Tuesday, September 30, 2014

artist-refs: Skeletal Overlay by BadFish81 [feedly]

Sent from my iPad

Drawing Tip for Beginners: Start With Monotone Art [feedly]

Drawing Tip for Beginners: Start With Monotone Art
// Artist's Network

If you're self-taught, this blog will likely be of help to you in your artistic pursuit. I've been teaching art for more than 35 years, and I highly recommend to my students that they try to slow down and learn things gradually. This keeps the level of frustration down, and the ability to hone the skills high. Practice drawing in a monotone

Whenever a student wants to learn to paint or draw with a new medium, I have them start slow, using just a monotone color palette. That's why I start most students in graphite first. It allows them to fully understand the use of lights, darks and form, before delving into the confusion of color.

Even the Old Masters started this way, usually working out the lighting issues and contrasts in their art using just gray tones. This technique, called grisaille, utilizes just a gray scale or brown color scheme. Color is then applied on top, or on a completely new canvas, after the kinks of the artwork are worked out.

Regardless of the medium, I think monotone drawing or painting is useful and helpful for understanding the materials. All art mediums have a "feel" to them that must be mastered before you can be proficient in them. Drawing in a single color simplifies the task, and helps you learn more completely. This approach gives you the practice you need at a slower pace. And a completed monotone drawing or painting is very attractive. It's a unique look that stands out all on its own.

In this blog post I've included a few examples of using monotones. I did the step-by-step drawing of an egg in Prismacolor colored pencils. I used a light layering process to create the form. I used dark umber and sienna brown. The dark umber is a cooler color, which makes the shadowed areas recede. The sienna color is warmer, which makes the protruding areas advance. Remember this tip, (cool colors recede, warm colors come forward). Give the egg a try.

Drawing for beginners

I created this drawing of my cowboy friend using just one pencil. It was done in a Verithin colored pencil, using just dark brown. The effect was rustic and unique, and I love the way the brown tones seem to enhance the masculine theme. Even though it's just one color, it's detailed and complete. Drawing advice for beginners - monotone art

Painting in monotones can be fun and creative as well. My portrait of Mark Twain was done in oils, using just Payne's Grey. Payne's Grey creates a wonderful blue-gray color when mixed with white. The effect is a cool, calming look that I love to use. This painting is still in progress, and I can't wait to see what it'll look like when finished. I can totally see this being framed in a black frame with matting that picks up the blue tones. (Yes, matting. This was painted on canvas paper, which can be matted and placed behind glass. This will be covered in future blogs.)

So, the moral of this story is to slow down, and use the techniques of the Old Masters to hone your skills. Monotone art is a great way of doing this, and a unique way to depict your subject matter.

Have fun!


Edited by Cherie Haas, online editor of ArtistsNetwork.com

Lee Hammond has been called the Queen of Drawing. That may not be fair these days, since in addition to providing the best drawing lessons, she has also created fantastic books and videos filled with the same easy to follow acrylic painting techniques, colored pencil techniques and more. Click here to see all of the instructional books and DVDs that Lee Hammond has to offer!

Free download! Easy Acrylic Painting Techniques by Lee Hammond

The post Drawing Tip for Beginners: Start With Monotone Art appeared first on Artist's Network.


Shared via my feedly reader

Sent from my iPad

The Happiness of Pursuit: 7 Steps To Accomplish Anything & Enjoy It Along The Way [feedly]

The Happiness of Pursuit: 7 Steps To Accomplish Anything & Enjoy It Along The Way
// Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement

The Happiness of Pursuit: 7 Steps To Accomplish Anything & Enjoy It Along The Way

'A body in motion stays in motion' - Newton's law
If anyone has ever read a post written by me before, listened to an interview or simply had a chat about self improvement, they will know I am frequently asked (and address) the common question - 'what is the most important aspect to self improvement' - my answer, without hesitation, is always the same: take action. I have always firmly believed that all of the best intentions in the world are nothing with out being taken from the theoretical to the actual and it never ceases to amaze me the instant, kinetic almost chain-like reaction that happens when one takes that first step: contrary to that very difficult, at times seemingly impossible scary first step - the second, then the third come so much easier. And by the 6th or 7th step you are actually floating along, to a natural rhythm you never new lived within you - that initial struggle now a distant memory. Out of your head and into the world, you are getting things done. You are a body (and mind) in motion. You begin to see a purpose. This is, for me, the essence of improving one's self, one's life and the lives of those around you.
'Do or do not. There is no try' - Yoda
PickTheBrain has afforded me so many fabulous opportunities (due almost exclusively to the generosity of both the writers and the readers - yes YOU) and as a part of this, I am sent volumes of incredible self improvement books exploring every corner of how to live better - and I am a better person as a result of having access to all of this great work. if you are familiar PTB, you know that I almost never review books. The other day, however, I was sent a copy of a book whose title struck me in a way that it hasn't in a long, long time. 'The Happiness of Pursuit.'  A simple play on words - but with a message that instantly connected with that mantra that swirls around me day and night: take action. Follow Yoda's advice. But what struck me more than author, Chris Guillebeau's, cleverly worded title, was something in the message that I hadn't thought about in connection with my mantra: yes, of course, DO things - but take joy, find happiness, in that process. Up until now, i had believed that the happiness that ultimately comes from accomplishing things was the prize, but Guillebeau (who had set his own goal to travel to every country in the world before age 35 - and he did it!!) opened my eyes to something more than that - that the process itself, bears fruit - and that there is 'a direct ling between 'questing' and long-term happiness' This was a break through idea for me. While I won't be reviewing his book - all I can do is highly recommend you take inspiration (and then action) as you follow an incredible study of ordinary people doing extraordinary things of all scales, to find meaning, joy and happiness in the pursuit of the great life that lives within all of us. What I will be doing in this article is outlining the 7 Steps necessary, i believe, to start this process - a process that will change (or start) your course. Something that will help change your thinking (as it did mine) from simply pursuing happiness, to finding happiness in the pursuit.

1. Find out who you are and what you want

This is the basis for everything. You are the basis of you. This is perhaps the most scary part on the whole list - finding out who you truly are - but it is also the most crucial. You have to take the time to ask yourself the hard questions, even if you're afraid of the answers. But it is only by truly knowing who you really are that you can discover what will truly makes you happy. What excites you? What are you good at? What makes you want to get out of bed early and will keep you buzzing to stay up late? What matters to you. Be honest. Once you have drilled down to a handful of criteria, you can start mapping out your plan.

2. Set your goals

Dreams are nothing without goals. Goals make dreams (and you) accountable. Write them down. Where do you want to be. How are you going to get their. With a succinct set of goals there is a clear vision for where you are and where you want to be. This literal interpretation, in the form of goals, is the blue print or map you need, to be able to chart your course.

3. Break those goals down into mini benchmarks

Once you have you're larger 'plan' in place, it is necessary to break those larger goals (or goal) into palatable bite sized, mini benchmarks. For instance, it is a novel goal to sail across the ocean (as a young teenager does in The Happiness of Pursuit) but without breaking that loftier goal into baby steps, it's almost impossible to make happen. What training do I need? What equipment do I need? What case studies do I need to memorize? It's called doing the upfront work and there is no shortcut. Again, here I am reminded of Yoda's words. You are accountable to only you when it comes to living up to your full potential. 'Do or do not. There is no try.'

4. Go DO It

If you've gotten to this part, you've already done most of the heavy lifting. You are prepared. You have learned. You are already better because of it. So know that. This is the where the adventure really begins.
'Action is the foundational key to all success' - Pablo Picasso
It's here where it's time to jump of that metaphorical cliff. Unchain yourself. Take action. Doing is the only thing that does. What else is there to say. You've done the work - so dive in. This is the ultimate award. This is where true happiness jumps off the page and onto the stage. This is where one finds the happiness of pursuit.

5. Measure your success

Once you've taken the leap, it will be contagious. Trust me. It doesn't mean everything you do will be a success, but this is how you learn. This is where you learn to find as much joy in failure as in success. Learning is success. This is where it is important, however, to make sure you are on the right track, so it is important to check in and measure how you're doing. How you're feeling. Where you can pivot and when to keep attacking.

6. Be open to a course change

One of the great things about finding joy through the process is that it allows for perspective. Of course you should always keep your larger goal or quest in mind - that's why you're doing all of this after all, but remember: things change, people change, circumstances change and ultimately, your goal can change or alter slightly, if you're conscious and aware of the process. Be open to the unexpected outcome or emotion - this is how we learn and grow. This is what the journey is all about - not just getting to the end but all of the unexpected magic that happens along the way. So be flexible and open to the whatever experience comes your way, knowing you've done the work.

7. Do it all over again

Life is a system of cycles. We can always be learning, growing, enjoying. Once you have accomplished whatever quest you've set out to conquer, don't rest on your laurels. Set new goals. New standards. Press on. Start again. Feel scared and unsure - this is the very essence of life - working through all of this. So, while I doubt I'll have much convincing to do (the thrill of the pursuit of accomplishment, itself is more than enough of an incentive) - I will end as I started: 'A body in motion, stays in motion' and who the hell wants to be stuck? —— Highly recommended: Click here to find more about The Happiness of Pursuit or Chris Guillebeau and if you'd like to follow or share in the collective journey, follow #FindtheQuest on twitter the happiness of pursuit

The post The Happiness of Pursuit: 7 Steps To Accomplish Anything & Enjoy It Along The Way appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.


Shared via my feedly reader

Sent from my iPad

Artist Of The Day - Tohru Patrick Awa [feedly]

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tweet from Fascinating Video (@FascinatingVid)

Fascinating Video (@FascinatingVid)
This is How a face changes with changing light... pic.twitter.com/ZmuBdxo4Xv

Download the official Twitter app here

Thursday, September 25, 2014

4 Science-Backed Ways To Have More Willpower [feedly]

4 Science-Backed Ways To Have More Willpower
// Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement

self confidence tips

self confidence tips Self-control researcher Roy Baumeister led a groundbreaking study in 1996. People were led into a room which smelled of just-baked chocolate chip cookies. Then, cookies and chocolates were brought out for them to see. And finally, some participants were given two cookies to eat, but not all of them. One group of people was given raw radishes to eat instead! Poor souls. On a subsequent impossible puzzle designed to test a person's persistence, those who ate radishes were found to last less than half as long and took just over half the number of attempts as those who ate the cookies. (source) Willpower is an important part of changing yourself for the better—it's what helps you drag yourself out of bed at 6 AM for a morning workout; it also helps you resist chocolate chip cookies. But using willpower comes at a cost that was seen in this study—it's not unlimited. Since our willpower can be low at times when we most need it, here are four scientifically-backed ways to increase your willpower.

1. Eat (Short-Term Boost)

The simplest way to gain willpower is to eat something. Willpower energy is influenced by how much energy your brain has, and the brain's energy source is glucose. When you eat something, the body converts it into glucose energy for your brain and body to use. Table sugar and other fast-digesting carbohydrates are turned into glucose very quickly. Baumeister has found in his studies that glucose restoration can be the difference between someone quitting early or persisting. In one such study, his team found that people's willpower was restored quickly after drinking lemonade. (source) It's also common sense and experience that when we feel tired (from low blood sugar) that we're more susceptible to give in to bad habits and less likely to be productive (because of low willpower energy). So unless you need willpower to resist food, you can consider eating food to restore it.

2. Reward Yourself (Short-Term Boost)

Baumeister's work gave us the idea that glucose was a key way to refill willpower. But some other scientists wondered if the reward from food was a factor, either instead of or in addition to the glucose increase. They wondered this because when you consume sugar, it activates the reward area of your brain. To test this, they had two groups swish a liquid in their mouths and spit it out. One group swished with artificially-sweetened liquid and the other with sugar-sweetened liquid. This set-up was brilliant because artificial sweeteners do not trigger the reward center of the brain (because they're not food—the brain knows what's up). And because they didn't swallow the liquid, glucose-restoration was not a factor. In this way, they isolated the impact of the reward from consuming sugar. (source) They found that the reward from swishing sugar did have a willpower-restoring effect, and that swishing with artificial sweetener had no effect. I believe that glucose and rewards are both factors when it comes to restoring willpower. So that means when you are trying to resist fudge, maybe you should seek an alternative reward that doesn't involve food. This should help in two ways: it will distract you from the fudge and restore some of your willpower energy to resist it.

3. Practice (Long-Term Increase)

More than one study has found that one gains willpower by using willpower. But it needs to be intentional. I'm not sure that using willpower randomly does anything useful, or we'd all be willpower machines by now. It's the same reason why using muscles randomly throughout life doesn't make people extremely strong—it requires intentional training. In one study, students were tasked to focus on improving their posture for 2 weeks, and their self-control had improved versus those who did not. Importantly, their improved willpower was general. Willpower improvements were seen in areas unrelated to their posture. (source) The common metaphor for willpower is that it's a muscle, and like muscles, it is strengthened by using it and weakened by inactivity.

4. Trick Your Brain Into Practicing Even When Tired (Short-Term & Permanent Increase)

The last and my favorite way to have more willpower is to trick your subconscious brain. The reason we need willpower in the first place is because our conscious mind and subconscious mind have different desires. The subconscious is wired to want rewards and pleasurable experiences without regard to values and long-term results. Our conscious mind is what thinks about consequences of today's behaviors 20 years down the road. It can consider the appeal of now and the consequences of tomorrow. We need to use willpower when our conscious mind makes an "executive decision" and overrules our habitual preference. For example, saying no to a doughnut because it's unhealthy or not a part of the diet overrides the innate desire for the sugary reward. Another example is forcing yourself to exercise despite not feeling like it. In each case, the subconscious wants the easy way, but we know what's best for us. This dynamic is problematic only because willpower is limited. Once we're fatigued—as the aforementioned studies show—we lose willpower and are likely to fall back into bad habits or fail to keep up with our plans. The way to trick your brain is to lead a breadcrumb trail of steps to your goal. If you want to work out for 30 minutes, but your subconscious wants to be lazy, you can aim to put your workout clothes on. This isn't a dumb as it sounds—it's the first step! After that, you can aim to set up your mat or do a single push-up. Continue on in this fashion for essentially unlimited willpower. The reason it works so well is that the subconscious has trouble resisting such a reasonable favor. "Oh, only one push-up? Sure, we can do that." When a step is too easy to say "no" to, you'll do it. I've created a strategy based on this concept called "Mini Habits." I started doing one push-up a day in late 2012. Today, I do full workouts on most days. This strategy worked because the small goal exercised my willpower every day (it still requires a bit of willpower to do one push-up, especially if you have weak willpower as I did). And over time, exercise became habitual. Now I have stronger self-control and my life has improved in several ways as a result. These are direct results from my mini habits (and drastic improvements from before):
  • I exercise almost-daily
  • I write daily
  • I read daily
  • I juice vegetables daily and have a healthy diet
You can see how my health and career have improved, and I've also gained other benefits such as increased confidence. Investing in your willpower muscle is one of the best and most multi-beneficial things you can do. If you want to know the very best strategy for doing it, read Mini Habits. If you're not a reader, the book can help you there too. The first thing it asks is that you read two pages per day. You'll experience the power of the book as you read it. Read the reviews to see others' experiences. I'm Stephen Guise and I write about habit formation, focusing, and self-mastery at Deep Existence. If you join my Tuesday morning newsletter, you'll get eye-opening articles like this every week. On top of that, you'll get 40 desktop wallpapers, my stress-relief book, and access to the focus toolbox. It's ridiculous.

The post 4 Science-Backed Ways To Have More Willpower appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.


Shared via my feedly reader

Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hand Embroidered Eye Illustrations by Sam P. Gibson [feedly]

Hand Embroidered Eye Illustrations by Sam P. Gibson
// Colossal

Hand Embroidered Eye Illustrations by Sam P. Gibson illustration eyes embroidery

Hand Embroidered Eye Illustrations by Sam P. Gibson illustration eyes embroidery

Hand Embroidered Eye Illustrations by Sam P. Gibson illustration eyes embroidery

Hand Embroidered Eye Illustrations by Sam P. Gibson illustration eyes embroidery

Hand Embroidered Eye Illustrations by Sam P. Gibson illustration eyes embroidery

Hand Embroidered Eye Illustrations by Sam P. Gibson illustration eyes embroidery

Hand Embroidered Eye Illustrations by Sam P. Gibson illustration eyes embroidery

Embroidery artist and jeweler Sam P. Gibson creates a wide variety of hand-stitched illustrations from brains and skulls to lips and typography. Her most detailed works are these awesome stitched eyes, many more of which you can see over in this Flickr collection and in her online shop. (via Ghoul Next Door)


Shared via my feedly reader

Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

sciencefictiongallery: Earle Bergey - This Way To Mars, 1951. [feedly]

Sent from my iPad

He's So Sketchy [feedly]

He's So Sketchy
// Artist Daily

But in the very best way! When I was trolling for artists who draw like they paint and vice versa, Giovanni Boldini immediately came to mind. His mark making is a tour de force, no matter if he is working in oils, pastels, or when charcoal painting.

Spanish Dancer at the Moulin Rouge by Giovanni Boldini, oil on canvas, 49 x 40, 1905.
Spanish Dancer at the Moulin Rouge by Giovanni Boldini,
oil on canvas, 49 x 40, 1905. All works by Giovanni Boldini.

Boldini has an undeniable aptitude for charcoal drawing because of the variety of his strokes and the physicality of his gesture. He really acts on the surface of his drawings and pencil sketches. Even a simple charcoal portrait or chalk drawing, when looked at through an abstract lens, becomes a maze of lines and movement.

These same characteristics in Boldini's approach to charcoal really stand out in his painting methods as well. His stroke is always in keeping with the direction or motion he is trying to convey, and usually that turns out to be a lot of motion indeed! In fact, Boldini was known as the "master of swish" because of the extensive amount of visual movement he worked into his paintings and drawings.

Girl in a Black Hat by Giovanni Boldini, pastel, 1890. La Lettura by Giovanni Boldini, chalk on paper, 1931.
Girl in a Black Hat, pastel, 1890. La Lettura, chalk on paper, 1931.

Most of all, I am intrigued by how "full" Boldini makes his paintings and drawings feel with lines, curves, and hatch marks alone. He can take the simplest building block of art and evolves it into something with so much force and depth, even when his compositions are fairly sparse. In fact, when I look at his work it is usually the strokes all around the figures that I tend to give my attention. They are just so free but give a sense of atmosphere and spatiality to the works.

Portrait of the Marquise by Giovanni Boldini, oil on canvas, 1914.
Portrait of the Marquise, oil on canvas, 1914.

Even a single abstract drawing or painting lesson could be your much needed outlet to explore expressiveness and gesture—aspects of art that we all try to incorporate in our artistic repertoires. If you want to see what such painting can offer you, Creating Abstract Art could be just the guide you are looking for. Enjoy!

P.S. Are you a fan of Boldini? Are there other artists you can name who draw and paint with the same style and power? Leave a comment and let me know.


Shared via my feedly reader

Sent from my iPad