An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Month: January 2020

Latest Composition-Garden

The latest piece of digital art I’ve been working on is also the most complex I’ve undertaken. I’m tentatively entitling it “Midnight in the Oriental Garden: Reflections.”

I’ve been working on it for a while now and it’s not nearly finished; I have to do the lighting and toning in the piece, but before I start on that, I want to take out the present background, a silhouette of the Bangkok skyline at night, and put a Buddhist temple in its place. I’m also going to add a tree to the side of the bench with some overhanging branches to which are attached some more lanterns. I’m thinking of putting in a small fountain or a small pond (or part of one), some more vegetation and flowers, some other odds and ends, and someone sitting on the bench.

I’ve got some temple photos I’ve taken in the past, but none that I like, and in my latest iteration I’ve got part of a tree next to the bench, but I’m not really enamored of it, so I need another tree. I also need a fountain or pond. Because I need some photos of these, I’m going to do a photo walk in Vientiane on Saturday afternoon to see if I can find some suitable subjects. As far as finding a bench-sitter, well, I’ve got that figured out–me. I’m going to take a series of self portraits, probably Sunday afternoon in my house, with me in various poses. That oughta be fun! Wish me luck.

I Need More Time!

Don’t we all? That’s one of my major excuses for not creating more art. I just don’t have enough time on the weekdays, working a full-time job. I usually go into the school around 1 p.m. and don’t get back to the house until around 9 at night. I also work Saturday mornings, finishing at 12:30 in the afternoon.

On Saturday after school I spend too much time napping or just being lazy; I’m usually quite tired, and I like to spend the evenings sipping a few beers and watching some U.S. TV series that I’ve downloaded (The Walking Dead, The Expanse and a few others). On Sunday, I do manage to get in at least a couple of hours of creativity, but, again, I goof off too much, playing my favorite online MMORPGs, Lord of the Rings Online and Eve Online, then watching a few hours of TV at night.

That, then, is a major element of concern for me in creating art–how can I find enough time to do it. As part of the Photo Artistry course, Sebastian asks us to go through our days and find where we can get rid of wasted time (TV, social media, etc.) and use that time for creating. One area that I’ve changed is the time that I go jogging in the morning. In the past I’ve usually gone out at 7 a.m., jogging and walking for about 45 minutes every morning except Saturday. So, I thought I’d start at 6:30, freeing up half an hour for more art. It’s still a little dark at 6:30 to go out on the busy road where the first part of my jog takes place, so I’ve been waiting until 6:40, when it’s light enough that I feel safer. Eventually, when the sun starts coming up early enough, I want to go out at 6 o’clock.

I’ve also gained some more free time by not going into work so early when I don’t really have to be there. Going in at 1:00 and getting my lesson planning done by 3 leaves me with a couple of hours where I don’t have much to do but read. So, I’ve started going in at 2 o’clock. Voila, another hour. Now, about the weekend . . .

Digital Art Journal

I’ve really started to get back into everything Digital Art (DA), lately: learning, creating, reading, collecting resources, et. al. So, this blog is probably, for the time being, going to turn into a Digital Art journal, a, hopefully, daily look at what I’m doing with DA. I’m keeping written journals, a small one for quick notes and a larger for more extended ramblings, which I take with me wherever I go. Most of what I post will be taken from those journals. I’ll still be posting about other events and miscellaneous stuff that’s going on in my life and in Laos, but there will be a lot of DA posts. Maybe this will help to pique some interest in this blog hiding in a dusty, desolate corner of the web, far from the hustle and bustle of social media.

First, let me go over the various DA groups that I belong to, which are all under one umbrella group, more or less. I got to this point by reading about and then joining the Photoshop Artistry class (though it’s much more than just a class). Photoshop Artistry was created by our mentor, guru, tireless admin, savant, and all-around good guy Sebastian Michaels. Offshoots to this group that I’ve joined are the Awake Group, which is offered to Photoshop Artistry members twice a year, the Kaizen group, which is offered rarely, but which I was able to join the last time it was offered, several minor classes with discounts, like doing extractions with Photoshop trainer Dave Cross, and a Conceptual Artistry course with Sebastian and famed fine art photographer Brooke Shaden. I’m also a member of Shift Art, where Awake members get access to Shift Art summit, a series of in-depth tutorials on using Lightroom and other software to create DA.

All of these cost money, in some cases LOTS of money, so I had better take advantage of the resources I have and start creating more art. For some of the classes/groups I paid a one-time fee, but I have lifetime access. In a few others, I’m paying a monthly fee. I figure the cost is a great investment. I’m also paying a monthly fee to Adobe for Photoshop and Lightroom, which is also a great investment, in my opinion.

So, that’s my DA background and experience in learning. I’ve posted a few of my creations in previous posts, and I hope to get better, much better. But, whether I do or not, I’m going to have fun, as Sebastian preaches, and I’m going to be passionate, as Brooke wants us to be.

I’m going to stop here, because I wasted a lot of time this morning trying to fix a glitch in my WordPress editor (mission accomplished), and I want to cook some breakfast (actually, more like brunch) and head out to work a little later. But, there is much more to come.

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