Friday, May 25, 2012

Shopping Spree

Recently I made two new purchases to add quality and ease to my life. The verdict is still being weighed about the ease.  The first purchase was a one-cup French Press coffee maker. My son has a large one that he has used for some time. He insisted I try it and I fell in love with the fresh clean flavor. However, he uses regular coffee and I use decaf. One of us was always waiting for our turn to make coffee. Having very little counter space I did not want to buy another large coffee maker to add to the clutter. An impulse stop at TJ Maxx resulted in finding the cutest little French Press. (I thought it was so interesting that I made a drawing of it in my journal.) The good news it is so small it is hardly noticeable on my counter. The bad news is that it is a pain to clean the out grounds. Because grounds plug up drains, I put them in my compost bucket. Before that, I just dropped a coffee filter in the bucket. Now, because the glass is so narrow I have to use a thin silicone spatula to remove what I can and the grounds get all over my sink. I keep reminding myself how good the coffee tastes and that I am not using filters anymore.
The second purchase was a major one. I follow a blog of a super digital artist, Skip Allen, who teaches Corel Painter classes. Skip uses a Wacom Tablet, which has a digital pen that works like a brush, etc. I have a couple of tablets, but they are old models and I rarely use them. Being a Photoshop enthusiast, I found my mouse sufficient. It seems in order to get the most out of Corel Painter, a good tablet is a must. I have not signed up for any classes yet, but I did bite the bullet and bought a new Wacom Intuos 5 tablet. It was a good thing for them that they charged a hefty 16% restocking fee plus postage to return it (which I did not notice at the time of purchase), as I would have done it in a heartbeat. It is very tricky for a novice with poor hand strength and left hand coordination to use. I am making some progress, but I think the fact that I made a mistake holds me back.  I have to try to learn to love it instead of resenting the money I spent.
The image above was composed of the drawing I did in my journal. I scanned the page into Photoshop where I used a couple of artistic filters. Then I opened it in Painter and played with my new tablet to paint over it. I will probably print it out and glue it in my journal next to the original.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Yupo Revisited

                                                                        Watercolor on Yupo                      11" x 14"

After a long absence from my studio, the hot weather forced me down to my cool basement studio. Wanting to play, what would be a better choice than painting on Yupo? If you have ever tried it, you know what a mischievous and elusive surface it is to paint on with watercolor. It took me awhile to get back into the swing of it. I used a color wheel to choose the colors, which I usually do intuitively. The colors are Phthalo Green, for the dominate color with accent colors of French Ultramarine, Gamboge (yellow) and the focal color is Permanent Rose. I spent the afternoon lost in painting and repainting, lifting and sponging until I finally decided to quit. This morning I went down to see if I needed to start again or if the" midnight studio muse" sprinkled her magic on it. Looking at it objectively as I could, the complex axial obvious composition pleased me. There is a variety and repetition of shapes, line and texture. I decided it worked and to leave it alone. I signed and titled it "Rich Chasm".  By the way, I forgot how Phthalo Green stains my fingernails. I need to remember wear gloves.
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