Nobody born after 1970 has any idea how to program a computer, or write software.
I just spent the better part of a week going back and forth with EA technical support over why my attempt to use my Rock Band 2 export code always resulted in the error “the code is invalid or may have expired.” They generated a half-dozen different codes and escalated it all the way to the top of their technical support before they gave up and said I needed to call Sony for general PS3 support.
It turns out that what had expired was my credit card on file. The “code” being referred to was not the code that the error message was in response to, it was something to do with the credit card. EA had no idea what was going on, and Sony’s programmers apparently find messages like “your credit card has expired” too difficult to generate and just fall back on the brain-dead “an error has occurred” / FAIL non-logic.
When you had to fight for every byte of code space, you learned how to handle errors. For fuck’s sake.
I’m old. But I can code.
I’ve got a million other things to do right now, but it had been a good month since I had picked up a paintbrush, so I grabbed one tonight. (This is actually basically one brush, in fact – a ¼” bright, used for the first time tonight.) It happens that butternut squash are just about 10YR 7/5 local, and I happened to have mixed and tubed 10YR chromas 2 and 4 a while ago for flesh, so no mixing was needed, which is why I allowed myself to paint in color this one time.
I’ll finish this one soon, but it won’t be too fancy. Just need to drop some of the shadows to value 3 or so, accents here and there, a little blending, and a tiny streak of yellow-green in one seam that isn’t quite ripe yet.
Painting really is fun. Munsell and the Reilly charts take pretty much all of the guesswork out of the color, so you can spend your time and effort on rendering and composition instead. A million things to do, but it’s always good to sneak a break once in a while and do something just for the hell of it, even if it’s just a simple little (practically monochromatic) still life. (5″x7″, oil on canvas)
Underway with the anatomytools.com anatomy course, which, to be truthful, is bumping about a bit as it leaves the gate, but it’s their first run of an online course and so a few glitches here and there are to be expected. I’m sure they’ll get sorted out. All preparatory exercises so far, we haven’t gotten into the meat of it yet, but it probably won’t be long. Meanwhile, I’ll be digging into Hale’s “Master Class in Figure Drawing,” which I had completely forgotten is filled with exactly what I’m working on right now: simple massing of forms and getting “big picture” things down before going into details. Long pose resumes shortly as well, have a head study to finish and a preparatory drawing to transfer to the master sheet. Lots to do, and a headache to go with it.
This was a lot of work.
It could still be a lot better. The question is: did I do a better job of balancing values, and keeping the big form reading right? I’ll have more to say about the method later, but it was pretty different than what I usually do, and designed to go right at that problem.
…sort of. For six weeks, starting tomorrow, taking Andrew Cawrse’s “Human Anatomy – The Essentials” course online. Another grind through human anatomy, led by someone who knows it very, very well. Not cheap, but I’m just going to die, right? I have to learn this shit. It’s so easy to get lost / distracted / disoriented studying it alone without guidance, because there are always a million different directions to go in from any particular moment, and for me that frequently leads to paralysis. I know bits of it pretty well, and other bits not as well, and I just need more work. This will provide some structure and feedback. Six hard weeks of work should do me good.
I hoped to have my current piece finished tonight, but it’s not done. Possibly tomorrow, and if not, probably Tuesday. Also starting our next long-pose figure session on Tuesday. Someone please make a pill that will let me live without sleep, so I can have enough time to do all of this. Thx.
Was in Missouri over the weekend at Graydon Parrish’s drawing class, where the chief focus for me was trying to get ahold of ways to see, and maintain, the big forms first, value-wise, before proceeding to details. All of the planes need to relate to each other in a correct hierarchy of values before you get into sub-areas. That’s one of the main thresholds where things become convincing, and that many (most?) people really don’t do well. It’s very difficult, but I’m on it.
I wanted to take one more swing at this one and see if I could bring it into focus a bit better in this manner. Graydon’s always told me that going from 95 to 98 on the quality scale takes about six times as long as going from 0 to 95. More and more, I’m seeing what he means.
This one really isn’t a good example because it didn’t start from a good place, but I wanted to see if I could “back-port” any of the concepts, and look for and clarify morphology that might not be evident in the image, but should still be there. The wider base of the nose, the narrower left cheek plane, and the hierarchy of values on the dark side of the face and the lips and mouth. I still wouldn’t call it a perfect likeness of this anonymous young lady, but I like the rendering a bit better here. There comes a point where you have to stop fighting a piece and just let it be what it’s going to be. I think it’s time to put this one aside and call it done, and move on.
Sometimes when I’m avoiding things I’m supposed to be working on, I cruise the intarwebs looking for something to draw. Flickr’s front page is as good a place as any for that, just find something random. I happened on this lass and tried a small pencil doodle… then I tried it again, then put it aside and tried it again the next day, and something was still way off and I wasn’t sure what it was, so I busted out the good paper and pastels and charcoals and launched a full assault. 11″ x 15″.
I have no idea who she is, or how close I got, but it was fun to work on. That smile took a long time, and I still don’t think I quite nailed it. The photo a heavily-flashed snapshot (which I’m sure was never intended to be used as a portrait reference), and she had things in her hair obscuring part of her face, which I tried to work around as best I could.
I could keep going on this and push it a lot farther, but I do have to work in the morning… and other things to get back to. As always.
Got some smaller canvas boards to do small studies on… b&w #3 was a train-wreck, and I decided to pull back from it and do a smaller study. This one is 5″ x 7″, and the easel setup is there too… small value palette clamped to the easel, which I really like, with a scrap of cardboard above for wiping brushes on, and my ultramarine/sienna gradient-by-value test board.
A five-value poster study has limited use, but it reads well from a distance, which proves (needlessly) that getting values correct is the most important thing of all when trying to render realistically. If a piece looks good from across the room, it can be made to look good up close with careful work; if it doesn’t, no amount of careful work will save it.
Mayra head study/sketch. An early warm-up for a larger piece.
Draw something. Draw anything. Just draw. Find something on flickr and draw it, if you have to.
Draw draw draw. Don’t surf. Don’t click around aimlessly. DRAW.