Thursday, October 31, 2013

863 - Skelly

One plastic skeleton from Costco plus an old lawn mower we never use equals simple Hallowe'en goodness.  I have day and night pics, please to note the eldritch flames that come out of the mower at night. 
My wife already got some traction with the day picture on Facebook. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

862 - John The Baptist, Part IV

Sandwiched among the Hallowe'en stuff: some religion.  I've completed the underpainting for my icon.  The face still looks rough, but there's enough tone and detail that you can see how it will look.
Thinking on it, John The Baptist would make a truly memorable Hallowe'en costume.  He never cuts his hair, shaves, or bathes, much like a professional sports athlete heading into the playoffs.  He wears a suit made out of hair.  He shouts at people.  He's like a biblical Chewbacca. 
Except, of course, that trick-or-treating as John The Baptist, you wouldn't get candy.  The non-pious would never get any of the references, and the devout would refuse to give you anything.  At least you'd stay warm, though.  Warm and alone.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

861 - Ratty Badge

Properly, this is a mousey badge, athough the quality is ratty.  It's made out of duct tape that I clumsily cut with scissors.  However it's not meant to be seen close-up, so for a quick job, the design works. 
The three blind mice refer to the referee crew for our BC Lions games.  Maybe it's a little unfair, especially since I have blind friends and I have referee friends (fortunately not the same people).  It's hard not to notice inconsistency in the calls for our local games, though. 
Today, many of the calls are reviewed by a CFL video crew out in in Toronto, and they have the power to overturn calls made on the field.  We have seen the same penalty applied in a Lions game and in an Argonauts game, where the penalty was applied to BC but overturned for Toronto - these were identical plays.  Is there collusion?  The Toronto head office explained that eastern referee crews sometimes use different standards than western referee crews.  Is  that fair? 
Generally, the on-the-field referee crews do a decent job with play-calling.  Instant replay usually keeps their calls accountable.  It's the decisons made by the head office, sometimes snap decisions, that cannot be accounted for by the fans or the league.  Officiating in the CFL remains a work in progress. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

860 - "Curly Dog"

The World Series is on!  Even if you are not excited about Major League baseball, at least it's a good excuse to eat ballpark-style food.  Here, I've wrapped a corndog in spicy spiral fries!  We call it a "Curly Dog". 
The background image is from the Fox Broadcasting Corporation.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

859 - Just Desert

All this picture is, is an enlargement of a postage-stamp sized bit of my John The Baptist religious icon currently in progress.  I had the idea of enlarging the scan so that I could share what the brushwork looks like.  Then I wanted to use a Photoshop Unsharp Mask to fix the textural detail of the lines.  However, I had the mask settings way off.  Photoshop does not reset its sliders from project to project, so if I don't zero out the sliders I get whatever values I used in my previous project. 
In this case, I accidentally ended up with this scene that looks to me like the cover for a Frank Herbert "Dune" novel, or maybe something John himself would have seen after enduring the desert on his own for over a month. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

858 - John The Baptist, Part III

I am posting this week's progress on John The Baptist.  It's good news and bad news.  The good news is that I have found a good home for this icon.  The bad news is that it's getting away from me a bit.  I had to work in poor lighting, so now that I see John in true light, his skin tones are a bit too warm.  Not to mention that he's gone too far with the rouge!
The reddish patches are called "apples".  Since there are many layers of translucent paint going on here, I'll simply add more layers to blend the apples into the skin tone.

Friday, October 18, 2013

857 - A Peanut In The Ear

A story from my childhood.  One day, as my friend Earl and I were passing time, he decided to throw a peanut at my head.  A one-in-a-million shot, the peanut lodged directly into my ear canal, a goober-natorial hole-in-one.  It's a true story, and very much a life-changing moment for my friend Earl, who has since devoted a surprisingly large amount of his life towards angling peanuts into people's earholes.  Thankfully, Earl and I live in different time zones now.
And here's the real story: 
First, the peanut in the ear is all true.  However we weren't children at the time, as pictured.  Yesterday on JSVB, I drew a picture of myself as a Charles Schultz Peanuts character.  For whatever reason, that portrait unleashed a flood of peanut-in-the-ear nostalgia on Facebook.  So, I decided to commemorate the event with this new drawing, and since the Peanuts characters are all kids, I drew us as children.  The true fact was that Earl and I, as well as a group of our University buddies, all young adults, went out to an aviation airshow, and in a lull between fighter jets breaking the sound barrier, that's when Earl flung a peanut at my head.
Second, the peanut was shelled. I drew it not shelled so that it would visually read as a peanut.  Earl threw the peanut at my head fully expecting the peanut to bounce.  When it did not, he was agog.  It turns out that an adult human ear canal is the precise receptacle for a shelled peanut.  Again, it was a one-in-a-million shot, proven out by Earl's subsequent attempts to launch a peanut into my ear, and then into other people's ears.  Earl has since refined his technique by using stealth to approach the unsuspecting earhole and by inserting a peanut at point-blank range. 
This JSVB post was brought to you by the Department Of Things You Did Not Really Need To Know. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

856 - Condensed Lumps

Taking a few days off from JSVB provided some surprising dividends.  If you look in on my blog often enough, you'll see my iconic red "Buy More Art" placeholder.  Seems some folks paid attention to that: I've sold a couple of pieces lately and and I also have some exciting  projects on spec.  Boy howdy, I do love paying customers!  The money will likely be reinvested in new supplies and materials to make even more art. 
The process of going away for a while is supposed to help recharge the creative juices.  Letting go also seems to have helped the pocketbook, at least for this time.  Although I brought my sketchbook on vacation, I didn't draw anything on my time off.  Instead, I tried some creative writing.  If my friend Earl is reading this, it's a fiction about Leaf Rapids, and something about which to cringe with worry and anticipation.  I doubt I will ever post it to JSVB.
I did some writing in my time at University, but none of it was much good.  My stories went from lurid to lumpy.  Now that I have matured a bit, I've tightened up the old prose a little.  The lumps are more condensed. 
Rip-off alert:  I drew myself as a child in the style of Charles Schultz's "Peanuts" cartoons.  When I was little I did wear big glasses and I could type a bit.  Today, that looks cute in a hipster sort of way.  Back in the 1970's, big glasses and typing was a recipe for social misery.  Anyways, I should give credit to Mr. Schultz for his brilliant cartoon creation which was a big influence on me as a child.  I find it funny how hard it was to draw in the Schultz style as a child and how easy it is for me now. 

I have another self-portrait that I drew in the Flintstones' style, which you can see by clicking here.  I also have a portrait of me as a Simpsons character, but that was drawn by someone else.  I'll have to post that someday.
Credit goes to Camino Palmero, who provided the free paper texture I used to age the image a little. 
Lastly, the text in my image does not belong to me.  It's the very first line from the Michael Butterworth novel "The Psychomorph" (1977).  What an opening!  The rest of the book does not disappoint, as long as you like giant space amoebas with attitude problems.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

855 - Real Green Eggs And Ham

If today is the thirteenth of the month, then it's Ungood Art Day here on JSVB.  This is where I publish pieces of my art that are dubious at best and ungood at the worst.  Nothing to be proud of, usually, but amusing enough.
These are real green eggs and ham, sort of.  The eggs are made out of white and green soap, so you would not want to eat them.  Well, you shouldn't eat green eggs in the first place.  The ham is real, and tasty. 

October thirteenth is also my wife's birthday, so Happy Birthday my sweet!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

854 - John The Baptist, Part II

Progress on my icon of John The Baptist:  I've painted out the form, which is the reddish interface between the shadows and the flesh tones in the underpainting.  The face looks like a mask, and a fairly lean, stern one at that.  As I add flesh tones, the face will fill out and look brighter. And then there is the hair.  John baptized few barbers. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

853 - Spideriffic

It is spider season where I live.  Here is a spooky-looking, yet harmless orb weaver.  Harmless to humans, but not to flies. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

852 - The Naked Mole Rat

I spent more time yesterday learning about the naked mole rat than I ever thought I would.  The naked mole rat, it turns out, is virtually cancer-proof.  They also can live up to ten times longer than any other rodent, which is why I decided to make this sketch of a geriatric naked mole rat.
Naked mole rats are not naked (they have a few straggly hairs), and they are niether moles nor rats.  Their closest analogue is a guinea pig.  They spend their lives underground in stuffy burrows, so they don't get much oxygen to breathe.  They lack Substance P in their skin, Substance P being a natural neurotransmitter used to generate the sensation of pain.  Unlike practically every other mammal, naked mole rats live in colonies like bees and ants, where mostly sterile males and females work in the service of a single fertile queen.  You cannot have a single naked mole rat as a pet, as one would die without its colony.
So these little guys are tough, communal, resistant to pain and disease, and they live forever compared to any other rodent.  In 2011, scientists successfully mapped their genome.  This year, we've seen some results in comparing naked mole rat genes to our own in the hopes of undertstanding longevity and cancer control.  It turns out that we can produce an artificial hormone not unlike what the naked mole rat uses to extend the human life span by ten years.  Unfortunately, the main side effect destroys our immune system so you'd essentially gain a few years but with AIDS. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

851 - The Milkbone Obeyance

Dog who have been trained using Milkbones as positive reinforcement have unique behaviours when you approach them with your hands in your pockets.  But you'd better deliver, unless you like slobber.
True fun fact: all Milkbones originate from Buffalo, New York, USA.