Money Monday · Uncategorized

Money Monday

Today is a list of struggles.  But a list of struggles is just a to do list for things I can accomplish.

  1. Actually find a cheaper cell phone plan (why do you always have to call to cancel?  Why is it so hard to transfer a number?)
  2. Pay off the danged student loans.
  3. Finding a balance between living life and enjoying friends and saving money.
  4. Finding new ways to earn money while decreasing laborious, tedious hours.
  5. Finding work I genuinely love.
  6. Finding what freedom looks like to me.
  7. Learning to live without worry.

 

Yikes.

 

-Smudged

Trying Tuesday · Uncategorized

Trying Tuesday

I’m starting this Trying Tuesday with keyboard problems.  It’s very…trying.

 

I was struggling to think of what I should try to today.   So I thought big.  Or at least, try something I’ve done small…big.  I have a certain origami pattern memorized.  Mostly because I did it again and again when I was trying to de-stress at work.  I don’t know what the technical name is…but I call it “Big Blow Up Cube.”

 

Also, I own wrapping paper.  Always prepared, this one.

 

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Obviously, you have to make a square:

 

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And then cut it out:

 

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Now fold it diagonally the other way:

 

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Now fold it hot dog (hamburger? does it matter if it’s a square?) both ways:

 

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Now is probably the hardest (maybe second hardest) bit.  It’s much easier to think through on a smaller piece of paper first and then try to replicate it on the very large piece of paper you’re dealing with.  Kind of grab the sides and squish it in together?  Think of it as a brain teaser.  You can do it.

 

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Pretty tricky.  Now you’ll take the bottom right of the pyramid (Christmas tree?  weird shape?) and fold it so it touches the top corner (where you’d put the star on top of the Christmas tree):

 

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Also, fold the left tip the same way (except it will touch the right tip in the middle making a diamond shape).  Then flip the shape over and do it on the other side:

 

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Once that’s done, you’ll have a nice diamond shape.  Then take the corner on the right and fold it in so it hits the very center of the diamond:

 

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Do that on all sides and you’ll end up with something looking like this:

 

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At the top, there are two corners that are un-attached.  Fold them down to meet the corners of the other flaps:

 

 

Do that on both sides.  You’re going to need to tuck them into the flap, which is totally easier if you bend them over the flap first to make a crease:

 

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Do that on all sides and it will look like this (the same as before!  But now with things in pockets!):

 

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Now we do more creasing.  You see those top and bottom diamonds?  We’re going to crease them both directions as firmly as possible (pro-tip use your fingernails or a sharp object):

 

 

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Here’s the hardest (or second hardest?)  part.  There’s a hole in one end.  When you make tiny ones, you can blow in it and you have a cube!  Ummm, it’s not so easy with giant cube.  Sadly.

 

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So what I ended up doing was pulling carefully at the sides and getting seriously frustrated with the wrapping paper for not being strong enough.  But I got there…eventually:

 

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Here’s what I learned:

  1.  Wrapping paper is not strong.
  2. Making things bigger is hard.
  3. I really like my hands.

 

-Smudged

Famous Artist Friday · Uncategorized

Famous Artist Friday

Before I start making oohing and ahhing sounds, I’d like to point out that I have no idea what I’m doing.  What’s allowed, what’s not allowed, etc.  I would like to discuss one of my favorite artists.  And show his work.  And discuss him.  I don’t know if this counts as a review, I know with movie reviews or music reviews, you can have a clip and it’s totally ok.  I don’t know about art.  Also, he’s dead…so I’m all kinds of confused.

 

So, here goes nothing.

 

Piet Mondrian.  Dutch.  Artist.  Best known for neoplasticism, which to those not in the art community could be put in a large group called “I could do that.”  Basically, white background, throw some stripes on, and fill in some of the newly created blocks with primary colors.  If you’re into art and that kind of thing, it’s a lot of geometry and asymmetry, and oh my gosh, no wonder I love him as I am an accounting/art person.

 

Composition-II-in-Red-Blue-and-Yellow-1930-Piet-Mondrian

 

*I would like to say that I found the above picture at this link and they do a great job of breaking down Mondrian’s artwork in a totally professional way.  Unlike me.  It’s about to get unprofessional up in here.

 

But honestly, that’s not my favorite stuff by him.

 

Story time.  I took painting in college.  In fact, I took 4 painting classes because I love painting and hate having extra time.  One of our assignments was to replicate and artist’s work, but it had to be a certain kind of artist.  Or at least, I vaguely remember thinking it had to be a specific kind of artist because I remember being irritated that I would have to paint straights lines or things I wasn’t incredibly fascinated by.  And then I found this book on Mondrian.  It might be the one by David Shapiro that I found on Amazon after a quick look up.  It might not.  But it was a book on Mondrian’s flowers.  I fell in love with them immediately.  I thought they were heart-shatteringly beautiful.  Also, the rebel in me was satisfied that I could fill the project requirements and do WHATEVER I WANTED.  Winning on a technicality.

 

But here’s why I fell in love with his flowers:  they’re so sad.  They’re so beautiful and they’re so sad.  Here is the closest image I could find to what I fell in love with:

 

sad chrysanthemum

 

I wish I had a picture of the painting I did, but I cannot locate it at the moment.  So save those hopes and wishes for another day.  (Oh also, I found this picture through Pinterest and landed on a website with a language I couldn’t read, but just to be safe.)

 

I love all of his sad chrysanthemums.  Flowers are normally so happy or romantic, but his art so sad.  I mean, when you think of it flowers are kind of sad, you cut them off from what keeps them alive and decorate your house with them until their petals start falling off.  Until they lose their beauty.  I don’t know what his artistic intentions were.  I wish I cared a little more, but I don’t.  I’m just in love with these flowers.  They are beautiful in their moment of darkness and immortalized in paint.

 

Look how sad this sunflower is!!!!:

 

sad sunflower

 

And no, not all of his flowers are sad.  Some are just beautiful.  I think I vaguely recall (sorry for the extreme generalities, memory is flexible and full of errors and I don’t want you thinking that I trust my memory for one second), the author of the book mentioning that Mondrian didn’t particularly like his flowers.  That they didn’t fit in with what he wanted his art to be.  But he couldn’t stop.  And I’m so glad he couldn’t stop.  I love these flowers.  Flowers may be common or basic or something ridiculous like that, but they’re beautiful and I love them.

 

I mean, just a quick Google search and you can find gorgeous pictures like:

 

sad chrys pt 2

 

Also, while looking for all of these pictures, I found this post and while I wasn’t feeling not lazy enough to translate it, I am so happy that someone decided to put so many of his flower paintings in one place.  The internet can be so good sometimes.

 

Totally related side note, it’s really cool to find out someone you’re a fan of does other stuff.  I mean, Mondrian was famous for neoplasticism or whatever, but I was psyched to find out about the flowers.  BUT DID YOU KNOW!  Billy Dee Williams (my favorite Harvey Dent and the coolest guy in the Star Wars universe) is a painter!!?!?!?!?!

 

Seriously. Billy Dee Williams is so cool!

 

-Smudged

 

PS:  Don’t be mad at me for not knowing what neoplasticism is without looking it up.  I only had one art history class, and it didn’t exactly cover neoplasticism or anything like that…it was pretty neat though.

 

Uncategorized · Working Wednesday

Working Wednesday

I did a project a while back (January and February) with the intents of starting a blog and posting my progress.  I’m a bit late on starting the blog, but here’s the whole project:

My husband’s friend wanted a painting for his Dungeons and Dragons groups.  Apparently that’s a thing (and kind of a really cool thing, I can’t think of being part of a group that loved what they did so much they got paintings done).  So he gave me a list of the 7 people (outside of himself, but he’s the guy that reads and doesn’t have a character).  I did some preliminary sketches of the characters (and somehow totally forgot to design one until the painting).  These are those sketches:

Then I did some very basic background sketches just so I could see what kind of thing he was going for:

There are more, but those are the ones I could find.  He liked the one with eyes overlooking everyone (him) and the castle.  So that’s what I went with and planned.  Somehow I always end up doing math when I do art.  Always.

12 Maths

I’m still working on learning composition.  Honestly, I get it a little bit, but I have a long way to go.  So, like any sane person housesitting/dogsitting for their sister-in-law, I gathered my niece’s toys and staged my painting.  I showed this to the person who wanted the painting and they were definitely amused:

11 Reference

And that’s when I started to paint:

And eventually I finished.  Let me tell you, it’s hard to take pictures of paintings.  You need really amazing lighting and probably no flash.  I’m not good at it.  But I tried.

18 Poorly lit finished project

My supplies weren’t great (my better paints are in storage, I’ll be able to get to them in a few months).  I took forever.  The better I get, the faster I’ll be.  In the mean time, it’s the nice start to a side hustle.

-Smudged

Trying Tuesday · Uncategorized

Trying Tuesday

I strongly believe that creativity is a muscle. Sure, some people are genetically blessed with more ease of growing muscles or creativity, but the more you exercise, the stronger you get. The same holds true with creativity. The more you put pen to paper, the better you get. Just the same: work smarter, not harder. Case in point, if you want to develop incredible biceps, jogging will help decrease fat so they’re more visible, but your biceps won’t be growing. What’s the smart way to improve at art in general? Practice regularly. But what if you want to get better faster? Practice smart.
I take no credit for this idea, but it’s brilliant. This video is how I learned about iterative drawing: (Sycra’s AWESOME video).
So here goes nothing:
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Yikes.  I mean, I can see some improvement, but can you even guess who I’m trying to draw?  Because I’m a little torn between it looking like Roddy McDowall and Frank Sinatra and my dear departed grandpa and possibly Alfred from Batman.  It is none of those.
Let me talk about what I learned though because the goal wasn’t to be aweome here, and I’m most certainly not perfect.  I tried drawing the basic head first in 1 and 2.  It wasn’t working for me, but I needed to warm up anyway.  So with 3 I tried drawing eyes first, but without the head shape I lacked something to put them inproportion with each other.  With 4 I tried drawing the nose first, but the size was beyond my control because there was no container to put it in.  I drew number 5 upside down in case that would help me see details I didn’t before.  I think it did help me see those details, but it still dowsn’t really look right.  On 6 I did the mouth first, which went about as well as nose first.  Oops.  For 7, I drew a cross shape and based everything around that.  It helped a lot.  I needed to put some structure down.  So I did that for 8 and 9.  I like the way my last 3 looks.  Can I also just say that I didn’t erase?
I do not think that it looks like my subject matter.
Have you guessed who my subject matter it?  Have you accidentally scrolled too far and found out?
Peter Mayhew.  So sorry Peter.  I tried.
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-Smudged