Monday, January 31, 2011

My First Art in 2011

So today, the weather is really bad. The roads are too slick to drive on, so we had to miss class for today. Which stinks, because at the moment I am typing this, I am supposed to be walking in to my Drawing 2 class to turn in the first big art project we’ve been working on. But since I can’t show my teacher, I’ve decided to show you all instead. Smile
I’ve actually been planning out this post in advance, and I have been photographing my progress at every step.
Our first project was a large picture of a whole bunch of stuff that either describes who we are, or is stuff we like. The first part of the assignment was to make a mind map. Basically we were to write down everything we could think of that we liked, or that described us, and then choose 20 words. This is what it looked like when I was done.
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I could have done more, and I was undecided about what 20 words to choose so I pretty much gave up on it and wrote a separate 20 word list of stuff I thought I’d like to use for a picture. The next assignment was to design a picture using those twenty words together to make a cohesive piece of art. I don’t think I used my whole list, and I added some stuff that wasn’t on my original list, as well as took some creative liberties with a few of the words, but I had an idea, and I didn’t want a bunch of random stuff “Floating” in the empty spaces of the picture. Our teacher had shown us some examples of a few of his best students’ work from past classes, and as good as they were, a lot of them just seemed to be random objects floating around one main object. I wanted something more organized. The only problem was I had two words that I wanted to use, but I didn’t know how to incorporate them. Bible, and pizza. Neither of those would fit into this piece of art, but I felt that at least Bible needed to be there, and I really wanted pizza, because, well, I just love pizza. Smile with tongue out So I decided to hide them. Look at my drawing and see if you can see them. I did not actually draw a bible, or a pizza, but I alluded to them. Hint: Look at the giraffe. Smile
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The main thing I wanted the drawing to be about was art and photography. Because that, in a nutshell, is who I am. I also knew that there had to be a giraffe in it. Once I got the idea that the picture would be of a camera focusing on a giraffe, everything else fell into place. I dropped the “Art” aspect because there wasn’t a good way to fit it in, and this was art in itself, so it was kind of a given that I loved art.
One of my categories in the mind map was ocean life. I decided that instead of doing a sky, I’d make it an underwater scene and use a bunch of my favorite sea creatures.
For the background I was just going to do a bunch of my favorite animals, like an okapi, and a horse, but I also really wanted to do a dragon, so I decided that instead of doing real animals, I would do made up ones. They’re even more fun to draw than real animals. Smile
Unlike our Drawing 1 class we will be using color in drawing 2. For the last step he gave us each a set of watercolors, and paintbrushes.
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I have never painted with watercolors before, other than when I was a little kid and had no idea how to use them. Our teacher showed us how to use the paint and mix it if we wanted to. He also gave us tips on how to get better results than just straight up painting. I had a lot of fun working on this. Smile Here is the result.
I was mostly happy with how it turned out, but there were some things that needed fixing. Our teacher had said we did not HAVE to use the watercolors, and said we could use anything we wanted, as long as we turned in a full color drawing. So I went to work with my colored pencils, markers, and pens, and played Photoshop-in-real-life, until I got some better results. For the most part it is unchanged, but if you look close you’ll see many minor changes all over, mainly in shade and color, plus I got rid of a few spots where the paint had smudged.
To help you see some of the differences I took some detail shots as well, so I can show you side by side how things changed.
First we have my giraffe. The main thing I wanted to do was add detail, because it was the main focus of my picture. As you all know by now, I love giraffes. Smile Here you can see some subtle color and texture changes, as well as some fixed smudges. If you look back at the main pictures you can see the differences on the neck.
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Next up, my Manta Ray. I didn’t change anything on him, but I needed to clean up some smudges around him. When I was looking for reference photos on the internet to use, I searched Ray, not specifying Manta. Google apparently thought I wanted Rachel. Smile with tongue out
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Next is my Pegasus. When I was making my list, I had the words Horse and Fantasy. I decided I would mix the two instead of doing them separate. When fixing the Pegasus I added a bunch of details that had disappeared during painting. Painting something jet black doesn’t allow for details to show through. I finally found a use for the white colored pencil! Notice also the changes in the areas surrounding him. I changed the shade of the bottom of the mountain in the background as well as the dirt in the cliff under the Pegasus. I also added detail to the grass and cleaned up a whole bunch of unsightly black smudges.
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Next is my Baby Pterodactyl. Notice the change in texture of the spots behind him. I didn’t do much to him other than fix the wing tips.
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I added the baby pterodactyl for three reasons.
1: I love dinosaurs, and even though this isn’t technically a dinosaur, it’s pretty close.
2: I love cryptozoology and wanted something in my drawing to represent that, so I added this because finding living “extinct” animals is one branch of cryptozoology, and there have actually been many reported sightings of living Pterodactyls. Plus I didn’t want to draw in a bigfoot. Smile with tongue out 
3: I found a picture on the internet of some kind of a baby Pterosaur eating a ladybug and it was so cute I had to use it somehow, so I turned it into a baby Pterodactyl.
Who wants to see the original? It’s so cute! Open-mouthed smile
AAAAAAAAWE! Open-mouthed smile I want one!
Next is the dragon. He didn’t go through quite as many changes. The main thing I needed to do for him was fix his left wing claw. You couldn’t even tell it was a claw any more. I also added red to all his lines, so the details would stand out a little better, and I tried to darken him just a bit. I wanted a dragon in my picture partly because of the theory that dragon legends started with dinosaurs, tying it into the whole cryptozoology thing, plus, I just love dragons. Smile
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Next is my seahorse. I was not happy with how the yellow watercolor turned out or how the pencil looked with it, so I got out a yellow marker called Baby Duckling yellow, and a brown pencil, and fixed him right up.
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Next is the Phoenix. I am quite proud of the fact that I managed to get it to actually look like fire. I didn’t even use a reference photo for this, so I was really happy with how it turned out. The biggest problem was the horribly smudged beak, but I also added some detail to the edges of the flames.
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Next is the dolphins, I originally had just one, but it looked so empty in the space around it, that I decided to do a whole pod instead. When I went to fix a bunch of smudges, I ended up making it worse, so I decided to make every dolphin a different color, and make it look like they were all swimming up from a deeper part of the ocean. This way all the mistakes were hidden and it made the dolphins more interesting to look at.
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Last up is my Whales. I was really happy with how they turned out after I redid the color. They were originally going to be humpbacked whales, because the reference picture I liked the best just happened to be a humpbacked whale, but I wasn’t that happy with the result, and I like blue whales better, so I changed them.
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The baby originally wasn’t even there. I drew the mother and decided that it wasn’t enough, so I added a baby as kind of a reference to the baby whale from The Pines of Rome sequence in Fantasia 2000. In retrospect the reference would have worked better if I had added the father too. Oh well. I still like them. Smile
Well, that’s all for now. I just looked at the time and it is about the time I would be leaving school, so instead of spending the afternoon in art class, I spent the afternoon blogging about art class. Smile

Sunday, January 30, 2011

2 Introductions

Well, I haven't posted anything in a few days, so I thought I'd share something I did today for my Comp 1 class. The assignment was to write two introductions for a narrative essay. We can use them later for an essay if we want, but we don't have to. I doubt I'll use mine, but you never know. I could expand upon them, but they're pretty crazy. :) We were to use two different methods of introduction. I chose the twist, and the question.

Twist -
Carol thought that that Wednesday would be a normal day. She went to work as usual, cleaning all the left shoes in the second hand store at the mall. Little did she know that she was going to encounter her most difficult customer ever: A little man from Venus with three left feet and an enormous attitude problem.

Question -
What would you do if a short, temperamental alien from another planet walked into your store and started criticizing your merchandise? For Carol Claussenhooper the answer was simple: Run to the bakery next door to buy a large pomegranate and grapefruit pie, and throw it squarely in his face.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

School Stuff & A Small Change to my Blog

For those of you who have been wondering when I'm going to post again, rest assured that I have not abandoned my blog. I've been busy with the new semester at school, and I haven't really had anything to post.
I decided that today I'd tell you a little bit about what I've been doing since school started. This semester Mondays are my biggest day. School starts for me at 10:00 in the morning, this means leaving at 9:00. The first class is Art Appreciation. It is held in a completely different building than last semester. Last semester all our classes were in the Art Center, in the same room. The only change from class to class was the teacher. This semester every class is in a different building. New buildings, new classrooms, and in the case of Art Appreciation, a new teacher. It was a little hard trying to find my way around the first day, but I managed to find everything in time.

My second class is at 11:00, and it is my favorite class. Photography 1. I am learning so much there. I love taking pictures. I haven't really taken anything that great yet, which is why I haven't posted much about it. My teacher is the same teacher I had for Launching the Imagination last semester, so it was nice to have that be familiar.

The third class is at 1:30 and it is the only one that is basically the same as last year. Drawing 2. Same teacher, same building, same room. The only difference is now our projects are going to be bigger and more complicated than last semester, and we are going to be implementing the use of color. I am working on the first project now. It is a multi-step process, and I am planning on photographing every step along the way, to post here. So far it's looking really good. :)

I also have classes on Wednesday, and Friday. They are the same ones as Monday, but I do not have Drawing 2 on the other days. Besides this, I also am taking both Comp 1 and Comp 2 as online classes. I just wanted to get them over with, so I decided to do two eight week classes in one semester, instead of doing just Comp 1 in a full semester class this semester and doing Comp 2 in a full semester class next semester. It is probably going to be a lot of work, but I think I'll be okay. I am told I am a good writer, and I took both of these classes already when I went to ITT Tech, so I think I shouldn't have too much difficulty. I hope not anyway. :)

I will try to keep blogging regularly, but I may not have as much to post as I did last semester. Drawing 2 is my only class that is specifically art, and I won't have regular small projects to post. I am probably going to have more large projects that take longer to create than a bunch of small ones. I will try to photograph them as I go, though so that I don't end up with a ton of pictures to post after the semester is over. I will also try to post things I am working on for photography. I have only had a couple assignments, and I used pictures that I have either already posted, or pictures that I still plan to post. Our next assignment will probably have more that I will want to share, because I am going to have to actively set up some of them. We are learning about lighting, so I may get some interesting looking pictures.

Before I go, I just wanted to announce that I changed the settings in my blog so that search engines no longer have access to it. I look at my stats once in awhile and I noticed that I was getting a ton of hits on my post from last year about my Giraffe speech. This is because people were searching for pictures of all the different species in the giraffe family, and the search engines were leading them to my blog. All those pictures are available elsewhere online, and I would rather just my family and friends read my blog, so I blocked access by search engines. So if anyone out there was using Google to find my blog, and I know there were a few, the stats page also told me this, you'll just have to either bookmark or favorite it, or just wait till I post an announcement of a new blog entry on facebook.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Potato Sausage Soup

Yesterday I got out of school early, so I made supper since both mom and dad were at work. I started by cooking some potatoes and carrots. Once they were cooked and drained I set them aside.

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Then I chopped up some Celery and onions and put them into a stock pot.

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I then added four undrained cans of mushrooms and two cans of cream of mushroom soup. I also added water, but I didn’t measure any of this. I usually cook by estimates. I make big batches of soup. If you want to make this just use however much you like.

Next I cubed up two pounds of smoked sausage. Again, this was a big batch, so for a smaller batch, two pounds would be way too much.

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I turned this on to high to bring it to a boil, then I added two cans of cream corn, and grated in a pound of Pepper Jack cheese. For smaller batches, I use a half a pound, but I hardly ever make small batches of anything. Smile with tongue out

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I seasoned it with black pepper and parsley. Once it boils it’s almost done. Just before I was ready to serve it I added two cans of rinsed black beans, and the potatoes and carrots I cooked before.

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Cook it a little longer till these new vegetables have heated though and it’s done.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Over the River, Through the Woods

The other day my grandma was finally released from the hospital, so yesterday I went to visit her. I brought my camera to show her since she had not seen it yet. Of course I couldn’t take my camera out and NOT use it, so here are some pictures I took on the way there. I’m going to use the album method again.

I used my new lens to get the pictures of the birds. I love it so much!

Grandma is doing quite a bit better. She is now using a lift chair instead of sitting in her usual spot on the couch. The lift chair was given to her to use by a friend, so the whole living room had to be rearranged to fit it in. It looks good, but it’s very strange because the couch has been moved to the back of the room. It has sat in the same spot since before I was born, so the whole living room looks very odd to me now. But it does look very nice.

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While I was there I took some pictures of her cats. I like this one best. Smile I love catching cats in the middle of washing, or a yawn or meow. Any time they have their mouth open.

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For the rest of the pictures I’ll do another album.