Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Friday, March 30, 2012

Should be asleep but have pencil in hand

It's 12:46 in the morning right now and I really should be tossing my weary body into my bed right now but instead, what am I doing? Fighting with concept sketches for group 4 of my bookmarks. I originally had the idea of doing something along the lines of classic tattoo art or pin up girls from the 1940s and 50s. Then had the idea of doing a combination of Alice in Wonderland/ Through the Looking Glass. Even as I started on the sketches, changed my mind again not even half way through. What did I finally decide on as a theme? Fairy tales! The first one is going to be Alice in Wonderland, followed by Snow White and the Princess & the Frog. Haven't quite figured out what the fourth design is going to be yet but I'm sure something will come to me. As 1 o'clock is creeping up ever closer, think that I seriously need to listen to my body and call it a 'night' so that I have some energy in a couple of hours to get some work done and whittle my pile of projects down a bit.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What is Rise of the Guardians?

I seem to have a strange pattern of activity when I get up in the morning which includes checking messages and seeing what new art had been uploaded to deviantART. Sipping my morning coffee I came across a comic called The Trailer by rufftoon and looked through it but realized I had absolutely no idea what the hell it was referencing. Reading the description, the artist mentions that the characters are from a movie who's trailer had just recently been released called Rise of the Guardians.

Watching the trailer, I have to say that I'm thrilled that Dreamworks is continuing with their high quality animations. Not only that but the fact that Santa has tattoos )which have an old world map feel to them along with elements of Maori tossed in) and a Russian accent, Easter Bunny has an Australian accent and looks more like a rather large jack rabbit, the Sandman has an almost steampunk quality to him, and the Tooth Fairy doesn't have the stereotypical tu-tu and tooth shaped crown but more of a humming bird form (which honestly makes a whole lot more sense in my mind for some unknown reason). The Boogeyman however reminds me of Hades from the Disney movie Hercules (1997) but more of what the character of Hades should of been. Oogling over the trailer, I'm reminded of the character in the comic with white hair and wearing a hoody so I decided to figure out who the hell he is. Come to find out he's Jack Frost. How does he fit into the movie? Is he on the good side or is he evil? Why does his early concept art makes him look like a spunkier version of Edward with 1000 times the personality? (oh I'm going to have so much hate from Twilight fans for that statement but honestly I really don't care) It really does make me wonder how the movie is though from the trailer, it does make me think that it's going to be fairly decent. For those wondering, it looks like it will be released in the US around November 21st, just in time for the holidays!

A New Beginning - Looks Promising

Went to my first meeting with the Elk Grove Artists group (EGA) this evening since I'm a new member and I have to say that it was one of the most entertaining night I've had in a long time. Met our new president for the year who was also in charge of the new website for the group who cheerfully welcomed me to the group. A couple of artists who I know were also there as well and were happy to have me within their group.

One of the subjects that was covered in the beginning of the meeting was a fund raiser that they wanted to bring up before discussing it in more detail in a later meeting. 

The guest speaker turns out to be a woman I know and haven't seen in several years by the name of Renu Lal who is an absolute sweetheart of an artisan. She does henna designs for a living and was speaking about how she goes about doing the designs and the history of henna itself being used. It was fascinating to have a fresh look at the art since I hadn't anything with it for several years. My funniest moment during the evening was when Renu pauses in her lecture, looks at me:

Renu: Wait.. Havent' I done you before?

Me: Yes you have actually. A few years ago.

Renu: Oh my goodness! How have you been??

The next thing I know, as Renu happily smiles at me, I suddenly have 16 pairs of eyes turn and look at me in surprise. Yes people, the new girl knows both your former president of the club and one of your members who made it to the meeting (not to mention at least 5 other members who didn't make it to the meeting so can only guess how much more in shock the others will be when they find that out). All I did was just sit and smile as the lectured continues. Afterwards, Renu ended up doing some henna designs on our group's president and vice president while she and I chatted and caught up on things before I took a seat and let her do a design on me as well.

It was so good to have such a warm welcome from a group who's members in nearly all cases are double my age. I think that I am going to be enjoying the chance to socialize and make more connections with them along with learning more about various mediums. I'm sure that I will be finding many more ways of improving myself and moving forward with my business with the help of the EGA group. 

March 29, 2012 (additional material) 
Our current group president was nice enough to go ahead and send me some of the photos she took of me and the vice president getting our henna done which I would like to share! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Coffee Review: Wild Hawk Coffee

I'm sure most everyone from Elk Grove has probably seen this little drive thru coffee shop at the corner of Elk Grove Blvd. and Elk Grove Florin Rd. (Across the street from the new library). There was a slightly smaller coffee drive thru at the very same location but with the revitalization of the area it had been torn down and rebuilt to the tiny establishment that is there today for Wild Hawk Coffee. I had always noticed that it seemed popular with business folks in the early morning hours heading off to their jobs around town or before they head up to Sacramento.

Finally getting a chance to go today while running a few errands for my own business, I was happy that the girl working allowed walk ups. Ordering a regular coffee, was surprised when she asked if I wanted medium or dark roast. The first thought through my mind was "Wait. I actually get a choice?? That's new". so of course I went with medium roast. Milk and sugar? Just a spot of milk (my personal preference so that I can cool the coffee down just a little). Of course I burnt my tongue anyways because I didn't wait for it to cool off a little before taking a sip. Oh well.

As far as the initial taste, it did have a bitter quality to it but it's not harsh on the pallete. Taking a few moments for my singed tongue time to recover, took another sip and was able to note the coffee itself was actually relatively smooth. How much did this 16oz cup of coffee goodness cost? Only $2.00. I can see now why this is a popular spot for the business person on the go.

Having asked the girl who was working at the time for the menu, I'm looking through it at the moment and I see absolutely nothing on the list of what they offer being above $5.00. The only thing that is above their average price is a 1lb package of their ground roasted coffee which is only $12.95. 

Looking at the menu and the prices now brings a the question to my mind. For the drinks themselves, the price is reasonable for the average person on the go but $12.95 for a 1lb bag of coffee? Decided to check out the company's website to figure out the reason and found my answer in their About Us section. They are actually a relatively small artisan roasting company based in Sacramento which only does business with some smaller farms around the world who practice "preservation of the environment" and state that they show the farmers who they do business with how to conserve and improve water quality. It does show that the company is not only is conserned by the quality of the coffee they use for their customers but the impact that the farms they do business with have on their respective environments. For the individual who is looking to support a local business and is wanting to be green, then they can probably reason with themselves the price compared to the quantity. As far as anything else on the menu, the price is good for the amount you're given.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Coffee Review: Chocolate Fish Coffee

After a couple of meetings that I had scheduled earlier today in the Old Sacramento area, I had wanted to check on some coffee shops in the downtown/midtown area for possibly being venues for my art. The place I checked out today was Chocolate Fish Coffee (located at the corner of 3rd and Q streets). It's only like 2 blocks away from Crocker Art Museum so though it seems to be a little out of the way, the location is nice and relaxing. Well I discovered that I wouldn't be able to have that as a venue location but I didn't want to make the trip a total waste so decided to try out their coffee.

First up is their Macchiato. For those used to Starbuck's version of it, toss those thoughts out of your mind. I wasn't really sure what to expect when I decided to order it just to try it out and the gentleman behind the counter explained to me that they make theirs as authentically as possible which is closer to espresso shots in a tiny cup with a bit of foam on top. At $3.00 for this, I decided why not and go forth on this adventure. Once my name was called for my order, I was presented with this tiny cup with spoon on a saucer with a pattern on the foam to finish off the look. I was pleasantly surprised at the presentation, having only seen such thing in pictures from cafes in Europe. Carefully taking a sip, I have to say that yes there was an initial bitter taste (which may be off putting if you're used to the sweet combinations that Starbucks offers). What I say to those who may go "This isn't for me" just from reading that part of the description is to give it a try anyways. Strangely enough, it leaves a light smooth after.

Second up is their brewed coffee. Why review 2 coffees from the same location? I figured that not everyone is going to want to spend the money on a artisan coffee and would probably be aiming for just a straight brew without all of the frills. With the brewed coffee (costing about $2.40 for a cup), you get your choice of 4 different types. I decided on the Fazenda Esperanca from Brazil. Instead of many coffee houses that brew their coffee in large batches, the folks at CFC actually use a drip system and make each order individually in order to guarantee freshness and quality to each cup. While I was waiting for my order, I was chatting with the gentlemen behind the counter and had made the comment where I have had it in some places where the beans tasted as if they had been burnt in the roasting process. Oh the looks of horror that swept their faces at those words and commented that coffee, when done correctly, should never taste burnt or leave a bad aftertaste. With the Esperanca, it does have a light almost fruity flavor to it and was rather smooth. What I was really happy about was that it didn't have a bitter aftertaste like how many coffees do which just proves what the workers there were saying earlier to me.

Friday, March 23, 2012

WiP: Family Zodiacs (part 2-finish)

I'm happy to announce that I am finally finished with my friend's commission! As I had stated in WiP: Family Zodiac (part 1), this piece has a lot of special meaning for both me and the ones who had requested it. Also wanted to continue with the progress shots so that those who were wanting to see it from start and finish can see what happened since the last set of photos I had shared.

Start focusing on shading of the hair and skin. 

Working on shading and colors for all elements. 

Using salt technique on the background after applying another color wash to it for added texture.

Start finalizing the colors.

Use eraser on sections that have masking fluid, faint pencil outline to help make things stand out a little better, sign name, fight with scanner. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We're All Human

Working like always with YouTube playing videos in the background when Katy Perry's song E.T. comes on. It's one of the few songs by her that I actually enjoy so of course I like watching the music video. What always captivates me is the stunning make up she sports through the entire video as her character changes with each scene. Of course the very beginning of the music video makes me think of the Bioshock series for some reason. I'm sure that those who have played the games would understand what I'm talking about.

Doing a bit of poking around, I discover that the artist in charge for the makeup art goes by the name of Kabuki. Reading up on some information about him and the music video, I discover that who ever wrote the MTV blog entry on the matter described him as "an unimpeachable legend and GOD in the field". This completely put me off and caused me to pause in reading any more for several moments. As an artist, mind you in a totally different field, I'm all for uplifting and supporting some one's hard work but to describe them as a god? That I have a problem with. It has nothing to due with jealousy. It's the simple fact that artists are human and though we choose to ignore the fact that we have egos, our hubris can get out of hand. Giving praise for a job well done is all well and good but to go so far as saying a person is "a GOD in the field", eventually the ego is going to go through the roof.

Wanting a better idea of Kabuki's work, did a little more research. Admittedly as I looked at images of some of what he has done, his skills are indeed amazing but what bugged me is the fact that many of the examples I could find focus on showing his use of a lot of bright colors and fantasy based imagery. Of course the fact that he has worked with Lady Gaga and on Disney's Tron: Legacy probably didn't help. It took me a good while to finally find an image of his use of subtle colors on a fashion model. Of course that picture was used on some one's fashion based blog entry (called Zipper) from the fall of 2009. I find it a little sad that so many people want to focus so much on one aspect of his work and not his more subtle work which is equally as beautiful. He has wonderful work but would I describe Kabuki as a 'God'? No. He is just a man who is really damn good at what he does. Is there other makeup artists who are better then him? More then likely and I would love to see their work as well.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Hunt Continues

My hunt for a second gallery to show my work in continues. One of three I've recently emailed contacted me this morning to let me know that they were not accepting any new artists at this time. A bit disappointing, admittedly, but there is a small part of me thinking "Well they said that they aren't looking for anyone new at the moment but that doesn't mean they won't be accepting in the future". I shake my head at my own optimism sometimes. Had told a friend about the bad news and his comment was "Booooo.. their loss" which made me feel happy over the fact that he was expressing his support towards my art but at the same time made me think that well, there has been a lot of galleries as of late which have had to close down which has caused a lot of artists to be without a gallery so I was probably not the only one this particular venue has had to deny.

With one of the other galleries that I've contacted, at least I've spoken with the owner of the place and she gave me the news that she did like my pieces a lot and would be sending me an email. It's just the fact I know that she has been rather busy and hasn't gotten to responding to emails that makes me feel as if I'm just sitting here twiddling my thumbs. Even with the waiting, I can't help but hope I can get into this one because not only is it local (for the most part) but the fact that it does get a lot of foot traffic on a regular basis. It is rather bright and the art that is already there are on the colorful and whimsical side which I hope my pieces would work with.

The third gallery.. yeah I have no clue. I haven't received any response from them as of yet so I might have to go to their location on Saturday to go ahead and ask for information. I'm curious if I'm just wasting my time with this one since I've never heard of it before until I started my search over the weekend. The strange thing is that the street it's located on is known for it's various galleries. Guess I will just have to find out more information on it before I make a decision.

I'm starting to wonder if I should start looking towards the bay area and check out the art scene in the Oakland/Berkley area (and before some of you start laughing your heads off, yes they have an art scene). Guess I'll just have to continue my search and ask some of my other artists friends for some ideas. Have a feeling that a lot of coffee is going to be consumed before the end of this.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Coffee Review: Gevalia Kaffe Trad. Roast

Returning from a long day of meeting with folks (both customers and potential contacts for future business), I discover sitting on my desk a 12OZ (340g) bag of Gevalia Kaffee Traditional Roast Medium Ground. Surprised to see the yellow bag just patiently sitting there waiting for me, I quickly realized that my dad (after having heard that I was posting the occational coffee review on my blog to go along with my updates of business and galleries) had bought it for me to try out. Oh the gleeing that occured.

Opening up the bag (which I was thrilled to find is the kind that reseals), for some reason the aroma actually made me think of cookies. It's probably due to the fact it was such a refreshing and relaxing scent. Brewing up a small pot, I patiently waited before pouring myself a cup wondering how this brand tasted. I have to say, I generally don't drink my coffee straight but since I started doing my coffee reviews I have started drinking coffee straight first before seeing how it is after a bit of creamer added. I have to say that this is one which I would not mind drinking without any additives on a relatively regular basis. The flavor was mellow and not over powering. As far as the cost, if bought from the Gevalia website, it's running $6.99. A little high in my opinion considering the size of the package but understandable due to the quality of the product.

Coffee Review: Daily Blend from Steamers

I was at Old Sacramento, CA  today doing some business with customers who had arranged to meet me there in order to pay for the bookmarks they ordered from me. In between 2 meetings, had wandered my way over to Steamers (located at 101 K Street) for some coffee and decided on getting myself a small cup of their Daily Blend. Always being one who is a bit leary of the house blends at various establishments, I decided to ask and find out what it was for today. The woman working the register at the time was nice enough to let me know it was an Italian style. 

Taking a sip, I was surprised by its low bitterness especially since Italian style coffee to me always been rather tangy. Always being the type of person for just a little cream and sugar in my coffee, I added a little of each and was thrilled over the fact that seemed to enhance the flavor of the coffee itself instead how some coffee out there where you add sugar and cream and STILL can taste the bitter flavor. Price wise, the Daily Blend is very reasonable for those watching their wallets: $1.75 for 12OZ, $1.95 for 16OZ, and $2.15 for 20OZ. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wishing for a Little Luck

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone. I salute you with my coffee cup.

Spending my evening looking for another gallery in my area to get into but finding road blocks at nearly every turn. Mind you, I LOVE being a member of Blue Moon Gallery but I wanted to try to find a second location just so that I could spread out a little. Unfortunately a couple of good galleries requires a yearly membership (one requiring at least $65 for a single year). Wait.. let me get this straight. I have to PAY for you to show my work AND you get a portion of the money if it sells? I'm sorry but as a self employed artist, that just seems like a lot of money out of pocket for a year (technically less then a year now). Personally it seems that the only ones who are able to be in such galleries is either one of two types of people:
1) Someone who has a good paying job to help cover the cost of supplies, framing (if your work needs to be framed), and the cost of membership OR 2) Someone who is retired, well established, already known on in a broad circle.
That pretty much counts me out on both counts since my art is my job and I'm still considered fairly young in the eyes of the art world. As far as being known, my social network circle has been slowly growing and spreading out over the past years with participating in the art shows that the DeviantSAC group that I'm a part of and entering work into the yearly KVIE Art Auction for the past 4 years. Of course this really doesn't seem to mean much to some who want more reasons why they should choose me and my work which honestly just adds to the amount of frustration I feel in this hunt. Still going to keep looking though and keeping my options open.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Kinkos Chronicles - part 2

Well it's happened... a part 2 to the Kinkos Chronicles. Didn't really see this coming but with the fact that I constantly go there for some of my work to be done, I knew the chances were high and it was only a matter of time that something strange would happen while I was there.

March 15-16, 2012
While waiting for a friend who works at my local Kinkos to go ahead and make copies of my original bookmarks designs (currently working on producing group 3 which is a mythological creatures theme), I was simply leaning against the counter chatting to my boyfriend about our blogs when I make the off handed comment "..See your goal is to get your blog noticed where as mine is to eventually just get free samples of coffee so I can try them out and post blog entries about them". It was a simple comment, mind you, referring to my Coffee Review entry which I had posted earlier in the week.

Going about my business at the cutting station (which was squeaky as all hell), I must have been there for a good half hour trimming bookmarks so I could get them ready for lamination when out of no where a woman approaches me. She preceeds to hand me a post card sized business card as she tells me about this organic coffee her company was trying to sell which included an ingredient called Ganoderma lucidum. On the card itself suggests for me to call a number in order to request a free sample. This woman with her Turkish sounding accent then walks out of the store, not saying anything to anyone else in the store! Keep in mind that I never even saw her while I was first in there so I have no idea what dark and mysterious corner she came from but dear god that took me off guard.

Once home, I decided to check out what this stuff was and come to find out that the "powerful ingredient" that is in this coffee is actually an extract of a powerful mushroom which has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient China. Umm.. okay. I'm all for being organic and such but why put a mushroom extract into coffee? I then took a look at the website of the company this mysterious woman works for and come to find out that it's a world wide company who's main goal is to make people aware of the benefits of said extract and has put it in a variety of coffees, green tea and hot chocolate products. In all honesty I'm having mixed feelings about even attempting to try a free sample. On one hand I wouldn't mind the free sample because, well, it's coffee and it's free. But on the other hand, I'm feeling apprehensive about trying something from a company that it's website itself has it's opening statement in it's About Us section as "Organo Gold is on a mission, spreading the knowledge of Ganoderma to the four corners of the world. By using the cost effective network distribution system to deliver these Ganoderma products, more of every dollar is shared with our growing Organo Gold family world-wide". I'm sorry. Maybe it's just me but I can't help but get an Assassin's Creed vibe mixed with creepy tel-evangelical feel from it which makes me rather uncomfortable.

If my day hadn't already been strange enough, I receive a call while I was at home from Kinkos to let me know that they needed me to come back in with the originals of my bookmarks because there was a problem with the laminations where some of the bookmarks had gotten damaged. Hurrying over, I spoke with my buddy to find out when the laminator went down, some of my bookmarks had gotten damaged in the process. The good news was that he was going to copy and cut out the amount of bookmarks that needed to be replaced himself and that the remainder of my order had been shipped over to their Arden location to finish things up. So even with the delay my things should be done sometime today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WiP: Family Zodiacs (part 1)

Since I started my blog about a month ago, I have been asked by several of my friends if I could go ahead and include WiPs (works in progress) so that they could follow along with what I'm working on and get a sense of the steps I do. Well I figure why not and have decided to show what I'm currently doing for a client.

The story behind the piece is that a couple who I've been friends with since high school came to me while the wife was pregnant and commissioned a painting to done as a gift to the baby they were expecting this month. In it they wanted a woman with the symbol of Virgo on her arm being surrounded by a pair of koi that had the symbol of Piscies on their heads. I was happy to accept the project and agreed to take on their request. As it turns out, their son was born several months premature and unfortunately passed away due to an illness which his tiny body was unable to battle it. I had only gotten as far as the rough draft designs when I found out the news and found myself unable to approach them with the question of if they had wished me to continue with the project. I held back asking for several months until recently when March was getting closer. I didn't want them to think that I was asking because of the money and I knew that if they said yes, it would become my first memorial piece I've done to celebrate a tiny life that during his short time on earth had made such a large impact. Speaking with my friends, I was surprised that yes they did want me to move forward on the project. Not only did they want me to continue, but they wished me to add an extra element: for the woman to be holding a scorpian. I felt honored and wanted to make them proud so asked if I could add my own element to the piece which was to have the constilations of Virgo, Piscies and Scorpio in the painting as well. My friend gave me the go ahead and I started work on the final painting.

As you can see, I'm barely to the halfway point of this project but I'm really happy with the progress and wanted to share how it's looking. I'll share more at a later time to show how it's coming along.

The original concept drawing (left) and the altered version (right) for the project. 

Line art for the painting (which I erased I'm not sure how many times to get the lines to look right).

Used masking fluid on constellations to leave them white while painting. Base color of background painted in. 

Painting in base colors for the subject matters. 

Basic secondary colors added to base colors to start getting an idea of shading. 

Start working on basic shading for piece. 

Coffee Review: Hills Bros. OB Med. Roast

Had taken a small break from working and hurried to the store in the rain today to grab something for lunch when I realized I have only about an inch layer of ground coffee in the tin I have sitting on my desk next to my coffee pot. I was completely surprised at the current prices of the various main stream coffee brands. I'm sorry but close to $15 for a 33.9OZ (961g) tin of coffee?! Even the generic Sunny Select: Classic Roast ground coffee (which I have on my desk at the moment) is now up to $10.99. I was so horrified. My decision? Go for a brand that I've never tried which happens to be on sale.

Here's the what I picked up: A 26OZ(1 LB 10OZ) tin of Hill Bros. Original Blend Medium Roast coffee for only $5.98! Price compared to the amount of coffee, it was much lower then other brands at the same size which is a complete win since I'm a self employed artist on a budget. I was surprised that when I opened up the tin to try out a pot of the stuff that it's aroma was rather mild. Brewing up a pot, the flavor not as strong as I had expected which was nice since I've had some medium roast types which would be closer to a dark roast. Overall it's actually something that I would consider picking up again in the future. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Enter Mini Filing Cabinet

HUZZAH! I'm thrilled that my order from ThinkGeek.com came in today. What pray-tell did I get? A mini filing cabinet (so I finally have a place to store the business cards I constantly recieve instead of having them in piles here and there around my bedroom and office area) and a coffee mug with the caffiene molecule on it. Took some time to put the stack of business cards that I had on my desk away so that I could go ahead and keep things organized. Looking forward to using my new coffee cup!

Even the box just cracks me up for some unknown reason. I also apologize for the crappy photo quality of the shots. Had to use my older camera because the battery died for my main camera and I can't seem to find the charger for it at the moment.

Alright enough gleeing over the mini filing cabinet. I'm returning to working on paintings for DeviantSAC group and a client's commission. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Art Supplies, I've come for you...

I'm starting to think that I've been going to the Aaron Brothers in Elk Grove a little too long. How did I come to this conclusion? It all stems from the comments that two employees made this week while I was getting some markers for my current project and yes I know both of them.

About 2 days ago or so I had gone to pick up some markers and the first girl (let's call her employee 1) was training a new co-worker. Next thing I know she's telling the woman that I'm not only a frequent customer but that I knew where things were in the store that I needed so for her not to worry about me. Chatting with them as my friend rang up my purchase, I was being amused at watching her struggle trying to scan the markers.

employee 1: .. And as you can see sometimes round things don't scan.

me: I seem to give you a lot of round objects to fight with.

employee 1: Yes, yes you do. So usually she stands there and talks with us as she waits for us to 10 key each item. Well the total is $##.##, how do you want to pay for it?

me: Well how about $##.## on my card and the rest on this?

employee 1: OH GOOD! Do you have a check too?? That way I can train her on all three?

me: Nope! Sorry.. I don't have any checks.

employee 1: Darn it

Clue number 2 that I have been in the store for too long came to me yesterday when I had to do an emergency marker run for the project I was doing. A girl I had never seen before was working there and I asked her for some Copics since they were out of the colors I needed in Prismacolors. She gives me a confused look and has me repeat the request a couple of times before going over to her co-worker who happens to be one of my other friends (employee 2). After the first girl was reminded where they keep the markers, my friend smirks at me as she walks over to chat with me.

employee 2: Where have you been? You haven't been in here in weeks!

me: Yes I was! I was in here like 2 days ago but you weren't here.

employee 2: Wait.. 2 days ago? Oh..... I  had the day off.

me: See? You can't get after me now.

As I dug through the markers looking for the colors I needed, my friend ends up telling her co-worker how I had been there longer then she had been working. I couldn't help but stare at her in surprise when she blurts out that when she was first there, she thought I was originally some sort of spy from the company's higher ups sent to keep an eye on them because she couldn't understand how I was able to have the entire store memorized and knew what I was looking for. Great.. does this mean that I'm being compared to some sort of art supply stalker? Heaven forbid I bring up the other art supply store that I've been going to since the beginning of college back in 1999.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

March Second Saturday Aftermath

I have survived another Second Saturday and grateful for the invention of the chair. Had a fantastic evening at Blue Moon Gallery tonight and now glad to be home, drinking a bottle of Starbucks coffee as I update the Facebook page which I started and run for the gallery. We had nearly wall-to-wall people there for the full 4 hours of the reception so I was luck to get as many photos as I did.... oh dear god I just created an album with 100 photos of the reception. HOW?! Think my week is going to be filled with answering comments on the FB page. Yippee..

What really made my evening was that I had several people compliment me on my paintings, mainly Graceful Rainbow. Would love if someone would buy it this month but I'm not going to hold my breath though if I find out that it has found a new home, I will be jumping for joy.

Morning ramblings with my coffee

It's morning, feeling kind of grumpy for being woken up at 7 by having the house phone ringing. Think what really put me in a foul mood was that when I managed to answer the phone, what was on the other end? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Well I have a fresh pot of coffee so the morning is getting better as I try to relax a little before tonight's artist reception at the gallery. We're expecting at least 160 people/per hour to show up during the 4 hours of the reception mainly due to the fact that we are showing the works of 42 sculptors for this show.

So while I'm wandering the net sipping coffee (side note I seriously need to get some more because my tin is nearly empty), I came across this video clip:

A wonderful song in it's own right, originally sung by Lil Green then Peggy Lee in the early 1940s, I find myself appreciating Who Framed Roger Rabbit more and more over the years. Why? Compared to other animation/live action movies, the fluidness of the acting and action between the real and the animation is much natural feeling which in itself is amazing when you keep in mind that the movie was created back in 1988. I think it's the attention to detail such as shading, the movement of clothes and objects that makes me appreciate the movie.

In comparison, Cool World (1992) really is lacking the continuity (not sure if that's the word I'm looking for. Need to drink more coffee) that WFRR has. To me it really seems to be trying to cash in on WFRR's popularity and is lacking a lot of elements. When human characters interact with the animated characters, it seems forced and not even really believable. The acting isn't that bad but the fact that I can tell where actors are on a green screen and it just drives me mad. This is especially noticeable when Jack falls face first into the floor of the night club when he first appears in Cool World. The shadows other then his own is nearly non-existent and the lighting is honestly too bright for a night club. Looking at the animation itself, it's well done in it's attempt to show the various styles up to that point in history which makes sense since Cool World is supposed to have been around for a long time but something about the female characters seemed familiar. It took me a moment to realize that their art style is very similar to that in Wizards (1977).

Have a feeling that I'm probably going to make several people upset on this but keep in mind, if you will, that this is just my opinion; but as far as the three movies, I will always be a fan of WFRR and Wizards. There's just little things about Cool World that bugs me. Perhaps in the future I will watch it again but it will be difficult to not compare it to other films.

EDIT: One of my friends pointed out that Space Jam (1996)  wasn't on my list of live action/animated films, to which I apologize about. I have to agree that this particular movie is wonderful, not because of the actors and guest camios that the film had incorporated but the fact that they seemed to fix all of the problems that Cool World had. It was as if those producing it looked at Cool World and WFRR, looked at each other and went "Where the hell did we screw up and how do we fix this?" which is fantastic. Yes there are still a little bit of problems with the green screen but it's not as noticeable and in your face as Cool World. Animation itself is well done and they take in consideration shading of the animated characters with the lighting of their environment.

Some people may end up pointing out that WFRR and Space Jam can't be compared to Cool World because most of the first 2 films were taking place in the real world while Cool World was mostly in the animated world . No.. all three had elements in the real world and the animated world. The difference between the movies is that WFRR and Space Jam (when characters real and animated) are in the animated world, shadowing is still believable and works with all of the elements together while Cool World is lacking this which is sadly obvious in scenes involving real characters interacting with their animated counter parts.

Now it may seem that I'm saying that Cool World is a horrible movie, which I would like to say no I'm not. By itself, the movie has a lot of potential and a fairly decent story line but unfortunately the problems that it has makes it seem rushed and is holding it back. In all honesty, due to the fact that it seems to have things that weren't done it almost feels like it was a low budget production. This in itself is a bit depressing because there are several low budget productions that I actually quite enjoy such as The Princess Bride (1987), Robin Hood - Men in Tights (1993), and Van Hellsing (2004).

Friday, March 9, 2012

DeviantSAC poster for April show

Huzzah! We have our poster now for our upcoming April show! Been preparing for this one and still have to finish a painting for it. Also going to be checking with our mighty group leader to see if I can also have some of my bookmarks and such available at the show as well but not too sure if we'll have the room since there will be 8 of us trying to show work in a tiny venue. Guess I'll find out when I get there during our art set up day. Think this is the push I needed to finish the last bit of work I'm doing for this month but I think I should go ahead and crash right now for a few hours before I pass out on the keyboard. Think I will need to buy some more coffee soon since my poor tin of ground coffee is almost out. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Kinkos Chronicles - part 1 (?)

There's a reason behind this! Seriously!

With my constant visits to my local Kinkos establishment to get my bookmarks and such, random things seem to happen while I'm at the paper cutter trimming things or I will hear strange things from other customers' conversations. I figure that ever so often I should go ahead and share these bits.

March 1, 2012
While waiting for the paper cutter, ended up in a conversation with the man who was using it. Come to find out he runs a small business that sells various bbq sauces that he was describing of "flavor enhancers". Okay so it's not the strangest thing I've heard from a sauce maker but as I was listening him telling me about how he's started shipping his products around the world and starting to recieve emails from customers of how they've used the sauces. He brings up how one customer no longer uses the sauces on food, but instead drinks the stuff straight out of the bottle. And I thought my customers were unique.

March 8, 2012
Minding my own business at the papercutter trimming some newly laminated bookmarks and artist trading cards, I over hear a little old lady (perhaps 72 or older) talking to one of the employees while she was being assisted with making copies of some paperwork she needed. I then suddenly hear the following:

old lady: I actually don't have a husband.

female employee: Really? We can find you one.

old lady: Well that would be nice. Know there's a nice young man who works here--

At that point I turned to my boyfriend, who was standing next to me bored out of his mind waiting for me to finish my work and make the comment "When did they add 'dating service' to their list of options?"

A little later one of the other employees who has gotten used to my frequent visits (actually I'm pretty sure he's one of the managers there) was making his rounds and was joking with me as I was finishing up what I was doing:

male employee: Did you scare my customers away?

me: Nope.. but I think that I'm becoming a perminent fixture in your store.

male employee: It's okay. You're quiet and you know what you're doing so I have no problem with it.

me: And I give you money.

Gallery News - March 2012 Show

Looking forward to Second Saturday at the gallery this month. I'm sure we'll be expecting wall to wall people for this particular show. For those who may not know or have wondered why I seem to disappear for a couple of hours on the second Saturday of every month, I attend our monthly artist reception not only as one of the collective artists of the gallery but I also volunteer my time serving wine to guests, greet people at the door & have them sign our guest book, along with taking photos of the event to post on the Gallery's Facebook page (which I started and run once I spoke with my curator Carol Brewer about the idea to reach a broader audience).

For March, we proudly present a juried group show featuring the Valley Sculpture Artists. Come see this fantastic array of work by a group of talented sculptors at our artists reception March 10th from 6pm to 9pm. The show continues March 14th to April 7th. Don't miss the Awards Night for this juried show on Thursday March 22nd from 5pm to 8pm. The judge is Linda Gelfman, Art professor at American River College.

For an entire list of ALL 42 artists being featured at this show, please visit: http://bluemoongallerysacto.com/sculptors.html

2353 Albatross Way
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 920-2444 

My works that will be at the gallery this month:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bookmarks verses Creativity

As a continuation of my entry from the wee hours of this morning, wanted to do a follow up. Since I've had a few people asking me to post some work-in-progress shots of what I am working on, thought I should do a bit of a tease and show the rough draft designs for grouping three of the bookmarks.

I'll probably add a bit more detail to each of them as I start working on the final designs for them but as far as how they look as rough drafts, I'm pretty happy with them. Actually the idea for the first three came relatively quickly but that fourth one had been tormenting me for a good 3 days before I finally decided on doing a mermaid. Not too sure how many would want it though so I will probably go ahead and pose the question to my Facebook crew.

Now the next question I'm going to need to ask myself is after inking these, do I want to add color? Ugh why do I keep giving myself more and more work when it comes to something so small?

It's late & the coffee is wearing off

Here it is after midnight once again and I find myself still working on some designs for the third grouping of bookmarks that I'm planning on producing. I've come to realize over the past few weeks that during the day is when I do my painting (due to the natural lighting) and in the evening/early morning hours is when I work on my designs and filling customer orders. Anyhoo I digress...

I'm sitting here sipping on a cup of cold coffee since I'm too lazy to turn my coffee maker back on at the moment to warm the pot up again, looking at what I already have brainstormed so far and trying to think of what all I want to do with this particular collection. With each grouping I've done so far, I've had a theme of sorts for them so I figured that I might as well carry on that thought. The theme for this grouping? Mythological creatures!

Well I wanted to get the ideas of potential customers about which creatures they would be interested in seeing so I posed the question on my Facebook account, sat back and waited for responses. I didn't have long to wait, luckily.

Here's the list of what was suggested by my loyal crew of friends and watchers:

Lochness Monster
Big Foot
Mr/Mrs. Right (Not too sure if that suggestion would even count as mythological)
Sea Horse
Sea Monkeys (... I shot that one down pretty fast for obvious reasons)
Asian-style dragons
Dragon shrouded in lightning (Are you seeing a trend here?)
Dragonfly/lady bug cross breed (... WTF?!)
Dragon (I'm seeing popular vote here. Maybe it's just me)
Man/Bear/Pig (words escape me)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

YouTube Commercials

While I work, I tend to have videos and music playing from YouTube. Occasionally a commercial pops up at the beginning of the videos. For the most part, I find them an annoyance and totally throws off the groove of listening to a playlist but ever so often one comes along that catches my attention. I've only caught a glimpse or two of this particular one for the Cartier company so I finally looked it up to watch it all of the way through:

I find that though there are some things they could of fixed (such as tiny bits of timing for moving from one scene to another) but besides that, the commercial is visually stunning. The color scheme also helped with tieing everything together so that only specific items stood out. It's certainly an interesting way to call attention to the high quality products the company sells.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Technology Troll Face


How I love you when you work.

Dear god how I hate you when you decide to troll me and put huge delays in my work.

Let me tell you of my little mishap which has taken me away from my work today. The Kaspersky program (an anti-virus program for the computer) was on the verge of running out and I needed to install the updated version. I had let my boyfriend install it on his computer first since his had run out yesterday and today was the last day for mine. He goes ahead and puts the program on his with absolutely no problem. Oh joy! It's my turn! And that's where everything went wrong.

I let him go forth and put the program on my laptop. Everything seemed to be going along fine... UNTIL.. I'm sure that everyone is well aware with such programs, it is customary for it to restart the computer to make sure that everything was installed properly. Oh it tried to restart then decided "I shall screw up your entire day by not letting you log in and not tell you what the problem is". After several attempts to get the computer (which now has a HUGE troll face) to start, I tossed my hands into the air and took it to Best Buy to have them figure out what was going on.

After my bit of drama, I realized what the problem probably was. Unlike most program updates which go ahead and re-write an older version of itself, Kaspersky forces you to uninstall first BEFORE it allows you to install the new version. Since it worked fine on my boyfriend's computer, due to the fact that the older version had already run out, we didn't think that it would be a problem. Oh how wrong we were.

Luckily my father had brought home a new laptop earlier in the week so thought "Oh good! While my laptop's in the shop, I still have a way to do my work!"  The entire time I was plucking the laptop out of its box and peeling it out of the packaging, I felt so dirty as if I was de-virginizing this brand new piece of equipment. And just like all virgins, there were strange little quirks that I discovered that I had to deal with to get it to work. Unlike most laptops I've worked on, the power supply does not hook up in the back or the USB ports on the right side. No.. the power supply, USB ports and Ethernet hook up is ALL on the left side of the laptop. Why? I have absolutely no clue. Perhaps the developers thought that it would be a great way to screw with consumers.

At least now I can get some work done today.

Possible future project & strange requests

I admit that I have a growing list of projects that I want to do in the (near) future which includes creating a tarot.

[Insert foaming-at-mouth envy towards Shadowscapes Tarot (Stephanie Pui-Mun Law), The Archeon Tarot (Timothy Lantz), & China Tarot (Der Jen) for their beautiful decks]

I have had several people off and on ask me when I'm going to actually go release one for purchase and I keep letting them know that I eventually well. But seriously, that is 78 pieces of art I would have to come up with (79 if you include the design on the back of the card). It's no wonder it took Stephanie and Tim about 2 years to compile their work for their decks.

Within the past week, the subject of tarot decks with my art plastered on the hard card stock for people to look at and go "Ooooo" came up yet again. Even with all of that, I wasn't thinking about such things when I posted on my Facebook account a picture of some designs I was having available for pre-order based off of some older designs I had done.

One of my friends who I was having the earlier conversation with commented mear minutes after my posting "The Chariot, The World and The Page of Wands? ;) I like them a lot." I didn't even think of it until she mentioned it. Now I'm going to be paranoid of my other designs. In the same listing of comments for the picture, another friend informs me that I need to make a coloring book. A coloring book? Admitidly not the strangest suggestion I've recieved over the years (one of the oddest being that I was suggested to do a book of erotic art or pictures for a copy of the Karma sutra) but I find myself visualizing my drawings molding a person's mind as if it was a blob of clay. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Questionable decision making

Currently working on a client's project and sipping a cup of coffee (which is something that I find myself doing more often then I care to admit), I find myself puzzled by the strange taste sensation my tongue is trying to mull over. Earlier in the week I had bought myself a refill bottle of Coffee House Inspirations Coffee Creamer: Skinny Caramel Macchiato and had picked up the Skinny White Chocolate Mocha along with it. I had been using the Caramel flavored creamer a lot and happen to enjoy the flavor but in a blast of questionable choice making, I had the "brilliant" idea of trying out the White Chocolate Mocha. Mind you, the White Chocolate Mocha in itself is not a bad flavor.. if used alone in coffee and you gave your mouth fair warning. Unfortunately I added it to a cup of coffee which already had the Caramel Macchiato in it. The aroma nearly mimicking the scent of coconut sunblock greets my nose now each time I take a drink and my taste buds are questioning the taste of macaroons right now. I have a feeling it's going to be one of those days.

Salutations and pass the coffee

After years of debating and bouncing the idea around, I have finally joined the band wagon and created a spot to chronicle and share my adventures in my art, my business and my strange obsession with coffee or anything with some amount of caffeine. With any luck I will be able to make this an enjoyable (and perhaps comical) for my readers. In the meantime, please excuse the first few haphazard posts as I get the feel of things.