28 October 2011

Life of Art SitRep #90 Abracadabra

Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
This week, I

  • Shot 46 photographs trying out "Sammon Swirl" technique. Pretty cool. I'll put one up when I get a chance.

  • Post-processed Red Dianthus with Raindrops photograph using what I've learned about Photoshop in recent months. Created a collection of Red Dianthus With Raindrops products. Noticed 6 templates didn't show up during quick create, so I'll have to go back again to make those items. (Zag!)

  • Made calendar posters with Rainbow Polka Dots on White, Rainbow Planets, North Window, Puffy Clouds On Blue Sky, Red Linen Fabric Texture:

  • Remade new cases for Double Arch and finished making Rainbow Bullseye wrapped canvas and tile which were stuck in 'in progress' limbo. Made Rainbow Bullseye boxes with full bleed.

  • Finished making Tiles, 2" boxes, and Tile Gift Boxes for remaining 21 suitable designs.

  • Made Rainbow Polka Dots on Grey image and created a product line for my store. I like how the grey has an almost metallic feel to it.

  • Zblogged Rainbow Bullseye and Rainbow Polka Dots on Grey.

  • Posted 19 of my products to blogs. Set up my Rocklawn Arts blogger blog to receive email posts to and started posting to it on Wednesday.

  • Tweeted, zblogged, and FB'd some sales.

  • Renamed photo files in 2 folders.

  • Reworked my avatar from scratch and swapped it out everywhere I could think of that I have a profile picture.

  • Watched "Exploring the Light with Rick Sammon" Creative Live workshop.

  • Finished reading September 2011 issue of Popular Photography.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?

    A year ago on TTaT: Say "ah"

    27 October 2011

    Before and After Photoshop

    Let's start with "after" since I'm proud of it. If you've been following my weekly Life of Art posts, you know I've been picking up tidbits of Photoshop for ages, but in the past few months I've spent a lot more time learning the program.

    I read all of Photoshop CS5: The Missing Manual and attended several Creative Live workshops on the program. Check out Photoshop CS5 Intensive with Lesa Snider, Dramatic Post-Production with David Nightingale, and Beyond Photography with Doug Landreth for great practical information as well as creative inspiration. Knowing what's possible makes a huge difference in how you view post-production.

    If you would care to be amazed, visit David Nightingale's blog, Chromasia. It's a new favorite of mine. Just below the bottom right corner of each image is a link called "show the original." Hover your mouse over that to see how far he took the image in post. Flat lighting has never seemed so promising.

    I'm excited to see how I can make my photography better with all I've learned.

    This week, I made this...
    Red Dianthus With Raindrops

    from this:

    I used a number of layers to make adjustments to pieces of the image instead of the whole thing. Perhaps most importantly, I asked myself, "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" while looking at my photograph. Thank you for that, David Nightingale!

    If you like my "after" version, you can check out the complete collection of Red Dianthus With Raindrops products in my Rocklawn Arts shop.

    A year ago on TTaT: Observations in my parents' kitchen

    26 October 2011


    So two and half weeks ago on a Friday, I got a message saying my follow-up appointment, that would've been today and was scheduled 3 months ago, had to be rescheduled.

    Um, OK.

    Because they are making their billing system electronic.


    And my new appointment is now 3 months later.

    Seriously? WTF? Why does changing the billing system mean my appointment has to change?

    Deep breath. At that point, I wasn't even sure I cared because I already kind of hate this office. It's not like any appointment I've had has been all that helpful, and I've had lots of stress and hassle dealing with them. Or not being able to deal with them, as is mostly the case.

    I'd wanted to jump ship even before that, but that is its own hassle for a variety of reasons.

    The following Monday was Columbus Day, I assumed they'd be closed, so I called Tuesday to change my appointment. I did have a few questions after all. The woman I spoke with couldn't find anything in the system but said Laurie would know and she'd be in at noon. She told me to leave a message and assured me Laurie would call me back. I already knew how this would go, but played along.

    On Thursday, still having heard nothing, I called back. Laurie answered and when I identified myself, she was all, "Hi, Claire!" Yeah, whatever. I explained the appointment thing and she said, "Oh, I probably did that." Uh, thanks a lot. Apparently, they've rescheduled a lot of people, so at least I'm not the only one? (*cough*clusterfuck*cough*)

    She found me a new appointment for November 18 and all was well.

    Until today.

    When I answered the phone, I recognized the voice of the woman who'd left the first message, a distinctive New Yorker's accent. "Your appointment on November 18? We need to reschedule that because the doctor's going to be out and we're upgrading our scheduling system in November."

    Still not getting why that affects existing appointments.

    "Your appointment is now January 3rd at 9:30 AM."

    Almost back to where they started.

    "Do you have anything sooner than that?"

    "No, we can't see anything in the system."


    "Yes, we can put you on a cancellation list."

    "When is this going to be sorted out?"

    "I wish we knew. You tell me," she joked.

    "Do you have anything in the afternoon?"

    "No, we can put you on a cancellation list."

    "Right." Holding my breath on that. Argh. ... Whatever.

    4 years ago on TTaT: A smirk of recognition

    25 October 2011

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales42. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales by Joss Whedon

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    A beautiful hardbound collection of stories about slayers and vampires within the universe of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (It even has a red ribbon for a built-in bookmark.) Though there are familiar faces from the television series in the book, most of the stories are set throughout different periods of history. Some reveal cool background for the featured TV characters though, and there are even a few stories set during Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight.

    Joss Whedon wrote several of the stories, the rest by other writers from the show and elsewhere. The art is also done by a number of people which gives a broad spectrum of illustration styles to check out. I really enjoyed the variety of art.

    Definitely a good gift for a Buffy fan who also enjoys graphic novels.

    A year ago on TTaT: My first calendar, huzzah!

    23 October 2011

    The PreHistory of The Far Side: A 10th Anniversary Exhibit!

    PreHistory of The Far Side: : A 10th Anniversary Exhibit41. The PreHistory of The Far Side: : A 10th Anniversary Exhibit by Gary Larson

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    The PreHistory of The Far Side is not just a large selection of The Far Side comics, Larson also describes his beginnings, including childhood drawings. I really enjoyed his comments on mistakes he and printers made, subtle variations to his comics, public reaction, and rejected cartoons.

    It was great to revisit the cartoons I loved (and still love), and to see how many of those are also Larson's favorites.

    It's an excellent book to distract you in waiting rooms or if you're stuck at the hospital for observation, because the comics are funny and outlandish in the best ways, and it's easy to stop or pick up at a moment's notice.

    Highly recommended! (But if you find you don't like his humor, put it down and move on. It's not for everyone.)

    A year ago on TTaT: Sheep farm revisited, part 2

    20 October 2011

    Life of Art SitRep #89 Oorah!

    Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

    Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
    This week, I

  • Shot 88 photographs. Some tests and some contenders.

  • Tweeted, FB'd, zblogged some sales, including:
    50% OFF Cards, Calendars, & Ornaments in my shop!
    Use code: TOP3HOLIDAYS

    Offer is valid until October 23, 2011 at 11:59pm PT.

  • Made 60 new smartphone and iPod Touch cases for existing designs. Thought I was done but I need to remake some since they got stuck in "in progress" limbo. sigh.

  • Made my first calendar poster, Construction Crane 2012 Calendar Poster:

  • Made templates for new products now available in my shop: 2"x2" gift box, tile inlaid gift box, and tile.

  • Made Tiles, Small Gift Boxes, and Tile Gift Boxes for: Blue Bokeh, Bokeh in Spring, Circle With Fire Escape, Desert Wave, Double Arch, Field of Basalt, Green Man, The Link, On The Golden Gate Bridge:

  • Made Underwear Out To Dry, Western Auto Half Cylinder Building cards with message templates.

  • Added new product links to links file.

  • Created Rainbow Bullseye digital design, full bleed version, and one on white background for folder image. Wrote product description for it and revised other rainbow product tags based on some keyword info I looked up. Created Rainbow Bullseye product line:

  • Revised Rocklawn Arts store intro and added top picks back with tile and gift boxes. Rearranged store a bit.

  • Posted 14 products to blogs.

  • Gave 2nd star pass to 5 photograph folders. Need to get better about reviewing and ranking my images so I don't get overwhelmed by them. Gave 3rd star pass to 5 folders.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?

    3 years ago on TTaT: Note to self, ed. XIV; Milkweed

    14 October 2011

    Life of Art SitRep #88 More than it looks like

    Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

    Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
    This week, I

  • Shot 106 photographs inspired by a Creative Live workshop.

  • Watched "Dramatic Post-Production with David Nightingale" on Creative Live.

  • Made 122 new Case-Mate cases for 20 product lines. If you need a case for your BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod, or Samsung Galaxy/T-Mobile Vibrant, my store has lots of options. And for the next couple days,
    Get 25% OFF Cases!
    Enter code: CASEMATESALE
    Offer is valid through October 16, 2011 at 11:59pm PT.

  • Caught up on adding tags to all the new cases.

  • Finished updating product lines with fixed links, revised descriptions, tags & categories; revised product orders.

  • Moved calendar folder to top of store, rearranged the rest a little.

  • Renamed photo files in 7 folders.

  • Posted 6 products to blogs via email.

  • Tweeted some sale information.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?

    A year ago on TTaT: Vinyl meets pollen

    13 October 2011


    This image has been on my mind a lot lately. The near silhouette of me looking out. It's what came to mind when I thought of writing about Steve Jobs. I didn't expect to be so affected by news of his passing. Perhaps that–grief seems too strong–that sadness is selfish since it is his vision I will miss most. I so would have liked to see what he would've come up with in another 30 years.

    Thank you for all of the beautiful, increasingly easy to use technology, Steve Jobs. It's made many things possible for me.


    Now if you'll notice in the photograph, I'm not just looking out, I'm taking a photograph. This is acutely on my mind at present since I may need glasses. It has perhaps always been inevitable if you were to look at photographs of my entire spectacle wearing family, but I'm not ready for it. I am holding off for now because the focus disparity between my eyes is very mild, and I hope that now I'm not concerned it's a reaction to medication that it will mellow out. sigh. Also, I may have blown the prescription by not pressing my forehead far enough into the thing. Seemed like it was a sort of button, but I was just against it rather than pushing into it. Did I imagine that or is it common to those lens determining thingies?

    In any case, paranoia aside, it may just be age which means it's only a matter of time.

    A year ago on TTaT: Pinecones and Leaf

    07 October 2011

    Life of Art SitRep #87 The bog

    Every week, I work towards creating a life of art for myself. This is the zigzag filled journey.

    Play along in the comments with your own pursuits if you'd like. (That's where I'll cheer you on.)
    Been thinking quite a bit about what's useful and not useful with all this time-consuming description, tag, category wrangling of late. Even managed to let up a bit on the perfectionism which is fairly miraculous. At some point the descriptions are done enough and adding new products to the marketplace is more useful. Progress. (Still much more to be made though.)

    This week, I

  • Shot 235 photographs: anemone, other flowers, P-51 Mustang and B-17 flying Fortress WW2 planes.

  • Made horizontal and vertical templates for 9 new Case-Mate cases available on Zazzle: iPhone 4 ID, iPhone 4 BarelyThere, iPhone 4 Tough, iPod Touch, iPhone 3 BarelyThere, iPhone 3 Tough, Samsung Galaxy S/T-Mobile Vibrant, Blackberry Bold, Blackberry Curve.

  • Made the new cases for Rainbow Stripes, Rainbow Squares, Rainbow Polka Dots on Black, Rainbow Polka Dots on White, Dark Red and Blue Rectangles, Light Blue and Dark Blue Rectangles.

  • Made wrapped canvases of Dark Red and Blue Rectangles, Light Blue and Dark Blue Rectangles, Rainbow Planets, Rainbow Square, Rainbow Squares . Decided against Rainbow Stripes, so I'm done creating wrapped canvases for current designs, woo!

  • Updated 20 more product lines with fixed links, revised descriptions, tags & categories; also revised product orders. The remaining 11 just need final tweaks. Almost done!

  • Got a nice comment from Cheryl Paton who featured my Golden Fountain Water 2 ornament on her lens.

  • Zblogged Rainbow Polka Dots on White and on Black in one post.

  • Emailed 15 products for display on blogs.

  • FB'd, Tweeted some sales.

  • Renamed photo files in 7 folders.

  • Watched "Luminosity Blending Techniques" Photoshop tutorial.

  • *******
    How are your pursuits going?

    A year ago on TTaT: Translucent Trillium

    02 October 2011

    Another one, eh?

    So this is what 38 looks like.

    Meant to post something closer to my birthday a couple weeks ago, but, like most of this year, I've been preoccupied.

    Nonetheless, here I am out for a round of birthday miniature golf. Despite vastly overestimating my golf prowess, I had a good time outside on a lovely day.

    A year ago on TTaT: Just my luck