A bad winter attitude

Where does a week go?  I need for them to slow down a little.  What the heck am I saying? I am in the middle of a major winter blues episode.  No one around me wants time to slow down.  I am cranky, depressed, edgy and any number of other bad adjectives.  This happens every February and lingers until there is sufficient sunlight and warmth.  I NEED FLOWERS!  I NEED SPRING!!!

I will try to get through this post without unleashing any of the bad winter blues on you.  Just be thankful you don’t live with me.

Here is the project I was working on this month.  They decided to reveal the shows this week so I can show the illustrations now in all their glory.  I work for a community theatre and do the show logos for them.  These are for the upcoming 2016-2017 Season.

MASH was fairly cut and dry.  It was somewhat boring until I added the texture.MASH logo low res

Route 66 was my challenge.  They wanted a 50’s feel with neon or a jukebox, but it still needed the sign incorporated and had to be readable.  I had to go look for a tutorial to learn how to make neon in Photoshop.  Who knows if I will  ever need that skill again, but I pulled it off once! This has been the favorite of the four.  Guess the time involved paid off.Route 66 logo low res

Tarzan was the most fun.  I haven’t played with watercolor paints in a long time.  I am pleased with the way it turned out.  I should spend more time with the watercolor paints I think. Tarzan low res

And last, but not least was the Velveteen Rabbit.  A watercolor illustration was requested for this.  Originally I just had the rabbit, but they wanted the boy included.  I will admit that I get intimidated painting people in watercolor.  Well, any paint for that matter.  I am much more comfortable drawing people than painting them.Velveteen Rabbit low res

So those are my most recent projects.  They have been time consuming to say the least and have taken up most of my creative time this month.

As March rolls in I’m afraid my most creative project is going to be tiling floors.  We just ordered 500 square feet of tile last night.  D.H.  is trying to finish the barn and since I am the detail person (and am not capable of lifting rafters on a roof) I will soon be up to my eyeballs in mortar, tile and grout.

As I promised last week, I am starting a little environmental project to add to the end of each weekly post.  I need a name for this.  Any suggestions?  For now, here is a link to a blog post I found interesting this week.  I have been recycling for almost 20 years now, but this made me more aware of little things we overlook.  I am giving up plastic straws at restaurants now and am paying extra for paper plates over styrofoam plates for out wedding reception.

“Why I Don’t Recommend Recycling Plastic”

I am going to go buy myself some flowers and margarita mix at the store today and combat these winter demons.  I hope you can find some sunshine and have a wonderful week!

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And a little more education

Happy Halfway Through February!  If you read last week’s post you know that I do not like the month of February.  By now I am getting cabin fever and needing Spring badly.

I’m running behind today so this might be short depending on how my morning goes.  Last week I talked about how I seem to be using YouTube often to learn new things.  No tuition required!  That has been continuing into this week as well.  I have been studying how to install tile.  I will let you know how that goes in a few weeks. Prayers requested.

Here is a little watercolor painting I did last week. It is actually a jungle illustration.  I can show you the finished product in March.

Jungle background 2

What else have I done this week? Oh, I fixed one FABULOUS dinner with a honey sriracha sauce.

I IMG_2762have been leery of taking on Asian cooking since a seriously botched Chinese dish about a decade ago that my children still laugh about.  It was so bad that we actually ate grilled cheese sandwiches instead.

Something that has been increasingly on my mind is the state of our planet Earth.  I have no desire to get into the politics of the environment, and I am not a member of any environmental group, but my intuition is ringing loud and clear that we are very likely on the tipping point of saving or destroying ourselves.  I believe the Earth will recover from our selfishness and arrogance, but we probably will not.

My kids have called me their “hippy momma” forever because I have always been the recycling, vegetarian, food-growing kind of gal.  It just seems to be in my DNA to make my lifestyle as earth friendly as I reasonably can.  Not to say I can’t do better.  I am always looking for little tweaks to improve.  So, starting next week I am just going to add to my posts ways to make small lifestyle adjustments or pass along some information that might be a light bulb moment for someone to take action toward healing our home.

We can pass laws and clamor for corporations and governments to do something to stop ruining our earth, water and air, but it will still come down to human beings taking responsibility for their actions each and every day to stop the destruction of ourselves.  No more ignoring the signs of things to come.  Poverty and suffering are only going to get worse if we don’t clean up the water, air and dirt. I have no control over wars starting or ending and am not even sure that the vote I cast in an election counts, but each little effort I undertake at least makes my tiny minuscule drop in the ocean one better drop.

Aren’t I just a ray of sunshine today? Oh, go out and hug a tree.  You will both feel better.

Have a wonderful week!

 

My YouTube University

Hello and welcome!

It is a cold February day here in North Carolina.  For a month that is the shortest it always seems the longest of the year to me.  I endure February.

Currently I am up to my eyeballs in a project that tests and improves my skills every year.  I design the logos for the shows at our local community theatre.  The deadline is very tight for four detailed illustrations and I have to have them finished by this coming Monday! I will show you the finished products after they are announced the end of this month.

I accomplished one longtime goal this past week.  For years (literally) I have wanted to learn surface design for fabric, wallpaper, scrapbook paper, etc.  I just never have had the opportunity/time.  I discovered Spoonflower and their weekly contests a couple of years ago and this year resolved to design a pattern and enter a contest.  Here is my design and voting starts today.  Feel free to cast your vote for it (hint, hint).

Dotty Spots

So how does an old dog with no time learn new skills these days?  youtubeYouTube!  It has become my on call classroom. Here are some of the things I have learned over the past few years (in no particular order) via YouTube:

  • How to change a car battery (saved me $100).
  • How to fix a garbage disposal
  • How to can food from the garden
  • Dog training
  • Organic gardening
  • Photoshop and Illustrator software skills
  • Various and assorted home repair issues
  • Painting and drawing instruction

This week has been a series of YouTube crash courses:

  • Seamless pattern designs in Illustrator and Photoshop for my Spoonflower entry.
  • How to create a neon sign effect in Photoshop
  • More dog training instruction (Odie needs some remedial work on his anxiety problems)
  • Beekeeping 101 (my next endeavor that is coming up fast)
  • Watercolor and acrylic techniques for my logo illustrations

Whew! Yes, my brain is suffering from overload.

Just in case you are interested in any of these, here are some of the subscriptions I have on YouTube.

  • Don The Fat Bee Man (You’re not likely to forget it are you?) – beekeeping
  • Graeme Steveson (Colour in Your Life) – interviews and instructions from artists in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Kikopup – dog training
  • Teela Cunningham – graphic design
  • Spoonflower – pattern design and custom fabric
  • Kristin Crestejo – more dog training (we have issues here that need lots of work)
  • Kelly Eddington Watercolors – painting instruction
  • Katrinah – Website setup and design

There are several more dog trainers and designers, but half the fun of YouTube is discovering all the crazy stuff out there.

I have to get back to work because I have a deadline breathing down my neck and you need to go learn something new, cool and fun!

Have a wonderful week!

A New Season

I have taken some time off from this blog and recovered from some disappointments to get myself back on track. Some of my faith in humanity has been restored (see the post here) so I’m feeling like venturing out of my cave again.

Fall, with a good dose of Winter, has found it’s way back to North Carolina. My time is not spent picking and canning tomatoes now so I have returned to my office/studio.

I had been beating myself up for spending a HUGE amount of time working on a drawing for the U.S. Figure Skating Championship poster contest that I was not accepted into. Here is the piece I submitted.

C Williams Poster LR  entry

I have a love/hate relationship with contests.  I’m not a competitive person, but I like a good challenge.  I don’t like the whole entry fee/waiting to hear thing and not really knowing what the judges are looking for.  After years of being a designer and picking the brains of customers it is a very alien feeling to create something out of thin air without having any real direction.

On the plus side, I had a great time playing with the colors in this poster.  My scan isn’t as good as I had hoped (possibly one reason it wasn’t accepted) so the colors are not true here.  Maybe somewhere down the line I will get it photographed for a print.  I did learn to NOT try to do a large piece in colored pencil under a deadline.  Way too much stress and finger cramps.  I think it will be awhile before I enter another contest…like the 20 years since my last entry!