Friday, April 14, 2006

Drawing on eggshells

There are lots of ducks and geese and chickens in the barn and lots of eggs. The goose eggs that aren't used for hatching or infertile ones are sold for craft purposes for $1 each. I have taken a dozen of these blown goose eggs and have begun to think out designs to create. There are a number of ideas spinning around in my head. One is the image of an embryo gosling, almost like a window into the mysterious world of a hatching egg. I'll work on that image for awhile.

Then I explored a bit more to see what other people are doing in art on eggshells and came across this site of Jules Grant. He does the most amazingly detailed drawing on eggshells. Just beautiful.

Another artist creating on eggshells is Ginny Barkman.I wish everyone could experience the moment of revelation of the final colors and design as I am able to do. Each stage of the design is done simplistically, but the combination of all parts revealed is extremely complex. Some times the anticipation causes me to work feverishly to the end with long hours. I want to see the final finished egg that has been hidden for so long. To me, this is the enjoyment of creation, to see the end result and marvel at it. ~ Ginny Barkman

Or Ruth's beautifully decorated eggs.

My own egg decorating hasn't advanced much yet so there's nothing that I dare show. Instead I'll share some of my sketchbook for today. The first is a dog from the weekend drawing event at Wet Canvas and second the start of a self portrait.

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Illustration Friday - Spotted

Coccinellids are brightly coloured to ward away potential predators. This defence works because most predators associate bright colours (especially orange and black or yellow and black) with poison and other unpleasant properties. This phenomenon is called aposematism. In fact, most coccinellids are indeed toxic to smaller predators, such as lizards and small birds; however, a human would have to eat several hundred coccinellids before feeling any effects. Adult coccinellids are able to reflex-bleed from their leg joints, releasing their oily yellow toxin with a strong repellent smell. This becomes quite obvious when one handles a coccinellid roughly.

Coccinellids copulate for up to nine hours at a time, and males may have three 90-minute orgasms in one session. Coccinellids lay eggs which hatch into a larval state. The larvae then go into a pupal stage before becoming an adult coccinellid.

Coccinellids lay extra infertile eggs with the fertile eggs. These appear to provide a backup food source for the larvae when they hatch. The ratio of infertile to fertile eggs increases as with scarcity of food at the time of egg laying. (Perry & Roitberg, 2005)

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Thursday, April 13, 2006

Technorati tags

I have seen the phrase 'technorati tags' on people's blogs followed by some key words relating to the post and I wondered what it was. So I decided to investigate a little more. This is an overview from the Technorati site.

Technorati is a real-time search engine that keeps track of what is going on in the blogosphere — the world of weblogs.

A few years ago, Web search was revolutionized by a simple but profound idea — that the relevance of a site can be determined by the number of other sites that link to it, and thus consider it 'important.' In the world of blogs, hyperlinks are even more significant, since bloggers frequently link to and comment on other blogs, which creates the sense of timeliness and connectedness one would have in a conversation. So Technorati tracks the number of links, and the perceived relevance of blogs, as well as the real-time nature of blogging. Because Technorati automatically receives notification from weblogs as soon as they are updated, it can track the thousands of updates per hour that occur in the blogosphere, and monitor the communities (who's linking to whom) underlying these conversations.

The Pew Internet study estimates that about 11%, or about 50 million, of Internet users are regular blog readers. According to Technorati data, there are about 70,000 new blogs a day. Bloggers — people who write weblogs — update their weblogs regularly; there are about 700,000 posts daily, or about 29,100 blog updates an hour.

Technorati displays what's important in the blogosphere — which bloggers are commanding attention, what ideas are rising in prominence, and the speed at which these conversations are taking place. Technorati makes it possible for you to find out what people on the Internet are saying about you, your company, your products, your competitors, your politics, or other areas of interest — all in real-time. All this activity is monitored and indexed within minutes of posting. Technorati provides a live view of the global conversation of the web.

Communication is a wonderful is art. Here is a sketch I've been working on over the last couple of days. I'm calling it complete, simply because I don't have the time or patience to create anymore fur/hair. Use of technorati tags can expose more people to my work and to me. Part of art is to share. It is not something that is hidden. Its like that 'if a tree fell in the forest and no one was there, would it make a noise?' question.

If art is created and no one sees it, does it exist?

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006


My life is filled with stress, mostly work related. It reaches the point where there is so much to do, I don't know where to start. I try prioritizing but everything seems to scream at the same level - URGENT!

Stress keeps me awake at night and affects my eating. Its one of the worst events in life, this stress, because I don't see an end to it.

So I draw to escape from stress. I can retreat into a state that the rest of the world can't enter. There are invisible walls that are erected which make me oblivious to what is happening externally. Speech, noise, talking, phones, chores all fade when I submerse myself in art. It almost has a meditative quality and I like that, but I feel rather put out when someone insists on dragging me out of the state. In fact, I get quite irritated when they do. Its a bit like being pulled unwillingly from a deep sleep. You function on awakening, but you're not really there. You're back in a dreamstate til reality insists on making you pay attention.

Other people can't understand this ability to 'disappear' and to try to put it into words, they look at you as if you have 10 heads and should be certified to the nearest mental institution. They may have their own way of escaping. Art is mine.

I found an old watercolour which I did years ago. I have always rather liked the looseness of it. It is time to take out the watercolours more often. I am out of practice with them and tend to be too tight and controlled. I need to bring them to that place of escape. They might be freer then.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Money and art and productivity

Which fuels which? Do you draw to make money? Does more money mean more productivity? Or more productivity mean less art? Or do you produce art because it is an internal drive that has to come out? Its likely a bit of all three for most of us in varying degrees.

One site I've stumbled across combines these elements Sketch It. For a dollar, the artist sketches your concept in under a minute. Unique, interesting and if you want to lighten your pocket change and put art into your thoughts its worth a look.

So many art related blogs are turning up that help jog creativity or nudge your mind into productivity. There are sketch crawls, drawing rooms, blind contour drawing, everyday drawing, sketch books of every description. Its pure eye candy for the artist and his/her mind to be inspired.

My inspiration is the initial sketches of some dogs that are a commission. I like to do a small version and experiment with colour and pose before I tackle the full image. Here is the first drawings.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Field trips

I like to wander and see other artist's blogs and experience what they are creating. It amazes me the levels of creativity and productivity that exists in the world. It makes what I create pale in comparison.

Duane Keiser's site always amazes me with such perfect little paintings of every day life nearly daily. I am succeeding in daily drawing, but its not always easy or the end drawing is scrapped.

My productivity depends on external factors and emotional levels. Weekends let me recharge and draw for hours. I can almost feel the calmness indicator rising as I draw or paint. This weekend I have found time for the Weekend Drawing Event at Wet Canvas and came up with a couple of sketches from the images available. These were done in pen & ink, and coloured with Derwent Studio Pencils in my sketchbook 8 x 5.