18 August 2017

Life of Art SitRep #392 More Silver and Gold Foil Cards

Started the week reinstalling my computer's operating system after a loud disturbing computer crash. ARgh. Smoother sailing for the moment.

Went to an outdoor sculpture exhibit. None knocked my socks off but it was a nice day and walk. While there, I shot 197 photographs and 1 video. Culled 103. Need to do another pass.

Created a Custom Silver and Gold Foil Cards collection as well as more cards for it. Click the image to see the entire collection:

Rocklawn Arts blogged Geometric and Abstract Kitchen Towels with product photographs I shot and edited.

Made 2017 calendar products direct only so 2018 calendars will show up first.

How was your week?

10 years ago on TTaT: Furry thing (Reread this and now know off the top of my head that lyophilizing was the word I was going for back then.)

17 August 2017

11 August 2017

Life of Art SitRep #391 Silver and Gold Foil Cards

More shooting this week, 139 photographs, but I only kept 48 images. There were lots of macro shots with finicky focus.

Created some new templates for beach towels (coming soon!) and foil greeting cards. The foil comes in silver or gold and I'm getting the hang of creating them:

I'll have to create a collection of these so you can find them together easily. More to come!

Made end of month backups. Have you backed up lately?

12 years ago on TTaT: Not my dream

04 August 2017

Life of Art SitRep #390 In The World

Though by some measures I don't have much to show for this week, I am pleased with the photographing I did on three days.

Shot 389 photographs, culled 189. Rated images from the first day. Still a bit more brutal culling to do for the second and third shoots as well as rating.

Also felt inspired by another photographer, Naoya Hatakeyama, as well as a new environment. That counts for a lot, I think.

How was your week?

10 years ago on TTaT: The Light and The Dark

01 August 2017

Finding Cimmerian Darkness and Stygian Gloom, or How I Spent a Beautiful Summer Day

Naoya Hatakeyama36. Naoya Hatakeyama by Stephan Berg

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've wanted to read/look at this book for years. Well, not precisely this book, but fortunately it includes the photograph series I wanted to see as well as several others which are very cool.

Years ago I read a book on Japanese art that included a couple photographs by this photographer that I really liked. I checked the bibliography and dutifully wrote down some titles. I was most interested in Underground: Cimmerian Darkness and Stygian Gloom. I found a listing for it on Amazon, but they didn't actually have it. The book has been languishing on my wish list ever since.

Over 6 months ago, I finally put in an inter-library loan request for it. When I was looking up ISBN numbers to fill out the request, I discovered some college libraries in the region owned it. I figured the ILL request would be no sweat, but I never heard back about it, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I found a listing for the book at a college library that's open to the public for use, if not check out. Today, I made the lengthy drive to go read the book at the library.

When I got there, the library was several stories tall, a huge building actually comprised of multiple libraries. After finding the entrance to the correct one, I approached the circulation desk and asked the young woman there, "Where would I find TR 647?"

"It's on the first floor," she said. That's simple enough, I thought, looking around. "Two floors down," she added.


"How do I get down from here?"

"There's a central staircase," she said, pointing further down the expanse. I leaned back and then I could see it.

"Thanks," I said and headed off towards the multi-story glass wall of the modern building. As far as I could tell it was a massive addition to a traditional red brick building.

After some brief initial confusion, I found the section of call numbers I wanted in the collapsible shelving. I didn't see the title I wanted or the exact call number that I'd found on the college's website online. Grr.

I did see a book with the photographer's name as the title and pulled it out. At least there was something after my long drive (it was actually a beautiful scenic drive overall). I flipped through it and saw a variety of images but towards the back, I recognized images from the Underground series I'd wanted to see and smiled.

Checking the contents, it looked like this book contained the images from the book I'd wanted plus photographs from a few other series by the artist.

I chose a seat in front of the massive 5 or 6 story tall glass wall and started to read/soak in the photographs. The regular academic year has yet to start so although there were stray students around, it was more of an I-claim-this-entire-section-for-myself kind of situation. Which was really nice.

Hatakeyama's aesthetic is simpatico with my own.

I felt inspired and took a slew of photographs of the library and a few other buildings on campus before heading back home.

12 years ago on TTaT: tip of the week

28 July 2017

Life of Art SitRep #389 A bit more Thunderation!

This week, I shot 96 nature photographs. Culled 55, many were fine but being brutal makes the best stand out more. Rated the rest, making the best of the best stand out yet further.

Created another Thunderation! t-shirt and 2 sets of stickers:

Check out the whole Thunderation! collection:

Made a 2018 calendar mug banner image. Visit the collection page to see it:

Read about editing video in Lightroom including how to edit multiple clips together via slideshow module.

How was your week?

10 years ago on TTaT: exhaust

27 July 2017

Subconscious Earping

I feel like I brought my Earping1 to a new level last night. I dreamt I was conversing with Alexandra Zarowny, a writer whose work I admire on Wynonna Earp.

We were discussing succeeding in creative careers and her journey to working on Wynonna Earp. Fortunately my brain started mid-conversation, so I bypassed any awkward introductions.

At one point she said2 the key to her success had been narrowing her focus down to one pursuit.

"I still struggle with that," I said. And I do.

It wasn't a perfectly fluid conversation. There were times when it seemed like one or the other of us was about to move on, but then something would trigger further talking. You could argue it was dream montage but I perceived it as a bit of awkwardness on my part.

The next trigger was me saying, "I started reading The Artist's Way3." Which I have. In no coincidence, I'd been reading it before I went to bed last night.

Her eyes lit up. She pulled out a Moleskine, flipped through its pages until she found something and then turned it around for me to see.

It was some of her morning pages with her own negative self talk.

"Oh, I excel at that," I said. And I do. But I took two things from that:
a) We all have inner critics even if we're successful.
b) 3 handwritten pages a day are easier to crank out if your notebook is small.
"You look amazing, by the way," she said. It was here my brain instantly back-filled that I'd run into her at a wedding reception, an event at which you could meet someone unexpectedly, have a normal conversation, and where I'd be some semblance of dressed up. (No idea what either of us was wearing.)

Her compliment took me by surprise, and though I knew she knows a lot of really attractive younger people who work on Wynonna Earp, I took it graciously and said, "Thank you."

She asked me what sort of creative endeavor I wanted to pursue. Without hesitation I said, "Writing and photography." In a wakeful state, I would dilute the answer further, but in the dream, those two answers felt like the core of it.

She kindly expressed interest in reading something of mine, and I started mulling the #TTaTfaves4 I've been posting to twitter of late.

"Make sure you send me that video clip when you get the chance," she said. Like an audition for a bit part or background actor.

Wait, what?

Clearly I'd completely misunderstood the last few minutes we'd been talking.

Wasn't she the one who said I should focus on one thing? I hadn't even mentioned acting as a potential interest.

Ah, there must be something about my look that fits a character she has in mind.

Would I even want to do that? Wouldn't it be a distraction from my real goals?

But then it is Wynonna Earp, so yeah, even if it were a distraction, it'd be worth it.

And then I woke up, the final plot twist making me laugh.

1to Earp (verb): express love for the kickass feminist supernatural Western television show Wynonna Earp. Season two is currently airing 10 PM/9 PM C Fridays on Syfy in the US and on Space channel in Canada; Tuesdays in the UK.

Season one is available on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon, so get caught up and join the fun!

2Not actually Alexandra Zarowny speaking. Any comments related are only what my dream mind said she said.

3The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron has been on my radar a long time. Dominique Provost-Chalkley tweeted/Instagrammed a photo of a paragraph from it about perfectionism a couple weeks ago that struck a nerve which made me feel it was time to move the book up my queue of things to read. (In true perfectionist fashion, as soon as I remembered I'd forgotten to add this footnote, I turned my computer back on to include it.)

4I've started tweeting posts from my blog Taller Than Average Tales' best of page since I've got over 10 years of writing that most people have never seen. They can be found by searching the hashtag #TTaTfaves or visiting my Highlights page on the blog which also has more highly curated lists of favorite posts.

10 years ago on TTaT: Sick of your martyrdom

22 July 2017

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry35. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

More densely packed with information than expected, but in a good way.

Makes me wish I had an eidetic memory so I could more easily retain it all.

10 years ago on TTaT: I often don't know what to say to him

21 July 2017

Life of Art SitRep #388 Calendar Posters, Magnets, Mugs

This week, I shot 85 photographs, culled 53, and rated the rest.

Also created six more 2018 calendar posters. You can see them all here:

Added 2018 calendars to thin magnetic cards:
See all of the 2018 calendar magnets here:

Created a Thunderation! collection:

Also created new 2018 calendar mugs featuring the calendar on one side and a stylish image on the other side of the mug:
See the rest in the collection I created here (I still need to add a banner to the top):

How was your week?

10 years ago on TTaT: Behind the Harry Potter lines: redux

15 July 2017

Star Wars: Shattered Empire

Shattered Empire34. Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Shattered Empire story overlaps the end of Return of the Jedi and then reveals what happened directly afterwards. Female characters are just as involved as the males which makes for an enjoyable read.

Princess Leia #1 starts right at the end of the 1st Star Wars movie (episode IV) and follows her in the wake of Alderaan's destruction and the continuing rebellion.

I recommend skipping Star Wars #1, it's an old comic (really didn't care for the art) based directly on the 1st movie. Not much new to see.

10 years ago on TTaT: Question mark, jerk

14 July 2017

Life of Art SitRep #387 Calendar Posters, Magnets, Mouse Pads

Started the week by creating a few more Thunderation! items:

Then I set my sights on next year creating a series of 2018 calendars and adding them to Calendar Posters, Magnets, and Mouse Pads:

Updated calendar mouse pad, magnet, poster collections:

How was your week?

10 years ago on TTaT: Forget the shortcake

13 July 2017

On Voicelessness

One of the things I did start doing after reading Tools of Titans is writing a bit each morning, ranting really, in scrawling illegible handwriting I never intend to reread. Just a few minutes to get my concerns, frustrations, what-have-you out of my head. As my speed reading teacher in college said, "Write things down to unclutter your mind." A fitting task for me prior to meditation.

Packrat that I am, I have many old notebooks that still have many blank pages. Since I don't intend to keep these rantings, I chose a college notebook with a pink cover I hate (Italiano is written in block caps on the cover).

This morning, after a few scrawled lines, I flipped past a divider and discovered a few pages in my handwriting. At first I thought it was just notes from a phone call I'd made, but when I looked at the next couple pages, I realized they were conversations. My side of them anyway.

Back in October 2015, I had a bad respiratory infection which lead to insane laryngitis. For weeks, all I could manage was a word or two, maybe a short sentence, before my voice completely gave out. Even after I felt better otherwise, my voice was still gone.

It forced me to choose what was most important to say, if anything.

Thumbs up, thumbs down, nods, head shakes, hilarious and frustrating attempts at charades ensued.

In my commitment to resting my vocal chords, not much of anything was worth saying.

When necessary, writing was more easily understood if I took the care to write neatly (neatly for me anyway). Here's part of what I came across today:

I like that I put a star beside it. All other issues of dinner aside, this was most key, that we go by way of ponies & goats.

Over the next few months, my voice gradually improved though was still easily susceptible to strain. There were setbacks where I'd return to not speaking at all for a week to rest it. It was an even more quiet than usual fall/winter/start of spring for my part. I spent most of it observing without comment, without engaging.

I'm still kind of paranoid about it. If my throat feels dry, on the edge of strain, I err towards resting it, drinking water, sucking lozenges. I avoid yelling, clearing my throat, raising my voice if possible.

I used to sing more, which I miss. My throat is not the same though. It protests more readily, feels more likely to abandon me which is not an experience I want to repeat.

10 years ago on TTaT: Creative space

Red Lion Amaryllis

So at the end of last year, I said I was going to be better about sharing images this year. I know I haven't been much better thus far, but here's a renewed start SOOC (straight out of camera) to keep me from procrastinating:

10 years ago on TTaT: Creative space, Damn weather

12 July 2017

Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One

Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One33. Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One by Greg Rucka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you're jonesing for some more time on Themyscira after seeing the Wonder Woman movie, the first couple issues in this collection deliver. Well worth it.

More please, Greg Rucka.

This volume goes back in time to deliver Wonder Woman's origin story. And yes, how she meets Steve, but also awesome Etta Candy and super smart Barbara Ann Minerva.

Fun read.

10 years ago on TTaT: HP #5