy them.  Then the girls were never there.  It was always some excuse or another.

So Friday I marched downtown to a little kitchenware shop called The Pan Handler.  I went there for a few reasons.  First, I needed a bit of alone time and I walked from Starbucks to the other end of Last Chance Gulch to get there.  Secondly, I wanted to support a local business.  Third, they are really nice and the prices are the same as if I went to Walmart or Target and the quality, I think, is better.  I picked up 4 ramekins.  I already had 4 small ramekins, but needed some just a little bigger.

I had Saturday figured out, homework, beef stew and chocolate soufflés.

I purchased a small bag of assorted potatoes to go into the stew.  I had never cooked 'blue' potatoes before, even though I wanted to grow some in the past.  I cut a roast up I had in the freezer and added a bit of beer to the homemade beef stock.  (Yes, I was going all Food Channel on myself.)

Dinner consisted of the stew and cornbread made in my new cast iron skillet Savvy gave me for my birthday.  And while Dr. Who was showing, these were in the oven....

There they were, just puffing their little self right on up.  The recipe was easy and I am not sure what I was expecting, but I was delighted when about half way through cooking, I looked, and there they were, SOUFFLÉS.   Savvy was just as delighted as I was and we were both hopeing Lady K's play time didn't make them fall.

A little chocolate sauce on top and we were sampling away.  I DID IT!  I made soufflés.  They worked and tasted really great.  They weren't as difficult as I was thinking they would be and as I had gotten eggs on sale at the grocery store ($1 a dozen), they weren't that expensive to make.

Savvy gave her approval of my efforts and even "B", who doesn't really eat sweets, ate a little one.  They were light and fluffy and chocolatey and warm and wonderful. I am so proud of myself.  I checked off one of those things I always said I would do and now I've done it!

Oh, and the homework bit of my Saturday....failed.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

New "TOY"

The past couple of days have been 'interesting'.  Interesting in the way you would like to crawl under a rock and hide until it's over, but you can't kind of way.  Texter was at work on her overnight shift at Walmart.  At 1:00 AM Wednesday morning, after laying on the floor in the fetal position, "B" takes her to the emergency room.  6:00 AM she is being prepped to have her appendix removed.  What are the odds of both daughters having their appendix out?  Savvy had her's removed 3 days after 9/11, when she was in the 5th grade.

So school work, library work, everything out the window.  "B" has been fantastic and stuck by her side at the hospital and at home, so all I really have to do is watch Lady K.  And with a 19 month old, you know that is a full-time and a half job.

Anyway, after dropping Savvy off at work Thursday night and coming home to finish up some potato soup of Texter, the sunset was beautiful.  So I decided to try out the time-lapse option on my iPhone camera.  I propped it up on the balcony railing and let it go while I finished up her dinner.

The quality is not the great and I shouldn't have had the camera pointed directly at the sunset to eliminate some of the 'brightness', but what a cool toy I now have.  There will be a solar eclipse next week, so I have to figure out a way to rig up a tripod so I can film it.  And I want to make a chocolate soufflé with all the eggs I have.  A time lapse in front of the oven perhaps? Ahhhhhh, the ideas, the ideas!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Annual Report Homework Assignment

The finishing project for one of my graphic design classes (it was only half a semester long) was to create an annual report on a fictitious company.  That's all well in good except for one small problem - I hate annual reports.  It reminds me too much of my accounting classes I took in the late 70's that I hated.  Just because you might be good at math doesn't mean you should let your parents tell you to be an accountant.  But that's what I did back then - do what the parents told me to.  After 4 semesters of plowing through accounting (liked the bookkeeping end of it), I quit.  And if you could see the state of my bank account, you might say I am still rebelling. 

My fake company was taking my own digital art and creating a company from it, "Mainly Mandalas" and here is my annual report.

As you can see, I plan to expand into other areas this year!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Things Happened Out of the Blue

With all the TONS of things I want to do, need to do, I hadn't made any mandalas or digital art for awhile.  Of course, if you could see the stack of books in the backseat of my car (note to self: go take picture of backseat before you remove books) on Victorian life and the mound of homework I have, it is understandable.  But what fun is it if you don't pile more on your plate?

One of my favorite bloggers and her friend have teamed up and issued the 100 Mandala Challenge.  I am really interested in this for several reasons:

  1. Kathryn Costa is someone who I have followed for several years now.  She is a constant inspiration and just seems like one of the nicest people around.  You can't fake that over the years.
  2. I need someone poking me to stop and be 'creative'.  Lately I have been missing that - just creating for it's own sake.  
  3. I love mandalas and this is an excuse to create different ones.
  4. The fact I finally stopped, made a mandala and had it ready to be posted on Monday, the same day they issued the challenge - a challenge I didn't know was going to happened.  And my 'annual report' homework assignment for a fictitious company was called "Mainly Mandalas". Have to pay attention to those kind of signs!
  5. Mandalas will be a nice break in November from constant writing.  A rest and change of pace for a few moments in time.

So expect a few more 'mandalas' over the next few weeks.  And feel free to join in.

100 Mandalas Challenge

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Typical Saturday

Fall has officially arrived.  Despite snow flurries a couple of weeks ago, Saturday was a 'fall' day.  It was overcast and windy and very cool.  Savvy would even say cold.  But the drizzle held off until after the Fall Fest for the kids downtown.

Being a real trooper, Savvy spent four hours face painting kids for the library at the Fall Fest/Big Read event.  I baled.  However, I did get a bit of planning done on my NaNoWriMo story and about 8 pages of outline/scenes created.  Now I need to come up with names!  And we won't talk about the HUGE stack of books I brought home on Victorian life to go along with the other HUGE book on Victorian life I already have.  Now I just need to be able to have time to read.

Later, as we were going to play catch-up on Dr. Who (missed last week), Lady K 'found' my phone and she and Aunt Savvy played with the camera/instagram.  I don't know who is sillier.  I, on the other hand, was in the kitchen preparing hot roast beef sandwiches for Savvy and I for dinner.  Lady K decided if it was off my plate, then it can't be too bad and ate quite a bit of my dinner.

So Sunday is finishing touches on one school project - an annual report and a check of what's new on the NaNoWriMo site, especially for ML's.  And a bit of blog reading and coffee-sipping.  Library duty from noon to five.  Monday will be a couple of web design classes to finish up homework on and a trip to the library to do the book drop since we are closed on Monday.  And reading, lots of reading!