Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Needle Case

This is my needlecase that I made, based on the pattern from Stitch and Bitch. My needles were lying everywhere, and kept getting lost. I wish I had done this earlier, before my cat chewed up some of my needles. It turned out pretty well, considering that it's my first sewing project, other than hemming up pants. The sewing machine I used was literally from the fifties and kept breaking down while I used it. It took me twice as long, because I kept having to fix it. So, I'm happy with how the case turned out, even if the seams don't look that even, and the thread's all knotted up in some places. I guess this will be the last finished project for 2005!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

What Looks Like Graffiti Could Really Be an Ad

What Looks Like Graffiti Could Really Be an Ad

I think the idea of graffiti style advertising is really disturbing. It's part of corporate America latching onto anything that's real and trying to ruin it with ads and brands. It's like they are trying to trick us, so someone thinks a real person painted the ads, or made the song, or whatever, and instead it's all part of some ad campaign to get our money and take over our lives. I hate it that the corporations feel like they need to advertise even more, when ads are all over the place in every surface of our lives, and now they need to go further and disguise their ads to infiltrate any non commercial area. The whole trend of trying to push ads into a lifestyle is completely disturbing. They just make some stupid product, and they want us to turn into our lives, where all the music we hear, the clothes we wear and every part of our reality is tainted by brands. All the stuff that's sponsered by a brand name is always worse, whether it's paintings, music, or whatever, because they are just cranking it out to get a profit. I wish that those companies would just stay away from that kind of stuff and not try to disguise themselves to infiltrate into underground movements, it's really sickening.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Rauschenberg Collage Art

I saw this article on Rauschenberg, and it was interesting to see where some of the current art ideas came from. I've seen this type of stuff before, where it's a collage with random things added in and the overall painting is like modern art. I don't normally like this type of art, because it seems too random and besides the impact of the colors and textures, I don't see what else there is to it. Here is an example of one that I liked, because it seemed more interesting than some of the other ones. I like the presentation of it too. The rest of the pictures I saw seemed too random, and unfinished. I like artwork that in more in between a detailed realistic painting of a pastoral scene and completely postmodern work, where there is a giant red square or random colors.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Progress on Mariah

I've been working on the Mariah sweater from Knitty, and have it almost halfway done. I have another sleeve to do, then I can attach all the parts, and I think the rest of it is knit at the same time. I like the cabled sleeves a lot, and this is the most complicated sweater I've knit so far. The pattern isn't really all that difficult, though. The only part I don't like is the stockinette stitch. It's too tedious, but it does go a lot quicker, so that's good. I also like this yarn a lot better than other stuff I've used. It's Patons merino wool and the color is peacock. It's has more green in it than the picture shows. All I need to do now is decide what I want to do for the collar, since I don't want a hood.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Watercolor Scenes

These are two paintings I've recently finished. The desert one was done with layering bits of aluminum foil in gesso, then painting over it. I wanted to do more with collages and painting, since that seems more interesting to me. You can create textures and atmosphere that's different from a normal painting.
The farmer is a painting I started a while ago, then didn't finish. The basic proportions of the guy aren't exactly right, because the orginal drawing doesn't look right. I need to practice drawing people from life more, but that is difficult to do, unless you can take a figure drawing class. Also, I need to find a better system of colors for skin tones, so they look more normal. But I've noticed that if you have a really stong orginal drawing of the person, you can use almost any color and it looks believable. So I guess drawing skills are as important to a painting than which specific colors you use. Whenever I finish a painting, I feel that there is some composition or idea that I just barely started in the painting, and I need to push it further to get there. I never feel that a painting is completely finished and is the limit of what I want to express. I guess that lets me have a goal that I'm trying to reach. I think the main thing I need to do is improve my drawing skills, and that is the least interesting thing to me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

See My Vest

I just finished this vest, based on the Knitty pattern. I used Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, which was okay. I still don't like that yarn much, but I seem to have a lot of it for some reason. It's too hairy or something and it's itchy. I also think it's too thick to work with the patterns I want to make. I think DK weight yarn might be more flattering. Also, the vest could fit a little closer, but other than that it turned out how I wanted it too. It was a lot easier to make than a sweater. I think the sleeves are what cause me so many problems, in how my sweaters fit. If they aren't just right, then they make the sweaters hang wrong. But this pattern was straightforward and it was quick to knit.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Art Musings

I thought of something concerning my artwork. I’ve been looking at the artist’s magazines and stuff that seems to be geared towards middle-aged people who want to paint landscapes and traditional art. I couldn't find stuff people my own age were doing, but now I think they just aren’t doing that traditional stuff and are designing stuff with recycled materials, or are doing nontraditional things. It's hard to find people doing stuff like that when you aren't going to art school or something. I just can’t find the people who aren’t doing mainstream stuff, because it wouldn’t be easily found. I don’t want to do that type of thing either, like landscapes, American flags, floral still lifes, or studies of houses. I want to do things that are more about me, with my own symbolism, or about social ideas, and the world. Painting a pretty picture of a house with a swing in the front isn’t interesting to me. It is much harder to get to things that actually matter to me, or to push the limits in a way I’ve never done before, or seen before. A lot of the stuff that I do still seems like I’ve done it before, and I can’t seem to think of a way out. It’s frustrating because it makes me not want to do anything, so it doesn’t seem like I’m improving. I expect my work to be up to a more professional level, and it always seems to stay on the amateur status. I was thinking I might change media again. I still want to do acrylic collages, and push that a little more, but I might try oil painting again.

I am just frustrated by how I can’t get the right colors in watercolor. It might have to do with the student grade paint I’m using, but it just doesn’t seem rich enough and I can’t get the shadows and tones right. Oil paint might be good for a painting I can work on for a while and get more details. Watercolor seems too difficult to layer, at least for me. But then oil paint is more expensive and I can’t store tons of canvases in my bedroom. I think I will try it though, just for a break from the watercolor.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Mariah Sleeve Done

I finished the sleeve of Mariah, now I just have the rest of the sweater to knit. I read the pattern wrong in the beginning, so it doesn't look exactly like it should, but oh well. I really like the Celtic cables; since it is always changing, it didn't get tedious to knit. Also, I am going to try to put a collar on it, instead of the hood. I just have to figure out how to change the neckline.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bicycle Living

The Bicycle Diaries - Is it possible to live in America without a car?

I thought this article was funny, because it is true how difficult it is to ride your bike everywhere, and it doesn't need to be. Except one thing is different, the author mostly rode for fitness and to save money, and my whole family always rode our bikes everywhere, even to different cities (or suburbs within the city, actually.) We didn't have a car, so it was either that or we walked. Riding everywhere would be okay, except that in a lot of places, the city isn't designed for bikes. When I visited Chicago, I was surprised to see that there weren't bike lanes or sidewalks, or even clearly defined road lanes. That was the only time I felt like it was really dangerous to ride my bike. Also, I was visiting during the summer. I can't imagine riding a bike through three feet of snow!
It would be better if more people rode, because then you wouldn't be the only bike against a sea of cars, with drivers screaming insults at you. In other countries, cars have to drive with a lot more bikes and pedestrians, with fewer traffic signals, and it seems a lot more difficult for the driver. Here, everything is more difficult for the pedestrian, and drivers really take it for granted. It's amazing how much the car dominates everything here, so people are surprised if you don't own a car, and can still survive.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I've been working on collages lately, with watercolor. They can open up a whole different level with watercolor or acrylic. I try to think about how they would work with the overall painting, so I don't just randomly add extra paper. I try to add the extra paper to create a different mood or add something that I couldn't with normal watercolor. I also did a collage with only magazine paper. It's like fitting together a puzzle, because you use images to work together in different ways. Next, I think I want to use different paper from magazines, except only use the color. The bits of color could form a different picture. That seems to be more difficult.

I also started a new knitting project, Mariah, from Knitty. So far, I like the cables, and it isn't too difficult once I got used to following the pattern. I think this is going to be the most challenging sweater I've done so far. Another thing is that I figured out that my guage has changed since I first started knitting. It's gotten looser, and usually is the same as the recommended one for a pattern. So that shows that I improved.

Novel Finally Done

My NaNoWrimo novel is done, at least the rough draft part of it. It was interesting trying to write something that long, that quickly. I had to write about 80 pages, and the plot got wrapped up too soon, so the last 20 or so pages weren't all that great. I've always assumed that since I read a lot and can analyze a book, that I could also write well. It's harder than I thought because at every point, I have to decide how the characters react to situations, what the environments are and everything. I think everyone should at least try to write a short story, so they can good writers that much more. It's strange that everyone buys music, movies, and books, and just consume them so quickly. Most people, if you haven't done something don't realize how much work the person put into something.