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I walked down to the pool today to sketch for some illustrations, and as soon as I got there, it started to rain. At least I got some exercise in, I guess.
I wish it was time to show you my Helmet entry for greengreenyellow.com. :)

But soon! Like... next week, I guess. Still, I wiiish it was N-O-W.

I think I'd like to make a "dream" picture for ChildrensIllustrator, but I haven't had the chance yet. I'm way behind on that, and it makes me feel just terrible... it's my other favorite art group thing. :(
I'm trying to let the buying season inspire me to add more stuff to my website. Most notably so far, I've just opened an edition of prints of "He Dreamt Not of the Feast."

www.likeahouseonfire.com/shopo…

Kinda fun. And I'm working on some new little things, holiday accoutrements, that may be pretty cool once I get them all sorted.

How is everybody's pre-Christmas hysteria coming along so far?
I'm really enjoying GGY. I feel like it gives us all something really great to do together, and as for participating, I think I'm getting some really good practice in as far as getting things polished and ready to present to The World. I recommend a collective, I really do. As a matter of fact I recommend this very one.

Working full-time now in Atlanta and loving it. Doesn't leave a lot of "free time," you know, for "art" and things, but now that I'm starting to acclimate I think things may get marginally less frenzied, and I might get a chance to do more.

Of course, with hobbies, the happier you are in general, the less you work on them. I think it's because you never feel bored and you can just sit in a chair and look at the wall and smile. So... that. I mean, I'm pretty happy, honestly. But I'll try to get over it.

x
  • Listening to: the oven. it's beeping. what does that mean?
I'm selling a bunch of tiny drawings off on eBay, including "I Come Here Every Wednesday" (www.deviantart.com/deviation/3…).

The eBay listings are here:
search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZkast…

Support independent art! See... nobody ever says that when they're only talking about $8. Sure, it's small, but it's an ORIGINAL!

x
  • Listening to: TV in the next room so I don't get lonely
  • Drinking: water! I'm being very good.
I do not — I DEFINITELY do NOT, nor have I EVER — been in the habit of giving out at least two business cards a week. They say you're supposed to. I probably manage more like five a year, including restaurant fishbowls. People who 'network' make it sound like a piece of cake, but how on earth can you casually hand someone your card without seeming/feeling like a pretentious weirdo?

Is there a trick?
  • Listening to: some classic rock thing
  • Reading: round ireland with a fridge
Maybe it's the semantics that are giving me trouble, and maybe it's shyness, but I can't figure out how one is to be an artist and be connected to any sort of network without coming into contact with other artists.

You are all artists reading this now, so I should explain before your feelings are hurt.

There is an Art World. There is a network of critics and dealers and tortured artists and their strained souls, tossing parties here and there with just the necessary amount of drugs and sex and gossip, and it's a lot like every other world except everyone thinks the world of themselves and no one is happy. Maybe my sense of this is warped.

I haven't seen that many Art Worlds. I've seen the one in my city, the one in my university, and the one in the movies, so I mix them all together, taking mostly from the things I've witnessed firsthand and adding in little bits from the others where they seem to help explain those firsthand things.

People really like that Art World.

I despise it. So what then?

I love creative people, and I love being around them and seeing their work.

I just do not enjoy tortured, strained souls or the circles they frequent. I don't want to waste my life around artists just to be one.

What is one to do? How does one hold out hope for one's own meager success in art and in finding kindred artists? The open invitations, the broad events, seem to attract the Art World. That makes sense. Isn't there some kind of social colander one can use to keep those characters at a distance and build a more pleasant microcosm?

Or isn't there?

Any ideas?
  • Listening to: silence
  • Reading: round ireland with a fridge
Where should I move?
  • Listening to: silence
  • Reading: round ireland with a fridge
Yeah, and besides being at work all the time and trying to straighten my life out... well... no, there is no 'besides.' Not yet. But that's what I'm working on next, in the straightening-out arena. Getting out more. Doing stuff.

My stuff's on display at City Hall right now and I'm really happy about that. I should be spending more of my time making up a schedule for it to have places to go, but I don't... and anyway I should be spending time making new stuff. I did draw that giraffe. But nothing much else this year so far. Man. That sucks. Oh, I did paint a small commission. I guess that's two big things.

And I made this stationery...
www.likeahouseonfire.com/newse…
[dA won't let me embed the picture. Why on earth not?]
...to peddle on my website. I'm excited to see how it does. I love it, but I don't write a lot of letters. I should write more letters. I should keep in touch better with people I never see. I'll put it on my list of ways to improve.

Also, I booked a trip for John and me to spend a week in Seattle next month. It's the single most independent thing I've ever done. I did my research and I paid my money and I made up my mind. I am terribly excited. I know absolutely nobody in Seattle, but it sounds like an excellent place. And it's very, very far away... that makes it interesting, too.

It's late and I've been very tired all day. I'm going to go to sleep.
  • Listening to: silence
  • Reading: kick me
So I've updated my website and taken a couple of extraneous things off dA. I'm not going to put anymore commercial stuff up here... I left two posters on because they were :+fav:ed and I didn't have the heart to take them off, but the rest are gone. They're in my online portfolio instead. It seems neater.

Hi!

Christmas is coming. The weather is about to break (in three short months, thanks Florida) and cool weather means festival time. Festival time means I have to have something to sell. And if I don't start finding more time for labors of love, something to sell is going to mean the same stuff as last year.

And that would be tragic.

But most of my attention has gone to sketches and odd drawings lately. So what I've decided to do is to frame some odd drawings and see what happens. Maybe people will like them. That would be nice validation, I suppose. That it's okay to create things that are close to your heart and feel natural and easy, and not put a lot of unnecessary strain on yourself to make something more elaborate, and you will still get a good response. I would like to learn a lesson like that.

We'll see, though. In the meantime, I'm going to try to plan some kind of real work too. And maybe do it on the weekends. Between birthdays coming up, then Halloween, then holiday travel and Christmas shopping, one wonders where one might find the time, doesn't one?
I have a meeting with a team of supplemental insurance salesmen in 72 minutes.

This is taking place at my New Job. New Job (along with my not-a-moment-too-soon departure from Old Job) is the source of lifestyle stress that has prevented my posting any new artwork of late. I actually have more free time now, since I get home from work about two hours earlier than I used to. But I'm still getting settled into New Job, and waiting for the proverbial dust to settle. This is also the reason why I have not quite finished the commission I expected to be done with a month ago. Fortunately, I was the only one who expected that.


So I was thinking I might try something new to, once again, bring me back into the habit of art and give me new inspiration. I was thinking I might go through my sketchbooks and pick out the most interesting pages, then self-publish those as a small art book. I don't know if anybody would want that. But it could be worth a try. Especially if it meant I could sell it at the Downtown Market.


The Downtown Market is a weekly outdoor event, which I realized just a few days ago means that it's probably summer there, even on Saturdays. So it's probably murderously hot. So I'll probably be very sorry I ever went unless I bring a whole cooler of ice. And sit in it.

I'm also looking at a new web project. Sort of a small one, maybe. A personal project with my two roommates. It would launch this fall. I'll let you know.

In all my life, even the 14 months I worked in a contemporary furniture store where everything is engineered to be super crazy practical and comfortable (well, half the things probably are, and the other half is engineered to have only one curve and look like a big foot or whatever), I have never found a work chair that I felt was comfortable when using the computer. Why do you suppose that is? This one is wobbly, and has arms that don't fit under the desk. That's such a common occurrence. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't rest my arms on the armrests when I'm typing. And when I'm not typing, I still don't. So I'd much, much, much, much, much rather be able to pull my chair in as far as I want without interference than rest my elbows in between pageloads. What's with people? I want to know.

[time passes...]

Well! I began quietly investigating the other chairs in the office, when my boss suggested I run down to Editorial and steal one of their chairs. Apparently they're never in there anyway. And I believe it. Because the lights were out. So I picked up my chair and marched it down the hall and sat in all the Editorial chairs, none of which wobble, and one of which was even already set to the height and tension that is perfect for [clearing] my desk. Now, yes, I could have adjusted those things myself. If I knew how. But I believe it's much more practical to go steal someone else's chair than to crawl around beneath your own trying to acquaint yourself with its knobs and levers. And you can quote me.

Not that I can see why you would.

I must remember to inquire about that gym membership. Regarding "inquire," I always felt the distinction between "inquire" and "enquire" was one that was being kept a secret from me, as no amount of, er, inquiry really gave me any clear understanding of which was meant to be used when. But I looked it up just now and evidently "enquire" is "chiefly british." Which means it's the same word. Imagine that!

I looked it up in a Widget, because at New Job, because I'm working as a graphic designer and not a compiler of financial reports, they make me use a Mac. (It's really nice and the screen is huge, but at the end of the day, it is a Mac. More on this later.) On this Mac, I've got something called "Dashboard," which I don't need but can't figure out how to close. On that "Dashboard," I have "Widgets," and one of these Widgets is a Webster dictionary/thesaurus. Handy! So just now, I opened up a browser tab and typed "webst" before I realized it would be faster and easier (...) to use the Widget! Here's why I'm telling you. My Widget had a word in it already, from someone else who used my computer lately. The word being looked up? "Blatantly."

Interesting, I thought.

Now, about this Mac. First of all, I brought my own USB mouse so I could have buttons. Until I did that, I thought it miiiiight be hopeless. But it's all right with buttons. Plus I haven't been using the computer much at home. That really helps me to adapt. I noticed last night at home that I was pressing Alt a lot instead of Ctrl, which is, unfortunately, a sign of improvement. Do you know why I hate that so much? Because it's arbitrary and deliberate. There's no reason Apple had to switch around the three most-used keys on the keyboard. Hate. I wonder if I can customize my Mac keyboard and switch the Command and Control keys?

Also, most programs on this computer don't understand what the Home and End keys are for. This is an immense and everlasting frustration.


Mostly I was just going to post about the sketchbookbook idea. I guess I've got a lot to say.
You're an artist. Tell me, how do you keep from becoming distracted by the ultimate fate of your artwork? I mean, it's nice to be aware of your goals and stuff when you're working, but do you have any tricks for blocking the nagging voice that reminds you not to stray from the path to those goals, since straying is the very essence of art?
I just uploaded a handful of sketchbook pages to my Scraps to show what kind of stuff I've been thinking about lately. Mostly human faces. Seems like that's what interests me most lately. I feel I'd like to perfect inventing faces so I can go back to messing them up, but in a very calculated way.
I already updated my likeahouseonfire.com blog, which I never do and have to make a point of doing once a week from now on... I already made many of the phone calls I have to make... I already looked at everything on my devwatch list, and searched a bunch of random things, and browsed a bunch of random things... and the only things left for me to do until six or seven are the

THINGS

I'VE

BEEN

PUTTING

OFF!!!!!

...damn it.

I have an idea for a site that I think would be fun for artists like me and you but there's a backend coding part I don't think I can do on my own. Too complicated, too databasey. But I don't have money to offer anyone so I won't ask for help. So it won't happen soon and it might not happen ever. Which is why I'm not telling you what it is. I don't want you to miss it when you find out it isn't real.

I'm going to... do some of my... job work now.
Speckblog is holding a series of raffles to benefit cancer research.

Each $5 donation to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer gets you one raffle ticket to win the prize of the week.

This week the prize is me: the winner gets his or her pick of mini-prints, cards and t-shirts from the likeahouseonfire.com store.

More importantly, it's cancer research. I hope you will consider donating whatever you can.

Speckblog Cancer Research Raffle.
I never properly thanked the people who helped me back in February. I felt much more confident in the choices I made for Combined Talents with your opinions behind me, and as always, I deeply appreciate your attention.

My rejection letter came the other day. I tossed it in the pile for my scrapbook. That puts rejections at a solid 66.67% of all applications. But out of three, that ain't bad.

Mind you, I used everyone's comments for the application I submitted the following week, and I was accepted into that show. That's very exciting. In a way, the rejection letter is exciting, too. I can't really put my finger on that one, but it is.

Today is one year from the day I signed up for DeviantART and I like it. This community has provided some of the most reliable and helpful feedback I've ever gotten. Way better than critiques used to be in school. Way better.

In school there used to be this one guy who was an average artist and an exceptional student (which is almost an embarrassing thing to be in the context of art college) and at every critique, he would begin by saying, "This is a really good start..." It pissed me off. One day he saw something I was carrying home, finished and graded, from another class, and he told me it was a good start. I knew he meant well, but I wanted to slap him in the mouth.

That's how I learned to be careful not to repeat buzzwords in my critiques if I can help it. It's terribly insincere.

There was another girl in school that I quite liked, and who was a talented artist but a very shy girl. She was perpetually paralyzed by the prospect that the class wouldn't look favorably upon her work during critique. She was very intimidated. I told her once that she shouldn't worry and that she was much better than she realized. I explained my art school philosophy: that the absolute worst thing a piece could be is the worst in the class, and since I genuinely believed my classes were full of very talented people*, that still wouldn't even mean it was bad.

That made it worse and from that day forward she was petrified of being the worst in the class.

But if she had spent half as much time working on her projects as she spent fretting over how they'd be received, she would have been brilliant. Seeing her that way solidified in my mind the importance of blocking the concept of an audience, and always to work as though no one will see it.

I also learned to keep my stupid mouth shut and not share my philosophies.








*depending on the class, sometimes I had to add, "in their own way."
If I get four more pageviews in the next 24 hours, I will hit 2000 on the same day as my one-year DA anniversary.

I wonder!
I put this off waaay too long, because I had no idea what to choose: the deadline for FSU's Combined Talents show is tomorrow and I have to choose two pieces to enter. (I can hand-deliver it tomorrow, no big deal, but I need to burn the images to cd NOW so I won't forget.)

So... if you had to choose the two pieces from my gallery that are the most artsnob friendly—not the best two, mind you, but the two that the art world would most approve of—which would you choose?

I will be very grateful for any input at all. I am desperate for an outside opinion.

Thank you.
Happy New Year to you all. :)
There's a holiday art festival in a rich neighborhood in Orlando in two weeks. Well, three weeks, since it's Tuesday. Two and a half weeks. And they're accepting my application late because I hadn't heard about it until recently.

So I'm excited. I've never done a festival and I love holiday things. But part of me is sure it's a waste of time and money. Walking around festivals in the past, I always always always look at each vendor and think, "How on earth are you making your booth fee back selling that crap?"

Assuming that I am accepted, I'm going to take a bunch of framed originals, some framed prints of those emotive ink portraits I was into for a while to see if I get any commissions, and a bunch of greeting cards. I'm working on a set of Christmas ones. So I guess I'd better finish that.

Maybe I'll be able to sell off the last of poor Star Puppet.

I wonder if my boss will give me the entire week after Thanksgiving off. I don't exactly need it, but wouldn't it be nice?

If anybody has done a festival before, I will like you more if you tell me all about it and advise me about what to maybe expect.

I will. I promise.