28 February 2014

Life of Art SitRep #212 Thinking of Spring

This week, I decided to add something a bit more unusual to my shop, Minx Nail Art.
Black and White Gingham Pattern Nail Sticker
Black and White Gingham Pattern Nail Sticker by RocklawnArts
Find other Black and white Minx Nails at zazzle.com

I also created new Light Blue Lattice on White, Orange Diamonds on White and Orange Lattice on White patterns for my shop:
Orange Lattice on White Clipboard
Orange Lattice on White Clipboard by RocklawnArts
Check out Orange Clipboard online at zazzle
Orange Lattice on White
Orange Lattice on White by RocklawnArts
See ornaments online at zazzle.com

Rocklawn Arts blogged New Business Card Holders at Rocklawn Arts! and New Light Blue Lattice on White pattern.

Watched several classes during Photoshop Week 2014 on creative LIVE:
Lightroom Automation Techniques with Jared Platt
Building Lightroom Presets with Jared Platt
Lightroom Output and Export with Jared Platt
most of Photoshop for Outdoor Photographers with Colin Smith (listened to while working)
Sharpening Savvy in Photoshop and Lightroom with Lesa Snider

More classes airing live on Friday, February 28 if you're interested!

How was your week?

3 years ago on TTaT: Wonder Woman: The Circle

26 February 2014

What Doesn't Kill You...

I kind of hate the saying, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Don't get me wrong, I still like the Kelly Clarkson song, but when I hear that phrase I think in most cases the truth is: What doesn't kill you wasn't ever going to.

I.e., what's emotionally uncomfortable isn't going to kill you.

So stop reinforcing the idea that facing things that won't kill you potentially could.

And where something might kill you? What doesn't kill you probably causes wounds both physical and emotional that take time to get over if that's even possible. It may lead to taking better care of oneself which eventually leads to being stronger, but that's not a given.

Curiously, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is a steadfast story component of every anime show I've seen that involves special powers or mystical weaponry. The hero engages in a battle and gets beaten to within an inch of his/her life and only then is able to access greater wells of power than previously available which, naturally, leads to victory. The sentiment is alive and well in Japan also it seems.

But if we go back to "what doesn't kill you" as a metaphor for "what's emotionally uncomfortable," then we're looking at the nature of all change in life.

A better saying might be:
Adapting to change makes you stronger.

That I could believe.

A year ago on TTaT: Bowie and Swinton

23 February 2014

Anyone But Me

Though I had heard of the web serie Anyone But Me a couple years ago, I blew off watching it thinking, "I'm too old for another teen drama."

Then I saw one of ABM's actresses, Nicole Pacent, in I Hate Tommy Finch on Tello.

Tello Films "produces and distributes innovative, high-quality web-series with a lesbian focus." Do yourself a favor and subscribe before their rates go up on March 1, 2014. Just $3.99 a month. ($4.99/mo starting in March.)

I Hate Tommy Finch is great. It's "a one-act, two-woman, all-queer play about the roller coaster friendship (and romance) of two girls from ages 8 to 35." The set is barebones and sometimes the sound recording could be better but the story and performances are excellent. After watching I Hate Tommy Finch, I was ready to give Anyone But Me a try.

Holy cow!

Anyone But Me is solid. Great writing, direction, production, performances. Very high quality. I was drawn in right away to this story of young love between two teen girls.

You're never too old for a good story. One that's well executed is even better.

You can watch the series for free on the Anyone But Me site which also has more info and extras. It's powered by Hulu, so there are pre-roll and sometimes mid-roll ads to be endured. Or you can watch the whole series on the Anyone But Me YouTube page. Also free, so no excuses. Or you can support talented artists and buy all 3 seasons on DVD from Amazon.

Episodes are generally around 8 minutes, so it doesn't take that long to get through all 3 seasons.

Or maybe you watched it years ago and we can exchange, "Can you believe that happened? What were they thinking?!" exclamations.

While avoiding spoilers, I'll say that some of my favorite scenes involved guest star Liza Weil. You would probably know her as Paris from the Gilmore Girls (no character similarity at all).

Vivian and Aster are characters I'd like to know when they're 10-15 years older. Which, hey, in a few years their not as young as they play actors will be. :)

Also check out Nicole Pacent in the recently released video for marriage equality, SHE. Great song by Jen Foster!

3 years ago on TTaT: Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Gods and Mortals

21 February 2014

Life of Art SitRep #211 Caught up...

...for probably only 16 hours, but I'll take it! This re: the new product additions. I added my photographs and designs to two more products this week, Case-Mate iPad Mini Retina Cases and Serving Trays, and finished adding them to Business Card Holders, Classic Playing Cards, and an assortment of Acrylic Heart Shaped Ornaments, Acrylic Oval Ornaments, Acrylic Round Ornaments, and Acrylic Star Shaped Ornaments.
Green and White Gingham Pattern Serving Tray
Green and White Gingham Pattern Serving Tray by RocklawnArts
Check out more Green Serving Tray at Zazzle
Downtown Kansas City Serving Platters
Downtown Kansas City Serving Platters by RocklawnArts
Check out more Kansas city Serving Tray at Zazzle
Light Blue Diamonds on White
Light Blue Diamonds on White by RocklawnArts
View Light blue Ornament online at zazzle

Shot 37 photographs.

Watched some of Value Pricing & Business Models for Creative Entrepreneurs with Tara Gentile workshop off and on, during replay.

Updated links and LOA files.

Read Popular Photography Feb. 2014 issue.

How was your week?

Two years ago on TTaT: My kind of dream

17 February 2014

The Question That Keeps Crossing My Mind

How would it be if everyone who came out got a standing ovation? Pretty fucking awesome, I think, if it were sincere.

Did you see Ellen Page's Human Rights Campaign speech in which she came out?

The end makes me tear up. Seriously moved. I can relate to a lot of what she said. And I greatly appreciate how she went about it, citing her admiration for and inspiration from HRC's work, and saying that she also wants to make a difference. A far cry from another coming out speech that felt like a big, fat fuck you.

But back to standing ovations. You'll notice that Ellen Page doesn't look entirely comfortable receiving hers but that she appreciates it nonetheless. It's a roomful of people expressing, "Congratulations!" "We're with you!" "We're proud of you!"

It's that last one I think is key. If not a standing ovation for everyone who comes out, then an enthusiastic, "I'm so proud of you!"

When I think back on all the times I've come out (alas, many and surely many to come since I can't do it in one fell swoop celebrity style), the reactions have mainly been: Oh, OK, I knew that, or a complete non-reaction as though it hadn't happened.

Back in film school, I made a short film about a young bisexual woman coming to grips with her attraction to another woman. Before I shot it, I remember working on someone else's film when Leslie, older than me, an actress and girlfriend (now wife) to one of my professors, asked me what my film was going to be about.

I was cagey. I'd just recently scrapped my first idea with a death obsessed character and coffins (hmm) for the one I eventually shot. I wasn't ready to talk about it and told her I wasn't sure yet.

At the end of the semester, we had a big screening of all our films. Leslie came up to me in the hall afterwards and said, "I'm so proud of you! That took a lot of courage and bravery." It caught me off guard, but I appreciated it and still think of her fondly.

She then went on to tell me that one of the students in her acting class had auditioned for me and had been freaked out by my maybe PG-13 then, certainly only PG now script. Fortunately, I hadn't cast that person.

I'm not sure why but a few people felt compelled to relay homophobic reactions that occurred behind me at the screening or on the periphery of set that I'd gratefully managed to miss while I was working. Anyway...

Congratulations, Ellen Page! I'm really proud of you!

3 years ago on TTaT: Worth: internal or external?

15 February 2014

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter16. How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter by Matt Kepnes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The most useful sections that will apply to any length trip abroad are the ones on banking and avoiding foreign transaction and ATM fees.

There's a good deal of info on how much various types of lodging, food, and transportation cost in various regions and which will likely be your best bet which is useful. The book was published in 2013 so the numbers should be reasonably close. Not every day will cost only $50, some areas will cost more and others less. It assumes you visit a variety of each.

I dinged him a star because he doesn't cover Africa, Antarctica, North America, or the Middle East at all, and most of Asia is also left out. I assume this is because he hasn't been to those places yet, but for a "Travel the World" book, it's a huge omission.

Mainly it comes down to using points/miles from credit cards for free flights when possible, buying groceries abroad to avoid expensive meals, buying a city's tourist card if you'll get enough out of it to make it a worthwhile deal, using local transportation (what varies on where you are), and couchsurfing/staying in hostels or service apartments.

There's a good resource list of websites in the back.

A year ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #158 Experiments

14 February 2014

Life of Art SitRep #210 Oh right, Valentine's Day

Well, Gentle Reader, Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you have a good one.

I am mostly snow weary this week with another snowmaggedon in the works. 12-18" expected and leaning to the heavy end of that.

Didn't get as much done as I wanted to but got a good jump on adding some new products to my shop.

Made Business Card Holders, Classic Playing Cards, and Acrylic Ornaments as appropriate for all of my Chevrons, Bisected Lines, Meanders, Gingham Patterns, Checkered Rectangles, Zigzags, Large and Small Diamonds, and Polka Dots patterns.
Blue and White Meander
Blue and White Meander by RocklawnArts
View more Navy Business Card Holder at zazzle.com
Red and White Gingham Pattern Poker Deck
Red and White Gingham Pattern Poker Deck by RocklawnArts
Check out more Red and white gingham Classic Playing Cards at Zazzle
Red, White, Green Meander
Red, White, Green Meander by RocklawnArts
Find more Christmas Ornament at Zazzle
Red and White Zigzag
Red and White Zigzag by RocklawnArts
Browse more ornaments at zazzle.com

Shot some photographs.

Rocklawn Arts blogged New Lavender and White Chevrons design.

Updated LOA summary for January.

Watched Effective E-mail and Newsletter Marketing with Jeff Goins.

How was your week?

3 years ago on TTaT: Astonishing X-Men Vol. 4: Unstoppable

09 February 2014

Gong #1

So I finished my first (possibly last, more on that later) Gong yesterday.

It's a 100 day dedicated practice where you pick one thing for each category: diet, exercise, sleep, mindset, and do it for 100 days. You need to make sure what you choose is doable. You can factor in recovery days for exercise.

If you miss a day, you have to start your 100 days over from the beginning.

I can get obsessive, so I did not miss a day.

Here's what I did:
Diet: eat protein at breakfast every day. I kind of slacked on this one because I didn't specify how much protein and I discovered most things I eat have at least a little protein in them.

Exercise: nothing new, kept doing what I was doing since it works for me. (This is a legit option.) That translates to yoga with rare exception, at least 1 mobility exercise, and some other stretches every day and body weight workouts every 3rd day or twice a week.

Sleep: go to bed by 1 AM. There were two days I was exactly at 1 AM, and honestly I would've been better off going to bed late. The rush of meeting that self-imposed deadline ruined my ability to fall asleep and made for bad nights. Curiously, even though I've been doing this for 100 nights now, I can't say it's become a real habit. I'm more aware of when I need to call it quits to meet that deadline, but I'm not particularly more inclined to do so.

Mindset: Here I practiced a 4 count breath: breathe in for 4 counts, hold 2, breathe out for 4 counts, hold 2. Repeat. I think of doing this more readily when I feel stressed out which is helpful. It has a calming effect. This is good stuff which I will continue and try to do more of during my day.

If you were going to try this with 4 entirely new habits, I think this would be really challenging.

In future, I'd rather a less strict approach because I got too literal to my own detriment a few times with this gong. I'm not the type of person who misses a day or two or three and completely falls off the wagon if I really want to build a new habit.

Ultimately a gong is a contract between you and yourself in which you do what will propel you into a better life. That part I'll hang onto.

Two years ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #105 Enough

07 February 2014

Life of Art SitRep #209 Blown pupils

This week felt weird. Got over a foot of snow on Wednesday and despite the bad roads was able to make my eye appointment. Since I'd gotten a ride, I let them dilate my eyes. My pupils were huge the rest of the day, so working on my computer or reading was a bust. Feels like a missing day.

Despite that misstep, I shot 26 photographs.

Created Lavender and White Chevrons pattern featuring 2014 color of the year, Radiant Orchid.
Lavender and White Chevrons Glass Jar
Lavender and White Chevrons Glass Jar by RocklawnArts
Browse Lavender Candy Tins online at Zazzle.com
Lavender and White Chevrons Hanging Pendant Lamps
Lavender and White Chevrons Hanging Pendant Lamps by RocklawnArts
View Lavender Lamp-In-A-Box Lamp online at zazzle

Made 2 sets of new product templates.

Made monthly backups.

Rocklawn Arts blogged New Lavender Diamonds on White design, New White Diamonds on Lavender design, New DODOcase iPad Mini Cases at Rocklawn Arts!, New Clipboards at Rocklawn Arts!

Updated links and LOA files.

How was your week?

4 years ago on TTaT: Sketchbook, page 2

06 February 2014

Ambushed, again!

I was cutting across Target heading for the restroom when a voice behind me said, "Hey, Claire, how've you been?"

I stopped and turned back to see a man with a really short buzz cut and a young girl a few paces behind him, probably his daughter. "Hey! Good thanks, how 'bout you?" The rolodex in my head was flipping, a continual spin, no hits.

The girl walked up and asked him a question calling him "Daddy."

"We've got to get a birthday card," he told her.

I looked at her, smiled, didn't get an introduction, gave a nod of my head and bailed. I didn't even walk down the rest of the aisle, I cut diagonally through the kids' clothes section.

It never seems fair that people (high school classmates or their parents) readily recognize me even from behind or from the briefest of profile views, but I reckon it'd be worse to see them head on so they'd be certain I didn't recognize them.

A possible name popped into my head but the voice was wrong. I kept flipping my mental rolodex in case I ran into him again. He wouldn't have to have been in my year necessarily which would widen the field substantially. Uf.

It took me about 20 minutes, but based on the voice, I thought I came up with the right name. When I got home, I looked him up on Facebook. I was right... although it took me a while. I did remember you!

To verify the identity of someone you don't recognize who addresses you by name in a store: Facebook's true purpose revealed.

6 years ago on TTaT: Lartigue: Album of a Century

04 February 2014

15. Wonders Of The World

Wonders Of The World15. Wonders Of The World by Francesco Boccia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A lovely coffee table book featuring photographs of architecture starting with the pyramids in Egypt and ending with the Experience Music Project in Seattle.

Great for some vicarious sight-seeing. Each structure gets a page of introduction and all of the photographs have captions which are worth a quick read.

Apologies for the generic image. The version with a photo on GoodReads had a much less cool cover than the one I have. Didn't feel it did it justice.

Also, huzzah! I can finally shelve this large book that's been overwhelming my de facto side table for a couple years now. (It's very easy to read in short, concrete bursts, but that made it easier to set aside when other books came along.)

3 years ago on TTaT: Life of Art SitRep #52 (Often called 1 year)