Monday, March 26, 2012

Allergy Season!!

Every spring, I get wonderful allergies. The past few years spring has been cool and wet, so there hasn't been an overabundance of pollen floating around to make me miserable. This spring, however, has been unseasonably warm and sunny, and EVERYTHING has burst into bloom all at once. Which means burning itchy eyes, nonstop sneezing fits, and a massive amount of head goo. I woke up the other day to a sneezing fit, and when I looked in the mirror my eyes were red. Not just bloodshot--full on RED. Fortunately it rained all day yesterday which knocked some of that stuff out of the air and made things a bit less miserable.

Apparently, around here average pollen counts for this time of year are 400-600 parts per million, with "extreme" being around 1500. There's been a "high pollen alert" the past couple days, and it turns out pollen count has been over 9000ppm.

I couldn't resist.

On an aside, has anyone ever stopped to think that all that pollen floating around and making people sneeze and sniffle is actually a massive, massive amount of plant spooge?
I don't know what a fish is doing in a field of grass and flowers though. I suppose the underwater equivalent of pollen would be coral breeding season and plankton.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Creative Process: Painting Clouds

I hate painting clouds.

That being said, I love clouds. I find them fascinating, and I love to watch all the different shapes and colours they can be. I spend a lot of time staring at the sky, and I have tons of pictures I've taken of different cloud formations, and every once in awhile I get the overwhelming urge to paint something with prominent clouds in it.

Recently I was working on a painting with a large red-and-purple cloudy sunset sky (you know the type) and I screamed at the paint a lot. I came back later, stabbed some more paint at the canvas, and screamed at it even more. Clouds are so frustrating! It's their amorphous nature that makes them so irritating--they don't ever have a defined shape, but you can immediately recognize a cloud that doesn't look cloud-like. There's a fine line between clouds that are too defined and look unnatural, and clouds that just sort of look like smushy colours because you tried blending them around too much and the paint all ran together and now your canvas looks more like a fuzzy smear of white and blue and you start screaming and throw it across the room in a fit of rage and frustration.

Okay, maybe you don't do that last part (or maybe you do)*. Fortunately, last fall I took a painting class with a long-time family friend and very established painter, and learned a ridiculously simple and extremely effective way of painting clouds.

*For the record, I have in fact screamed at, punched, and thrown canvases out of frustration.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Creative Process

Over at my DeviantART page, I've been running a little segment for awhile called "The Creative Process." It's mostly a social commentary on art, creation, and life in general, featuring the Savage Goldfish. Since it's been gaining some popularity I figured I'd bring it over here as well.

A lot of "The Creative Process" deals with the rage, frustration, and general angst of an artist. If one could listen at the door of my studio when I'm working, one would hear periods of silence punctuated by bouts of excessive screaming and profanity. Most of my non-artist friends--the ones who see a finished product and go "OMG That's SO cool, I wish I could draw/sculpt like that!"--can't fathom that a lot of the process is frustrating, tedious, aggravating, and really not that fun. The few people who have sat in with me when I'm working are thus usually puzzled by the amount of screaming I do, and wonder why, if it's so aggravating, I continue to do it.

The answer is typically "Because I am COMPELLED to," which is not something easily understood by non-creative types.

Take, for example, this:

I have not done many sculptures with feathers, but every time I do it's something like this. Which is probably why I have not done many sculptures with feathers.