Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Staring Problem

The first rule of being an artist is you have to look.  At everything!  Whatever you're working on, look at examples, look at references, look at other things you might be able to incorporate in an interesting way.

Lately, I've been sewing.  That means I look at people's clothes a lot.  Probably too often, as there's always an available mass of them rushing by on bodies in droves.  I keep thinking "oh, that girl probably thinks I'm staring at her, but I'm really just looking at the jacket."

I was just sketching this cute racer back tank that I saw on a girl in Chipotle a month or so ago.  It was plain, light grey, but had a band of gathered material where the "straps" meet in the back.  Such a cute detail!  She probably bought it at forever 21 or some such, but it would be extremely easy to pull off at home.  I'm going try adding this detail to a couple of things, as I build my home-made wardrobe.  Which consists of nothing, at the moment.  You have to start somewhere!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Silk, Satin, and Glass

Last night, I was able to get my grandmother (Oma) out of the house.  This is something I think she desperately needed.  And she took me shopping to get the wedding flowers.  Yay!  Between having a small wedding and going for clean, simple elegance, this resulted in a rather minimal purchase, all things considered.  It was kind of difficult to get into Oma's head, but she was very much of the opinion that "it's you're wedding," and "you only get married once.  Get what you want!"  So we went to Michael's, and got

some of these...                                                                        

 ...and these...

...some ribbon...

...and these.

(None of these images are from the Michael's website, because they don't have these things listed, or they're impossible to find, or the images were not good.  For a store that's so nice, the website could use some work.)

We put a few things together last night, and all I can say is it's gonna be gorgeous!

As soon as those are complete, I'll be doing the dresses. All the pattern fitting is done, so that's the hard work! Between the quickly approaching wedding, and only having a week left on the Anathema Kickstarter, things are getting really excited.  And Oma? She's pleased as punch to have helped out. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Small Celebration

I have learned in the recent past that pattern alteration is a must for the vast majority of us. (If you want to have a well-fitted garment, that is.)  I've researched and tried my hand at altering, and after several versions, I finally have a mock-up that fits Rachel very well!  I'm so stinking excited!  I'm also too burnt out on it to work on my dress.

Also, Joe Hill (Steven King's son) has pledged to the Anathema Kickstarter, and is now following her on twitter.  She's gonna be famous!

Thanks for celebrating with me!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bride Pride, and Sewing Inside

Firs of all, Rachel has done a number of interviews for Anathema, and is being mentioned in articles pretty regularly now: Comic Booked,  The Outhousers (They loved the illustration of her on the toilet.  I had so much fun drawing that!), and on AfterEllen which is pretty rad, if I may say so.  I'm super excited that all of her hard work is being noticed.  Another one with a rather exciting site should be up soon.  Yay!

Since she's so awesome, I'm totally marrying her.  :)  I think I've finally found the pattern for our dresses for the wedding!  I was looking through my favorite projects on burdastyle, and I saw frkbustad's That Little Black Dress.  Only then did I realize that I have this pattern, and was working on a mock-up/toile/muslin of it.  Problem: I hate the bodice.  The gathering in the front, while simple, is a little too... gathery for what I want. But when Rachel and I were talking about her dress, I found an alternative in my stash!

Meet New Look 6557.  This one has gathering around the bust line, too, but since it's a horizontal gather, it's much simpler to turn into a dart.  I'm working on the muslin for Rachel right now.  She's doing the halter version, which I'm already excited about, even though the muslin is a patchwork of blue, black, with pencil marks all over it.  For myself, I'm going with version E.  Love that neckline!

Why, oh why, did the weather have to get nice when I have so much work to do inside?!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Constructive Criticism vs Anonymity

I'm part of a group which is all about communication.  Specifically, it's about public speaking.  Each achievement requires a member to give speeches with specific goals in mind, whether it is using visual aids, being aware of body language, or word usage.  It's been very helpful to me in a number of ways, but I feel like I could get more out of it if only people were not afraid to give constructive criticism.

My assigned evaluator was very positive.  She gave me all excellent scores.  While it's satisfying to see that big A+, I know there was something that could have been improved.  There always is.  The interesting part is that each member can give a mini critique anonymously through these little feedback slips.  I get more insight from these than I do from the formal evaluations.  I'm told that most groups don't do the mini feedback slips.  We would really miss out, if we didn't.  I had a couple of people say it was a little difficult to follow from time to time, or they weren't really sure of the direction of my speech the whole time.  That's something I can work on.  I wonder why my evaluator did not offer anything to improve.

Maybe it is my art school, four-hour-critique background, or maybe it is from being in a leadership role, but criticism, when delivered sensitively, is wonderful.  Wouldn't it be nice if people didn't feel the need to hide behind a veil of anonymity to give it?  Do we need to teach people how to give criticism properly, and thereby show them that it is ok, or should we just make them sit through a few hours of grad students finding every flaw in their work?  Why is the former option more difficult than the latter?  Curious.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Venus and the Vampire

I finally started to make real progress on this painting.  Last night, I drew a grid onto my panel so that I could draw the damask pattern.  I laid it out in a terra cotta color, and did a more detailed version with my favorite sky blue, which is much more visible on the black background.  I will likely have to do a lot of retouching on the black.  Erasers don't work all that well, unfortunately, but I'll make it work.  I think I'll stick to shades of grey for the damask on this painting, in order to make the glowing blue of the squid really stand out.  

Subject: Vampyroteuthis infenralis (Quite literally the Vampire Squid from Hell)
Damask: Dionaea muscipula (Venus Fly trap)

They have similar methods of capturing their prey. 


It's just like me to show you the worst section of the whole piece... oops. 
Rachel loves it so much already that she doesn't want me to sell it.  I hope to have a whole series of paintings I'm not supposed to sell in a few months! 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Squirrel Rescue

Like any other Saturday morning, I woke up much earlier than I would have liked.  I took the dog for a walk.  I noticed a strangely shaped rock in the yard.  Wait, is that some sort of figurine?  No, it's a baby.... something.  No, there are FOUR baby somethings.

I ran the dog inside - somehow, she had not taken notice - and woke Rachel up.  We got a little basket, towel, and the heating pad.  We gathered them up - they were cold, and it's not exactly cold outside - and took them in, got them warmed up.  Rachel did some research while I drove around town trying to find various things with which to rehydrate the little fellows.  Turns out, they were squirrels. They wouldn't take anything from us, but we did manage to find a wildlife rehab center across town.  So about three hours after we found them, we drove them over. 

The lady there said that it takes about 5 days for an animal to die of starvation, and these little guys are probably on day 4.  She told us that squirrel babies will stay in their nest and wait for their mother to come home.  It will take days for the strongest one to decide to come out of the nest.  Sometimes the others follow, sometimes they don't.  We seemingly found the whole litter. 

They had to give these little guys injections of fluids, and told us that they'd let us know how they fared, either way.  They also said that no news is good news, and so far, no news.  It's driving me crazy though.  I hope those little guys are ok!

Rachel and I are thinking about volunteering out there.  They do such a good thing.  They get absolutely zero government aid, and don't charge anything for their services.  Volunteers are what keep their doors open.  Go help the baby animals!! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Anathema - Going Strong!

Rachel is very close to achieving 50% of her funding goal!  Help her out!

She fed me small details about the story after much begging.  All I can say is I can't wait to see this thing printed! I truly believe that goes beyond my biased opinion towards her. :)

Procrastination Alert

I've been plodding along, diligently working on my artwork - it's not anywhere near ready for today's submission deadline, so I'll have to pull something from the archives.  But there are so many distractions in my life.  I can't stop thinking about the wedding and how ill-prepared we are!  We haven't ordered the lights for our lanterns, haven't chosen the food, and I haven't made my dress!  Plus, I think I might be overdressed in a dress, since we're having a jeans allowed wedding/party.

My in-laws (is it completely weird if I love saying that?) are working to get their house ready.  When they bought it, it was basically a crummy shell of a house, and it is going to go through a drastic transformation here soon.  Susan planted beautiful flowers all over the place.  We're not going to buy any.  We'll have under 30 guests.  I think some candles on the tables, the lanterns, and some expertly placed tulle and ribbon will be enough.  it will look beautiful against the still-very-green of their 17 acre property.

I imagine a lot of people feel this strange mix of excitement and anxiety when it comes to planning these events.  But I'm a bit frazzled.  5 weeks until the big day!!!

Wish us luck!