Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Digital Day Lilies & Daisies

Took some time out from the business side of art and paying bills today to do some actual painting, digital that is. I started with the intent of only making a line drawing for a new CD I'm working on of what will be copyright free line art but then I got a little carried away. It was fun experimenting with Corel Draw again. I really like the way this one turned out. Let me know what you think.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Scripture Confessions Collection

Still waiting on my instructor kit to arrive from Grumbacher. In the meantime, I went through the file box of photographs I have of some of my older paintings, scanned them, and added them to my online gallery. You will see them to the right of this post in the Tanya's Art Gallery slide show. I love looking through old paintings and remembering what was going on in my life when I painted them. All of the experiences I have been through have, in some way, prepared me for where I am now. God has a plan and sometimes when we think he isn't doing enough to help us, he's really just letting us learn and grow. When we are ready is when he will let us have what we've been praying for. Sometimes we don't get what we ask for because we really just aren't ready for it yet. He knows a whole lot more than we do so just keep plugging along and keep the faith. He knows what he's doing, even when we don't.

Every night, before I go to sleep, I read from Scripture Confessions Collection by Keith & Megan Provance. It was given to me by my boyfriend, Jack, and has been a real blessing. If you don't have a copy, get yourself one. It takes the promises of God and puts them in the first person. For instance, "I will not allow fear to torment, influence, or control my life. I give no place to fear. I will not give in to the temptation to be afraid. I am not worried or filled with anxiety. I do not fear the future. Though I may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God's rod and staff comfort me." Read those powerful words every night before you go to sleep and they become ingrained in your soul. Sure beats listening to the depressing news or foul mouthed late night talk shows. Have a great day everybody!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Saddle Up #2

Sold another one of my Oklahoma Red Dirt Artwork TM paintings today. Thank you to Susan in El Reno, OK,  for being one of my patrons. Artists will create whether anyone buys their work or not. It's what we were born to do. When someone does spend their hard earned money on it, it is like icing on the cake. It let's us know that all of our effort, time, and expense we put into it is appreciated by others. It's a great feeling.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Put God First

Sunday morning, I was watching a sermon on TV about Putting God First. We should put God first in our finances, interests, relationships, schedules, and troubles. It so inspired me that I created a T-shirt based on the sermon. Thought you might like to see it. You can even order it through my Zazzle store. Just point on the image below and click. Think about what it says. I hope it inspires you as much as the sermon did me. Have a blessed day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Never Mess With HTML

I learned a valuable lesson today. Never mess with HTML codes if you don't know what the heck you are doing!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Free TV

Today's post doesn't have anything to do with artwork, other than the fact that I've added some pages containing art lessons (see the list to your right). I would like to share with you the fact that I choose not to pay monthly fees for cable or satellite TV. Instead, I invested in converter boxes and antennas for the TVs in my house. We get 22 channels for free including; ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, ION, and many others. We watch movies at hulu.com. I got to watch "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" on there the other day. Love that movie. Many good movies can be bought for around a dollar at pawn shops and we get to watch them whenever we want. Newer movies can be purchased at Amazon.com. Below you will see some of my personal favorites. It is possible to not pay the high monthly fees for cable or satellite TV and not feel deprived. In today's economy, it just makes cents!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Flying Billy

Doing things like this will be so much easier in Photoshop, but it is possible with Corel Painter Essentials 4. Here's a tip when using the Bamboo Pen while working on photos/artwork. Keep the buttons on the pen turned toward the palm of your hand so you don't accidentally click them when you don't mean to. I lost all the work I had done, twice, and it caused the program to have to shut down both times. I was able to save the individual layers original jpegs but not the work I had done on them. Live and learn.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

First Illustration

Finished the tutorials for the Bamboo pen and Corel Painter Essentials 4. Jumped right in to create my first illustration with it. I started with a pen & ink drawing that I had from my days as an illustrator at Tinker Air Force Base. It was originally a design that we used for the annual Oktoberfest celebration we used to do. Great memories, by the way. Anyway, I imported a jpeg of that and then used all kinds of tools on it; marker, chalk, hoses, scratch board tool, etc. The end result turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. My processor is a little too slow for this program so I had trouble switching back and forth between layers but that won't be a problem when I get the new computer. Voc. Rehab. is sending me the papers to sign and then I will be on my way to the next step in meeting with their tech. people to work out the details. It's a slow process but it will be so worth it to be able to work in vector files and be competitive in my market. Any tips or suggestions from more seasoned freelance digital illustrators would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pen & Tablet and Corel Painter

Two days ago, a package arrived on my doorstep. Inside was the Bamboo pen & tablet and the Corel Painter Essentials 4 software that it came with. I loaded them both onto my computer. It was a quick and painless process. Remember the first time you stepped into an art supply store and felt like a kid in a candy store? This gave me the same feeling. Wow! What I have been missing by not having these tools in my studio. It really is like having a studio in a box. I've already watched the tutorial for both the pen and Corel Painter. The things this program can do just amazes me. I know, kids studying graphic design in college today find this common place, but for this old traditional artist, it has opened up a whole new world. I can't wait to get started. When I was in college, 30 years ago, it was considered cheating if you used an art projector to trace an image. Hah! This computer program will even take a photo and turn it into a Monet painting, complete with a palette of colors matched to one of his paintings, just by pushing a few buttons. Talk about cheating. Thankfully, you can still draw and "paint" with it for those of us who actually do know how to draw and paint.

Speaking of which, I tried using GIMP but all that selecting points and snapping lines and stretching lines to get curves just frustrated me. I suppose that people who are math minded might enjoy working that way, but it just made me want to pull my hair out and run screaming into the woods. Only drawback of Corel Painter is that it is raster based. I'll just have to wait for Adobe Illustrator to get to the vectors. Hey, for only 60 bucks (I bought a refurbished model) I am not complaining. I love the Bamboo Pen & Tablet and Corel Painter Essentials 4.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Digital Pen & Tablet

Trying to draw on a computer screen with a mouse is like trying to make a pencil drawing with a big hunk of sidewalk chalk. It just "ain't gonna" happen. My dad always told us kids to use the right tool for the job, even if it meant fashioning one yourself. The man could fix anything with a roll of duct tape and a piece of baling wire. For quite some time, I have been wanting a digital pen & tablet but the cost had been too much for me. Most I had looked at were upwards of $200.

Yesterday, as I was surfing the web looking for useful info on digital illustration, I ran across a blog by Lorraine Dey. She talks about making the transition from traditional illustrator to digital. She recommends using a Wacom pen and tablet. Well, I strolled on over to Wacom to check it out. The one they recommend for art is the Wacom Bamboo, available at Amazon. On over to Amazon I went. I read several customer reviews on this little jewel and couldn't find a bad review in the bunch. Low and behold, the price was about a fourth of any I had looked at in the past. Granted, you can get one with all the bells and whistles at a higher price but I figure the Bamboo will be a good one for me to learn on. It comes with software for using it with Photoshop and Corel Draw but I am hoping I can use it with either the GIMP, Paint, or Open Office Draw programs that I have now. If not, I will just have to wait and use it with the new computer and software I will be getting through Voc. Rehab. Adaptive Services has received my paperwork so I am waiting to get an appointment with them. In the meantime, I am studying digital graphics programs as much as possible and working with what I have now. Life is good and God is great.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Insulting T-shirts

Is it just me or is anyone else tired of seeing disgusting and insulting messages on T-shirts, especially kid's T-shirts? Personally, I don't see the humor in walking around insulting everyone I come in contact with. I've also noticed that children speak to each other and to adults using these same insulting remarks. I'm not sure which came first the T-shirts or the change in attitudes of children. I think I will design a line of T-shirts with positive messages on them. I did the first one this morning. It's available at my Zazzle store. I used the caterpillar I drew during the "How To Draw A Caterpillar" tutorial. Please leave a comment below and let me know if you agree or disagree with my opposition to insulting T-shirts. I'd really like to know. Am I just being an old-fashioned fuddy duddy or do some of you agree with me?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Head Lice

Woke up with high blood sugar this morning. Haven't had breakfast or lunch so I'm feeling a little bobble headed. My son is doing well with his reading lessons. Still waiting to hear about my new computer and graphics software. Discovered a new website that I absolutely love. Zazzle.com. Designing new products for my Zazzle store has become quite addictive. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and you will see what I mean. The possibilities are endless.

Here is another one of my articles for your reading pleasure. I think it's appropriate since school has just started and the pesky little lice varmints are at it again. Hope this is helpful.

Kids vs. Lice

It's that time of year, again. The days are getting shorter. Leaves are beginning to fall. Children are coming home from school with their scalps itching from head lice. Parents are scratching their heads, hoping it's not lice on their own heads, trying to decide what to do to eliminate their children's misery.

I vividly remember what I refer to as the year of our discontent. My two daughters were in the 6th grade and the 2nd grade. About a month after school started, that year, my oldest daughter came home from school one day complaining of itching at the base of her skull. I thought it was probably just dried shampoo that didn't get rinsed out of her hair. Her complaints went on for about a week. I looked closely at her scalp and saw a small bug crawling in her hair. It was then I realized she had lice. Her head was covered with them. I drove to the store and bought an off brand shampoo for lice. We followed the directions. We even placed all of her stuffed animals into plastic bags to remain in quarantine for three weeks. I washed all of her bedding and instructed her not to use anyone's combs or brushes while at school

The next day, she came home with another head full of lice. Within a week, her little sister also had a head full of lice. Back to the store we went. This time, I invested in the higher priced store brand of lice treatment shampoo. At home, her stuffed animals joined her big sister's in a plastic bag. The girls missed their stuffed animals and the itching continued, unabated.

At this point, I came to two possible conclusions. Either the lice treatment shampoos were not working or the girls were picking up new lice at school. It was time for another approach. I began having them flip their heads, upside down, over the bathtub. Then, I would brush their hair and watch, in agony, as dozens of black lice would drop onto the white, ceramic, surface of the bathtub. Next, I would use tiny scissors, going strand by strand, cutting single strands of hair. Each hair that had a lice egg attached, near the base, would be snipped and put into the trash. It took roughly two hours to complete this nightly ritual for both the girls.

After spending almost $100 on lice treatment shampoos and countless hours cutting eggs out by hand, the itching continued, still unabated. We were all at our wit's end. The girls were miserable. I began to dread the evenings, knowing I would be spending several hours cutting strands of hair while my girls patiently sat, waiting for me to finish. Oh, the misery didn't stop their. Now my own head began itching. My oldest daughter was enlisted to begin cutting lice eggs out of my hair. My husband and our son were not affected with this plague that had befallen our house. They both had very short hair. My girls and I all had longer than shoulder length hair. We even tried washing our hair with mayonnaise.  I was beginning to consider the possibility of shaving all our heads.

Finally, someone told us about a solution to our infestation. I was fall-on-my-knees grateful because it really did work. It's called a Robi Comb, a registered trademark of Epilady. It's basically an electric comb that runs on a  AA battery. It has metal teeth. When combed through the hair, an electric current shocks the lice and nits (eggs) and instantly kills them. Robi Combs are available at Walgreen's, and other drug stores, and sells for around $30.  Magicomb is another version of this type of device, but I personally have not tried it. Thirty dollars may seem like a great deal of money but the one I bought was well worth it. I had wasted much more than that on shampoos that did not work. I used the Robi Comb on myself and my girls every day for a week. We were lice free. Using it once a week, thereafter, kept us lice free. I still have the Robi Comb I bought fourteen years ago. It still works. I keep it just in case I ever need it again.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Best Friends vs. Authority Figures

While I am still waiting for Voc. Rehab. to contact me about my new computer and graphics software, I thought you might like to read an article I wrote for Associated Content.

Best Friends vs. Authority Figures

Should parents be best friends, authority figures, or both to their children? Only in recent years has this question plagued parents. In the past, parents were clearly expected, by society, to be authority figures to their children. Being friends with their children was not even a question to ponder. Parents who spoiled, or were too gentle with, their children were scorned and ridiculed by their peers. Children were expected to do what they were told and not talk back to their parents, teachers, or anyone in authority.
Extreme cases of this style of parenting sometimes led to child abuse. An inability to form loving connections to others was another consequence of this strict, authoritarian, style of parenting. Today, there is a growing trend for parents to be more worried that their children may get mad at them, or not like them, than they are concerned that their children learn to practice self control and to respect authority.

Is this new trend in parenting good for children and society in general? The answer to this question will give us the answer to the first question. The effects of parents being friends only to their children can be observed at an early age. Most of us have seen examples of this in grocery stores when small children are observed throwing temper tantrums to get what they want. The "friendly" parents are observed bargaining with these children or giving in to their screaming toddlers rather than standing firm and clearly stating the impending consequences of such disruptive behavior.

When these same children enter school, they are unprepared for such a structured setting where they are expected to behave themselves. Teachers must spend a great deal of time dealing with these children. They are then able to spend less time teaching or giving attention to the other students. There are no winners in this situation. The misbehaving child feels isolated because he/she is different from the other students. They are often teased by their peers for acting like a baby, and generally unable to benefit from the lessons being taught. The other students are less able to concentrate. The teacher is less able to teach.

During adolescence, the child being raised by "friendly" parents often has a home that looks and seems more like a flop house than a home. Children are coming and going at all hours of the day and night. There may be little to no adult supervision. Many of these children have almost unlimited access to alcohol, drugs, firearms, etc.

On December 5, 2007, a 19-year-old boy named Robert Hawkins walked into the Von Muar Mall in Omaha, Nebraska and shot to death eight people. Two others were wounded. Robert then turned the gun on himself, committing suicide, showing as little regard for his own life as he did his victim's lives. On January 7, 2009, Dr. Phil interviewed the gunman's mother, Molly. She admitted to smoking marijuana with her son because he told her that he really enjoyed doing this with the mother of one of his friends. Apparently, this killer's mother was so afraid that her child would like someone's else's mother more than herself, she was willing to break the law to please him. The new trend of "friendly" parenting is not good for society. While most cases of "friendly" parenting do not result in such extreme consequences, it is at this stage of development when the parents usually realize that their screaming toddler has turned into an almost grown man, or woman, who has no respect for themselves, or anyone else, and will stop at nothing to get their own way. Speaking of television shows, if it were not for “friendly parenting”, Supernanny would be out of a job.

After adolescence, these spoiled, disrespectful, and often dangerous, young adults are next turned loose on society. They are the young adults who can't keep jobs because their boss was mean and actually expected them to be on time and do a full day's work. Many of them refuse to leave home and continue to be provided for by their parents, who now feel guilty for not better preparing their children for adulthood, and are all too happy to relieve their guilt by continuing to give in to the demands of their children and not have their grown children mad at them.

Perhaps the answer to the question, "Should parents be best friends, authority figures, or both to their children?”, can best be answered by children themselves. In an informal survey of 52 high school students, conducted by this author on January 9, 2009, the results revealed a great deal of wisdom on the part of teenagers. 2% of the students believes that parents should be friends only. 10% of the students believes that parents should be authority figures only. 82% of the students believes that parents should be both best friends and authority figures to their children. 6% of those surveyed was undecided. Clearly, children themselves want to be both guided and provided with companionship by their parents. Isn't that what a true friend does, be a companion and offer guidance and support?

In conclusion, a balance between authority figure and friend is best for parents, children, and society. This approach is not easy. It requires a great deal of emotional and physical effort applied consistently over many years. The effort is well worth it when, as a parent, you witness the child you raised, both as a friend and with boundaries, guidelines and responsibilities, leave your home and become a productive, confident, joyful, member of society. 




Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Learning To Read

Yay! The book I ordered for my son, Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons, came in the mail yesterday. We had our first lesson last night. He did really well. He even made the sounds for "if" and "sister". I am even more encouraged now that he will learn to read with this book, just like his sisters did.

I hope you have been enjoying the "How To Draw" videos I have been posting. As you can tell, I have been experimenting with the best way to light my drawing table so that the paper comes out white in the video and so that the shadows aren't too harsh. In the first one I shot, "How to Draw A Caterpillar", the paper looked brown instead of white. The more light I put on it the darker the paper became. I finally had to call in the photography expert, my brother (randallgreenimages.com) for assistance. He reminded me of something I had forgotten, since my days as an illustrator/photographer at Tinker Air Force Base. He reminded me that the automatic setting on a camera/camcorder will try to balance the scene to middle gray (halfway between black and white.) It was making the white paper look gray. That's why automatic cameras have a little snowman setting for shooting snowy scenes.

When I took away all the lights, except for one window light and one fill light on the other side, the exposure was much better and the paper looked more white. The only problem with this was that now, the camera had trouble focusing because there wasn't enough light. I moved the fill light closer and that helped it to be able to focus better. That light is so hot and bright that it creates a hot spot on the back of my drawing hand so I will purchase a cool fluorescent light for use in future videos.

If there are specific drawing/painting techniques you would like to see me post a video for, please leave a comment and I will see what I can do. I'm still waiting to hear from the Oklahoma Department of Vocational Rehabilitation about my new computer and illustration software. It's a wonderful program but they have so many clients, and so few counselors, that it does take quite awhile for things to get moving. I will keep you posted.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Count Your Blessings

The other day I read a blog posted by a young graphic designer who was complaining that she hated her job, had a big pimple, and her neighbor was mad at her because her garbage can stinks. I only wish those were my biggest problems. I wish I had a graphic design job to complain about. My handicapped son has acne so bad one whole side of his face looks like raw hamburger meat, and we have very little garbage because we use or reuse almost everything we have.

It really irritates me that so many young people just don't realize how good they have it. In this country they are given a free education and yet many of them sit in class and do nothing because they are bored and have no motivation to learn. They just want the bell to ring so they can go home and play on their video games. They are obsessed with their looks and spend tons of mommy and daddy's money on the latest fashions and make up and don't seem to have any thoughts deeper than which shoes would look best with these jeans. My car is the oldest and most beat up car in the parking lot at the high school where I work part-time as a substitute teacher.

Don't get me wrong. There are many young people who do work really hard, are polite and considerate of others, and are making a positive contribution to society. My daughters are among those and I am very proud of them, but they seem to be the acceptation to the rule.

It really concerns me that before long, these whining slackers who are the majority will be running this country and I will be really old and at their mercy. I can only hope to be raptured out of here before that happens. For now, I will go on studying computer graphics and do my best to earn a living with it. I will pray that my son's acne responds better to the medications he is on for it and be grateful to God that we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and a home filled with love for one another.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Waiting Game

Since it will probably be several weeks before I get my new computer and Adobe Illustrator, I have downloaded a free program called GIMP. Since it is similar to Illustrator, I can practice on it. Too bad it does not use vector files. If it did, I could just use it and save the expense of Illustrator. In today's market though, I have to be able to create and send vector files.

I've added a new page to this blog. You can click on the "Oklahoma Red Dirt Artwork TM" on the right side of this page to see it.

On a personal note, my daughter is flying home from Germany today. Yay! She has been gone for 3 weeks and I can't wait to hug her. She and her grandmother and aunt have been gallivanting all over Germany and Austria. She got to go see where they filmed "The Sound of Music". She really had a good time and kept us all updated by posting pictures of all the places they visited onto FaceBook.

Thanks for stopping by today. Leave a comment and turn the lights off when you leave.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mission Statement

It is my intention to use this blog to allow people to follow my progress as I attempt to transition from being a traditional illustrator to a computer graphics illustrator. Since my degree in Advertising Design was obtained in 1983 it is quite antiquated. Computers have taken over my field since I was taking time to raise my children. During those years I freelanced and did mostly portraits and other drawing and painting. Now I want to get into computer graphics and since I am also a diabetic, I can qualify for assistance from the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation. Because I already have a degree in my field, they can not provide me with classes or a new degree but they can help with getting me a new computer and software so that I can compete in today's market.  I will be using online tutorials and books to learn Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.

Because I am also a substitute teacher, mother of three; one grown and a mom herself, one in college, and one multi-handicapped in high school, my blogs may diverse into these other areas from time to time. It is my hope that sharing my experiences will be of some help to others. Comments and advise are welcome.

When my children were little, I home schooled them and had the pleasure of teaching my daughters how to read. The book I used was called, "How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons." They loved that book. It was full of silly little stories that they found to be hilarious. Teaching them to read really was easy. I loaned that book to a friend and have since lost touch with her and the book is gone. I recently found a copy at Amazon and ordered it for my son. He has limited speech, mostly nouns. I hope he will become as interested in learning to read from this book as his sisters were. He knows most of the alphabet, from flash cards now, so I can't wait to see if he can learn to read and improve his language skills. I will keep you posted on that topic, as well.

Monday, August 16, 2010

First Day on the Blog

Everyone has a blog these days. Decided it was time for me to have one too. Do people really get followers doing this? I hope so. As a 49 year old freelance artist/author and mother of 3, I probably have gained some knowledge that can be of use to others and am certainly up for learning from others as well.