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Trebuchet April 27, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Science & Technology.
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I finally got around to getting this put together.

You may commence firing when ready.

It went together fairly easily and it looks pretty good. Some of the stuff didn’t fit quite perfectly, but what the hell. I haven’t tried it out yet because the glue has to cure for 24 hours. Sometime next week I’ll take it over to my Dad’s workshop and put a nice stain and polyurethane finish on it.

Now, if I can just find a toy cow…

Hot damn!  These just might work:  Cows.

Let’s Start At the Beginning April 24, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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Now that the second tree in the series is done, it’s time to start the next one.  Generally speaking I only have vague notions about where I want to go with this.  This morning I was in a long, boring meeting and I usually doodle while in those.  My thoughts and pen turned to trees.

It begins

In the late 80’s, early 90’s I lived in northern Florida in a house next to an actual bayou.  We had knobby kneed cypruss trees, alligators, weepy spanish moss bearded trees, the whole nine yards.  It was very “atmospheric”.  This was the kind of scene I wanted for one of these paintings.  I like this doodle / sketch and I think it will work well in the scene I’m now imagining.  I usually only post stuff that is done, or nearly so, but this time I thought y’all might like to see what goes into the art sausage.  It often starts out with something like this.

What the hell? April 23, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Politics, Strange & Unusual.
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You would think that they would send him an e-mail or something warning about this.


A New Tree April 21, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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Getting better.

Second in the series

This is starting to get more in the direction of the stuff I have been trying to do.  The ground is a LOT better than the other one and the overall feel too.  I still don’t have the proper stroke / texture for the tree.  The instructor had to help me quite a bit with that advisewise*.  I like the way the roots turned out and they are almost exactly  what I had in mind from the start.  I’m going to use that again.

I had some problems with the paper that really hampered me this time though.  These days I’m in the habit of trying out my strokes and color selections on another piece of paper before executing on the painting itself.  As noted in the Tech Specs below this is Arches paper.  It’s one of the more expensive brands out there and it’s the one that a LOT of professonals use.  My test paper is the less expensive Canson brand, but the Arches paper simply didn’t perform as well!  It fuzzed up really bad when I went in to lay fine texture lines on areas that had a base color.  The Canson never did that.  Hmmm.  There might be a problem with the latex masking fluid I’m using.  I’m going to do some tests.

One of the other “advanced”** students is an older lady and she routinely uncorks some amazing paintings full of big, bold colors and are done with real painterly skill.  She works almost exclusively in the full sheet (22 x 30 inch) sizes on 300 lb paper (unstretched).  She’s also an old hand at painting with oils so she’s got a lot of experience that translates well.  Anyway, she made an off-hand remark about how the other one in our little group of repeat students uses small brushes on big paintings that struck me.  I do the same thing, and now I think that may be a big part of my problem.  I keep using fiddly little brushes when I should be laying in with the big guns to put down the big, bold strokes that can be filled in / modified later.

Technical Specs:
Image size: 9.5 x 13.5 inches
Paper: Arches 140 lb cold pressed
Colors: Phthalo Blue, Burnt Sienna, Payne’s Grey, Violet, & Sepia
Notes: The paper was pre-stretched with tape on a pine board.

*The Instructor will often paint directly on a student’s work to show her how she can improve the painting / technique and whatnot***.  He used to do it with me too, but now he doesn’t at all.

**Use of sneer quotes around “advanced” refers to me – not her.

***The vast majority of people who take this class are women for some reason.

General Update April 21, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I finally got around to using my store credit for those stupid helicoptors and got the Trebuchet and Plasma glass.  Together they were a bit more than my store credit but what the hey – it’s still birthdayapalooza here and I’m off work today and you’re not.  More toys!!

Funky, I had to fish one of my own comments out of the spam bucket.  That ain’t right.

I got some vines yesterday to put in my small planter bed and just got them into the ground today – a jasmine, honeysuckle, and bouganvillia.  A couple of them were a little big and I had to shoehorn them into the bed.  I guess I’ll see how they do.  I have a strawberry pot that I still have to plant up.  I’m going to get some herbs and stuff to throw into that.  I guess I ought to go do that now.  Type at y’all later.

Happy Birthday! April 17, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday to me!
Happy Birthday to mee-eeee!
Happy Birthday to me!

I am now Old Enough to Know Better.  I got toys too!  I’ll show them to y’all later.

****Update****  Yay toys!

I bought some more watercolor stuff online and they just happened to arrive today.  Whee!  One is a really nice tripod and the other is a board designed to stretch watercolor paper without tape or staples.  Just get it completely soaking wet, put it into the frame and screw it down.  As the paper dries, the fibers try to shrink back to thier normal state, but the frame keeps it stretched out, so that when you paint, the paper doesn’t warp or buckle.  I LOVE working on stretched paper, but don’t always have some on hand.  The board and tripod were made by the same company (Guerilla) so the board is designed to pop right onto the tripod.  Oh, and I also got some translucent plastic watercolor paper (Yupo) – I’ve mentioned working with it before.  They’re full sized sheets too so I’m looking forward to getting some nice, big paintings.  Oh, and I also ordered a bunch of new watercolor paints – high quality stuff from Daniel Smith.  I’m really looking forward to those getting here. 

***Another Update***

I’m really testing the watercolor board right off.  I soaked a half-sheet (15″ x 20″) of Arches 300 lb paper and screwed it in.  Even wet that sucker is tight – it’s going to be an amazing surface when it’s dry.  I hope those new paints get here soon.

***Yet Another Update****

I just tested the watercolor board.  The paper already feels dry, and there’s an oh-so-slight-sliver of bowing in the board because the paper no longer touches it in the middle.  Oh man that paper is going to be so tight.  Alas, the paints are still stuck in the warehouse. 

World’s Largest Pool April 15, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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An email about this place popped into my inbox today. 

It is more than 1,000 yards long, covers 20 acres, had a 115ft deep end and holds 66 million gallons of water.

The Guinness Book of Records named the vast pool beside the sea in Chile as the biggest in the world.

But if you fancy splashing out on one of your own – and you have the space to accommodate it – then beware: This one took five years to build, cost nearly 1billion and the annual maintenance bill will be 2million.

The man-made saltwater lagoon has been attracting huge crowds to the San Alfonso del Mar resort at Algarrobo, on Chile’s southern coast, since it opened in January.

Its turquoise waters are so crystal clear that you can see the bottom even in the deep end.

It dwarfs the world’s second biggest pool, the Orthlieb – nicknamed the Big Splash – in Morocco, which is a mere 150 yards long and 100 yards wide. An Olympicsize pool measures some 50 yards by 25 yards.

Chile’s monster pool uses a computer- controlled suction and filtration system to keep fresh seawater in permanent circulation, drawing it in from the ocean at one end and pumping it out at the other.

The sun warms the water to 26c, nine degrees warmer than the adjoining sea.

Chilean biochemist Fernando Fischmann, whose Crystal Lagoons Corporation designed the pool, said advanced engineering meant his company could build “an impressive artificial paradise” even in inhospitable areas.

“As long as we have access to unlimited seawater, we can make it work, and it causes no damage to the ocean.”


Double Tagged! April 10, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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That ain’t right, but there it is.  One of those blog memes that go around periodically has caught me twice.

Thanks Barry and McGoo!

Here’s the deal:

The Rules: 1. Write your own six word memoir. 2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want. 3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere. 4. Tag at least five more blogs with links. 5. Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play…

My six word memior:  “Eat it now, and worry later”Go ahead - eat the whole thing

Since I was double tagged, here’s another:

Wow, you had posters like this in college?  Get out!

I’ll have to dig around a bit to see if there’s anybody left to pass it on to.

Of course, victim #1 – The Lemur King

Hah!  Pin the tail on the Weasel!


Lemur King calls my attention to the second part of Rule #3 – we’re supposed to link to the original post that started this whole thing.  Nobody did that as far as I can tell, but crawling back up line the whole thing seems to have started here:  Smells Like Bullshit.

Watercolor Update (Final Version) April 3, 2008

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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Hullo!  No doubt y’all have been wondering “What’s up with Enas and that watercolor thing?” 

Well, I’ve been busy working on a single painting.  This one is a little considerably different from all the others.  I’m not quite finished with it, but I thought I’d go ahead and post it anyway. 

What is different about this one?  It’s the first watercolor painting I’ve ever done where the source material is drawn entirely from my own imagination.  The original is around 21 x 14 inches.  

Take a look (clicky for bigger size):

****Update to Post****

I’ve replaced the almost done version with the final one.

First in a series

I’m not real happy with it, but I’m not entirely disappointed either.  I’ll have more to say about it later.