Saturday, December 15, 2012

An Update for Right Now

   Edit:  Since making this post I've found out that the quote I referred to was probably not something said by Morgan Freeman, and that there are differing accounts about what actions Victoria Soto took to protect her students.  However, I still feel that the content of the wrongly attributed quote holds water, and by all accounts Victoria Soto did protect her students.  

    It is time to give the blog some attention.  I'm down a job these days, once again.  Honestly, I hope this helps me turn things around.  Maybe I need to go about things differently.  I'm planning on getting internet at my place, at last.  It might not save me money, but it will very likely save me time, and I've found these things to be of similar value.

    While I think of these everyday things, people in Connecticut are coming to terms with an unimaginable and so far inexplicable tragedy.  No explanation will be satisfactory, but not knowing anything about why this happened is maddening.  Does it seem as if 2012 has had more than its share of this kind of tragedy?  2011 was pretty chaotic too.  I just read a quote apparently by Morgan Freeman, pointing out that these are the things that make the news, that people who do these things may well be looking to go out in a memorable fashion, and are being helped in that by the way the media reports on these things.  This comes up alongside gun control and mental health issues, and you know, it seems to hold as much water.  Gun control and healthcare may have had something to do with it, but fame is a major motivator for a lot of people.  It's still hard to imagine how a person can feel it's worth innocent lives, but we have seen it happen.  In another case, a student named Jun Lin might still be alive today if not for this very thing.  Someone on my facebook posted a list of the names (and ages) of the victims in the Connecticut shooting.  I'd like to repost them in the same spirit:

Charlotte Bacon, age 6

Daniel Barden, age 7

Olivia Engel, age 6

Josephine Gay, age 7

Ana M Marquez-Greene, age 6

Dylan Hockley, age 6

Madeleine F Hsu, age 6

Catherine V Hubbard, age 6

Chase Kowalski , age 7

Jesse Lewis, age 6

James Mattioli, age 6

Grace McDonnell, age 7

Emilie Parker, age 6

Jack Pinto, age 6

Noah Pozner, age 6

Caroline Previdi, age 6

Jessica Rekos, age 6

Avielle Richman, age 6

Benjamin Wheeler, age 6

Allison N Wyatt, age 6

Rachel Davino, age 29

Dawn Hochsprung, age 47

Anne Marie Murphy, age 52

Lauren Rousseau, age 30

Mary Sherlach, age 56

Victoria Soto, age 27

    I don't know that I'll every be able to remember all these names, but they are the ones that deserve the attention.  The last name here is that of a teacher who saved all her students by hiding them in cabinets and closets, and saying they had gone to the gym.  Imagine the nerve this must have taken.  This is her picture.  She definitely looks like someone I'd have liked to know.  Fewer are the clues that she had courage like that - at least that one picture can tell.  

     Hopefully these will be the people who are remembered after this.  Let us remember the heroes, heroines, and good people among us, and let the villains fade into oblivion.  

    Since this is an art blog, I should post some art before I leave.  I finished this a few days ago (before all of this happened).  I'd started it months ago and put it away for a while.  Finally got it out and finished it.  

It's called "Guardian", and while it's not exactly related to this tragedy, it seems appropriate in this case.    I think I'll wrap this up here.  It's been a bit of a meandering post, but it's what I've got for today.  Remembering the good people....

PS:  I apologize for the patchy colouring of the text in this blog.  I can't for the life of me get it to do what I want right now.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Art and Dance (plus an impromptu lament for my favourite TV show)

Good Day, Blogger world!  

     I've got today mostly free, for which I am thankful.  Once again, it's been a while.  I've been keeping on.  Got a few things to share with you:  

These were works I got done on Remembrance Day as well.  Always glad to have time to make art.  I felt like doing more dance-themed work, especially now that I'm having fun with the expressive potential of ink again.  I've been doing a bit of crafting too:  

This is a partially finished coin belt I'm making, hopefully to try out in belly dance class :).  It's a combination of crochet, chain mail, and even a bit of beading with the bells and coins.  If it works out well, I may have to make more.  I've actually been collecting the coins that fall on the floor from other coin belts during the course of the classes, which is where all the coins you see on this belt came from.  Anything to save a few dollars ;).  

     Dance has been a major inspiration for me.  I started when I was 16, and I've tried a few different styles.  Belly Dance has been my favourite, but jazz and ballet classes have also been really good for me.  I like capturing motion and energy in my work, so going through those motions helps a lot.  But beyond that, I just find it beautiful and inspirational.  I'm a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, and America's Best Dance Crew - and I'm still not over the cancellation of So You Think You Can Dance Canada ;_;.  Of course the finale of the last season would have to land right on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when so many people would be too preoccupied (rightfully so, of course) to tune in >_<.  It just seems so needless to scrap it then.  It's nice to see some of the Canadian choreographers on the American show, at least (heck, they were there before SYTYCD Canada existed).  Anyway, I could go on, but that's not what this blog is about.  

    Dance is a beautiful thing.  That it is connected with music brings together my 3 favourite forms of creative expression.  I've often thought of music as a form of magic.  Few things stir up the emotions and imagination quite as powerfully, and dance is evidence of that.  If I can bring that to my work, all the better.  I try to keep a good balance of dance, music, and visual art in my life (and craft, which I tend to think of as visual art too).  They're good for the soul, and the mind for that matter.  Dance has the added advantage of being good for the body.  That's why it was such a good thing for Canada to have its own SYTYCD >_<.  And I'm at it again.  Sorry!  

    That is all for now.  Glad to have made it back here again, and hopefully I'll be returning before too long (lets say a matter of days rather than weeks).  Until next time, Blogger world :)!  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Day at Home Art Making, Remembering I am lucky.....

Greetings, Blogger world...

I spent the morning and afternoon of this Rememberance Day at home, drawing.  I observed a moment of silence, along with the radio announcer on the program I was listening to (I think it was In Concert on CBC Radio 2), and then went back to drawing.  Whatever it is I'm doing at any given time, chances are I have the veterans of past wars to thank for the freedom to do so.  Not all wars are justified, but the ones that allow us to live in freedom and peace are worth fighting.  When I was little, all the veterans I ever saw were elderly, and wars were something that happened in other places.  Hard to believe there was any span of time at all when I child could think that.  Hopefully there will be more of them as the decades and centuries pass.  

Here is the work I finished today.  I wasn't thinking of Rememberance Day when I drew it, but it ended up being kind of appropriate....
Title:  Shade XII

Friday, November 9, 2012

My First Youtube Upload! Also, Recent Work.

Good day, blogger world!

I just finished uploading a short video to youtube - finally, after years of having an account, I have actually uploaded some content. It's not much - mostly a test, but it features one of my current projects. 

Usually I don't go quite this largescale, but I've had the idea in my head for a while, and I wanted to try it. 

Life is interesting.  I am still in 2 jobs, and the problem with the latest one has become not so much the job itself, but rather the co-worker element.  Specifically working with the same co-worker who answers every question with annoyance and or frustration and deals with her stress by browbeating me each time I make a mistake.  Asking her to explain things yields precious little, as she is low on patience and clearly unimpressed with the fact that I was not borning knowing how this particular workplace works.  Every gaffe on my part is a source of grief, and I've come to think of this job, or rather this job situation, as a form of torture.  Fortunately I don't do full-time hours there yet.  Unfortunately, my earnings between both jobs are only just covering my mortgage payments and condo fees.  So the job search continues.  On the plus side, I have been making a little more money making art lately.  I've had a couple of commissions, and some sales in my Cafepress.  Not much, but it's not nothing. 

To wrap this up, I'd like to show you one more piece of my latest work.  The inspiration was a beautiful performance by Anya Nesvitaylo of the Atlantic Ballet Theatre of Canada, dancing the part of Carmen in a short pas-de-deux during theABTC's  "Intense" Gala. 

Anya is one of the principle dancers of the ABTC, and her roles have included Christine in Phantom of the Opera and Lady X in Don Juan.  The ABTC has had some really good work out these past few years, pushing boundaries with established storylines, and more recently addressing serious issues, as in the production "Ghosts of Violence". 
I have to wrap this up now.  Thanks for stopping by, Blogger world, and I'll see you next time!  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

I am an (artistic) anxiety machine O_o!

    Just give me a few crossed wires, a little pressure, work that requires speed and accuracy combined, some verbal cues to over-analyze, and off I go!  You'd think after a while it'd just become white noise.....But no.  How is it that I keep putting myself in jobs that require speed and accuracy?  Not deadline speed, but spur of the moment speed.  On the plus side, having an extra job means I have a little more freedom to look for a job that fits me a little better.  In theory I have the skills and experience to do this job, but efficiency has been a problem in the past.  Hopefully I'll get faster as I get used to it - more hopefully, I'll find a job that fits me better.  I've got a job that fits me just fine, in addition.  That's why I'm hanging on to the 2 shifts/week I'm getting from that one.

    On the online front, I made another cafepress sale today :)!  2 of them in fact (2 different greeting cards) - first time in a while.  Seems to happen every time I go into an extended frenzy of uploading - and it's almost never any of the things I upload O_o.  Perhaps seeing my new items, customers also see some of my older stuff go by.  Hey, I'm happy with that :).  I also made an order of swatches to Spoonflower, so hopefully I'll have a lot more designs in my shop after that arrives.  My exploration of Spoonflower has lead to one entry for my hitherto hypothetical list of dream jobs:  Fabric print designer.  I'd love to just make the designs, get paid royalties for them, and see them put on fabric to be made into all kinds of things by people all around the world.  I'll have to develop this list.

And now, since you've been so patient, I have new work to show you :).  Actually it's recent work colourized in Photoshop, but I feel really good about it:

Art Minis - Dragon I in Colour by ~Eseopia on deviantART

It is available on items in my Deviantart Printshop, and in my Cafepress. 

That is all for now.  Thank's for visiting today, and come back soon :)!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Life Shift

Good day Blogger world!

I hope you'll forgive me for being a negligent blogger.  I've had a bit of a shift going on in my life.  Moving into a new place - first time actually living in my own place.  Also a new job.  I do clothing alterations now.  It's daunting, but there are a few things I'm good at here.  I've been in survival mode for a lot of this.  Hopefully I'll have the energy to do more than just survive before too long.  

Not to say I haven't gotten any new art done.  Here are a few that I feel pretty good about:  

At least I know there's something I can still do while running on empty.  For some reason, drawing fits into that category.  Pen and ink, to be exact.  They can stain things something awful, but there's no dust to clean up, and pens are nice and portable.  

This is my offering for today.  Hoping to bring you something more substantial in future days.  Later world!  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Extra Post: Blog Consolidation

I've decided to consolidate my blogs into one again.  I tried making a go of a craft book review only blog, but that's slow going right now, and I think I might as well combine the traffic.  I only got 2 posts in, so now is the best time to combine the two.

I'll still review craft books - in fact, I think I'll start reviewing a lot of things, art and craft related.  Maybe I'll splinter the book review blog off again once I really get this one on its feet.  For now though, my life is in a little bit of disarray.  I'll be able to keep up the blogging, though perhaps not in an orderly fashion for now.

First and last posts of the Art Rat Craft Book Review:

Post 1:

Hello Blogger world :)! I am sitting here surrounded by stuff, because I’ll be moving out soon. I hope to sell at least some of it to defray the costs of my new condo. As I pack up, I’m looking at all the craft books I have. Barely used, most of them. I have a lot of craft books, and a lot of craft stuff. I find it very hard to resist buying them, especially when they’re on sale. I guess there are a few reasons why. All those possibilities, all the ideas and little gems to dig up….like catalogues of things I can make exactly as I want them. Somehow I underestimate the time, energy, and (frankly) excuses I'll have to use these books on a regular basis :P. BUT, all that is about to change...

This blog is going to be dedicated to reviewing craft books. I will endeavor to make my reviews as informed and objective as possible – yes, you guessed it – by doing the crafts. Will I become a better craft person from this? Hopefully. Will I become rich? No, but with any luck my growing skills will at least help defray material costs through Etsy, or the occassional craft market. And who knows? I may well end up making something I need every now and again.

I think the most appropriate book to start with will be, “It’s a Wrap – Sewing Fabric Purses, Baskets, and Bowls”, by Susan Breier. I’ve chosen this book for a few reasons. Firstly, I’ve already tried the crafting technique described in this book, and I like it. This will make it easier to keep up with my blogging responsibilities while moving, having done some of the work already and still having supplies left over.

I was fortunate enough to have come across the book as I was wishing I could somehow convert my leftover fabric stash into something useful that wouldn’t take that long to produce. This book offered an unusually fitting solution. It does require many yards of cotton clothesline, and many more yards of sewing thread, but it’s pretty satisfying to be able to cut those old remnants into a pile of strips and watch that pile dwindle away to nothing. In the end I am left with a flexible but relatively solid vessel, and since I'm often looking for things to put other things in, this is actually pretty practical.

I will be documenting my work as I go through this book. I won’t be doing every single design in the book, but I will try to at least do one craft from each section. At the end of the month I will write a full review. In the meantime, I will also use the time between the beginning of the month and the end to review other craft related products. These may or may not be related to the book of the month – they are simply to keep this blog interesting.

I'm starting this blog with the hope that I'll be able to sustain it within my means. I currently have a pretty good surplus of crafting goods, but I will be on a limited budget as to what I can afford, at least at first. Hopefully I'll be able to keep this up for more than a little while. At any rate, I feel like it's worth trying. If you are reading this first entry, thank you kindly for stopping by. Until next time, blogger world! :)

Post 2:

Good day blogger world!

It's been a week of crafting for me.  Between "It's a wrap" and a knitted birthday gift project, I have spent the time being crafty.  Here is a peak at some of the wrap craft work I've been doing:  So far it's an enjoyable book, now that I've got a an excuse to read it in depth.  Still fighting the urge to jump ahead, but as always, it's worth it to read the preamble.  And, the directions - that too.

While I'm on the subject of fabric crafts, I'd like to showcase a site that came to my attention a little while ago, and which I'm still pretty psyched about. It's called Spoonflower, and I love it! It's like the best parts of cafepress and deviantart, in a site that allows you to design your own fabric.  To explain what I mean: like on Cafepress, and to a lesser extent Deviantart, you can upload your designs for use on printed product - in this case, various natural fabrics. There are a number of repeat options (for creating patterns with your designs), and the option to size your fabric design too. Like deviantart, you can follow different designers, giving and receiving feedback on your work. And like both sites, you can have your own shop, where other users can purchase fabric with your designs on it. You do also have the option of keeping your designs private, just for you to purchase, which one may have reason for. I've worked up a modest collections of designs myself, and the samples I've bought have been pretty satisfactory (particularly now, with the new & improved colour system). I should also mention that they have a designer tool built into the site as well, though I havn't actually tried it yet.  Anyway, this is Spoonflower in a nutshell.  Here is a link if you'd like to see for yourself:

 ...and, if you're curious, here is the link to my shop:

I do so like widgets ^_^.  They make a blogger's life much more enjoyable.

This has been the second instalment of The Art Rat Craft Book Review.  Still getting a feel for this project, so I hope you'll bear with me.  I'm already reconsidering how I originally planned to structure this, but I will do my best to keep the content coming, and interesting.  Later bloggerverse!

Just Keep Blogging

Good day, Blogger world!

Getting the blog postings out has been a little bit harder of late.  Could be because I'll be moving soon.  There's never been enough time in the day for everything anyway, but there's a little more pressure under these circumstances.  Still, I have a few things to show.....

These are some smaller ink drawings I've been doing.  Pre-work for work I want to sell on Etsy.  All of these are available as Prints on Deviantart.

Art Minis - Angel I by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Art Minis - Dragon I by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Art Minis - Raven I by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Art Minis - Scorpion I by ~Eseopia on deviantART

I have in fact posted a couple of items on my Etsy already.  Yes, I finally worked up the guts to try selling on Etsy.  Here's hoping something comes of it :).  This is what I've got so far:

This is my "Etsy Mini" - a widget that I can paste here, or on my website.  I do so like widgets ^_^.  The prospect of moving has made the need to get my art career moving that much more real to me.  I am hoping it will help, having my own space in which to conduct my practice.  At the moment, I'm utterly distracted by the moving process.  At least I'm not so distracted that I just can't make art.  Until next time, Blogger world!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Rainy Day Updates

Good day, blogger world!

Not such a good day weather wise.  No wind, but plenty of rain.  Glad not to have to be anywhere today.

I've got some new pics of the ink work I've been doing lately.  A was feeling a lot of uncertainty in the process of these.  The Sirens and Raven were actually works in progress, but looking at them now I might leave them finished as they are.  I often find that my unfinished work will give my finished work a run for its money.  It's less a matter of finishing than a matter of knowing when to stop.  Similarly, I often find that my sketch work is at least as good as my finished work.  Spontaneity is ever my friend, if an elusive one :/.

Ink Tiger Lillies by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Ink Tiger Lillies 2 by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Sirens by ~Eseopia on deviantART

Raven by ~Eseopia on deviantART

In other news, I've started a new blog.  It is significantly more craft focussed than this one - in fact its major function will be as a place to post my craft book reviews.  I've decided I have enough craft books that I ought to put them to good use, and this might just be the way to do it.  Here's hoping, at least.  That's all for now - until next time, bloggers!

PS - Here's a link if you're interested.  :)  The Art Rat Craft Book Review

Sunday, August 26, 2012

About Ink

Hello again, Blogger world!

I've been painting. Or drawing. Rendering with ink, brush, and occasionally water. Drawing continues to be my strength, and ink my material of choice. Most often because it's portable, but in this case I'm enjoying the effects of it when applied in different ways. Seems like it could lead to watercolour. We'll see.

Maple Leaf Ink Drawing by ~Eseopia on deviantART This was done just with pen, ink, and brush. I love working with the brush strokes. It started out as a still-life sketch just with pen as I was out and about one day. Then I finished it when I got home. Dragon Ink Panting by ~Eseopia on deviantART This is an example of me working with ink with brush and water, plus pen. I'm enjoying that a lot. I feel I've only scratched the surface of what I can do with it.

Ink is surprisingly versatile. It seems like it wouldn't be because it's so permanent, unlike pencil or chalk pastel. It's true that there isn't much going back once you've put the ink down, but there's so much to be done with it! I love having pens around to work with because I'm not constantly having to sharpen them or clean up eraser bits, spray noxious fixative on the finished work so it won't smudge. I still use pencil quite a lot in the under sketches, but in a pinch I can make do with just a pen. I've noticed some similarities with silk paint, which I've been exploring, and watercolour too. I like when different parts of my art practice can inform each other.

That is all for now. Until next time, Bloggerverse!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hello again!

Good day to you, Blogger world!

I apologize for my abscence :(. Since we last spoke, I've been let go from Tim Horton's, gone on vacation and come back. My loss of job was due to "not being up to speed", which I think was meant in the literal sense :/. Something to work on, for sure. That said, I'm more than willing to see it as a blessing in disguise. I have more shifts coming up in my other job, a job which is actually very involved in the art world, so I'm not feeling totally pessimistic.

On that note, I would like to introduce you to a venture I started quite some time ago. I had been hoping to find an equivalent to Cafepress based in Canada, since the products I ordered from CP had to come from the other side of the continent and the next country over. I did find a customization site, but quite different from Cafepress. Not in a bad way - I actually find it quite sophisticated. It was a bit intimidating at first (as with so many things), so I didn't go beyond my first couple of uploads for a long time. It's still in its formative stages, but I'm able to approach it with more confidence now. Unlike with Cafepress, where I upload my designs and choose which products they appear on, here I upload the designs and customers can put them on any products they want. There's still a component that allows me to design my own products and put them up in my shop, which is great if someone comes by not wanting to fuss with design tools. Makes my shop look nice and full too :). But it really is about the design here. There is also an option to put one's designs up in the Wordans marketplace. I still retain ownership of the design, but people can search it out and put it on products without going to my shop (I get $2.00 commission for this - not bad). This does mean that someone could use my design in something they put in there shop, but it's still connected to me (ie I still get paid if it sells). I do wish there was a way that customers in this context could connect my design back to me - and maybe there is a way that I haven't discovered yet. Still, it's a pretty cutting edge system, if you ask me.

In other news, I managed to get a bit of drawing done while I was away :). Here is the latest in my deviantart gallery, also available in my deviantart prinshop:

Inkblot Raven Hair by ~Eseopia on deviantART This blog seems to have become lengthy already, so I'll wrap it up here. Until next time, Blogger world! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Checking in Again! Also, Spoonflower :).

Good day blogger world!

I woke up today feeling pretty cranky. Easy to do these days. Wish I had more time, but am coming to terms with the fact that I don't with the new job. Then I took some time to to get some sewing, ironing, and dying done, and now it's not so bad.

I've been using lately. More so now that I've had one sale :D! Someone bought a fat quarter of my "Seahorse Herd" fabric, which I hope they will be most happy with. I had already bought a fat quarter myself, so I can show you what it will look like:

Spoonflower has been something of a revelation to me. Combining, as it does, all the things I concnetrated on in art school (painting, drawing, and textiles), the possibilities are tantalizing :P. I'm currently dying the fabric shown above, hoping to create a nice tie-dyed patch for a quilt I'm working on. I'm also dying this piece of fabric,

which didn't turn out quite as even in repeat as I'd hoped:

That is why we buy samples first :/. I've since uploaded a different repeat file, which will hopefully turn out better. I just want to upload a few more files so that I can buy a bulk sample of swatches (better deal). Normally they'd cost $5.00 USD each, but when bought in bulk they can come to as little as $1.20 USD each (Between 16 and 30 swatches). I'm waiting on a few samples as we speak. You have to order samples before you can sell things, and rightly so. Sometimes the colours don't come out right, or the repeat is off (hence the jellyfish sample). I've already got a handful of swatches, which I will be including in a quilt I'm working on right now. I'm pretty excited about this because, no only is it going well, but it's another way I can break down my mountainous fabric stash. I love when leftovers become useful in surprising ways :).

So that's where I am right now. If I can stay productive right now, hopefully I'll get to the point where I can afford to spend more time on my craft. Here's hoping.

Later blogger world!

"Seahorse Herd" fabric on Spoonflower:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hello again, blogger world!

Been away longer than I expected. Partially due to the new job. Came back to Tim Horton's, after 9 years and a BFA. Getting used to it relatively fast. The cash flow should look good once my first pay cheque is in the bank. I've already got a surplus of coinage thanks to tips. Alright, I am hoping for something better. Still looking. Got an interview at another place that I'm excited about. Dance-related too. I've been dancing for some years now, and a job in the field would add that little touch of legitimacy to all those years of dance classes.

In other news, I have still been able to get some artmaking done. Art marketing too, in fact. The Seeds gallery just accepted 5 of my hand painted silk/cotton blend scarves, which I'm extra excited about :). Wonderful little art shop, that. Hoping this goes well. 'Twould get me that much closer to financial self-sufficiency.

Financial independance is a funny thing for an artist. What looks like a very expensive hobby on the outside is actually a career with a whole lot of overhead. I'm slowly learning the ins and outs of how to work with it. Sometimes I'm not sure if the job on the side helps or hinders. It doesn't help me save time, but it keeps my practice funded. Having a gallery job, or something like that (which I have, for 2 days of the week at least), is at least additional industry experience. For now, all I can do is keep on keeping on.

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll be back again before too long. Later blogger world!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lots of things (new structure)

Good day again, blogger world! :)

What's new
I've decided to divide up my subjects so that it's easier to get to everything I want to talk about. My last post was pretty much entirely a news post - but it was big news, as least for me ^_^. In other news, I'm going through a bunch of my old paintings, mostly from 2007, from Advanced Painting, Intro Figure Painting, Largescale painting and Intermediate Painting. Some of them still look pretty good. I've let some auctions go by already, which is a shame, but hopefully something will come up where I can donate a piece or too. I'm having to move them out, you see. This is hopefully just a precursor to moving myself out, but that's a whole other story. I'm not sure all of these are exactly auction or art store material. Some are more fleamarket grade, now that I look at them again. It's sometimes hard to know what to do with the nudes. The ones that don't show faces can be sold (though you have to be careful what you post online), but the ones that do require a little more though. Some of these are just so big I don't know how I'll get them from point A to point B. Hopefully I can get someone else's help with that, if need be. Right now I'm getting them cleaned up (painting the edges and whatever else needs doing). Hopefully I'll be able to sell at least a few, and find good homes for all of them, (or at least a fitting end, in one or two cases).

Shown first here is "Baby Puppet". Possibly the best of the bunch. Always hard to part with those ones, but that's what makes them good enough to sell. It's 4X4', which might make it a little bit harder to find a home for, but we'll see. Below is a study I was doing for a larger work. Unfinished, not really a sale item (though I am noticing it looks alright in this post). I may simply get rid of the canvas and keep the stretcher - always a little bit painful, but sometimes that's what has to happen.

Latest work
Still working on the silk painting. I'm feeling good about how recent experiments have worked out, particularly this sample.

I continue to do housekeeping in my Cafepress. Going back through the sections of my shop, I can see how my process has become more streamlined. I've learned a few things about what works and what doesn't.

-Wide boarders work well. Having a lot of room between the edge of an image and the subject of an image makes things a lot easier in terms of having room for "bleed" (the sides of the image overtaking the sides of the printable area. Also...
-Images without backgrounds work well too. You can't do this with a jpeg, but you are allowed to upload photoshop files to Cafepress, and that means you can have the edge of the subject be the edge of the image, making the surface of the product itself the background.
-Certain shapes (particularly circular and square designs) work well for printing on multiple items. Particularly because a lot of items have print areas that are specifically circular or square (patches on shirts, for example). Sometimes a square image can be used on circular print areas as well, as long as it has enough of a bleed edge.

One thing I haven't done yet is work with the templates for each product. That will add a whole new dimension to the work, I'm sure.

Before I move on, here is a recent addition to my shop, just posted today:

IB Wine Glass Jewelry Case Inkblot Wine Glass Inkyboots Designs (by Robyn MacKinnon)

The design isn't new, but it's one of my more popular ones. The jewellery case is one of the newer products on Cafepress. A nice little thing. Lends itself to a lot of designs.

Book review

Still getting through "Generation T". My disintegrating pink nightgown is now a pile of pink yarn, which I've decided I will turn into a sachel, with the pocket sewn on the side. Or maybe on the inside, where it won't get ripped as easily. This might be the most versatile idea from this book (T-shirt yarn). One things they should have mentioned, though, is how to pull the individual pieces of yarn so they curl in on themselves, making more convincing yarn. I actually learned this from a youtube video (0:39). It's a little thing, but it makes all the difference.

Haven't tried this particular craft yet, but it looks like fun. The web is such a great resource these days, for everything, but definitely for arts and crafts.

Alright, I'm going to wrap this up here. Gotta love a good long blog post (as long as it has plenty of visuals ^_^). Later blogger world!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tumbling thoughts, and the highlight of my year :).

Good day again, Blogger world!

I have so many things bouncing around in my head right now. Ideas, things to do, things I need to do.....That I needed to update my blog was one of them, so I will start with this.

This week was good. Really good, starting on Thursday, when one of my peeps on the Evan Lysacek fan forum brought this to my attention:

Evan Lysacek on WhoSay


We had all sent birthday greetings to him. I did up a home made card with one of my drawings printed on it - one I really liked, and I hoped he would like too. Seriously, what a cool guy! I felt like it was MY birthday all over again. Total high for the rest of the day! ^_^

BTW, here is a clearer picture of the drawing, uploaded to my deviantart:

Roxanne 2 by ~Eseopia on deviantART

This really is encouraging. To get appreciation like that - it's special. It comes very timely. I've been trying to breathe life into my art career, especially now that shifts are hard to come by. Sometimes it feels like I'm in the perfect position to head on my ideal life's path - but without much tangible payoff as yet, it's easy to feel the pressure. I'll just have to keep doing working and making art, try to make at least quasi-sensible choices, and keep a good outlook. At least that last part just got a little easier :).

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day by Day.....

Hello again blogger world!

I've been able to get a lot of artmaking done lately. It feels really good, and I'm so grateful to be able to do that. I feel like I'm making it work, little bit by little bit. Sometimes it takes a while to get started, but hopefully in the not-to-distant future, I'll have something that looks like a career I can stand on.

The silk painting is going well. Freestyling with it is really fun, but I'm also getting used to the effects I can create and use. Having worked in ink helps a lot. I even tried using brush pen the sketch on the silk/cotton. I think it gave the wash some coppery tinges, though it could be that there was extra paint in the brush. The tinges remind me of the colours you might get from letting a drop of water fall on a black ink mark. More interesting things to explore.

I'm trying an actual silk painting at this point, or at least a first draft of a silk painting I'd like to execute on a larger scale. I feel good about it so far - again, it's acting something like brush and ink, which I've enoyed working with before.

As for the "Generation T" experience, that is inching along too. I've tried the corsette back idea already (the best part of a not exactly successful project...), and I've done a couple of ruching experiments. One of these resulted in an accidental bikini top :P. Not realistically wearable for me, but probably for somebody (my duct tape body double from college wears it pretty well, at least).

At the bottom of this page is another of my favorite T-shirts. Though it is technically a nighty, it's the same kind of fabric, and roughly the same shape, as a T. I wore this until it started fraying off it's seams. Now it's time to move on.

That's probably enough for tonight. It's late - I'm up late watching a Discovery channel program called "Alien Encounters". A hypothetical first contact scenerio. Gets me thinking. What would I do if aliens were coming? It's hard not to think of it as a potential armageddon scenerio. That's a good question to ask one's self too. There are definitely things I want to do that have little or nothing to do with my career. Moving long distances would be necessary, fair amounts of money would likely be necessary, and a considerable time investment too. As with anything worth doing.

I've got 3 big wishes. One is independance. Nothing unusual. Hopefully I'm heading for it. Maybe not on the fastest course, but heading for it. I suppose one of my requirements must be an independant life as an artist - otherwise I'd be on my own by now. The second meet Evan Lysacek. Yes it is. I won't go on about it, I'll just say it would make me very happy. Doesn't sound that hard when I write it out. And hey, at the rate he travels the world, maybe my chances aren't that bad. OK, number 3. To be on So You Think You Can Dance. That used to be "Be on So You think You Can Dance Canada", but evidently I took too long preparing >_<. That CTV chose to axe my favorite show (and, well, my dream) burns me up just a little. Reason? Low ratings on the season 4 finale, if I remember correctly. The finale that coincided with the 10th anniversary of 9-11 (people might have been watching other things that day - and yes, I still caught the finale). Maybe I've prepared too half-hartedly. It isn't too late yet, technically. At least I have a deadline. 30 years old, then time's up. On to the next thing. Where was I going with this? What would I do if the world were about to change forever? I guess I know one reason why it's a good idea to ask that question - because even those plans take time, and we never know what kind of time frame we're really working with.

*Whew* It is defintely time to pack it in! Whoops - almost forgot tags! OK, that's it. 'Till next time Blogger world! -_-zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, June 9, 2012

On to the next thing....

Good day, Blogger world!

As I type, I'm watching Mythbusters, with a laptop resting on 3 boxes full of fabric strips. These will appear in this blog again at some future time, if all goes according to plan. The silk veil from post 2, and its subsequent twin, worked out well, though they also yielded some lessons and things to try next time. Next time I need to paint two of anything, I'll have to see if I can't do it by letting the paint saturate through both layers (suggested by a friend). Silk saturates pretty fast, so I anticipate interesting and unexpected effects.

On to the next thing. I have this book. Actually, I have lots of books. Craft books. I can't get enough of them! They're like catalogues full of customizable goodies! Also tricks, secrets, and ideas to try in my own experiments. This particular book is big on those last three, though it's got some good full-length projects too. This is something I'd love to start doing on this blog: Craft book reviews. Not just reading them and writing about them, but making the projects and writing about my experiences :). I've already started the review for this one:

The book is "Generation T: 108 ways to transform a T-shrit" by Megan Nicolay. Like most people, I've always had T-shirts. I have a couple of old T-shirts that I’ll wear right out before I even think about cutting into them. My beloved “Summer Rock Camp ‘95” T shirt, which I’m wearing right now, is one of them. It’s comfortable, loose, and comes with good memories of the Rock and Roll music camps I went to as a kid.

The other is one my Mom found at a flea market. Splashy red to purple dye job with black outlined stars and moon, plus a large red comet-blob above text pronouncing a fiery end to the cow that jumped over the moon. The back simply says 1988 Jason J. Brown (upside-down, as I just noticed :P).

These are my sleeping shirts, and I am so very proud of them ^_^. I had (and still have) a large number of T-shirts I was sentimentally attached too, but didn’t wear nearly as often as I do my sleep shirts. Many of them went into the first project I completed out of this book (yes, I’ve already gotten some use out of it) - the Quilt that now covers my bed (must remember to get a snapshot next time I make my bed).

On to the book! Right off the bat, I am assured that I’ll find something to inspire me in “Generation T”. This has already proven true. I am also told that I won’t have to learn a new skill (many of these projects don’t even require sewing) and I won’t have to shop for materials at “specialty stores”. Rare is the craft book that can promise that (we’ll see if it holds true). With any luck, the farthest I’ll have to go is Value Village (what would really impress me is if I managed to explore this book in full without making one shopping trip). I may have already defeated that hope by picking up those Neon Ts from Michaels a while back, but if I don’t have to go shopping during the course of this exploration/book review, I’ll still consider it a success.

(Note to self - plug my Cafepress T-shirts at every opportunity! @_@)

It isn’t often that I read the preamble at the beginning of a craft book (even if it’s for my own good :P). It’s all I can do not to plunge ahead with this one too (I suppose I have already, having already done the quilt). It occurs to me that they aren’t including a sewing machine in the list of tools I’ll need. I may end up going to the machine anyway, though I’ll be relieved not to be restricted to the sewing room. The explanations of different tools are detailed, even going so far as to explain what things like needles and straight pins are. At least it's comprehensive.

(Note to self - I can design pins - as in buttons - in my Cafepress to…O_o).

I'm now writing this entry a few days later than I started it (in fact the review itself is something I started writing a while ago). So I'll wrap this up here, with a little more self-promotion for good measure ^_^. As I mentioned before, I have a Cafepress shop featuring products with my designs on them. And yes, many of those products are T-shirts. I promised myself I would avoid making new purchases during the course of reviewing this book, but really, it's all I can do not to think of the possibilities where DIY meets customization :D.

Cafepress has a widget generator, but I seem only to be able to get a few products on it, all with the same design. No sense is being made by this, but at least I can (hopefully) show you this adorable pet T-shirt with my Inkblot Dragon design on it :).

Make Custom Gifts at CafePress

It turned out to be a button instead. Fine, Cafepress, fine >_<. I hope you like my self-designed dragon button :P! I also hope that it actually turns out to be linking to something, because otherwise it isn't all that useful. More mysteries to be solved....

On that note, before I do injury to this innocent computer monitor, later Blogger world!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Purple fingers (fun with dye and silk paint)

Good day, blogger world!

I'm currently blogging at the kitchen table, while my newly dyed spainish skirt hangs on the line outside. It's a perfect medium royal purple (except for one spot of fushia that I've noticed so far :/). I pretty much spent yesterday doing dye work of one sort or another. If all of this works out, I'll have a nice new skirt and 2 more or less similarly coloured silk veils :P.

I’ve been experimenting with silk painting for a little while now. I love the possibilities of it, especially since I studied both painting and textiles in college. A little on the unpredictable side, but the unexpected is often beautiful. It acts almost like tie-dye, especially if you add some water. I’m looking forward to understanding the different ways of applying silk paint as I go. I’ve read you can use salt to create interesting effects (haven't tried that yet), and there’s Gutta for resist painting (have tried a little, but not on this project). Here are some pics of what I've been doing so far:

There've been a few setbacks, like discovering just how delicate silk is.

This happened because the braces I was using (this particular frame was meant for quilting) poked into the silk too hard. May have to figure out a different stretcher for this, although there are ways to avoid damage if I'm carefull. On the plus side, my darning skills are getting better :P.

That's where I am right now. Glad to have gotten this second post up, hoping it'll get better as I go. Later blog world!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Inaugeral Post (also, reveiw of

Good day, blog world!

My name is Robyn MacKinnon, and this is what will become my arts, crafts, and design blog. More likely it will become a "my life in art, crafts, and design" blog. With any luck I will find lots of material, stories, and anecdotes to keep my potential readers interested :).

I am an art school graduate of 3 years at this point. Not yet "making it work" as such. I'm living at home, shifts at my day job aren't currently plentiful (though the way the job market is right now, I'm grateful to have a job at all), and income from my creative exploits has been residual at best. In light of this situation, I will be plugging my creative exploits when appropriate (ie at every opportunity). These include such things as Cafepress, Spoonflower, and Deviantart at the moment.

I'm currently doing some Cafepress housekeeping. This has recently become one of my residual income streams. Very residual so far, but becoming a more steady trickle as time goes on :). It's particularly satisfying to see what my designs look like on various items, and so far Cafepress seems capable of delivering a good product. The one time I had to ask for a replacement of an item, my request was met with speed and courtesy. Cafepress has its ideosychrosies - certain functions may not work depending on your browser (I've heard Google Chrome works best). They change things as often as Facebook, though usually not drastically. The addition of new products usually makes me feel like a kid playing her favorite video game, I must admit. However, my favorite feature by far is the fan portal feature. There are certain brands (TV shows and movies, mostly) connected with Cafepress, and the fan portal feature means that fans like me (in this case, a rabid Dancing with the Stars fan) can upload their fan art and put it on T-shirts and other merchandise (following specific rules, of course). I can't tell you how excited I was to find out about this O_O. This function has contributed to my sales, and it feels pretty good to occassionally see my products there among other DWTS merch. I'd love to link you to a page that emplains the fan portal function further (I know it exists!) but I'm having a peach of a time finding it >_<. Here it is! (I had to Google it XD.) Anyway, that sums up my review of Cafepress: An exciting innovation, not without its quirks, but with plenty of possiblitities. I'm going to show your my latest upload to Cafepress: Is where you can go to see the stuff I put this design on :).

It think this is a good place to end this first post. I'll be giving you more of what this blog is about as I go (ie, as I myself figure it out). It's easy to start out with one idea as to what a certain project will be and how it will go, but when you actually get down to it and the possibilities start multiplying, it can be hard to restrict it to being just one thing. The trick is to know when not to restrict it, to let it grow into what it will be.

If you are curious, here is the link to my Cafepress shop. It is an ongoing work in progress, and I will be adding designs and products regularly, so stop by when you get the chance :)!

Later blog world!

PS: I've been trying to dig that URL to the fan portal page out of that paragraph, but it doesn't seem to matter how many page breaks I put in, it insists on being mashed together with the lines on either side >_<. Maybe it will all be better when I publish the page. That'd be cool.