Thursday, January 31, 2013

728 - Social Studies Sketch

Working on a sketch that I will finish later.  Not tonight, there's no rush.  You can see the basics that I laid down in light blue and then tightened up in dark blue. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

727 - Four Squares

Visually, here's a JSVB post that's mostly unexciting.  I downloaded some patches for my graphics software, and now I am enjoying some increase in the ability to handle very large files.  This picture is a technology test that tries out a couple of tricks with layers, shapes, and paint. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

726 - Toin Toss Two

My second stab at Toin Adams' problematic Green Man.  I keep wanting to adapt it to my own style, and it keeps resisting those efforts. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

725 - Toin Toss

I started a toss-off art project that I don't think I will bother to finish.  It's a theme based on the Green Man designed by Toin Adams.  What I like about Adam's work, a massive sculpture with greenery growing out of all sorts of provocative places, is the keen placement of armour-like abstract structures to represent musculature and weight in movement. 
I feel I missed that look with this digitized artwork, as the shapes don't look like they have a solid organic fit to them.  Oh well, it was worth the effort to try. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

724 - The Green Knight

League-leading slotback Geroy Simon, hero of the BC Lions football team, has today been traded to Saskatchewan.  How he will be missed!  So far, the roster move has been achieved with a great deal of goodwill, and on Geroy's part with a genuinely emotional nod to his loyal fans. 
I remember the Lions twelve years ago, when Geroy started as a brash sophomore. The team was coming off a Grey Cup win despite their losing record.  Coaches and staff were being shuffled on account of turmoil in the head office.  The future of the Lions was not clear, nor was it positive.  Young Simon at the time came across as a rather selfish player with a very strong sense of entitlement.  Yet he showed flashes of his talent, and impressed the staff and fans enough to earn a place in the starting line-up.  Under the tutelage of  the strong coaches and on-the-field mentors that have become the hallmark of BC Lions management, Geroy Simon quickly matured and blossomed into a formidable, star-bright talent.  He tamed his impulsive nature and learned the value of teamwork on and off the field.  Truly an impressive and inspirational player, Geroy Simon has become one of the great ambassadors to the Canadian Football League. 
On behalf of his stunned yet appreciative legion of BC Lions fans, I want to extend to Geroy every best wish for his endeavours while wearing the green uniform in Saskatchewan - every wish excepting of course: to win the Grey Cup! 
This image was composed using as reference photographic sources that are the property of The Vancouver Sun and Global News. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

723 - Spocktacular, Spocktacular

Today I was the surprise recipient of two awesome gifts, right out of the blue:  this snazzy new convection toaster oven, and this indescribably perfect (for me) Spock Hand Oven Mitt - thank you so much, Bob & Moose!  Trouble is, today was also very, very rocky for several people I know, so I don't want to take away from their importance by showing off my new things.   
The Spock Hand Oven Mitt is especially appropriate for oven use.  Spock reached into a molten-hot dilithium reactor with his hands in order to save his ship and his friends.  I am nowhere near that brave, but I do hope this goofy picture makes people smile a little. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

722 - Delivery

JSVB is extremely proud to announce our latest delivery!  On Friday January 21, at 7:32 AM Pacific Standard Time, we were incredibly happy to receive one bouncing Boeing 737-700!  Weighing in at a hale 84,100 pounds and 5 ounces, the new arrival was christened Landon D. Tarmac.  Celebrate good times, oh yeah!!
Okay, there's a bit more of this story to be told.  It started with an airplane trip taken by my wife.  The outbound leg worked out well, but the inbound journey was stalled by thick fog at our home airport.  The visibility was too low to attempt a landing, so the aircraft was turned back to its originating airport, an hour and a half away in the next province.  I drew a picture to cheer up my wife, who ended up missing an important appointment due to the fog.  Click here to see the image.
The airline tried again in the evening, but the fog was even worse.  At the airport, the scene was charged with drama: strobe lights attempted to pierce the gloom of the night, and all of the runway illumination glowed with fierce intent.  Overhead, we could hear the engines of the invisible airliner spool up to full power as the brave pilots attempted three times to complete a landing.  Yet we could not even see the jetliner's landing lights; we knew that there was not enough visibility to land.  The engines thundered away to the east, and we groundlings were once again left to return home without our loved ones.  Climbing into my winter-cold auto, I spied a bouquet of roses upended into a nearby garbage bin.   Safe  at home, I altered the airline picture into a night-time version, click here to see that.
Third time the charm, so the saying goes.  Flight 454 made a triumphant return - I illustrated the flight preparations in the drawing you can see by clicking here. The fog outside is still thick as gravy, but at least my sweetheart and I are home together! 
Nurses don't wear hats anymore.
Maternity wards don't have central nurseries for healthy infants.
Planes land on the runway, not the tarmac.  They also don't fit into hospitals. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

721 - Flight Prep

After what happened to Flights 501 and 455, brave Flight 454 decided to get a good night's sleep and then really prepare well for the adventure of the next day.  To be continued. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

720 - Foggy Flight 455

Well, I'm sensing a theme here.  Are you sensing a theme?  Because I certainly am sensing a theme. 
Here's a link to JSVB Post #455.  Please click here to see it. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

719 - Foggy Flight 501

An important flight delayed, due to fog. 

Here is a link to JSVB Post #501: please click here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

718 - 30 Seconds After The Room

Spoiler Alert:  in today's JSVB post, I discuss the ending of the Tommy Wiseau motion picture "The Room" (2003). 

Considered one of the worst films ever made since the year 2000, if not the history of film-making, I found this picture to be life-changing much in the same way as my first viewing of "Troll II" (1990).  I knew what I was getting into when "The Room" boasted Producer, Director, Writer, and Starring credits for the same man, the epic Mr. Wiseau himself. 

I consider "Troll II" to be a much worse film than "The Room", but "The Room" can stand on its own shaky merits very well, thank you.  Shot simultaneously and inexplicably on 35mm film and high-definition video, "The Room" boasts a plotline that could be described as Tennessee Williams' classic stage play "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" shot as an homage to "American Beauty" (1999) by Ed Wood ("Plan 9 From Outer Space" (1959)).  Featuring amateur actors spouting dialogue that sounds like it was generated from two computerized speech simulators talking to one another - and then dubbed poorly - the main dramatic tension from "The Room" comes from discovering just what crazy crap will happen next.  Characters enter and exit the limited stage sets with no more introduction than "Oh, hi!".  Creative differences among the cast and crew forced the premature firing of some of the actors.  A few of the scenes are re-shot, others feature completely different actors placed into the roles mid-picture.  If anything, "The Room" stands as a staggering monument to perseverance against all odds to see a cherished project through to the end.

Too bad that the theme of the film is the opposite of all that: Tommy Wiseau's character Johnny fatally shoots himself in the head after he loses patience with his two-timing future wife.  Despite the primitive aspect of the film, the bizarre lovemaking sequences, the perplexing character development, and the actors' tendencies to call each other by their real names during the show, I found that I was drawn into the world of "The Room".  I even drew a little sketch cartoon to explain what happens to Johnny in the afterlife.  God can't hate a guy who loves football so much!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

717 - Family Portrait Touch-Up

As a favour, I retouched a family photo.  It came out a bit dark as I was working with a source that had a few extra elements that needed to be cropped, and I just blotted them out with a dark airbrush. 
My original scan was extremely dirty.  I could have saved a lot of time if I had made the effort to make a cleaner scan.  Instead, I relied on Photoshop's clean-up suite. 
The "Dust & Scratches" filter worked okay, but it came out looking like I'd run the picture through a high-pass filter.  I bet the dust & scratches is much the same as high-pass.   
The Healing brush, on the other hand, is nothing short of miraculous.  Healing uses complex algorythms to analyze the pixels surrounding the blemish.  It then applies the result to the area, convincing the out-of-place pixels to more closely resemble their neighbours.  The Healing brush works magnificently on organic areas like hair, skin and cloth.  The only downside is that it's best for spot healing only. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

716 - Archangel Michael, Part XI

The new year brings a new effort to finish my Archangel Michael icon.  Mostly, my technique has improved, so as an experiment in the medium of orthodox design, there has been progress. 

No matter how it works out, though, angels, and particularly Michael, don't come out as being cuddly or even sympathetic in this form.  It wasn't until the Italian Renaissance was well underway that angels began to take on the more Romantic ideal we associate them with today.  The Master Donatello is credited with combining the pink, rounded, soft putti "angels" taken from ancient classical mythology and combining that entity with Christian ideals. 
Changing the border from yellow ochre to burnt umber has tamed the gamut somewhat.  The primary colours still blaze, but the brighter yellow ochre no longer dominates like a cosmic solar flare along the border.  The figure is, as far as I am concerned, complete.  What remains to be done on this icon is a fair amount of finishing work for the border, halo, and inscription. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

715 - "The Stinker"

Today is the first Ungood Art Day for 2013!  Every thirteenth of the month on JSVB, I publish from my archives a piece of my crappy art.  While I would not suggest that my good stuff is that much better than my ungood stuff, if you can't tell the difference between the two then we can't be friends. 
Over time, I've collected a few bits of clay sculpture.  I've decided that everything I've modelled in clay fits the ungood category.  This piece is based somehow on "The Thinker" by Auguste Rodin.  I remember having trouble mastering the human form in clay, so I decided to add some random bits and turn the creature into some sort of gargoyle.  Gargoyles are easier than people to render because critics know what people are supposed to look like. 
Even so, the pose seems more like this fellow is sitting and thinking, flushed with his ordurous ordeal, rather than just thinking.  Note the finger scratching at the neck, indicating significance of some sort.  You should consider buying this thing, sold as-is.  Ignore the accumulated dust, which would be carefully cleaned off before shipping.  Unless you like the dust, in which case every bit of fluff and hair will be carefully preserved before shipping. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

714 - A Tribute To Charles Addams

Brilliant dead genius cartoonist Charles Addams once drew a cover for the prestigious New Yorker magazine that looked a lot like this photograph - and yes, this place is real.  I just happened to be lucky enough to have this vantage point and a camera ready.  Plus, I jiggered around a few elements in Photoshop, just to make it all look decent.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

713 - Backup Day

Today I've set aside for the task of making backups for my computer files.  People sometimes ask what the little boxes with wires and lights are on my computer desk.  I explain that they are external hard drives.  These days, drives are cheaper to maintain than burning to disc.  I can just take all of my files and dump them into a bin of yearly accumulations. 
The files I share on JSVB are compressed by necessity.  Blogger now allows me five gigabytes of free storage.  By using compression, I've so far used one tenth of one percent of my allotted space online.  On the other hand, I don't worry about compressing my work files.  I will leave them uncompressed until the final step, where I transform a Photoshop or Painter file into something common like a .JPG image file.  Since the work files (and my master copies of good artwork) are uncompressed, I can always plunge back into the various saved layers and selections I used during file creation. 
My work files for JSVB for 2012 comes out to 92.5 GB of data.  By comparison, an uncompressed television program in standard NTSC format takes just a hair under 2 GB of storage for random access.   Put in other words, you could watch every episode of "Star Trek" from "The Man Trap" to "A Piece Of The Action" if it was stored using the same amount of hard drive space that I filled drawing for JSVB last year.  Another comparison:  in 2011, I backed up just below 50 GB of files, enough to get from "Man Trap" to "The Devil In The Dark".
"How can you use so much space?"  a professor friend of mine once asked me, adding, "All of my work files fit on a USB stick."
 "How much do you draw?" I replied.  Graphics files are still far more cumbersome than text files because the binary code for text is so much more streamlined than that for pictures. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

712 - Death Of A Snowman

Ho-ho-homicide.  Someone with a hot temper must have liquidated this poor snowman in the heat of the night. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

711 - Year Three: JSVB In Review

Anybody who is curious will now know that JSVB started three years ago on January 1, 2010.  The matrix chart above shows every graphic I have produced for JSVB since then.  Each column represents a year of work.  I find it humbling to see everything that I have produced for JSVB reduced to this collection of postage stamps.  "Is that all there is?  Is there no more?"  

Did I meet my production goals for 2012?  Like 2011, 2012 was a partial success, in that I did meet some of my goals but missed others.  Also like 2011, I was able to make improvements on my workflow and technology, which at the very least provided the foundation for stronger artistic practise.  As you can see, I posted less frequently in 2012 than I did in 2011 or 2010.  Whereas in 2010 I posted almost every day, in 2011 I posted roughly every three days.  I feel I should challenge myself by posting more frequently.  On the flip side, the quality of my posts has improved.  I am getting more interest and more positive reviews of my work.  Personally, I am more satisfied with a portfolio of quality posts over quantity.  How I wish I could have both, though. 
While I received some beneficial technological boosts, I also took a couple of hits as well, primarily from the Blogger/Google provider.  Early in the year, a Blogger patch wrecked my filing system as they made changes to Picasa, their acolyte picture-sharing service.  The third column is missing a dozen or so entries, which are scattered into the Picasa servers.  I can hunt them down, but it takes a long time for the servers to retrieve those pictures, so I don't see the value in making the effort.  Later in the year, Blogger produced a cluster of black-outs, where either the system went down or some features were unavailable.  In particular, the statistical tracking reset to zero, which erased two-plus years of collected data.  After I complained to Blogger, somehow their engineers managed to restore the numbers.  I trust the statistics a lot less now.  That's part of the package when you deal with a "free" blog publisher. 
So, with a grain of trepidation, I present the top ten most referenced entries on JSVB, as of December 31, 2012:
10) How To Hold Scissors - An exercise on life drawing for hand poses that also shows the correct way to hold scissors.
9) Savage Reality - My photographic take on Doug Savage's famous comic strip.  His website still provides hits to this JSVB post.  This entry was #4 on the popularity list for 2011.
8) A-One And A-Two - Proof that boobs run the Internet.  Or put another way, that naked women draw a lot of attention, something that artists have capitalized on since the first Neanderthal drew the first Raquel Welch "One Million Years BC"  (1966) movie poster on a cave wall.  This entry was #5 on the 2011 popularity list.  
7) Roman Dress - Just a quick sketch, I don't know why this post endures on JSVB.  I keep thinking I should finish the sketch and make an improved version.  And that's exactly what I said about this drawing this time last year.  It was #7 on the JSVB popularity list in 2011, and remains #7 today. 
6) 30th Terry Fox Run - Since Terry's hometown was Port Coquitlam where I now live, I have created a number of entries on the topic of Terry Fox.  This one remains the most popular.  It used to be #3 on the JSVB popularity list for 2011.
5) Back Of The Bus - The corollary to "A-One And A-Two" above, where women's bosoms drive traffic.  In this case, the traffic driven is political hopeful Danielle Smith's horribly mis-designed campaign bus.  I like this post as one of my personal favourites for 2012. 
4) Happy Birthday To Me (2) - Another sexy post, popular because even after all these years, people want to see Uhura with her clothes off.  This post was #6 on the JSVB popularity list for 2011.
3) Ricci de Mare (Sea Urchin) Recipe - There aren't very many resources on the Internet that fully illustrate how to prepare sea urchin.  JSVB gets a continuous stream of hits from those who are curious about this exotic animal and its safe preparation as food.  This post was #2 last year and #1 for 2010 on JSVB. 
2) The Dish Fairy - What appears far more relevant to the Internet than sexy women is The Dish Fairy, who taps into the never-ending river of office coffee-room angst.  Despite her primitive artwork, the sentiment of the Dish Fairy remains as strong as anything I have ever created.
1) Nat Bailey Nooner - This is easily the most looked-at image on JSVB.  After all these months, it remains a solid, evocative example of JSVB photography.  It was the #2 post for 2010 and the #1 last year and this year.  Long live The Nat!
Another year has passed.  I would like to thank friends, family, and supporters of JSVB for taking the time to enjoy my blog.  By ordering the images you like for print, you provide much-needed financial assistance towards my artwork.  I would especially like to thank those who have already order their prints!  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!
"Is this all there is?"  You could look up that phrase and check out the crazy, dark song sung by Peggy Lee.  "If that's all there is, my friends, then let's keep dancing! Let's break out the booze and have a ball."
Keep care for 2013 - my best wishes to all readers of JSVB!