March 15th, 2005


(no subject)

Website is back! E-mail is at least semi-functional! All is right with the world.

So today, briefly, we're going to talk about What Ursula Has Learned About Oils So Far. (I have done exactly two paintings, and started two others, so take this with a grain of salt, mind you.) This is probably fairly technical and may bore people who are just here for the naked mole rats, but if you lived through the squirrel opera, I figure you're bullet proof, and I know some people seem to find these helpful.

First off, oils like something with a tooth. I could be wrong, but they seem to like something with a little bit of texture to grab on to--they're behaving badly on clayboard, but wonderfully on gessoboard. (My mother backs this up.) Now, I prefer as little tooth as possible when I paint--I like clayboard more than gessoboard, and hot-press paper over cold-press, so this is taking some getting used to, but it seems to be true.

Related to this, don't mess with it when wet on clayboard, if you don't want to pull it right off the board. That was the big problem I had--going over something, it stuck to the brush rather than the hyper-smooth surface, and I wound up with bare board. (Mental voice: "Don't mess with it. You shouldn't mess with it. Okay, that's enough. Okay, stop now. Okay, you ruined it. Good job!") On gessoboard, all you risk is blending until something gets soft and murky colored, but the paint doesn't pull away.

Oils tend towards transparency (or maybe it's just all the Liquin I'm using.) Be sure the acrylic underpainting, if you use one, is where you want it, because there's a lot less leeway to paint over dark bits with oils unless you want mondo layers. I'm trying the latest without any underpainting at all, just to see how that goes.

Whites are less intense and blend easily into the rest of the paints when wet. Highlights may have to wait until dry. On that same topic, Titanium White should not be stiff and chunky. This is a problem. A big tube of Permalba white is a happy thing.

It is worth laying out 7$ for the little brush cleaner jar with the mesh doodad and the bottle of brush cleaner. God, is it worth it.

And that's what I know so far...

(no subject)

Being peripherally connected with webcomics and all, allow me to make the following observation about the current dramafest going on (which, if you don't know about, trust me, you don't want to know about, you're happier not knowing.)

Websnark is a good guy. I like him. I think he does a valuable service for the webcomic community. I check Websnark daily. And he likes Digger.

And that's really all I have to say.

Art woes, marketing, and generally being frustrated at real media

I find myself frustrated. Again.

At the heart, it's pretty simple--my digital skills, which I've been honing for, oh, let's say nine years now, are so far ahead of my physical media skills (which I've worked on, sporadically at best, for maybe four years, and intensively for the last year) that occasionally the frustration reaches up and grabs me by the throat.

It would be nice to say that I work with real media in order to stretch myself, for the challenge, to improve my art, etc, etc, ad nauseum. And when I'm not being down on myself, I'd probably say there's some truth to that. But there's a certain irony at work here. Digital art, which so often gets called soulless and fake and easy and whatnot, is a purer art for me. I do digital art to match my vision.

I do real media largely for the money.

Seriously. The sales of originals, since I began working extensively in real media, has more or less doubled my income in a year. That's not something I can scoff at. It'd be nice to curse the establishment and vow to follow my purely electronic muse, unsullied by such petty concerns, but as my readers undoubtedly know, ya gotta eat.

And to be fair, a lot of my little watercolors are seriously fun little things that are way better as watercolors than digital media. It's when I get into the mad complex scenes that I WANT to be able to do that things fall apart. I have the skill to put the scenes in my head into pixels, but bugger all if I can put 'em into paint.

I have had little or no luck with limited editions in the past, but I'm starting to wonder if it'd be worth it to try again--offer a limited edition jumbo print of digital pieces. $45 or something for a run of 10, jumbo size, say. Since an average price for one of my big physical media pieces is $450, selling out the entire run would be equivalent to selling an original, and there's still the small prints. It's a nice thought. Hasn't worked in the past worth a damn, and I'm STILL sitting on jumbo LEs of the cardinals from two years ago at half the price, but I suppose I could try it again.

I know part of this is pure frustration at current paintings misbehaving, and the fact that I am still learning about this new media. And I'm being rather absurdly hard on myself--one does not master a medium in four days. And tomorrow I will wake up with my usual natural ebulliance intact and fling myself back in the studio and abuse paint awhile longer.

But still, s'frustrating. NOT being able to do a scene at all was arguably worse, but there's a peculiar frustration in knowing that you COULD do it, if only you were working in another media.

And for now, damnit, I'm gonna go play Warcraft.