cool

Learning

I spent all of last night experimenting with Illustrator – I’m a fireworks girl and I think I won’t mind taking a few extra steps to get basically the same result with a program I like better. But it was still good to try, I might try to do some more things with the 30 day trial, but as it’s more of a print thing, I think fireworks is probably more suited to my graphics making experiment.

Learning seems to feed an appetite for more learning. At least in me. The more I learn about art and techniques I’m finding the more things I want to learn and try – not even in the same genre, but in general. Somehow reading about acrylic techniques lead me to reading about photorealistic design which reminded me of making GIFs, which then lead me to wonder about animation, which I would also like to try – which then somehow ends up feeding back into reading more fantasy and art books and painting more. It’s a lovely cycle that leaves me excited and hungry for more and I realize there aren’t enough hours in the day.

Fairy in Illustrator

Museum of Fine Art (Boston)

I’m back! For our anniversary we took an overnight trip to Boston via the *train*. I’ve always wanted to go on an actual train, and I finally did. It was great, there was a dining car with tables which was fun. Not like the Hogwarts Express….I’d like to ride a train like that sometime too, but it was good, and a much less stressful way to get into Boston than driving.

We went to Faneuil Hall Marketplace (I like to call it Quincy Market, but it’s officially that <<) after we checked into our hotel, and stumbled upon some kind of street fair. The inside was really crowded so we walked around the outside and found a *huge* Newbury Comics store and hung out in there for a while drooling and finally bought the first Scott Pilgrim graphic novel. Then took the subway back to our hotel and ate at the Cheesecake factory for dinner.

The next day (our actual anniversary) we wandered around the area trying to find the Museum of Fine art, only to discover  - 4 hours later- that it was in the complete opposite direction. So after we walked around Prudential Center and ate lunch at P.F. Chang’s, we hopped on the subway and went to the museum (which was having a free admission day for memorial day).

The Museum

I should say that I’ve never been to an art museum before – at least, not that I remember. I opted out of the Smithsonian art museum for the Air and Space one last time I had a chance (several years ago, before I realized I still loved art). So Alex and I were both really excited to go to the one in Boston. It was amazing, and I came to a really important realization – one that I knew but was never able to fully understand until I went.

It’s hard to make museum quality art when you’ve never been exposed to it.

Exposure is crucial, at least, I think so – because google images only helps so much. It’s hard for me to really get a feel for Picaso, or Van Gogh, or  Martin Johnson Heade (and so many others) without having seen the art in real life. The pictures really don’t do justice to the amount of detail and effort and care put into the paintings. It was an amazing feeling, entering a museum for the first time, and being drawn to particular pieces and inspired to create more (and better) art myself.

Beauty

I found a plaque about the Aesthetic movement that sort of nailed my perspective on art – or at least, the way I create it.

I appreciate art that tells stories – like the mural LePage took down, or Picaso – but what inspires and motivates me to create is not social commentary (as great as that is) but beauty.

Good art did not need a moralizing story or a historical narrative; beauty alone was sufficient.

And this is what I generally try to achieve. I don’t try to communicate a moral lesson or obvious metaphor – I try to let the feel of the painting and the loveliness itself say it all. I’m not sure how good I am at that or how much of the back story (like in Burning Shadows) comes through. But that said, the focus of my pieces, when I make them, is not message centered. So, it was cool that it was/is actually a thing, that there was a movement that was less concerned about message and more concerned about beauty, and I feel like I kinda fit in there.

Figures

The unintended side affect of the art museum was the self confidence boost. I realize that a lot of the people who will read this might be irked at what I’m about to say, so let me stop here and mention something: if you disagree, that’s fine, I’m not going to get into a debate about it or the right or wrongness of art in this form, I can not change your perspective and I won’t try – this is just something that I noticed and that has inspired me – as an artist and as a woman. So please keep your comments intended to debate the idea to yourself, or find another outlet for it. :)

I’ve touched on the subject of figure (or nude) drawings before, but I’ve never seen them in real life. Until yesterday.

There were so many beautiful portraits and sculptures depicting people – with all their perfections and imperfections. Women with stomachs like mine, people with insecurities and yet, unhindered beauty. There were so many pieces, but I only managed to take a photo of one, “Ariadne”.

You can’t even see the level of detail on Ariadne in this picture – painstaking. Every individual line. I loved that the people forever captured in the pieces were perfect in their imperfection. People have bodies – and it wasn’t just female forms captured by the artists, but men and women – in their awkward and honest beauty – with wrinkles and flab and everything that we look our selves and think is unworthy and yet here, it’s all captured, and when you look at it, you see yourself, and your imperfections, and the very things that you’re self-conscious about, and then you find that it’s beautiful. Even when you go home and you see your scars and you still feel fat and bloated and unattractive and imperfect, it’s beautiful. You’re still beautiful…I’m still beautiful, with my hormones and bloating that won’t go away, and the weird scars on my legs from an infection a few years ago…if I were captured in a drawing, if I could look at myself and see, really see myself and not just look at the areas I don’t like…I think I’d finally know (like really know, not just know that Alex thinks so, but inside) that I was beautiful too.

In the future, I hope to explore this more – the Museum of Fine Art was probably the best thing I’ve done for myself art wise so far (apart from starting to paint) I hope to go to more someday, definitely hitting the one in Portland. I feel like I learned so much yesterday that I’m just now beginning to realize, and I can’t wait to keep going.

Offer

I posted this on my facebook page, Kiery’s Whimsy last night, and thought I’d extend it here:

Throwing this out there for any writers: I’ll work on your book illustrations for the cost of supplies (like $10-$20) and credit if/when it’s published (I’m available to do an image or two for blog posts/articles also, waiving the supply costs).
http://kieryking.pullfolio.com/portfolios/illustrations

Just email me, you can find my contact information at pullfolio and also under the “Talk” page here. For blog post/article illustrations, I’ll upload varying sizes of high quality scans on flickr like I did for Eliza’s post on Quivering Daughters. For books, depending on how many pictures there are, I’ll either email you the high quality (300 dpi standard) scans, or set up a private place where you can download them online.

I obviously won’t be doing this forever (especially for like, nothing), but as I’m just starting out, I thought it would be a good idea to offer my help to writers who would have a hard time finding illustrations otherwise.

And Now For My Next Trick!

Today I cleaned out the closet in my office – and by cleaned I mean tore down the christmas tree, put it in a box and put the CD’s on the floor back in the case (there’s not a ton on the ground in my closet, just space hogs). Then I took down the prints that have been on the closet doors for a long time and replaced them with some Art Cards that I’ve collected from the exchanges. I left out a handful of CD’s that didn’t fit back in the case and decided it would be fun to paint them.

Several hours later, this was created:

On the shiny side, I learned that watercolors seem to stick better – and on the cover, I tore up labels and stuck them on top and then went over those with acrylics. It adds a nice feel to my office. :)

Trying New Things

I’ve been feeling discouraged lately, I want to be able to contribute to living and stuff financially because I think it’d be nice (even though it’s not totally necessary), but the winter messes with my health (ALOT)  and there are times when I spend days just unable to do much, or feeling so bad that it takes most of what I can muster to get out of bed in the morning which makes me seriously doubt my job-getting ability, not to mention that I’ve never learned how to turn off my work mode which leads to me being generally miserable after a while and I’m not really sure how to fix it. But still, I want to contribute because I feel like I can, and should, and just, want to.

On top of that, I feel like my time is valuable, because I could be developing my skills (on days when I feel half decent) as opposed to working a minimum wage job that gives no benefit to me except a paycheck and a long time on my toes. So, if I were to become employed, I would want to find a place that makes me want to work there – something that benefits me in more ways than a couple-hundred-dollar check every so often. Which, is amazingly hard to find. So I continue to paint and clean and hang out and try and sell my original paintings in a market I’m having a hard time locating and for prices that most people in my personal circle would have to save for (<insert blame economy>) even though it’s low/mid range pricing for art in general.

 

Yesterday was a weird day. I had too many things racing through my head, like trying to keep up with a train – eventually I just gave up and sat there, unable to do anything really and watched the thoughts and ideas whizz by hoping that eventually one would slow down long enough for me to grab onto. This didn’t happen until late at night when I finally decided to pursue a bit of inspiration that I managed to be able to concentrate on. I remembered reading about an artist on Zazzle – selling prints of his work on random affordable things (and also selling the originals elsewhere for what they’re worth) so his art becomes known and accessible to people who otherwise couldn’t afford an expensive piece of art. I realized the brilliantness of this, and last night that’s what I spent the evening doing. By about 1am, I created this:


Shop for a personalized gift at Zazzle.

Buttons, stickers, stationary, mouse pad, iOS cases, cups, posters (well one so far, apparently it’s hard to batch-make those), basically everything except clothes/bags (because I tried it and it looked really bad). For well, less than the originals on etsy. So this is my endeavor – I’m trying something new, and hope it goes over well – I know lots of people like my designs (at least that’s what they tell me) so maybe now it won’t be so hard to get (and if anyone has requests….let me know). At the moment, I’m pleased, and feel less like I’m just stuck failing and don’t know what I’m doing (I try so hard).