31 May 2016

The Price of Salt

The Price of Salt28. The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So this is the book the movie Carol was based upon. I saw the film first, kind of slow but beautifully shot and Cate Blanchett is so glamorous and magnetic in it. Compared to the book, the film is greatly condensed, made much more simple and straightforward.

Part of that is because the book is told entirely from Therese's point of view. The reader is privy to the whole range of emotions she goes through. Perhaps some of the slowness I felt in the film is due to the expository scenes that are only implied or relayed in bits in the book.

I enjoyed both formats of the story, but there are some interesting elements in the book which are altered or omitted from the film.

Well written and well worth a read.

10 years ago on TTaT: 21

28 May 2016

The Night Before The Wedding

It was the night before the wedding.

That it was my wedding to someone I haven't seen in person in 20 years came as a surprise to me. Even more so because I've never been attracted to her.

These days I see more photos of her two children, a girl and a boy, on Facebook and printed Christmas cards than I do of her. Thus she still had her kids in my dream. My brain omitted her actual wife.

Time leapt forward to the morning of the wedding. The venue was beautiful, clearly my parents had spent a lot on the occasion. I had doubts though. Why am I getting married to someone I still haven't even seen in 20 years? How did that arrangement even come about? This is more than cold feet. I'm not attracted to her, I don't have strong feelings of like for her, and I don't want kids.

I asked my (presumed) maid of honor if she thought it was a good idea. She said, "Yes, of course," like I was missing something obvious. The maid of honor was played by my actual ex-fiancee who at one point cheated on me with our mutual best friend who was now soon to be my new bride. The dream didn't quite register all of that, however, I knew getting married to her was a terrible idea and wondered how to get out of it, what to tell my parents, the guests.

I didn't have any of the answers by dream's end except the conviction, I am not marrying her no matter the costs financial and emotional. That felt right.

6 years ago on TTaT: Not just for geeks, really

27 May 2016

Life of Art SitRep #328 Art and Luggage

Took advantage of some temporary peace and quiet to create another gouache painting, this time on watercolor paper. Both more and less of what I was going for. The paper doesn't buckle as much (though it still curls on the edges as it dries), but has much more texture.

I had cut down the page before painting so it would fit my scanner but 8.5" was still a little too wide to be sure of getting it all in one scan. Ended up doing it in multiple passes anyway. Tried some different composites of it in Photoshop. Finding it hard to get color right. May try scanning a color chart as a reference to see if that helps.

Before painting, I scanned the blank watercolor paper. That seemed to work well as a pattern in Photoshop for a watercolor collage I'm working on.

Shot 120 photographs. I am culling these as I go, fyi, and only kept 39. Often I shoot multiples in an effort to fine-tune focus, but I'm also getting more ruthless to save myself time down the line, also drive space.

Worked on a cloud photograph in Lightroom. Auto did some interesting unanticipated things, saturating the color and upping the contrast quite a bit. It made noise more prominent but it kind of looks like grain. Set me on a path I hadn't considered for it. Tweaked the settings but still probably pushing the image too far. It looks kind of cool though. Still mulling it over.

Rocklawn Arts blogged Memorial Day Sale at Rocklawn Arts!
Get 25% Off nearly everything in my shop Rocklawn Arts through May 30, 2016

Created some more Suitcases. They are available in 3 sizes and you can customize the color of the back/sides, handles, wheels, and bumpers:
Black & White Diamonds and Chevrons Luggage
Black & White Diamonds and Chevrons Luggage by RocklawnArts
See other Customize Pieces of Luggage at zazzle
Classic Navy Blue and Grey Gingham Plaid Luggage
Classic Navy Blue and Grey Gingham Plaid Luggage by RocklawnArts
See other Customize Pieces of Luggage at zazzle
Classic Red and White Gingham Plaid Luggage
Classic Red and White Gingham Plaid Luggage by RocklawnArts
Browse Customize Pieces of Luggage online at Zazzle.com
Airy Baby Blue and White Gingham Plaid Luggage
Airy Baby Blue and White Gingham Plaid Luggage by RocklawnArts
Look at more Customize Pieces of Luggage at zazzle
Sleek Black and White Gingham Plaid Luggage
Sleek Black and White Gingham Plaid Luggage by RocklawnArts
See more Customize Pieces of Luggage at zazzle.com

Culled 196 photos shot last year. Over halfway through this process, so I can see the finish line though I do have a few more big shoots to go through.

Finished reading an old Popular Photographer issue.

How was your week?

8 years ago on TTaT: I continue to loathe health insurance

21 May 2016

The Movement, Vol. 2: Fighting for the Future

The Movement, Vol. 2: Fighting for the Future26. The Movement, Vol. 2: Fighting for the Future by Gail Simone and Freddie E. Williams II

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm sad this series of diverse heroes had such a short run but am glad they were able to give it a fitting conclusion in this volume.

I hope to see these characters again down the line, particularly Rainmaker and Virtue.

11 years ago on TTaT: Troubling breaths

20 May 2016

Life of Art SitRep #327 Luggage and Culling

This has mostly been an in progress sort of week. Not much I could cross off lists.

I worked on two photographs and got them far enough I wasn't sure I wanted to use them. sigh. I did successfully make my first panorama stitch inside Lightroom which was pretty cool because it was so simple. Also tried the HDR function on a couple of image sets but didn't care for those.

Skimmed through my archive of photographs pulling out some other possibilities.

Created some new templates and my first two pieces of Luggage!

Made a new Rugged Samsung Galaxy S7 OtterBox Cases collection

Rocklawn Arts blogged Rugged Samsung Galaxy S7 OtterBox Cases Collection. Should be up next Tuesday.

Shot 75 photographs.

Deleted 162 photos and 3 videos shot in 2015.

Remade some templates for Light Switch Covers to account for the new multiple switch and dimmer sizes now available.

Culled some discontinued and 50 other products from my shop.

How was your week?

11 years ago on TTaT: Not so much about Star Wars

15 May 2016

Underwater Puppies

Underwater Puppies25. Underwater Puppies by Seth Casteel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book better than his previous, Underwater Dogs. More adorable, less fangs. He still clearly likes the chasing balls in the water shots, but I prefer the more amiable chilling underwater shots.

Particularly enjoyed several of his profile shots (Bear!). And some that made me think, "High Five!" as the puppy's paw stretches forward.

Good times.

10 years ago on TTaT: OK, I cave

13 May 2016

Life of Art SitRep #326 Momentary Completion

This week, I finished adding select photographs to the new collections of:
OtterBox iPhone 6/6s Cases
OtterBox iPhone 6/6s Plus Cases
OtterBox iPhone SE/5/5S Cases
OtterBox Samsung Galaxy S7 Cases

Created a new Bold iPhone 6/6s Plus OtterBox Cases Collection:

Rocklawn Arts blogged New Bold iPhone 6/6s Plus OtterBox Cases Collection
New OtterBox iPhone 6/6s Cases at Rocklawn Arts!
New OtterBox Samsung Galaxy S7 Cases at Rocklawn Arts!
New iPhone SE/5/5S OtterBox Cases at Rocklawn Arts!
(The last two will post next week.)

Finishing the large project of the new OtterBox case lines left me a bit out of sorts. Not in a bad way, just wanting to appreciate the accomplishment while feeling a drive to move in some way forward.

Reordered collections some.

Shot over 266 photographs. Haven't uploaded the batch from today yet, another 20?

Culled 73 photos from 2015.

Drew some sketches and did a draft in pencil for the final version.

Worked on a recent gouache painting in Photoshop and decided I should just try to paint it again.

Then I turned my attention to a scan of blank water color paper for use as a background of another work in progress. Decided it would be easier to scan a trimmed down piece that will lie totally flat on the scanner than to adjust for subtle color shift in existing scan.

Lots of starting over this week.

I did finish some work on another watercolor painting I made a couple weeks ago. (I don't promise I won't find something to change the next time I open the digital file though.)

How was your week? Any progress or setbacks?

10 years ago on TTaT: Sense of smell

12 May 2016

Sheep in Disguise

Among the sheep, there is one who is brown and particularly woolly. She looks like a little bison, a pygmy buffalo if you will.

I will be sad when she gets sheared.

11 years ago on TTaT: today's thought...

10 May 2016

Art in Progress

Two small rough sketches in pen, no going back. Fairly fast, simple enough. Pretty happy with the results.

Then, scaling up on good paper. Pen or pencil? Pencil then brush stroke? Or pencil then fine tip Sharpie? Or pencil then brushed ink or calligraphy pen ink? Or...?

Since I'd use a different pen for the final, if I go that route, than the ones I had for my sketches, I figured I'd need to do some tests first. So I opted to proceed in pencil and sort those details later.

I set my drawing pad on my bed and pulled up my chair (not enough space for it on my desk) and put my first sketch next to it. Mechanical pencil in hand, I drew my first shape.

Nope. Half of that went wonky. Erased half, tried again. Drew next two shapes. Not real happy with either and all three aren't quite spaced correctly. Looking at it, I realize I should probably move the works further up the composition.

Erase, try again. Draw a few sections, erase pieces, clean those up but never really like anything but a perfect fluid line.

You realize this is supposed to look hand-drawn, right?

I draw again, and erase again. I'm back to a blank page except for the square border I measured and drew out a week or two ago.

What is wrong with the flow of my arm?

Fortunately I realized the more relevant question: why is what was simple before not working now?

Two things, well, three really:
a) I was trying to make a significantly larger drawing. The first two sketches could be made with a simple sweep of the wrist. The scaled up version requires more of my arm.

b) Instead of drawing on my desk, I was leaning over my bed which is kind of awkward because I can't put my legs under it. I considered going down to the dining room but there were more distractions there than I cared to deal with. I slid my chair back and stretched my legs out onto my bed resting the pad in my lap. Not great but better.

c) The first two drawings were sketches never intended to be final pieces. No fancy paper, no meaningful stakes beyond plunging ahead in pen. I could always draw it over on another piece of paper. Which I can also do here if things go awry with pen, brush, or ink.
I began again.

And completed a first draft in pencil. The next stages can wait for now.

10 years ago on TTaT: Hallelujah! (Ah, the old days before I had access to a DVR and on-demand programming), The day I snap...

08 May 2016

Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story

Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story24. Level Up Your Life: How to Unlock Adventure and Happiness by Becoming the Hero of Your Own Story by Steve Kamb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been reading Steve Kamb's blog at Nerd Fitness for quite a while, so I was familiar with several of the stories he relates in the book. Level Up Your Life does include some workouts but isn't just about fitness. Ultimately, it's a book about how to become the type of person you want to be and how to have the experiences you want to have as you draw inspiration from your favorite characters in books and movies.

Though I'm not sure I'll create an alter ego for myself or assign points to tasks so I can keep score, I do like the idea of imagining what "Level 50" (the top level of the game of life) looks like for myself so I can break it down into steps to reach it.

I've read other books with gaming strategies including The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level and SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient -Powered by the Science of Games. I prefer Steve's positivity and inclusiveness to Hardwick's Nerdist Way.

SuperBetter has lots of great information and science-backed research, but the approach felt like lots of things to do and track that weren't necessarily directly related to the end goal. It's worked for lots of people and is definitely still worth a read, but didn't resonate the same way for me as Kamb's book.

So if I had to pick one to recommend to someone looking for a book on life change including game strategies and pop culture, Level Up Your Life would be it. It probably appeals to me more because movies and books are as much of it as D&D style character building.

Lots of good info on goal setting, whether it be for fitness, weight loss, travel, or learning new skills.

Shout out to Joanna Williams who did the book design. The physical book has cool apt designs that show attention to detail and make it more fun to read.

10 years ago on TTaT: Toms

06 May 2016

Life of Art SitRep #325 More OtterBox Cases & Duvet Covers

This week, I shot 96 photographs trying out some macro ideas I learned last week.

Scanned a bunch of sketches.

Culled 31 photos from 2015. Consolidated another tag in Lightroom.

Created a Photoshop action for basic metadata since I don't see a way to save a preset and I get tired of loading old ones I have to edit anyway. Then I put it to use on my recent scans.

If you know how to save a metadata template preset in Photoshop CC, please leave a comment pointing me in the right direction.

Resized a couple of designs so I could make two new reversible Duvet Covers. The flip sides have zigzags which you can see if you click through.

Rocklawn Arts blogged Add flair to your bedroom with a new Duvet Cover.

Finished adding my designs and started adding some photographs to:
OtterBox iPhone 6/6s Plus Cases

OtterBox iPhone 6/6s Cases

OtterBox iPhone SE/5/5S Cases

OtterBox Samsung Galaxy S7 Cases

Reorganized categories some in my store.

Made my end of month backups.

Have you backed up lately?

10 years ago on TTaT: TODAY is Free Comic Book Day
Note: Free Comic Book Day 2016 is Saturday, May 7th this year, but the link in that post is still good to find a participating comic shop near you!

02 May 2016

Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume One

Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume One (Wonder Woman: Earth One, #1)22. Wonder Woman: Earth One, Volume One by Grant Morrison

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(4.5 rounded up to 5 here.)

This book does justice to Paradise Island and Wonder Woman while also feeling up to date. It's clear Morrison and Paquette have great respect for the character. The Amazon culture is portrayed as deeply rooted in ancient traditions while also being technologically advanced.

If I had to pick one book that relays Wonder Woman's origin story, this would currently be it. Diana's impression of "Man's World" and its of her feel more realistic.

This Diana is more rooted in human emotions that drive her actions than some portrayals of her where she is more distanced from those around her and a tactician. For the record, I enjoy both portrayals, this is just a different take. In Earth One, she feels emotionally younger while also more playful, sultry, and rebellious. More like a real person than a perfect one.

The art is really beautiful. Well worth a read!

10 years ago on TTaT: The principle of the thing