Ajijic, Odd Little Stories, Places, thoughts behind the work

Early Days of Wire Collecting in Mexico

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When I first arrived in Mexico I did a hell of a lot of walking.  I walked every day, up and down steep hills, and over broken streets with potholes and cobblestones.

When  you do this kind of walking, it’s very important to look down.  If you don’t look down, and look at the surroundings all the time, surely you will stumble and fall.  I believe the majority of seniors here walk with canes.  I walk with a cane now too but only when I’m going to wild places and very old parts of town like Ajijic.  |My vertigo has gotten much better as I work at it all the time.  The sidewalks are extremely narrow as are many of the roads.  The cobblestones are worn and bumpy and some stones are popping up, which can catch you off guard if you foolishly wear sandals instead of good walking shoes.

The most dangerous part aside from crossing streets is my depth perception problem.  I have a hard time trying to judge the distance from the sidewalk to the street.  Sometimes it can be very steep and that is really hard if you don’t have a cane; especially with a week leg, or if both legs are not strong.

When I moved to San Antonio my life got immediately better.  Before my infamous tumble when I injured by knee, I used to collect wires I found in the streets.  There is always lots of construction going on around here.  People are building all the time.  When construction is in full swing, the combination of chain link fencing, cement trucks, flatbed trucks of bricks and wire towers seem to be everywhere you look.

The vehicles run over everything and smash anything soft into the cobblestones, changing the poor victims into unrecognizable shapes.  Wires are my favorite things.  Although I dearly love the disappearing metal soup and soda can lids.  I find them pretty nice when they are rusted into oblivion and are full of holes, leaving them wafer thin like some sort of ancient ceremonial disc.

When wires are run over many times, it really improve their shape when the cement trucks do their damage.  I got to the point where I was actually looking for them. I just could not help myself from this new compulsion.  That can be dangerous.  I’ve had lovely friends collect some for me too.  They have left them for me on my patio table.  How fun is that?  I have kept these smashed treasures  from my travels and someday I will create a few works of art from them.  Until that day, I want to catalog my precious collection here so I won’t forget my early days in this amazing place.

fantasy illustration, kids, simple photoshop, thoughts behind the work

Mischievous Green Critter

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He was born on a piece of  toned paper, drawn quickly with nu pastels which are a kind of hard pastel sticks.  Very messy.  So he decided to clean up his act and become a 1/2 hand drawn, 1/2 digital critter.  Perfect for him since he never obeyed any rules in the first place.

He works as an undercover green spy and here he is hiding as silly fun.

So as usual, what started out to be a quick little thing, ended up being a project.  That’s ok because it is giving me a chance to use my old Wacom Intuos Pro and improve my photoshop skills,  And I am getting better as saving my png files, using transform tools, brushes and adjustment layers.

Here’s what he looked like when first born….  He needed work obviously but as long as the idea was there, he was a candidate for surgery. ha ha ha

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animals, Illustrations, thoughts behind the work

Zebra in graphite

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This zebra is one of many I have drawn.  I love their patterns.  This one is just simple woodless graphite pencil on watercolor paper.  His stripes and the foliage in his surroundings just blend together to create another dimension in drawing.

The pencil is Pentalic Woodless Pencil by M.Grumbacher (w.Germany) and it’s a 6B.  I  love it.  If you have not drawn with this pencil, you are missing out on a great experience.  I have had my collection of these pencils for 30+ years so I don’t know if they still make them.

I loaded this artwork onto a new FB art group.  It was an instant hit and it just goes to show you that you never know who is watching you on social media.

Here he is on my Red Bubble site

fantasy illustration, Illustrations, Revising Old Work, simple photoshop, step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

Corn Fairy’s Nightly Run

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What can I say.  I am working hard trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work in photoshop digital painting.  I’m still getting layers mixed up and even though I am still scrambled eggs about it, I am so happy to have learned a new thingy in this one.  I found an old abstract painting and brought it in as a background and tilted it, blew it up, changed the levels a lot until I got a nice contrast between the background and my sweet fairy.  With that as a positive, the negative is that I feel I lost an opportunity to paint the corn as it should look in moonlight.  The same can be said about miss fairy herself, although I like her weird hair with the red maple leaves all over it.  I won’t do that again  though because I don’t think it worked.  When you add something and it looks added and is not inspiring, it will always be a dead issue and is better off left dead.  But alas, every time I paint one of these, I get a little closer to getting the concept.

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This is the old corn fairy from 2005.  I like the idea but I am surely not there yet. All in all, this is the better work but I will meet the challenge of reviving it.  It is always good to save your work.  It is much more rewarding to revise your own stuff that to just grab something off the web.  I love the corn in this and the corn colors. I also think her skin tones are pretty cool.  I may try this whole thing again at some later date.

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Here is the abstract big watercolor.  I changed so much of it –changed the levels and saturation in photoshop.  See if you can guess which little section of this I used and manipulated.  The original painting is misty and washed out just as it looks here because I washed and tried to scrub out what I had painted a long time ago.  Because I used Arches 140lb. cold press, I could not get it all out.  Now I am so happy about that because I can use this artwork for so many digital applications now.  How cool is that?  The other option is that I could paint over it but I think that would ruin it.  So I will leave it as it is: a hidden treasure.

fantasy illustration, fonts, people, simple photoshop, step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

Farmers: An American Experience

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This started out as a pencil doodle.  When I brought it into photoshop, I adjusted the levels to make the greys of the pencil as dark as I could, and the lights as white as I could. This gave me a little template to build the digital painting on.

There is a lot of painting involved here and a lot of colors and brushwork too.  It took a long time.  I am learning to navigate through my Wacom tablet which saves a lot of time. Learning shortcuts is amazing. I wanted the wife to have pears on her dress but they are not joyous colors.  Because of the situation farmers find themselves in, nothing here is joyous.  I hope their expressions reveal what is going on in their lives.

I usually don’t do political drawings but I thought I would have a little fun with this.  It was pretty easy choosing an appropriate font for a title.  I called it An American Experience because there was a PBS series with this name for a long time.  It was a documentary series about cultural phenomena. This font is Goudy Stout.  I love the name and think it’s sounds exactly what it looks like.

My favorite part of this piece are the two types of bodies.  She is a plump pear and he is a skinny dude.  They make a perfect couple that we see in real life just about every day.  Regarding the coloring; my favorite part is his blue jeans.  When jeans get old and worn, they look kind of yellowish/grey sometimes.  There are many layers and tones of the colors on everything here, and I sing the praise of “multiply” brush effects.  It adds so much depth and dimension, as it picks up the colors underneath with every stroke.

An additional treat is that it was saved for web as a png file and therefore it can be printed transparently on to different fabrics.  This piece ended up looking great on lots of textile products and it really surprised me.

Here is what it looks like on a grey sweatshirt product

dogs, horses, cats, fantasy illustration, Illustrations, kids, simple photoshop, step by step, how to, thoughts behind the work

My Orchid Kitty

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This kitty is covered in orchids.  I had orchids sitting in front of me from my patio garden  and I drew the simple outline of kitty, added wings, a little bird and some fun and not so ordinary color palette.  Then I drew abstract fragments of the flowers on his body.  The little bird ended up having one of his wings looking like another bird facing in the opposite direction. a perk from heaven.

The font is Gigi.  I got the color just by going down a few shades darker than the orchid flower on the color wheel.  The whole drawing was done in photoshop with a few simple brushes.  lots of layers: orig. scanned art, outline, coloring, text, and a white layer in there to be able to see what it finally                                                                                            would look like.

I love getting comments.  Let me know what you think: either about this revision series or any comments on the art are appreciated.

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