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Second in the Macaw series:

<br>Macaw 2 by ~matildarose on deviantART

 

While I love how easy Deviantart makes it to set up prints, I wish there was a quality check. Too many people upload artwork that isn’t theirs as prints, often due to misunderstanding things like copyright, fair use, etc. I’d go to another POD site, but there just seems to be so many, and DA is a gallery I maintain due to the amount of people I follow and gain inspiration from there.

Fear Itself

A friend of mine has just published a book he’s been working on for a while, called Fear Itself.

Set in a world that’s a mix of fantasy, western, and post-apocalyptic concepts, it follows a man named Judiah as he sets out on his first job from the Church.

I’ve been familiar with his writing through roleplaying and through the writing I got to read of his, and I’ll just say: give it a read and see what you think.

Click here for information on where to buy, including Nook and Kindle.

 

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<br>Chysanthemum Princess by ~matildarose on deviantART

Experimenting with different textures and styles. …. Did I ever mention I love Gustav Klimt’s work?

…. I can just imagine him, if he lived today, calling his scanner all sorts of names as it naturally borks up the gold tones in his piece. Then, moving to a camera, he pulls his hair out because he doesn’t have a good one that won’t slightly apply a fishlens effect. And getting the lighting right!

I miss the scanners at my old college; they were calibrated to a magical state where everything scanned just so. I’ve tried calibrating mine with one of those special cards, but nowadays I adjust by hand in photoshop.

oh capitalism

I have not abandoned my blog. It just seems like I’m having trouble finding something that plays nice with livejournal (my private journal), posterous, and facebook at the same time. I’m trying the plug-in Scribefire, which is… rather buggy at the moment, and dislikes cut and paste. I’m not even sure if it will post right.

Anyway, some musings:

With the advent of print on demand, some companies have come up with some devious practices. Namely, grabbing random articles from wikias and selling them. Sometimes, they’ll rename it with a classic book’s title, which leads to some… beautiful results.

Take The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. What’s it about? Sonic the Hedgehog’s valiant efforts to stave off the death of an empire, it seems.

The Works of Edgar Allen Poe? A listing of the same video game series antiheroes.

It’s gotten to the point that it’s hard to navigate on the site anymore, outside of books. I like Sims 3 and want to bug the newest expansion, but this is what I get when I do a search for it.

Amazon’s not faring any better, it seems, as companies like this have inserted their copies into legit entries. I suppose that, if I ever get a Nook or a Kindle, I’ll have to be wary of such booksellers.

And now, a recent piece from Deviantart: <br>Crocus by ~matildarose on deviantART

While poor Deviantart’s been much maligned, it does make it very easy to share and find other artists- it’s often much quicker to share things I’ve done on there than to update my true portfolio, and as such, it’s often my place for posting everything for those interested, while my portfolio, when it gets updated, is my best of the best.

 

Gardening, heat waves, and birds, oh my!

This blog has been horribly quiet, and I blame one thing. It’s a horrible obsession, developed from the innocent pleasure of buying a few packets of seeds for less than a dollar, planting them in a foam kit, and adding water. Months later, I’m tackling garden projects that have been sitting idle for years around my parents’ home. Yes, I’ve found myself addicted to gardening.

I’m constantly busy, even when I’m not doing strictly ‘job-related’ things. I’m tackling digging trenches, moving heavy stone and tons of dirt, cleaning abandoned areas, etc. My ankles and wrists look like I’ve gotten chicken pox from all the bug bites, but you get to be in a state of zen when working in the garden. The heat wave has yet to stop me, though everything stops about 1-3 PM. Indiana has problems with humidity, though I would bet the states south of me have an even harder time. Humidity is the part that can kill you- with the air already filled with moisture, there’s no real way for the body to stay cool, even through sweating. On the hottest days, I take frequent breaks, or not go outside at all.

My art has not been affected; I’m the sort who prefers the quiet of the evening hours anyway. Working in the garden has actually helped me art-wise; my enthusiasm has gone through the roof. There’s nothing more satisfying than to go to bed with the realization that, not only have you hauled nearly a ton of stone around, you’ve also finished that watercolor. My only concern is making sure my hands aren’t too strained- a bruise on my left thumb made things especially difficult for a few days. I may have to invest in some serious heavy-duty gloves to protect my hands.

When it comes to art, things have been slow business-wise, but active otherwise. A lot of what I do right now is commissions for friends, people who like my work online, and personal projects. While I take any popularity I get on Deviantart with a grain of salt, I *did* recieve a Daily Deviation recently. I’ve used the site before my college days, and it continues to be a nice way of finding new artists, keeping in touch with friends, and as a fast way to put up artwork. It’s handy, though I consider it a far different tool that something I use for entirely promotional ends, such as my own website and my Directory of Illustration profile. it’s also been a great community for resources, including a very active stock community. When I’ve had a moment or two to do so, I’ve been placing my stash of reference photos I’ve taken on a separate account in order to give back, and it’s encouraged me to take more reference photos entirely for my reference library.

I’ve been continuing my series of watercolor birds for my grandpa. In the future, I may use prints of my best ones to send in to card companies. While I’m protective when it comes to my rights when it comes to my Cattisms (I like the freedom to use them in promotions and sales- also, I just like doing them!), these have the benefit of having a wider audience appeal. I just completed a Carolina Wren, the digital version of which I need to clean up. I’m still perfecting how to properly display my watercolors; even after using a calibration card I’m still not satisfied. I may start not editing out the texture of the watercolor paper at all- I’ve seen work presented this way by other watercolor artists, and it brings a better feel of the medium this way.

Anyway, the garden calls to me, and the day, for once, isn’t hot and humid! Time to lather on the sunscreen and get my hands dirty.

Art & Photos

March and April have been busy months for me. As I blogged about before, I lost one of my beloved cats, and thus, for a recent art auction for a local charity, I interpreted the theme ‘Treasures Within’ as that of pets. If anything, there’s something very precious about the bond between pet and person, no matter what the animal. It actually was made for a frame with three slots, so you’re not seeing the complete picture as it would be presented.

Next is an ‘imaginary koi’ piece I did with an art student, showing her certain techniques and properties of certain types of watercolor paint. She definitely caught on very well and experimented on her own, which is exactly the sort of way I wanted her to approach it.

The next piece is another bird for my grandpa, this time a female to go with the male cardinal he has. He’s been adjusting to a new way of life, despite coming back home, and I wanted to give him something to encourage him to keep going.

Lastly, well. What can I say? I love my job as a teacher’s aide.

Springtime is time for cleaning up the gardening and the yard, which means cleaning up the pond and preparing it for plants. Of course, this means we have to temporarily move some of the pond’s inhabitants, koi and frog alike. I figured this was a good time to capture a picture of the koi we have. Unfortunately, my second favorite, a black/silverish one with an extremely long tail, was in the tub with the frogs, so there was lots of mud to hide in. The white one with the orange spots, however, was there. It’s always fun to see what new koi have appeared- the black and orange one is new to me. Of course, there’s some pictures of Toto in there, being, well, Toto.

….. It’s been a good year for frogs.

Neko.

Neko, my cat of around 16-18 years, just passed away today. She was at a point where nothing could be done for her, and, if we tried anything, she’d be in pain. She had a peaceful end, with us there for her.

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I feel like I should have a beautiful watercolor up of her as a tribute, but, to be honest, right now it just feels an effort to approach it yet. A lot of my energy’s just gone into cleaning any old smells or old stains that may bother the other cats. Winnie is especially on edge ever since Neko became extremely sick, though it was more because she disliked the new cat smell than out of any worry over Neko. This will help her calm down. I’ve gotten very close to Neko over the months I’ve been giving her medication- I think that may have made the last half-year or so of her life so much better.

Perhaps when I feel a bit better and finish up my Directory of Illustration page, I’ll have something to show all. It’s been entirely too quiet here.

More birds and belated valentines!

I've been busy- working with kids, even if it's three times a week, can really take a lot out of you. I'm glad I have those days inbetween to devote to artwork, errands, chores, and the like, because then, when I'm at work, I can focus on giving my all there and relaxing when I get back.

My grandpa is recovering in the hospital after a scary episode- he's made a wonderful recovery and currently is in rehabilitation for various things to improve his ability to manage things when he goes back home. I'm so happy he's doing well! He may be missing his birds, however, so I gave him a bird of his own: a cardinal, specifically. Maybe by the time he gets back there will be robins in his yard!

The second picture is a valentine I did for the kids at the Pre-K I am an aide at. I used printable business cards, which were perfect, though I forgot to get any candy. It's been about twenty years since I had to pass out valentines to classmates! I hope the kids forgive me. I myself have so much candy that I don't know what to do with it all! They're so sweet to me it's unbelievable.