Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Another place, another face.

On Monday Mom moved to a different facility that will focus more on building her strength.
It was not the ideal place, but my uncle was here for a couple weeks a few years ago and they helped him recover from a stroke, enough to where he could be independent.
I don't expect that much from Mom but if she gets more mobility we can bring her back home.

It was difficult getting used to new surroundings.
I didn't sleep well on Monday night but Mom seemed ok on Tuesday morning.
I met with the staff and they were starting her on physical therapy right away.

I haven't found any free coffee. However, today I found the Wi-fi password.

The other day I painted mom's nails and brought her a bracelet, because I noticed that she has to wear all kinds of hospital ID bracelets, so a pretty one wouldn't be any more bother.

Today at home I made her a new bracelet that I copied from the Sundance catalog.
I don't have a picture of the original. No offense intended to the original, talented artist.

I noticed that it's hard to find oval, flat beads like they use, at regular craft stores like Michael's and Jo-Ann's. Everything is perfectly round.

This one took about an hour and a half.
I think if I get fast enough than making things, maybe will be worth the effort and materials that go into it... For now, though, they are just a pass time.

Tonight I drew another face in Painter, I copied it from a shampoo ad:
I had an idea to tint a face with different colors...

To start out, I played around with impasto patterns.

I added color but it wasn't exactly what I was looking for:

But I had fun with the textures in the background.
The good thing about doing it in the computer is saving at different stages.
Then potentially I could go back and go in a different direction.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Face in Painter

Sunday I didn't work, which meant that I arrived at the hospital earlier than usual.
I felt like I hadn't done anything all day (except for chores.)

I decided I was going to draw a face. I hadn't done a face in a long time.
I found an ad to copy, in a fashion magazine here at the hospital:

Recently I've been experimenting with Impasto tools.
I started out with a sketch in a colored background using one of the Impasto tools.
I didn't look at it closely until now.
It has some kind of rose pattern! Must have been Pattern Emboss, or something.

I added details using some kind of bristle Impasto:

That effect was kind of painterly, maybe do something in that direction another day.

Next I used an Impasto tool called Depth Lofter. It worked like a collagen injection!

After that I smeared and raised and lowered the depth of the Impasto using the Depth Eraser and Depth Smear.

I didn't use a lot of the Gloopy Impasto tool that I used on the flowers yesterday.
A little in the hair.

The proportions are off, especially the nose.
I need to work on getting it right the first time. Slacking off on life drawing...
An easy fix would be to Smear and smush everything into the right place.

Anyway, I have to get up early tomorrow, (Today) because I want to be here at the hospital when they move Mom.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Walking in the garden

Today I took some more pictures of flowers in the garden outside the church office, to draw in Painter on my laptop while staying with Mom at the hospital.

Mom might be moving on Monday to a less intensive-care and more physical-therapy place.
This hospital gave us a list of potential places she might go.
Some are better than others. We've heard really good things about a place in Fountain Valley.
My uncle went to a really good place in Tustin two years ago.
But it all depends on where a bed opens up.
I just saw the saddest article about a couple in their 80's that were forced to go to different homes:

I'm also nervous because each hospital has its own rules and accommodations for visitors.
In a big place like UCI, we could come and go almost anytime.

Here are some pictures of flowers in the garden, that I thought about drawing in Painter:

I ended up drawing the plumerias again.
I liked the way they looked using the Impasto tools yesterday.

I made a background again the fairy dust tool again.
Since the leaves were mostly in the background, I drew those first:

I remembered to save the work part way through:

Here is what I ended up with after pushing and pulling the Impasto:

Plumerias in Painter

Just to recap: I spend my nights at the hospital with my mom while she recovers from chemo.
I started bringing my old MacBook from college days.
I found an old version of Corel Painter. (X)
It's too hard to actually draw in my journal here, so lately I've been experimenting with the effects in Painter that I never really used.
It's awfully slow, but I'm not in any hurry.

Today I took a picture of some plumerias that the student/groundskeeper planted by the office.
I'm so jealous, he has the colored variety! At home I have only the white/yellow kind.

I asked him about the spitting incident last night.
He said he dodged the spittle, and that the police escorted the homeless lady away, but it wasn't enough to get a restraining order.

Today I really wanted to draw this with watercolor pencils.
I was very frustrated. I didn't think I would be happy with the results tonight.

I simulated the stucco background with a tool called Fairy Dust:

I always dreaded and avoided the Impasto tools in Painter. The 3-D effect was just too intimidating.
Today I was so upset, I used the Impasto tool anyway.

Pushing the blobs around was so engrossing that I didn't save any of the work in progress.
I used a tool called Gloopy Impasto and then used a Depth Smear tool to refine it.

In the end, like the cantankerous hospital security guard, it wasn't so bad after all.
Definitely going to try this out again tomorrow.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Typical weekday around here.

On Wednesday my mom had to leave the long term hospital to see her oncologist at UCI.
Luckily they provided the transportation.
At the same time, my dad was getting a colonoscopy at St. Joseph.
He had colon cancer and was treated last year and is doing well. This recent test came out well.

Tonight (Thursday), the very serious security guard was on duty at the long-term hospital.
I told her about some drug dealers I had been seeing in the alley.
We ended up having a conversation about security, which was clearly her favorite subject, and shared some anecdotes, so maybe next time she'll be more friendly.

Just now, at midnight they took mom to do an MRI.
Her oncologist wants to know if the chemo itself made her weak or if there is another cause.
This smaller hospital doesn't have an MRI machine so they brought the machine here.
I thought they would do it in a van, but in fact the MRI machine weighs several tons.
They took her to a huge 18-wheeler parked in back.
We got on a big, scary lift with nothing to hold onto, 6 feet up into the side of the truck.

It was a neat experience, but I didn't think it would be right to take pictures.

I did take pictures of flowers at work to draw them in Painter:

These flowers and many of my other flowers are from the amazing garden the student/groundskeeper has planted around the office.
While I was taking this picture, he called to say the unpleasant homeless lady had spit on him.
She was bound to snap sooner or later, since we got rid of her junk pile.
I encouraged him to file a police report.
When the lady spit on me 5 years ago, it helped to get a restraining order on her for 3 years.
I swore I wouldn't still be working at the church office when she came back...

It's hard to balance getting more detailed in my drawings, without getting too airbrush-looking.
Also i want to keep some hard edges, but not too mechanical-looking marks.


                                                              Not quite done but getting there.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Choir seminar at Christ Cathedral

A few months ago, I auditioned for a church choir that would sing on the major holidays.
I used to be in a church choir more than 10 years ago, but it disbanded.
I haven't really sung since then.
Somehow, this new choir decided to let me join them.

We just started practicing every other Sunday for the Thanksgiving service.
I realized I have a lot of catching up to do.
For instance, I run out of breath when I least expect it.
At our first practice, I got nervous when I had to sing a solo, and made a sound like a deflated bagpipe!

Luckily, the Diocese offered a seminar for choir singers.
It was 3 Wednesdays, and this was the last Wednesday.
It was just what I hoped for, sort of a voice lesson where we learned (or re-learned) the proper tone and shape for singing in the choir (instead of singing along to the radio)

The choir class was held in the Arboretum, the smaller, older building which was restored first and is now being used for church services.
(I don't know when we will be able to go into the big glass building.
They keep pushing back the date when the renovations will be complete.)

Christ Cathedral is an amazing, awe-inspiring place with gardens and architecture.
Even though I was pressed for time these past weeks, whenever I went there, I had to stop and stare.
That's the effect it's supposed to have.
I guess that makes it worth the price they paid.

I remembered to take a few pictures today. Lots of fountains everywhere.
There are also lots of startling, Hollywood-style statues.

Yesterday and today I worked on a drawing in Painter of some flowers growing outside the office.

It didn't really work for me. I blame it on the cropping.

I miss drawing with real paints, at home!

Monday, August 22, 2016

One hour to make earrings

Today I had one hour before work and I made a pair of earrings.

I copied these flattened wire earrings from the Sundance catalog.
(The Sundance company has great jewelry artists and I am not copying the design for profit.
You can see the artist profiles on their website.)

I used aluminum wire which is very cheaply available.
Here, I adjusted the length of the drop shapes by wrapping the end of the wire around the pliers.

Here are the parts I used, before I hammered them:

I changed my mind about the size of the round ring that holds the drops.
In the picture, I think the earring back and the loop are all one piece, which is clever.
I had to decide what size loop to use.
Here is what I ended up with:

In the end I would:
Use a different shade of gold for the center wire, this one looks too brassy.
Use a thinner wire all around so it looks less clumsy.
Bend and hammer the drop shapes more carefully.
I was going for a textured look because it was easy. Hammering them smooth is harder.

If I have time during the week I will do them over again more carefully.
I have to pass up a CPR class with my co-workers tomorrow morning, because then I would be too tired to function tomorrow night...

Painter again

Another flower in Painter again.

I had to go to the store and do chores on my day off.
I actually made it into my room where I make art, but it was only to tidy up.
Since I didn't work, I went to the hospital early to relieve Dad at his post.

Mom has been disconnected from her IV and the chest tube, which is good news. 
Maybe she will be moving this week, maybe to a facility with more physical therapy.
Home would be OK but the therapists will push her harder than we can.

I started out with a picture of a flower arrangement. I took it last year.
I'm running out of pictures on my hard drive that I would like to paint up. 
I need to go out and take more pictures! Especially to the beach.

I started out scribbling with a tool I didn't use much before, an Ink tool:

I didn't like it because it's one of those tools on Painter X that looks just like another tool.
I need to figure out how to vary the thickness of the line as I'm drawing it.
I know the program can do it. I just need to look it up...

Here is the drawing a little later. 
Blended with blender/Smear and Just Add Water and oil detail.

Here is what I ended up with:

I think I smeared it too much... Lost some of the spontaneity. 

That's one dang hard word to spell.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Some more flowers in Painter

Today was another day without any time to paint or play with beads.
I had time to go into the garden around the office and pick flowers.

I took pictures of the flowers on my desk knowing I would be drawing them in Painter when I went to the hospital later.

Mom is doing OK.
The head nurse today says we shouldn't spoil her, she needs to do more things on her own if she is going to get better.
Mom mostly sleeps, but when she wakes up I let her see what I'm doing on the computer.

I usually like a colored background, but this picture looked nice with the white cotton curtain:

First I sketched the entire thing with a large (30 point) oil brush tool:

Using the blender/Smear to get more details:

I worked on it 1 to 1 and the zoomed in about 2x to get details.
It's hard for me not to get too airbrushy.

I enjoyed this one more than yesterday's.
Using the blender/Smear is really fun for making glass effects.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Anything else

Today was a day when I wanted to be doing anything else.
We have two seminary students staying at our church for the year.
The business manager decided they will be working a shift at the front desk.
Today was my turn to train them. I did a lot of talking and didn't get much done.

I saw the homeless lady but she didn't come into the office.
Although the city took all the shopping carts away, the lady had found some more and was filling them.

I wanted to do some jewelry but there wasn't time.

At the hospital I looked through my photos and realized I haven't been to the beach all year.
I combined two photos to make a picture to draw in Painter.

I drew it the same way as the one I did last time.
I adjusted the contrast, and started with a sketch using a pastel tool.

I finished it up with oil brush, a blender and some Seurrat spots.

It still needs more details.
I got a little bored. I started seeing animal faces in the rocks.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The longest Thursday

I started my Thursday the night before.
Since I work nights, I go to visit my mom at the hospital from 9 until 1 or 2 in the morning.
She can't do much for herself, she likes to have help around.

Last night I started a drawing in Corel Painter from a photo of a sunflower.

I wasn't too thrilled with the results.
When I got home I looked up other artwork done with Painter.
I saw some landscapes that I liked...

Too soon, it was time to get up again.
I went to Catalyst to join other artists at Jacki Long's mixed media on canvas class.
I was late and the class was full! Luckily, they made some room for me. We got a BIG canvas.

I poured out some aqua and yellow paint, but I ended up using mostly the aqua.
Also collaged some papers into it.
It sort of turned into a mermaid.

Some of the yellow paint ended up on a wood panel that I bought at Art Supply Warehouse:

I was very impressed with the other artist's work.
There was water soluble graphite to use, and some of the other artists used it more delicately while I sort of steam-rolled over my sketch with paint.
(I didn't take any pictures but Jacki did and she will post them to her own blog in a day or two.)

On my way to work I noticed people in hazmat suits. Oh no, I forgot about the homeless lady.
It's a long story, but it involves having to temporarily relocate a homeless person who hoards things on our property in several dozen shopping carts.
She is allowed to keep her valuables, but she hoards things like food and after a year, it gets nasty.

The last time the church moved her things, she came into the office and spit on me...
I spent this evening worried she would come back on my shift, but luckily, I didn't see her...

Then it was time to go back to the hospital. Oh no, I forgot it was Thursday...
The hospital security guard on Thursday and Friday takes her job very seriously.
She can't seem to let me arrive or leave without saying something. One time she didn't think I should visit my mom because only caregivers can enter after visiting hours and I wasn't wearing a uniform.
The next day I dressed up more like a nurse and she ignored me completely...
I am dreading going past her on my way out.

I brought my laptop again and tried to make a landscape in Painter.
I copied a picture I took from a trip to Laguna Beach last year:

I poured a brown background. I made a sketch with a pastel tool:

The whole rest of the drawing I made with a blender (smear) and a oil brush (glazing round)

I was very happy with the way it turned out, definitely going to dig up some more beach photos.