Posts Tagged ‘art’

Beginner’s Guide to Calligraphy

This month I was learning on my own instead of taking a class, so I know I didn’t do as thorough a job as if I had the guidance of a professional/someone forcing me to do things. Still, I consulted a lot of professionals, in the form of taking their books out from the library:

Sources (Books)
Modern Calligraphy by Molly Suber Thore
Spencerian Handwriting by Platts Roger Spencer
Simple Stroke Calligraphy by Marci Donley
Encyclopedia of Calligraphy Techniques by Dana Hardy Wilson
Calligraphy by Margaret Morgan
Calligraphy in Ten Easy Lessons
Step by Step Calligraphy
Mastering Calligraphy by Gaye Godfrey-Nicholes

Of these, I liked the first one, Modern Calligraphy, the best. It went really in-depth about supplies and what to look for, explaining where you really do need to spend some money and where it’s okay to cheap out, especially for beginners. I also had this amazing Christmas present from Melissa:

A calligraphy kit!

A calligraphy kit!

It had a good practice booklet, pen, ink, and vellum. It was nice to have the basic supplies already. Here’s a practice booklet:

As you can see, my lack of artistic skill is definitely a drawback

As you can see, my lack of artistic skill is definitely a drawback

I also can’t seem to get the thin vs thick lines that really define calligraphy. It’s all about the pressure you exert, which I suppose I could get with more practice:

My handwriting will always look kind of awkward to me, I guess

My handwriting will always look kind of awkward to me, I guess

I’m probably not going to get more practice, though, because I discovered this month that, though I like the results of calligraphy, I don’t really like doing it, particularly. It’s fine, but I don’t have the drive to put in the time and effort I’d need to actually get good at it.

HOWEVER, one of the online sources I consulted, The Postman’s Knock, had an awesome tutorial about how to do CHEATING CALLIGRAPHY!! I am all about cheating, y’all. You can do it with a ballpoint, which I write in my journal with all the time. I immediately started practicing.

What would you have tried first?

What would you have tried first?

I write fast, which is probably why my handwriting is largely illegible. But for this you have to slow down, so I’m hoping I’ll at least take that lesson away from it to improve the quality of my journals in general, if not have them in beautiful Spencerian hand like I maybe naively hoped would happen this month.

I've started doing the first letter of each entry, like I'm important or something

I’ve started doing the first letter of each entry, like I’m important or something

I’m glad I took this month to play with calligraphy since it’s something that’s always interested me. Now I know all I want to about it, and I don’t have to wonder anymore. Plus, I think it’s improved my writing in some little ways.

Best Part: Livening up my journal!

Livens up the journal!

Like this!


worst Part: Sucking at drawing means sucking at calligraphy
Will I do this again?: Nope

Not sure what my plan for next month is yet, but I’m tentatively saying rock climbing!

Previously: Beginner’s Guide to Weaving
Next: Cross Stitch (not rock climbing at all lol)

Selfie Scavenger Hunt: Art Museum

At a recent THE 434 reunion, we did a selfie scavenger hunt at the NC Museum of Art!! Everyone did a really good job, especially Cynthia who was hindered by not actually having a smartphone to take selfies with. She had to awkwardly turn her point-and-shoot around, which makes it way harder. Here are my entries:

Something purple!

Something purple!

Something you want to steal!

Something you want to steal!

A museum employee!

A museum employee!

Something shiny!

Something shiny!

An animal!

An animal!


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An Engineer’s Guide to Art

The Town of Cary always has various kinds of public art on display in all of its buildings. They host art loops and artists’ receptions, and seem to work hard at bringing the public different kinds of art in different mediums. So I thought the best thing to do would be to go on a tour with the person I know who would least appreciate it: my dad. I was actually surprised that he made stabs at what things might symbolize, although not at all disappointed by his amazing summations of exhibits. Behold:

Beth Palmer: Fiber Art – Exploration in Color
Gallery Description: Beth Palmer is an artist who explores color and surface design in her work. Trained as a painter, she is always investigating new materials and techniques to enhance her work. History has always intrigued Beth. Found objects as well as old and antique materials are a fascination and one of the themes of her work.
Ron’s Description: “It was dyed cloth with a bunch of crap on it.”

Poseidon's Revenge by Beth Palmer

Poseidon’s Revenge by Beth Palmer

Ron: The first one they had was “Poseidon’s Revenge”, which, when I looked at the title, I was thinking “Oh, we’re going to have something about Greek mythology,” and it’s just a bunch of loops and odd colors and everything else and if anything else it may be some abstract art of Medusa, but certainly not almighty god of the sea Poseidon. And it’s even got a bunch of browns in it, when you’d expect some greens and blues of the sea.

Crossroads by Beth Palmer

Crossroads by Beth Palmer

Ron: There’s two white squirrelly lines that look like they do cross, so I suppose there’s something there. But all of these other little things there, like the embossing [note: I think he means embroidering] and the circular embossing… it’s just clutter as opposed to art.

Who and Movements #1 by Beth Palmer

Who and Movements #1 by Beth Palmer

Ron: There’s another one called “Movements #2”. I think maybe she forgot that she named one of them Movements, and then she named the other one Movements, and, what the hell, she had to add the 1 and 2 on them to differentiate them. Though they are different, they’re not that different, so who cares? And this one named “Who” looks more like a bunch of red blood cells than it does anything like the interrogative nominative pronoun or the musical group. It doesn’t look like ethier of them. It looks like a bunch of red blood cells and blood. Actually, it’s much too thick.

Sticks and Stones by Beth Palmer

Sticks and Stones by Beth Palmer

Ron: This one is sort of nice. It’s called “Sticks and Stones,” and it’s got this rectangular pattern that does have sticks and then it’s got stones in it. This is the most literal one of all. And, you know, just seeing stones isn’t all that great a deal.

Me: So is that your favorite?

Ron: Oh yes… my favorite… my favorite… is… is… is… uh… that one’s really the most bizarrish thing. What’s it titled?

Inner Dance by Beth Palmer

Inner Dance by Beth Palmer

Ron: So it’s just chaotic totally. It’s difficult to try to make anything out of it, so maybe that’s the one I can give up on the quickest, so I wouldn’t waste as much time on it.

Me: So it’s your favorite?

Ron: It’s my favorite, yes.

Me: Would you put any of these in your house?

Ron: Uh… The only thing I could see useful is that you’re out in the garage and you’re using them as rags for painting or working on your machinery or something. That’s about all I would ever use them for.

Me: Burn.
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Art-o-Mat

I like to take people to the Cary Arts Center when they visit me, because there’s usually something cool in their art gallery. Right now, it’s “Coded Responses” by Mark Nystrom, an interesting collection of artistic data visualization, mostly of wind measurements. But, no matter what’s currently showing in the gallery, the best part of the visit is just outside, at the Art-o-Mat.

It's a vending machine for art!

It’s a vending machine for art!

Art-o-mats repurpose old cigarette vending machines to dispense art! They’re really cool and retro-looking, and there are a bunch of different locations nationwide. Maybe there’s one near you! At the Cary Arts Center, you pay $5 to get a token from the desk, and select your artist. Each of the slots normally taken up by brands is for a different artist (most local), plus one “mystery surprise” slot, which is, of course, always tempting. Last time I went, there were clay beads, abstract painting, kits for folding paper monsters, and wire sculptures as choices. But I had to pick the one tab that just said “Crystal Ladd”:

This is what you get--they come in little boxes just like cigarettes

This is what you get–they come in little boxes just like cigarettes

It turns out Crystal Ladd is someone’s name! She makes earrings:

They're cute!

They’re cute!

The box usually has the name, email address, and maybe other contact info on it for the artist. In this case there was a link to her etsy store. Also, unlike on other occasions, the box also had candy and a fortune inside!

I'm bad at taking pictures

I’m bad at taking pictures

I was really happy with this outcome–sometimes the Art-o-mat can vary in terms of quality and/or weirdness, but it’s always worth it for entertainment value alone. For instance, I was able to drag Steven to the “Coded Responses” exhibit because it was about data, and he chose the “Mystery” art slot, to receive:

A block with a drawing of Abraham Lincoln?

A block with a drawing of Abraham Lincoln?

Truly, the ways of the Art-o-mat are mysterious and fascinating. You should come to Cary to experience them for yourself!

Watercolor Practice!

It’s been awhile since I took that watercolor class, and I’ve for the most part been ignoring the leftover supplies that stare guiltily at me every time I open my closet. I guess it’s my lack of drawing skills that have been holding me back, and my lack of watercolor paper. But I finally found some for like $3 at Target. It’s not as nice as the kind we used in class, but definitely better for a newb like me anyway. Inspiration came while watching TV, when I realized Adventure Time characters are actually made of really simple shapes. Especially:

Lumpy Space Princess, or part of her

Lumpy Space Princess, or part of her

You’d be surprised how difficult it is to draw half a star.

Then I was on a roll:

Ice King probably turned out second best

Ice King probably turned out second best

I have two different color blue paints, so there wasn’t as much mixing involved. That’s the part that’s still tricky to me, getting the exact color you want, and being able to tell what it will look like in the painting. I think I use too much water.

Princess Bubblegum's three different shades of pink didn't turn out exactly right, but whatevs

Princess Bubblegum’s three different shades of pink didn’t turn out exactly right, but whatevs

The other annoying thing about watercolor is that most pictures take awhile, since you have to wait for the water to dry between coats or when doing adjacent sections. If you’re not careful they’ll bleed all into each other. That’s what happened to Marceline’s hair here:

I tried to fix it when I outlined later in marker, but it's still my least favorite one

I tried to fix it when I outlined later in marker, but it’s still my least favorite one

I plan on doing more later!! They can be an Adventure Time family on my wall!

Watercolor Round 2

Turns out, flowers are way easier than vegetables!!!

STEP ASIDE, MONET. There's a new flower-painter in town

STEP ASIDE, MONET. There’s a new flower-painter in town

Sorry, Rob, but Monet is literally the only painter who does flowers I know, and that is only because once I ended up at his house.

Go Big or Go Home: Art

So I’m terrible at art, and always have been. My mom would always tell me that it was genetic and I shouldn’t worry about it because she sucks at art too. I don’t know if that’s actually true or part of the trauma incurred when a bitchy art teacher told her to never take another art class again, but I’ve been hearing it my whole life. The last time I had an art class in school we were gluing pieces of tissue paper to other paper and drawing hand turkeys, so no real help on that front either.

I'm just going to leave this here as evidence

I’m just going to leave this here as evidence

I wish I could draw. It’s something I’ve wanted to change about myself for a long time. So this summer I decided to do something about it. I decided to take an art class. And instead of beginning drawing or whatever, I signed up for watercolors because, hey, go big or go home. This may have turned out to be a terrible mistake. The first day was fun, all painting squares blue. I can totally do that. Then the second day it became “draw this apple and make it look real with shadows and three dimensions and everything” and I felt like I had skipped a few classes. I’m still trying my best, but it’s hard.

My fruit has more mold than shadows, but that's realistic too, I guess

My fruit has more mold than shadows, but that’s realistic too, I guess

At least you can kind of tell what all these are, right? Unlike week three, where I spent a careful 30 minutes painting a gross green blob:

It's an artichoke, actually

It’s an artichoke, actually

But, really, when am I ever going to want to paint an artichoke? I’m okay with being bad at that. This week we start flowers!!

Art Show Solidarity!

So RIGHT NOW my beloved illustrator (remember that book I wrote? Yeah, me neither) is having her amazing glitter and cupcake filled first art show! Unfortunately it’s in Minneapolis, so I can’t go (because of my fear of polar bears). Luckily Steven and I were able to celebrate in solidarity!

First, I decided to make the most Natalie kind of cupcake I could think of:

Pink frosting+glitter sprinkles+something called "cake pearls"!

“Wow, Patricia,” you are saying. “Those cupcakes are SO FANCY! There is no way the inside could be as great as the outside.” WRONG AGAIN, dear reader. Read the rest of this entry »

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