Saturday, March 24, 2012

Outside: magnolia

Magnolia, oh magnolia, you dear dear bush...

As I have mentioned before, here in Michigan when the magnolia finally blooms it then usually immediately snows. So, the bushes look fabulous for about a day, and then they are covered with snow and turn all brown and sad looking... and then all the petals fall off in a spectacular mess.

Well, we had 80˚F weather here for a week in March, so, I got my time with the magnolias.  It is a balmy 53˚F presently as I type this.  It rained during the night and the forecast predicts more rain. So, there-yah-go — we had our brief week of spring, and now it's back to weather as usual.

brief almost connected to the post musical interlude: Grateful Dead "Sugar Magnolia"
I was never a Dead-Head, per se, but "American Beauty" is an album that I happen to own. I'm one of those people who usually buys an album for one or 2 songs, and then eventually ends up listening to the entire thing, and well, I become fond of all the songs.  And "American Beauty" was one of those albums that followed that pattern. I'm pretty sure I probably bought it solely for "Sugar Magnolia." But I became quite fond of "Ripple," "Till the Morning Comes," and "Operator." But actually it was "Box of Rain" that I became completely smitten with. (Oh, and I'm pretty sure everyone has heard "Truckin" and "Friend of the Devil," unless, like, you live under a rock or were born after 1990)

Anyway, I could put "Box of Rain" on repeat for hours, I love that song. So, you know, buy the album, you'll eventually find all the good songs.

Anyway, as it is every year with the magnolias:
—Robert Hunter

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

so beautiful or so what

So beautiful or So what? So, I'm a little behind on my musical releases... that's just kind of how I am. You know what? I didn't go out and buy skinny jeans whenever those became "stylish" again. It is what it is. Right now I have this song —  so beautiful or so what — stuck in my head. So, that's so what.
Truth be told, I just took a shower. So, as I type this I'm waiting for my hair to dry.  Normally, I default to TRESemmĂ© shampoo and Pantene conditioner.  I'm a creature of habit. But every once in a while one must be adventurous, or just wash all the residue out of one's hair. So, I liked the way this smelled. Yes, as a consumer of hair care products, these 2 Herbal Essences products had all the necessary marketing tricks:
√  purple stuff comes out of the bottle
√  the bottle is purple
√  alleges to smell like "wild cherry"
√  use of the word "orchid"

Okay, so I actually think it kind of smells like grapes. But, well, it made my hair all snazzy when I used it. In the event that it's not apparent — violet (and by proxy all purple derivatives) is my favorite color. I love cherries, and I have long curly hair.
I also like cake. Strawberry with cream cheese frosting... mostly because that's what I found in the cupboards. Mmm, cake.
I decided, on a whim, that I wanted to do some watercolors... which might have something to do with the sudden influx of watercolors to my sarahknight etsy shop.  You know, when I list them I have to leaf through the pile and make sure that I've scanned them, and then I'm probably day dreaming about my fantasy house with all my paintings on the wall or something.
Anyway, yesterday  when I got home from work I sat down and caught up on the last 2 episodes of Californication and cleared off a good area on the floor in order to get out my case of paints, the box of watercolors, the box of gouache, the set of gouaches, the watercolor palette, the gouache palette, the bowl of salt... and then I spent a good 10 minutes cleaning up paintbrushes so that I would have something with which to fling wet pigment at the parchment...

I highly recommend Californication as a series.  I always enjoy being surprised by the plot twists on this show... and like Hank, I can't exactly say I have any fondness for Tyler...
I painted 14 yesterday, and four so far today. And now I'm waiting for them to dry. That's probably the hardest part.  There's a difference between the way they look when they're wet and how they look when they're dry. And even though I've been using this painting technique for 12 years — there's always an element of surprise, and it's usually the good kind.  I already scraped the salt off the 14 I painted yesterday, and it's going to be hard to not put most of them in the "keep pile."
Some notable keep pile escapees... here, and here, and here, and here...

It's unseasonably warm here in Michigan right now. A couple days ago I got my bike out of the shed and pumped up the tires. The first ride after the winter lay off is always the toughest... anyway, the crocuses have already bloomed, and now the daffodils, the forsythia, and the magnolia are going at it. I'm convinced it's going to snow tomorrow, even if the calendar indicates that spring has now begun.

Anyway, I recommend having a nice slice of cake and then going out to wander about and look at all the springy things popping up here and there... and maybe catch up on some Paul Simon too.
: )

Saturday, March 17, 2012

love is like jazz...

I think I heard this song on the satellite radio at work, or maybe on one of the music channels on the television... because, as much as I am remiss to admit this, I haven't exactly just turned on the actual radio in a while. Anyway "Love Interruption" by Jack White. Oh. My. God. I am infatuated with this song.  I think the first arc of the infatuation was trying to figure out that the hell he was saying in the chorus, because I'm a tad deaf like that (there were a lot of hearing tests taken multiple times when I was a kid)... but after figuring out that it was "I won't let love disrupt corrupt or interrupt me" — I still have a desire to play this song repeatedly like a 12-year-old hopped up on the Bieber-juice. So much so that I looked to see if the album was available in a store, and then subsequently checked Amazon. Evidently "Blunderbliss" is available on April 23/24...
Yeah, I'm old (32), I still buy cds. I like having the actual thing.

I'm a casual Jack White fan.  I'm not exactly a devotee, I don't think I'm hipster enough for that.  The White Stripes were something that had to kind of grow on me... because Pink Floyd really does take up a lot of the oxygen when it comes to the atmosphere of my favorite bands (well, that and Dylan, Zeppelin, Cat Stevens, and Everclear...). "Elephant" was actually the first White Stripes album I bought.  I also got the next 2 White Stripes albums, plus the Dead Weather and the Raconteurs records.  So, when I remember some time in April, I plan to buy this one as well.
Anyway, until then I'll just be playing that video on repeat and letting the serotonin take over my brain every time it comes on that station at work...

Aside from saying that "Love Interruption" is just a damn cool song with interesting lyrics, an engaging lyrical structure, and an perfect harmony of sound, I really can't tell you anything about it beyond the fact that really, I like it because it's cool. So, I suppose the same model that applies to the way I like a song also applies to the way I produce work sometimes. 

I apparently made this painting on 4 August 2011.  According to the calendar, that was a Thursday.  And, vaguely, apparently I did actually blog about it in the abstract.  But I don't really remember making this painting, like what I was thinking or what I was 'watching' on tv at the time — in that most things are made while I sit in my living room in front of the television while my eyes and attention are on whatever I'm making... So, I guess I was playing with gouache for one of the first times, and obviously salt and watercolors, but nothing quite jogs my memory to the specific moment when I made this.  Given the cumulative amount of random things I remember at any given moment — having no recall of precisely painting this painting amuses me.

But I like it, because it looks cool.  It's the wrong answer to give in an art school critique, but it's the simplest answer. Technically, it doesn't look cool; in that the individual and overall tone of the colors is warm, but, well, sorry Paris Hilton, I'm not one of those people that wanders around and exclaims "that's hot." So, yes, I'm declaring that I think it looks cool, which I guess might be me being egotistical, but well, I'm actually not completely neutral when it comes to the things that I make, and I like some of them more than others... that's why there's a keep pile. Sadly, I cannot keep them all. Well, I guess I could, but no, I can't.

I didn't get much made this week. Some weeks are more productive than others. I mean, redesigning my business cards doesn't really count as making something? Does it?
Maybe it does...
Watching Tabatha Takes Over, Criminal Minds, CSI (yes, I have a little girl crush on Spencer Reid too), and WWE Raw, probably ate up a couple hours of time as well. It can't all be Supernatural and Grimm all the time. Besides, the Rock sang for us. Yeah, I will never understand the appeal of John Cena... Rock 3 / Cena 0. That's all I'm sayin' particularly in the event that anyone was keeping score. Yeah, I know you weren't. Yes, I know, I know, people, the outcomes are pre-determined as we say.

Anyway, after 15 years with the 19 inch RCA, I finally bought a new tv. So, uh, now I guess I have to get that thing of the box and figure out where the red and yellow and white chords go. I figure this should be fun, and by fun I mean unnecessarily difficult. I guess that's really my project for this weekend.

*Update! I have now stepped into the 21st century! The television is assembled and functional. Woo-hoooooooooo! It's time to break out the cream soda and the pizza or something, or finally get around to watching The Rum Diary now that Johnny Depp's face will be life-sized.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

the lost post...

The weekend seems to have whizzed by without a blog post... whoops.
Which is funny, because I spent a lot of time sitting in front of the computer. But I was typing, and well, screen captures of text just aren't that dynamic when it comes to blog posts...

I did, however, go shopping. I mean, I went shopping to buy conditioner and garbage bags and napkins... and somehow ended up in Hobby Lobby. Yeah, I have no idea, right? ; )
Anyway, I snagged the remainder of these 2 bolts of awesome fabric.  Ecograda Rose on the left & Ecograda Lattice on the right.  If I've never mentioned this, I love gaudy retro floral patterns and color schemes from the seventies.  I have an entire stash of what I think of as "future curtains." You know, for that window-licious house I'm going to buy when I win the lotto one of these days.  These colors & this pattern were just too much to pass up.

I have plans for new things in my "sarahknight" shop on etsy coming up in April.  This is one of my projects...

And I've been working on sketches of people... actually, I've been working on this project on and off for a couple of years now. I already have an entire sketchbook of "the girls." I just need to find the time to actually get past the sketching phase of the project and move on to the next phase...

In the mean time I immensely enjoyed Archer this last week. Katya as a cyborg was priceless.
However, I think Grimm left a bigger impression on me. I may have already copped to having a school girl crush on David Giuntoli. And really, who wouldn't? Just look at those sparkly baby blues.  Which reminds me of one of my favorite Jackson Browne songs... yes, that was a non sequitur.
Anyway, last Friday's episode was The Plumed Serpent. I think maybe it should have been called, "wow, that is a lot of shirtless Nick Burkhardt," but, you know, that's me. And, yeah, there was a lot of shirtlessness there.
: )
Not that I'm complaining.

Oh, and OMG, there's a tumblr called MONROELICIOUS, ha! The things you find when you google "shirtless Nick Burkhardt."

Anyway, hope everyone is having a good week :D

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Picture Story: Christmas ride

The picture that became "Christmas ride" is another of the sketches that I had started in August 2011 while sitting at the art walk.

The original idea of the sketch was to have the deer — with ridiculously long legs — going off the picture plane. It was supposed to be abstract in that way.

Well, by the time I had printed it out as a blue page to be inked - the deer was no longer tromping off the page.

In fact, by the time I colored the deer — it had a new stranger kind of perspective.  The funny thing is — this was one of the first graphics I actually started working on a colorized scan of as it pertains to the calendar graphics, but I kept waffling on finishing it.

 Anyway, I got the colorized / colored-over drawing of the deer all scanned into photoshop and cut the scan and got my composition file ready — and then I needed a background.
Now, since the deer is leaping through the air and I intended for this to be a wintery / Christmas-y graphic (because it was the graphic for December) — I needed a sky. And because I was in a rush, whatever plans I may have had to create something specific to this picture were dumped in favor of using something I already had.

My starry sky was originally created for "violet night." It's also the starry sky that I used in "deer in the winter woods." But I wanted a more subdued version, so I used a layer of color over it.

I also wanted my sky to look more like a sky and less like a flat patternesque plane — so I selected a sky photo to superimpose over my stars.

And then, because it's a winter picture — I added a layer of my snowflakes.

The girl wasn't originally a planned part of the composition.  But looking at the deer over the sky in my file — it was just missing something. Now, eschewing the normal process, I actually just printed out a super-lightened copy of my deer and literally — with a pencil sketched the girl onto the composition. I inked that with a very thin-lined pen, and then colored it with prismacolors. I scanned that drawing into photoshop, cut the scan and added it to the file.

And, voilĂ : "Christmas ride"