Worst week ever – Rabies

My S/O and I adopted a kitten. The kitten began to have seizures. We called the shelter and they told us just to keep an eye on her. The seizures got worse and one not she couldn’t walk straight after a five minute seizure. So, we took her into the emergency vet. The vet told us the shelter was full of shit and we should have brought her in immediately because seizures are rare in kittens. Epilepsy doesn’t show up until they are at least one year old, apparently. Given the kitten was a rescue, the vet was very concerned she had rabies. We made the hard decision to put her down and get her tested. Unfortunately we also had to go get rabies vaccines which made us both feel sick (I vomited for times after the IGG shots). My anxiety tempered the grief and convinced me it was too late and I was going to die of rabies.

The kitten didn’t have rabies, she had a rare brain infection. I think we did the right thing by putting her down, as she wouldn’t have made it either way, but it was a horrible week. This drawing is a representation of what it felt like.

Rabies6.jpg

 

Cheers,

Blu

Dilaudid – Abstract Painting

I wanted to focus more on the emotional side of the textures and colors for this one, so I obscured the subjects face with a smoky effect and worked his form into the body of the painting. I wanted all the transitions and blending to feel really natural and for lack of a better term, ‘two-dimensional’. Even with all the layers I think I largly accomplished that goal while keeping a lot of the shapes and contour interesting/engaging for those who want to take a closer work. The text is in Greek and Latin and deals with concepts of addiction, hence the name.

small cut

I think the interplay between the cross hatching and low opacity shapes created a futuristic sort of vibe that I kind of liked paired with the theme.

 

Cheers,

Blu

Is Digital Art Cheating? – an actual blog post since I guess I have a blog that I don’t blog on and should fix that

I was at a party where many art majors were present last night.

I tend to sit in a corner and hangout with the person who invited me at these sorts of gatherings since I don’t drink. There was a lively debate running at a table I was near, and it caught my attention. There was a man arguing that digital art took literally no skill and that while it may take some time to learn the tools, was essentially the technician version of being a radiologist (technician is a good job, so he was already off base with the analogy).

So me and my friend both took issue with this and told him so. He kinda laughed because I guess I don’t look all that cool. Now I mean my main qualm was his assertion that someone couldn’t be both a digital artist and someone who could use a pencil. Now I use pens, which have a reputation for being significantly less wieldy than pencils (look ma, no eraser). So I told him that I do digital art and think I can also illustrate semi-competently.

Do I consider myself a professional or expert? No, absolutely not, and I hope I never think I’m an expert because that’s when you have hit your cap. I don’t ever wanna stop learning or improving because that progress is what drives me to make art in the first place. But do I think I can draw most things I’d want to? Yeah, I could attempt it and do an alright job probably. But it’s all practice.

So he told me to prove it, and I’m like “okay”.

I showed him this, which is multimedia, granted, but the digital and traditional portions are distinct. It was a traditional drawing that I later redid the background in illustrator.

Hunger Demon7

His response: “Pfft, that’s low art.”

My friend flipped on him there, asked him to share his high art. I was already uncomfortable with his insult, because I worked hard on this and never intended to sell it because it was art for something personal, which I think is what art should be for. It was the fourth drawing I did when I started drawing again early last year during a very difficult time in my life. This piece meant something to me, and art should mean something to you when you make it. This piece depicts bulimia nervosa and OCD which are both worth depicting, because they are brutal disorders.

If you really think you can honestly look at any drawing or piece of art and determine in five seconds whether or not it is low (has no meaning or minimal low-brow value/appeal) or high (has meaning and value), then you don’t know how art works.

So, he showed us a picture from a gallery of a large painting with an abstract horse thing as the subject. And it was good, in my opinion. I’m a sucker for abstract and impressionism. I told him I liked it and he seemed kinda self satisfied and my friend looked at me like what’s wrong with you. But I wasn’t gonna lie and say I didn’t like it to be bitter, I mean then I’d be like him; toxic.

Anyway. I left with her pretty quick after that, didn’t want to be around the negativity I’d associated with the room and party. I felt kind of bad until I thought about it more and realized that his attitude will ultimately prevent him from learning and getting better and that’s what’s sad…That he needs to shit on other peoples hard work and throw around “low art” when he doesn’t even understand the context of something.

 

I thought about the question more and here’s my answer:

I don’t think either is better, I think they are different and similar, but one is not better or a “lower” form of art. Traditional is hard because you don’t have a perfect eraser or perfect paper that never breaks. It’s easier to add than take away. This limitation is ninety-nine% mitigated in digital art, but now you have to either drop two-thousand on a flagship cintiq or struggle to draw lines with a mouse or low quality tablet. TABLET DRAWING IS SO HARD THAT I DRAW WITH A MOUSE.

Yes, I draw with a mouse and attempt to draw lines with a mouse. This is part of what makes digital art challenging, the images are not auto generated, you still have to make these things. And when you’re using composites it’s a whole different beast to blend disparate images together, it’s heavier and hard shading to do that than to draw a face in my experience.

But I love both because they look different and are unique. I can’t draw something that looks traditional in Photoshop and I can’t draw hyper-realism on traditional mediums. (I can composite backgrounds in after scanning via multimedia techniques though).

I feel like art is up against enough when we artists aren’t trying to eat up each others confidence, you know?

 

 

Cheers,

Blu

Stubbing Toes isn’t the Worst thing.

What makes finding peace and happiness so difficult? Shouldn’t it be as simple as doing what makes you happy? It should, but it isn’t. Doing what you fulfills you and expecting to survive is like walking through a minefield without a metal-detector. Sure, you might make it through. But if what you do, at any point, puts pressure on the wrong spot…offends the wrong person…well good luck.

Doesn’t mean it’s not worth the risk. Here’s to stepping on a few toes while we try and find our way.

😉

Blu

Lines? No Lines?

There’s something beautiful in the realization that the absence of pigment can be just as, if not more, impactful than a bold line.

It’s a subtle concept that bleeds into the rest of life. What you don’t say. What you never try. Where you never go. It all says just as much as your deliberate actions.

Not doing something seems to have some sort of negative connotation attached, but I’d argue there are times when not doing something takes strength and courage. Just a thought, though.

-Blu

Talent is a conceptual cage. I don’t believe it exists

I was out drawing a tree during today’s snowfall. About halfway through, a woman who lives in my apartment complex approached. I hadn’t met her before, be she was very kind. She was fond of the tree I’d been drawing and mused, “I wish I could draw things like that. I used to love to draw, but I don’t have any talent, so I stopped.” I told her in response, “I don’t have any talent either. But I still draw everyday and practice. I mean, it’s really all practice, nobody starts off being able to paint or draw or illustrate well. It’s all technique and skill. Anybody can learn if they go at it hard and long enough.”

To my surprise, she almost seemed offended. That wasn’t my intention at all, as I merely wanted to suggest that you should never not do something you love because someone tells you you’re bad, or you think you’re bad. In fact, I firmly believe people pointing out mistakes or inconsistencies in proportions has been extremely constructive for me. 

After a pause, she asked, “How on earth do you think you aren’t talented. That tree looks better than the real tree!” She laughed at little there, “I mean sure, nobody starts great, but I can barely draw a straight line.” I laughed there.

So, to demonstrate, I flipped the page I was drawing on, loosened my grip and tried to draw a straight line. It wasn’t terrible, but it was nowhere near straight. Below that line, I demonstrated how I draw lines in drawings. I made small and swift movements, combining multiple small lines into a relatively straight line.

Then I said, “I actually have rigors, my hands shake. I quite literally can’t draw a straight line. So that’s how I outline my contour. Then, later, I improve the line quality while shading. Since it’s in ink, you can cover up pretty much any small mistake if you know how. I’m really not talented, and I don’t want to be. Believing you’re talented makes you complacent. You stop researching ways to improve, you think you’ve hit a perpetual ceiling in your ability when that’s the opposite of the truth. You’re never done learning, especially with things like drawing. On the flip-side, if you think you have no talent, you stop doing something prematurely even though you love doing it. I bet if you started drawing again, you might surprise yourself. The worst thing that could happen is you have fun drawing.”

To my dismay she looked even more upset. I still don’t understand why. 

She said, “Well, I’ll see you around.”

And she walked inside. It was cold out, I don’t blame her. I just hope I didn’t inadvertently say something callous or discouraging, as I was literally trying to do the opposite by encouraging her to do something she said she loved doing. 

_____________________________________

I understand the frustration of not being able to pull off a drawing the way you really want to. It’s one of the things that drives me to improve, so that one day I can draw anything I want, using any medium I want. It’s a passion of mine. It’s incredibly engaging and keeps me sane while I struggle through this degree. I’ve had people tell me when I was just starting off that I couldn’t draw. And I couldn’t. But I wanted to, so I did, and now I can draw a lot of things. There are still far more things I can’t draw, though, and I want to be able to. So I’ll learn how. It’s really that simple. Don’t be discouraged by others or yourself or your failed experiments because you learn the most from those.

-Cheers,

Blue