2017 was one hell of a year. You all know most of the awful that went down last year, the stuff that has had an impact on a global scale. But it was a difficult year for my wife and I to get a lot done on a personal level, too, because of changes at her job. She had to make three trips to Wisconsin, learn SQL, learn some other stuff, study a lot, take several tests, earn several certifications, and work as part of a team to smoothly transition a hospital and medical school from one medical records system to another.
It wasn’t nearly as much fun as it sounds.
But 2018 has arrived. That transition has been made, smoothly or otherwise, and over the four-day weekend my wife had for Christmas, we finally got a chance to dig into the pile of Smart Art boxes that have taken up residency in our dining room.
This was my first time playing with heavy-bodied acrylics since probably sometime in the 1980s. I didn’t know how to properly use those acrylics back then. I don’t know much more now. But I do know that pouched Sennelier paints are smoother, creamier, and way more fun to work with than those other, tubed acrylics were back in the day.
Linda also enjoyed the Sennelier paints. Her point of comparison was to cheap, bottled acrylics, rather than stiff, tubed paint. But we both noticed the differences in working with Sennelier Abstracts, and we both agreed that we love this paint!
We both also agree that we’d like to add black, blue, and yellow to the trio of colors from the Smart Art box, and that we want to paint more canvases. We painted these first pieces on Christmas day, and we viewed doing the project as a Christmas present to ourselves and each other—but especially to ourselves as a couple.
Our new paintings finally took their place in our living room mini-gallery on New Year’s Day, and now we’re itching to make that gallery grow!
Kudos to Smart Art for introducing us to a lovely paint that we might never have otherwise tried, and to Sennelier for making that paint in the first place!
As much as everyone seems to be crazy for the Apple Pencil, my favorite thing on my new iPad Pro is the Smart Keyboard. Comfortably writing and doing research from my bed, while using keyboard shortcuts and being mobile AF? (That’s “as the f-word” for old fuddy-duddies like me.) It’s like productivity CPR.
(So much so that blogging has fallen by the wayside. True fact.)
If you like to write, and find yourself in the fortunate position of being able to obtain either a 10.5 or 12.9” iPad Pro, do yourself a favor and spring for the Smart Keyboard.
I have gnawing twinges of guilt over buying the iPad. (This despite the facts that 1. paying for the iPad involved and obscene amount of Best Buy gift cards stockpiled by my wife throughout the year—Pro-tip: You can only use 15 methods of payment per purchase at Best Buy, and each gift card counts as one method—and 2. we waited until Best Buy had discounted the price by $125. So, yeah. It came relatively cheap.) But none at all over buying the Smart Keyboard to go with it.
It should be noted that this post was composed entirely in my bed, written in Ulysses, edited and published in the WordPress iOS app, and typed up entirely on my Smart Keyboard.
It should also be noted that my Smart Keyboard stopped working, briefly, while writing this post. It’s the first time I’ve had that happen, and I suspect some sort of user error was involved.
Still. Life’s funny like that.
Now, if you’ll pardon me, I’ve got lazy typing to do.
Edited November 6th, 2017, to link up the art supplies. Updated November 22nd, 2017, to note the passing of Gumball on November 21st. R.I.P., Gumball.
This was actually drawn on the 24th of last month. I sat down to draw with a purpose in mind: To make a suitable graphic for my next post on Medium. I ended up drawing an octopus, which, frankly, happens more often than it should.
I’ll probably never post about octopuses on Medium. I can’t swim, I’ve never owned a salt water aquarium, and Gumball at the Aquarium of the Pacific is in hiding every time I visit—so all I know about octopuses I’ve learned from reading what someone else already knew.
I divided the art board roughly in half—both horizontally and vertically—with a t-square, traced the inside and outside of a triangle from a few positions at every innermost corner, and made circles with a compass at random intervals.
This was my first time using a Derwent Graphic Pencil, and possibly my first time using a 2H. I’m not a big fan of graphite, but I liked the feel of this pencil, and I’m hoping to give the 8B that came with the set a run once Slowvember runs out. (I also had to check out Wikipedia’s information on pencil grading, because—again—not a big fan of graphite.)
Once I was done playing with the drafting tools, I began inking the lines that I was sure I wanted to keep and use. The obvious shapes were a flat, jagged, mountainous form and a 331⁄3 RPM vinyl record, the latter of which could easily be mistaken for a sunrise or sunset.
The challenge, then, is to take those conspicuous shapes, use them, and find a way to make them become more than what they obviously are.
One objective I want to accomplish with this project is to make a piece that will be simple to mat and frame. I have not just a tendency, but a compulsion to work to the edges, so, on the rare occasion that one of my pieces gets framed, there’s a professional framer involved.
This was my primary motivation for using manga board: The guides around the board’s perimeter necessarily constrain me, forcing me to be conscious of, and work within, the established layout.
I inked over those rules and numbers with my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen, taking the black to the edges. And, since frames were a part of my thought process, I inked the outermost section with old, dried-up, gold ink from Winsor & Newton. It was thick and clumpy, and provided great coverage when applied with angled synthetic brushes.
I still haven’t landed on an actual concept for the project, but I know what my next step is, what tools are involved, and that it will be important to this piece’s discovery process.
I’m so tickled! I entered a giveaway to win a set of orange-handled Kyocera knives through Facebook. I didn’t expect to win. In fact, I was suspicious when I got an email telling me that I had won and asking for my home address. And I was still surprised when UPS delivered the knives, but look! There they are, in all their orange and white glory, on the table on the high veranda!
The set would be a perfect gift for my wife, since she loves Kyocera knives, and orange is her favorite color. Alas, I was brought up with the superstition that giving knives as a gift would cut the relationship between the giver and the recipient.
I love my wife more than I love either gift-giving, knives, or orange, so this set will have to settle for being mine, and for simply being perfect.
Thank you bunches, Kyocera! Both for the knives and for inspiring the awful pun up top!