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Geek Athena

This has been a vacation week for me, so I have had plenty of time to work on my goddess. The bulk of the work got me to the point of yesterday’s post but I didn’t know at the time. My main goal was to finish before I go back to work on Monday.

I had an appointment in the middle of today, so I added the collage-y bits with gel medium, slathered on fiber paste in the non-collaged area, and a bit of detail on the three figures. And let it dry.

I have used fiber paste in my art journals and it has taken overnight for it to dry, but that involves working on both sides of the page – I’m experimenting with fiber paste on one side and gesso on the other.

After my appointment and lunch, I went back to work on Athena. The fiber paste was completely dry, but I saved the textured background for last. I spent most of this afternoon on adding fine details: using a Prisma pencil to outline all the figures and assorted pens to do other tiny details.  Sakura gel pens are not waterproof, so that was the last item used for the stars on Wonder Woman and the tiny swirls on the owl stand.

I don’t think I mentioned in the last post that I followed the steps Tam went though on her painting. The main difference is I was inspired by the research and art journal phase of this assignment to create my own goddess rather than copy her painting, which is lovely.

Anywho, here is my Geek Athena.  Someday, she’ll get the frame she deserves.

geekathena_cropped_4450_v1As for the photo, I shot her with my Canon Rebel with the flash off.  In addition to the waning natural light, I used my desktop fluorescent light…I know that somewhere, Brian just cringed…mixed light. Either I don’t quite see it yet while I’m shooting or I like the look of mixed light.  I want another photo of Athena, either during full daylight or set my white balance.  I did a bit of fiddling in Digikam to correct the colors so they are pretty close to actual – the skin tone is a bit pinker in the photo but the blues are about right.

I will get started on Week 3 of Magical Mythical Makings, but Life Book 2014 starts in 4.5 days, so I don’t know how far I’ll get.  I like M3, as Tam calls it, because there is an art journal component each week, so we’re journaling about the week’s them then creating a larger piece of art.


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Work in Progress: Geek Athena

When I signed up for Life Book 2014, I added 1 additional class: Magical Mythical Makings. Goddesses, fairies, and mermaids, oh my.

Weeks 1 & 2 cover goddesses, because Tam works on a very large canvas. Two foot by three foot is my guess. The last time I painted large scale was back in my techincal theater days in college. But I have not before painted on a standard artist canvas. Tam’s size canvas was too big for my firsy try, so I am working on a 14″ x 18″ gessoed canvas panel.

I watched the videos and read the handouts and mulled over what to do. The artist providing inspiration is Gustav Klimt. I have a passing familiarity with his work but googled images for more and found Pallas Athena. Still part of his gold period, but this has a dark blue background. I refreshed my knowledge of Athena and came up with the idea of Geek Athena. I sketched the panel in my class art journal, worked on the Klimt-y doodles I like and decided to jump in and start.

I don’t know how far I will get done what is left of my vacation this week. life Book starts in 5 days and I am very excited about that class. Nevertheless, here is my start on Geek Athena, using acrylic paints, Neocolor 2’s, Prismas pencils, various papers, Sakura Micron pens, well, basically every art supply in my stash.


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Tangled Town

I have kept written journals for quite a long time. I have a box full of these, mainly written when someting was troubling me. Mostly work and health related. Pretty tedious or mundane stuff really. I decided to convert one, a Pomaganate African journal, into an art journal. I glued pages together and gessoed some. I have been using it for the second Tamara Laporte eclass, Awesome Art Journals. Week 1’s assignment was various background pages. Each subsequent week has been different techniques to layer onto those backgrounds.

This is a 2 page entry, which started with a tangle called CUdad from Sandy Steen Bartholomew’s Totally Tangled book. As happens when I tangled, it grew from there. I added a few cutout elements. I used a Sakura Micron pen and some Pitt pens. I took a photo with my tablet and edited it with Aviary and Pixlromatic.

The journal pages are quite good, actually. I need not have glued pages together. The unglued pages have stood up very well to collage and mixed media. I have nearly filled this journal and will have to get that journal box out of storage and convert more written journals into art journals. I like the idea of covering up all those negative thoughts with mixed media art.

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Christmas Cactus

Every year at the December admin meeting, the Division Administrator gives everyone a small plant.  Six or seven years ago, we received cacti.  I took mine home and transplanted it into a 4″ terra cotta pot and it hung in there as best it could.  I finally moved it to the window sill in the loft, which gets the most light in the house.

My little cactus began to grow. Last year, one pink flower appeared.

This year, well, I haven’t counted, but it has bloomed like mad.  I took this photo on Thanksgiving Day, when I saw it was on the verge of blooming, with my trusty Canon Rebel and set on the portrait setting.


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Vintage Daisy

Last September, I had a photo day with friends Deborah and Brian, at Deborah’s adorable studio office in the U District. She decorated it herself and wanted Brian to document her work and me to pose in one of my vintage dresses.   I took photos for background shots of what I expect will become Brick Facade’s office.  Being sidetracked by mixed media art lately, I haven’t processed the day’s photos, but I thought I would post one not at all related to Brick’s office.


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The Girl Who Liked Catching Mice


I thought I would finally try a little digital whimsy editing of two mixed media images. I have to say that I got quite good at making the edits on my tablet using various apps. Tonight, I used the GIMP.   It was pretty time-consuming trimming cat girl.  I’m still not very adept at this program.

I saved the original GIMP file with all the layers so I can keep playing with this image. I really like cat girl, holding her little mouse.  I’m curious how much I can mimic the mixed media look digitally and how far I can build up layers.

There is much more to learn but, as a first go, she’s pretty cute. The actual, meat-space version of cat girl looks quite different, but it is a gift for someone, so I won’t be posting that version for a while.

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A Sense of Scale

I took nearly 100 photos on the day of the Tatami Room Pair Go shoot last Saturday. The story itself is still percolating, but I had a comment from someone who was at t the Go Center the day of the shoot.  They felt the charm of the shot posted to the AGA website was to see the sense of scale. I work very hard to shot at a level that fits the dolls into a human-scaled environment. I tend to shoot hand-hand, but when needed, I use a gorilla tripod.

People often ask me about the size of the dolls, so today’s post is going to provide you with, that’s right, a sense of scale. Here is a shot similar to the one posted to the AGA site promoting the upcoming Seattle Pair Go Tournament:

1pairgo_4329_v1I had 4 light sources at work on this shot: the sun coming through shoji-style exterior window behind the camera; Brian’s fill light from the right behind Ginger, Brian’s primary light which was to the right of the foreground couple (I’m guessing the location from the shadows around the goban) and the fluorescent light coming from the other side of the shoji screens in the main playing area.

I like this shot for a number of reasons: the unreal, mis-matched quality of the light; it has a Ukiyo-e vibe to it; there is some tension between the dolls in relation to the room that hints at scale; the replacement mat near the center of the frame that draws the eye around; and the human-sized goban located along the far wall, which look in scale to the dolls.

Looking at the first photo, you would think the dolls are roughly the same size. They are not. Ginger and Tuesday are 59 cm tall, or 23.23 inches. Ethan and Rex are 70 cm tall or 27.55 inches. Here is the gang at the end of the shooting day.  All are shoeless and are flat-foot style dolls. Although they are not lined up, you can see the boys are more than a head taller than the girls.

There are many things I love about the Dollshe boys, but one of them is their amazing ability to slouch. Although you can see some scale clues in the shot, none of the items in the room provide much of a sense scale, particularly if you have never been in the Seattle Go Center tatami room.

1pairgo_4349_v1This photo was taken while Brian shot the scene with his tilt shift lens. The dolls are posed the same as they appear in the first photo. I apologize for the fill light in the center of the frame, but I was standing in the only location for the shot that was not in frame for Brian’s shot. I like the general composition of the this shot; however I found editing the brightness and contrast a bit difficult, due to the fill light. However, for the purpose of today’s post, it suffices.

All of the photos were taken with my Canon Rebel and editing with Digikam.