Sunday, February 10, 2008

Negative Correlation

Breathing through your nose is really great, and I definitely recommend it (aka "my cold is gone, thank goodness!"). In honor of being able to enjoy having a nose today, some lists:

Things in my life that smell good (in order of appearance in my day):
-clean sheets
-Alexandra's lilies-of-the-valley perfume
-coffee grounds
-chocolate hazelnut espresso
-my conditioner
-Irish Spring soap
-oatmeal w/ cinnamon and honey
-vanilla lotion
-the steam from mint tea
-last night's rose
-kneaded eraser
-snow. No really, I swear it has a smell. Biting, slightly static. I'm not crazy.

Funky smells I am nonetheless thankful to experience (again):
-the shirt I went dancing in two nights ago (why still on my floor? dunno.)
-the used teabags mildewed in my garbage can
-sci-fi lounge/the vinegar water from that busted heater
-dry-erase markers for my Brain Board
Ok, now on to "Topics Unrelated to my Nose"

I'm quickly becoming an expert in ensuring that days where you must do Too Much work do not suck. One method I've found successful is rewarding myself for finishing things. Here are some useful equations to demonstrate:
U(n)=Ugh 2,3, and 4 through infinity

U plus T yields U(n) yields S
U plus T yields R yields :-D

Got it?

Let's put this in the real world to demonstrate:
When dry research methods statistics which must be waded through en masse for many hours are immediately followed by aural skills transcriptions, that is a Bad Day. When they are followed by a hot shower, chocolate hazelnut espresso, and/or writing in a blog when you should be working, that is a better day. When, after completing two human neurobiology chapters and 30 pages of music theory reading, you go out and Tango/Lindy-hop/Charleston with awesome people, you're having a good AND productive day.

:-D has a negative correlation for how much U must be repeated the next day.
My Schedule, Spring Semester 2008

11 am-Research Methods I
1:30 Aural Skills II
2:30 Music Theory II
7:30 pm Orchestra

11 am Human Neurobiology
1:30 Research Methods Lab
2:40 Orchestra
9 pm Bass Studio

11 Research Methods I
1:30 Aural Skills II
2:30 Music Theory II

11 Human Neurobiology
2:40 Orchestra

11 Research Methods I
2:30 Music Theory II

8-11 Dancing my A** off

Friday, February 1, 2008

Tea and Turpentine

Self Portrait: Acrylics.
My original intention with this painting was to practice entirely in shades and tints of blue. After I had a finished portrait entirely in blue, however, I realized how boring that was. Also I didn't like the blue I had, because it was ugly when I mixed it with black. Therefore I started added color accents to the hair and neck, and then went crazy. I was too cautious with how much paint I applied, and as a result the style is really static and finicky, with canvas peeking through in parts. I really like color as shading in the hair, though.

Glance: oils
This painting was an attempt to loosen up my style with portraits. I wanted to work fast, with large brushstrokes. I started with an underpainting of general blocks of paint, then layered in shadows. I blended white, yellow ochre, and alizarian crimson for the skin tones, with burnt umber and just a little blue for shadows. I used blue to give shape to the eyes, and layered yellow ochre wet-on-wet in burnt umber for the irises. By the end of this I got a feel for blending color in wet-in-wet oils. I also mistook my tea for turpentine and tried to clean my brush in it no less than three times. (I blame the Vicadin; I recently got my wisdom teeth out and drugs have become a convenient excuse for all manner of brain farts.)

Rose: Oils (for mom)
This was the most frustrating painting I did, because there were so many details to attend to. I still don't feel good about the colors, but I'm pretty proud of the shading. I had a problem with consistency because I painted each section, petal by petal, until it was complete, before moving on to the next, so the style is not uniform. I've since realized this is a terrible way to go about things, and blocked every painting since this one. My favorite part of this painting is the rim of light shining from inside the curled petals. Different directions and lengths of strokes were used to define petal shapes.

Louisville: acrylics
This was a blast to paint! The canvas is just slightly bigger than postcard size, and each window/ripple on the water is a single brushstroke. I learned from previous mistakes, and began by blocking in sections, moving on, and coming back to add in details when the underpainting had dried. I'm planning a series of Louisville scenes about this size to hang around my dorm room. This is based on a photo taken from the Indiana side. Obviously the camera reversed it. Can you find Dad's office?

Bass: Acrylics on collage
For this I crumpled up sheets of music, cut them into irregular sections, and pasted them on the canvas so that the texture was crumply, with lines of music going every direction. I was worried that if the paint was too watery it would smear the music, so I used thick paint for parts of the background. That smoothed out the texture too much though, and didn't show the music through the paint, so I thinned it and it worked just fine. Every layer after that was thinned a lot more than usual, to let the music peak through. The tuning pegs have a lot of colorful accents in them that don't really show up in this picture. Hard edges and details were difficult to define here, because of the texture and because I was using such thin paint, so I had to adopt a looser style, which I ended up really liking. I'm very excited because I'm going to coat this in clear paint so light will hit the ridges of the crumpled-up texture in interesting ways. I'll let you know if it works.