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

Gemini – Mixed Media Painting

Another piece of my long standing zodiac project. This one means a lot to me. One of my best friends fell thirty feet in a climbing accident and hit his head on a rock. It took the doctors three days to determine he was brain dead. They took him off support last Saturday. He was a Gemini and my friend Kendra and I created a unique version of the image for his birthday, which was a week before the accident. He never got to see it finished, but I think he would’ve liked it. He was always supportive of my art. He was probably my only fan when I first started. He was just a good friend, always there for me, even when I wasn’t there for me, and even when I wasn’t there for him.

Gemini 93×104 inches

T-shirtcutcolorfull

copr blu-art, Kochre, and arctic-ink 2018

Some minor issues, but we’ll fix them.

Work

For me, if I don’t have an overarching goal, ambition, or thing that seems impossible to work towards; I go a little crazy. My mind is active and it’s like it creates internal problems that I have to solve but probably can’t because they’re ill-defined and not as pressing or relevant as they seem. Most would call this sort of experience anxiety, and I tend to agree. These go away when I have something huge to work on. My books, an ambitious art project, pouring my everything into my classes. I need to outrun myself.

I think the need to be improving, the need to not waste time is important. But it’s hurt every relationship I’ve tried to have or cultivate. Friends are easy to fit in but close friends and my ex’s all end up realizing I can’t relax. I can’t do leisure. I can’t make time for them when I’ve already scheduled out my day with thirty hours worth of hard work. And if I did there’s no guarantee they’ll like what they see. Anxious.

I’m overbooked, all the time…but I like that. It’s the only way I sleep. I need it, otherwise my mind goes back to torturing me and convincing me all these little problems and all the stuff from my past still matters when it doesn’t. It’s all or nothing with people, and it’s not right to make anyone my project, so they stay at arms length and I hope they don’t mind that I need to plow ahead with my passions. Regret never helped a soul and I’ve already learned from those mistakes. I don’t have a time machine, so I need to keep my eye on ‘what’s next’. Perpetually.

Okay, breaks over. Back to studying!

 

Peace,

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

Digital Painting/Composite reflection.

Sorry to anyone who clicked the first link that went out last night, I blundered and misc-clicked last Saturday instead of this morning 😦

Why can you even backdate things anyway? Feel free to enlighten me. 

Anyway:

I like to do these kind of reflections before I start working on a different major piece or project. It helps me kind of compartmentalize what worked, what didn’t, and what flat out failed. Furthermore, it’s an important step in working to understand what I’ve made; not always an easy thing to do. I mean that literally, I look at this and probably see something really different than what everybody else does, it’s like looking at yourself in the mirror. Hard to judge.

First the good: I wanted to be realistic with this, and I accomplished that. If you look a little to the side, you can’t really tell it’s a drawing, and I’m really proud of that. My mom actually thought this was a photograph when she saw it (on her phone admittedly). And that just made me feel good. And then bad…in some ways. I had a bit of anxiety that people wouldn’t realize it was a drawing, even though it doesn’t really matter because it turned out scary, and that was what I wanted to do. A lot of this anxiety stems from the time investment, too. I worked over thirty hours on this and that’s around the point I start becoming protective of the art. I love it like I love my books and anything I’ve poured my heart and soul into creating. It was hard and obviously it didn’t turn out perfect, but it also feels like a part of me, and that’s why I even make art in the first place.

The mediocre: It may have turned out a little creepier than I intended. Yep, all over the board here, but hear me out. I think that the holes went a bit too far, made her just a tad to zombie-esque. Zombie wasn’t really the goal and the holes were meant to be complimentary to the cracked smile (Chelsea grin concept). The hair is meant to be dreads done up in a pony-tail but the limited details are confusing. Part of this is because Black hair is very easy to draw, it’s black, it gives you a great place to dump all the shadow balance (which means more HIGHLIGHTS <3).

Too bad it looks like multicolored sticks sticking out of a bush. Luckily it is very much not the focus of the drawing so it’s not a huge deal.

The bad: There isn’t really. The lighting balance between shadows and highlights is exactly how I planned and sketched it out to be, highlight heavy with weighty blocks of shadow to pull you into her eyes, which I spent a good three hours on texturing. The personal goal was to surround the pretty eyes with a bunch of chaos and discord and broken things, but have the viewer not really care because: Those are pretty eyes.

 

At least that was the goal and thought process. Whether or not it was successful is up to you 🙂

Bluv

Challenges moving forward: BLONDE HAIR. It’s evil. It is. So incredibly difficult to detail and balance (where do the shadows go?!)

The hair itself has to have shadows, mids and highlights. There’s a reason I don’t draw blonde hair. I want to stop being afraid of it, though, because I have a character that has blonde ends to her hair, and I want to draw her. So I will, and I will probably fail the hair a few times before I get it right.

PS: In the past I’ve gone kind of in depth on technique. I’ve found that most people don’t really care, but if you do, just ask in the comments and I’ll write out the entire process from start to finish and can even provide the layers and psd if you’d like to study how it was put together and layered to create various effects and smooth shading.

Cheers!

Lilith ❤

How Short Stories become Books.

I was reading around the blogs, as one does on WordPress, and came across an interesting post. The author noted that they found fiction to be nearly impossible for them to write, despite loving to write. So they tended towards non-fiction, but still really wanted to learn to write fiction.

I’m by no means a veteran author. No, I only started my first book eight months ago, but I spend around four-twelve hours a day writing (depending on how much I can get away with while attending University full time). The part that comes easily to me is fiction and this person was asking for advice, so I wrote:

“It seems you’re approaching it deliberately. That only really works when you have a full outline…Patterson style (this works, but it also takes some of the fun away).

For me, a book starts with an idea, a singular scene or defining moment that makes everything else fall into place. Once the characters and setting have a bit of weight, they tend to write themselves. The hardest part of a snowman is the base, but once it’s big enough, you just push it gently and it grows.

All my books started as a short story. The hard part is finding the players and arranging them in a way that makes sense and is believable. After that, they make themselves interesting by being who they are. Just light the fire and blow a little oxygen (because we need more metaphors in this comment, don’t we?)

I hope that helps a little. I know it’s vague and wordy, but fiction is a much more fluid process than nonfiction, it’s less about the details and the authenticity at first and more about the big picture. You have time to fill in the details as you go and when you’re editing. Kind of like sculpting versus photography, if that makes sense. You’re go for the rough shape of it first, each chapter needs to have an overarching point or purpose, but that can mean a lot of things. 

Anyway, love the post. Honest, funny, and interesting. Keep it up!”

I hadn’t really thought about how it worked before then, and it was kind of weird to read that back. I’m just sitting there thinking, ‘so that’s what I’ve been doing?’ 

But that’s all it takes. If you can write an engaging and open ended short story (this isn’t necessarily easy but everyone has it in them), by all means, let it snowball into a novel. It can seem imposing when you think about it like that, but make each chapter another short story, just build off of what you have. The longer it gets the more natural it feels. And it is engaging. Beautifully engaging. It’s the reason I’ve come to love doing this…it’s like a drug for me (since I don’t drink I need one of those :P).

That feeling when you get lost in a story? You get that by default, except it’s so much more because it’s your story. You are the characters. You feel what they feel and it’s a unique sort of empathy. It’s never about word count or aiming for a certain length, or worrying if your stylistic innovations are even publishable. These things matter, but it’s just gonna make it seem imposing again. Just let it become what it is, mold it like you’d mold a part, sculpt a drawing. Let the other bits come naturally and adjust accordingly. It’s a lot easier to do that kind of thing when you already have a working manuscript. It’s your art.

In that regard, I feel my experience with traditional art has really helped me approach story writing in a way that makes sense to me. In art you plan, but that archetype needs to be fluid, otherwise you’ll fail or worse, miss opportunities to make it better (there’s nothing quite like improving upon that image you had in your head). Writings the same way. Start with that rough sketch, shade a little, find the shadows and plan for the highlights because light only matters next to darkness. Books are that way too…you want contrast, you want a roller-coaster to make someone feel. To make yourself feel. I write what I want to read and write what I find to be engaging and natural and that’s all there really is to it. Genre is a post production label, too. Try not to think about it when you’re getting started. That gave me some grief early on.

The only other major tip I have is, don’t force it. If you’re not feeling it, and it isn’t fun or engaging at that moment, that’s probably a sign it isn’t necessarily where you should take it. Trust your own emotions and only write when you want to. I write a lot, but it’s still only when I want to. I don’t usually plan or think about the story that much when I’m actually writing. I do that when I fall asleep and throughout the day, I just sketch little notes or ideas on my notepad app. Immersing yourself in the story and living it a little before deciding on a path can really yield some awesome plot twists and depth you could never achieve in one sitting.

There are likely hundreds of different processes that are different then or even better than what I do, but it’s worked for me, and I never once had to really think about it. Once you get going, you’ll find your own little tricks that make everything easier.

Anyway, I hope someone finds this useful and maybe reconsiders giving fiction a go. I promise it’s worth it.

-Blu ❤

Cheater

Cheater

Amazing face,
That’s all I see,
Let me taste,
Our serenity.

How could I lie,
That ill-thought night,
I made you cry,
A soul-torn plight.

I do admit though,

Low-born fire,
Inside this knot,
You called me a liar,
Said; go fester and rot.

On purities pyre,
A monolith grows higher,

Strewn through pain I wrought upon us both,
That night in the fire.

But you still know this,
If I ever spoke truth,

Alone;

I’d be a night-crowns kill,
A shell of a man,
So love you I will,
As much as I can.

Bezoar (Thought-piece)

Simon,

A stone’s stuck in me.

It’s like ice. Starts as lump in your throat, seems like sadness, before it spreads. Nothing phases you. You shiver, but don’t really feel the cold, as your blood pools around your vitals. Calcifying into stone.

The hurt is gone, and you wish it would come back. Even the grey has fled, that lovely, middling, warmth. I’d die twice to be permanently content, easier to break limb and bone.

That’s the logic, though, isn’t it? The opposite of inspired. Eating, writing, sleeping…They take a break, until you feel enough to start crying, a quieter tone.

Those beautiful tears, I love them. They’ve kept me back from The Brink more than a reason, purpose, or you ever could. They’ve seen me for what I am, I guess you’ve always known. I’m sorry.

-Hads

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Related short story: https://bluebeard-art.com/cant-keep-goin-on/