Easter arrives at springtime. For me, spring brings marshmallow Peeps, chocolate bunnies, daffodils, dandelions, colored eggs, egg hunts, fishing, hiking, boating, canoeing, ball caps, flip-flops, summer clothes, summer colors, golf, tennis, camping, traveling, friends, flowers, sun glasses, plein aire watercolors, graduations, parties – and family.
Is it Easter yet?
Living in the Ozarks means I enjoy the best spring offers. Our lilac bush is blooming, and we bought a new lawn mower that’s still in the box. Too early to mow.
Spring comes with sounds. Canaries, titmice, woodpeckers, robins, and cardinals are daily sites at our bird feeders. The canaries made an early return from their winter’s journey, adding splashes of yellow to the backyard. Titmice and woodpeckers stick the winter out in the Ozarks. As well, some robins and cardinals winter here. All we have to do is step outdoors or open a window to hear spring.
We have a squirrel nesting in our back yard – and a possum!
Best of all, spring is when we celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His gift of new life evermore.
Slow down for Easter
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, just came and went.
I say to myself as I do each year at this time, “Let’s not rush through this epic event.” Do some bird watching. Watch Mother Nature wake up from her winter nap. Journal an Easter Bible Study.
This week read the Gospel records on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that changed history forever.
Pixel Animation and Motion Design are mesmerizing and fun to watch on web pages if you like text and art dancing around your website like I do.
So, I made my first pixel art animation, Fishy, Fishy in the Sea. Plot: Fish are happily swimming on an idyllic day when a seemingly peaceful air balloon floating overhead is piloted by a fisherman who pulls out a fishing reel and plunks a lure into the water. Water splashes. Fish scatter. End of story. The animation loops endlessly.
Learning from Pro Motion Designers
Earlier in March, AdobeLive from Paris streamed video of motion designers working with animation. Designers included: Made By Radio; Alexandra Lund; Lucile Patron; and Cyril Izran.
Over a 3-day time span, designers worked in their favorite Adobe animation programs and with their favorite tools and plugins.
On Day 1, watching Lucile Patron’s live stream, I caught the bug to design a pixel art animation.
Lucile Patron, AKA Fulifuli, made pixel art animation in Photoshop look so easy and fun, I thought, Why not me?
Digital art and design just got more creative with Adobe Creative Cloud. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I subscribed to Adobe CC. Buying a subscription was happenstance because I needed a current version of Dreamweaver, which now resides on Adobe’s Creative Cloud.
Now I am walking on a cloud. I grab free fonts from TypeKit, play with color palettes at Adobe Color CC, share my portfolio online and follow my favorite designers on Adobe’s Behance, integrate Adobe iPhone and iPad apps with Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, etc.
The sky is the limit. Adobe even provides templates to put up your website if you have a URL. I made a basic portfolio website, PatriciaWiskur with Behance in a matter of hours, thanks to Adobe templates.
Discover the Adobe Community on Behance.net
View tutorials live on Behance Live and YouTube/Adobe CC channel. Subscribe to be alerted of the current live stream schedule.
My favorite live streams from France, 2017, can be seen on YouTube as replays. Moderators for the live streams are Michael Chaize, Head of Creative Cloud Live Streams at Adobe, and Rufus Deuchler, Principal Manager of Creative Cloud Evangelism Adobe.
In 2017, they filmed artists and designers from London, Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona, etc., as the artists work in real time.
Adobe Live gives an inside glimpse into how the pros approach an art project. Filmed live from Paris and California, the Adobe team films artists who work from concept to finished art, using sketch pads, iPads, Apple Pencils, computers, tablets, and Adobe CC. The live streams are lengthy, two-hours each, and provide a rare insight into an artist’s working style.
These are some of my favorite Adobe CC streams from Paris, that you can replay on YouTube:
Maite Franchi: creates three illustrations from sketches with Adobe Illustrator, working with symbols, original color palettes, and design tips; then adds texture to her art in Photoshop (watch Maite’s AdobeLive YouTube video to see how she executes her bird house in Illustrator and Photoshop)
Pieter Ceizer: demonstrates typography and hand lettering – Pieter is a superstar from the Netherlands now living in Paris, with clients such as Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Coca-Cola, etc. Visit his website or see him on Instagram.
Swerve from the UK: free-lance designer with his own popular YouTube tutorial channel and eclectic style
Tina Touli: London based illustrator. In three sessions Tina creates a poster and pamphlet design to celebrate the 30th year anniversary of Adobe Illustrator – must see all three videos (link to the third of three session).
Illustration Tee-Shirt Art Streamed Live from San Francisco
In February, AdobeLive streamed from San Francisco, with talented U.S. designers and their creative process, during a 3-day marathon that included portfolio revue, tee-shirt art, drawings for free subscriptions to Adobe CC, and tips and resources. Check out replays of the event artists on YouTube/Adobe CC or Adobe Live:
My first portrait of Prez Trump, in a Modern style
I went Modern when I grabbed my pen to ink the portrait of our new President, Donald J. Trump, then framed it for a deck of cards. The first thing that pops into my mind when I hear the word Trump is … Play Your Trump Card!
A notable painter is always commissioned to paint an Official Portrait of the President and the first lady for the White House gallery, a tradition since Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of President George Washington in 1797.
And one of many decisions our Presidents and First Ladies make as they leave the White House at the end of their term is who will paint their official portraits for the Smithsonian.
Benefactors underwrite the cost of these portraits to honor the President and First Lady and to present historical portraits for public gallery viewing at the Smithsonian.
My portrait of President Donald Trump is an unofficial portrait.
Trump of Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, and Clubs
I framed Donald Trump’s portrait with all of the playing card suits, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, and Clubs, so you could play with a full deck.
So, when Winsor & Newton hailed a new line of ink pen and brush markers with an art contest centered on their ProMarkers and BrushMarkers and having a grand prize of a complete set of their ProMarkers, I was in.
Contest Pay to Play
The catch was, I didn’t own any of their markers, and I had only used gel and ink markers in lettering and calligraphy – not illustration. Still I jumped in, cannon ball style, to win their prized markers. To enter, I bought the required Winsor & Newton ProMarkers and downloaded their template. They didn’t want random art, they challenged artists with a template of five flowing lines taken from their iconic, winged lion logo.
Inspired by those five flowing lines and a table full of newly purchased W&N ProMarkers and BrushMarkers, I began a month-long obsessions to create my very first masterpiece.
In the end, I submitted Summer’s End, the first layout I had inked. I knew it was a flop, but I had worked my heart out and felt compelled to enter the contest if for no other reason than to validate my month-long obsession. Summer’s End got four Likes on Winsor & Newton’s Instagram page.
I had allocated so much time to the initial layout and idea phase that little time remained for the final work and inking. No time for a re-work and no time remaining to ink my favorite layout, Kitty Diva.
Still a winner! I have a drawer full of newly-purchased Winsor & Newton markers and a feeling of accomplishment.
The beauty of entering art contests is that you challenge yourself to think outside the box. I mean, I never would have drawn Kitty Diva lounging on a chaise sofa and in a room decorated with fish, were it not for the contest and those five flowing lines.
So, everyone wins when you challenge yourself to be better.
You can color your own Kitty Diva and Summer’s End on the Color page of my website.
Original Contest Rules for Winsor & Newton’s 2016 Contest
Create your artwork – it can be anything you like, but you must use the lines displayed on the template below
Your artwork must be made using mainly ProMarkers and/or BrushMarkers
Upload your picture to Instagram using the hashtags: #InspiredByProMarker and #WinsorNewtonChallenge. You can enter as many artworks as you would like and the closing date is 31 October 23.59 GMT. (Check out the talented artist who entered the contest on Instagram.)
MENTAL NOTE TO SELF
When inking a masterpiece, go small. I had a pro-print of my black line-work made on glossy paper, 17-x-11 inches, for inking with color. I used a lot of ink. No time for blends.
For watercolor, I like to go big. Consider your media.
Winsor & Newton
Founded in 1832 in London by William Winsor and Henry Newton, the company continues to supply artists with paints, brushes, and art papers world wide. Headquartered in England.
Annual Talent Search For a Children’s Book Illustrator
I’ve emerged from my cave after sleeping through the fourth annual Lilla Rogers’s Global Talent Search. I would still be in the dark about the talent search if not for artsy friends on Instagram. Fortuitously, a hash tag led me to a talented network of artist and illustrators who had entered a contest to win agency representation by Lilla Rogers Studio.
Lilla Rogers at Make Art That Sells sponsors an annual Global Talent Search competition to find talented children’s book illustrators. The Grand Prize winner receives agency representation from Lilla Rogers Studio; career development support in illustration; and numerous product licenses. Zowie!
Sprinkles on ice cream at a drive-through window inspired my fancy sundae art. I was seeking ice cream, i.e., DQ Fan Food, with granddaughter Tori, and discovered the secret of life — sprinkles.
While traveling in Kentucky, we pulled into the nearest Dairy Queen.
We sailed past the menu board (memorized), rolled down the car window, and chirped out our order.
Tori ordered her favorite Blizzard, topped with sprinkles.
A nano second later, she springs forward from the car seat as if she had an emergency. She needed to add something important to her order. In her most polite voice she adds …”and extra, EXTRA, sprinkles, please!”
Add Sprinkles to Everything!
What’s a few more sprinkles? I loved the delight in Tori’s eyes when she saw her Blizzard lavishly covered with sprinkles.
When I think of good getting better, I visualize extra, extra sprinkles and the enjoyment the little things in life bring.
Icons and symbols are miniature pieces of art. Their swirling lines and shapes create iconic images that decorate, illustrate, and identify. These icons can become epic, i.e., the Mac Apple. (See a page of icons on my Blog and a more complete collection at Swim Yellow Duck.)
I christened my PW monogram floating in the sea alongside a whale as art in miniature and on a lesser scale.
Working from a sketch, I had envisioned my initials inside a formal cartouche symbol, somewhat like a monogram found impressed on an old English manuscript. However, my mind wandered to Lollipop Land as I worked, and soon my “PW” initials were under water watching a whale swim by.
The zip folders include various file sizes in three formats, JPG, PNG, and SVG, that you are free to download. I’ve showcased some on my Free Icons and Symbols in a gallery on my blog. For a more complete visual reference, check out my Swim Yellow Duck gallery.
I tend towards elongated swirls. I think flowers. Many of my icons are flowers and scrolls. In my handwriting, much like stopping to smell the roses, I stop to twirl my letters because I love the curve of a line.
Icon for Christmas in July
If you are one of those who dream of snow on a sunny day in July, you might be a Christmas in July person. It’s a great time to buy yourself a gift because summer sales in July are door busters.
The fun thing about icons in my collection is that you can make them any size and any color.
What comes to mind first when you see a cactus? You’re thirsty, an iguana, desert sand, sun screen, a western movie or possibly, tequila … ?
For me, it’s Cabo San Lucas, my favorite vacation spot. Although, anywhere in the tropics with sand and the ocean would suite me well.
I will post more icons from time to time. Until then, happy trails ….
How-to: Add Color To Digital Art in a Click or Two or Three
The art in my folders is, for the most part, saved in three formats, JPG, PNG, and SVG.
A JPG image is compressed and set in a white bounding box. There is little you can do to affect a JPG in two or three clicks. In art programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can invert the colors, i.e., change the white to black and black to white. And, you can frame the bounding box.
The PNG and SVG formats lend themselves more simply to editing.
In art programs like Adobe Photoshop, you can lock the transparent background on a PNG, and paint away to change the color. As well, you can do anything to a PNG that you can do with a JPG and still retain the image transparency when you save it as a PNG.
You can totally edit an SVG image in vector art programs like Adobe Illustrator etc. The sky is the limit. Add a pattern background to the image, animate the image, or completely re-make the image, make it huge or make it tiny, all without loosing image quality, thanks to the nature of the beloved vector format.
I prefer camping in a hotel room. However, the steady stream of tourists in motor homes has sparked my curiosity for life aboard an RV.
I picture myself in a teardrop camper or other glam buggy, parked at a nearby lake, full of art supplies, and living the dream.
As artist Timree declares, If I can’t buy it, I paint it. In like fashion, I painted campers with my digital pen. [Download art for personal use at my Free Image Gallery.]
My cousin inspired Dory’s Camper. Her RV is huge and modern, unlike the compact version I drew, but she prompted the red, white, and blue trunks waving on top.
When I think of traveling in an RV, Dory at the family reunion pops into mind.
Dory had arrived at the campsite driving her mobile home, loaded with food and fun. At a strategic lull in the conversation, Dory ducked into her RV and pulled out a carefully chosen selection of huge undies, which she clipped to the clothesline. Conversation took an upturn when we saw a line full of panties waving at us.
I always smile when I think back on the fun time with family in Nashville and those panties waving in the breeze.
There is nothing that puts me in a vacation state of mind more quickly than slipping on a pair of flip flops.
In May, I was in my perpetual vacation-state-of-mind, and drew lots of flip flops, which I added to my Free Art Gallery.
Also, I modeled them together with some sandals for a poster and added it to my Art Gallery.
Flip Flops Take My Mind Off Politics
Wide Eyed rather describes my state of mind this political season. I am in a dizzying state of whazzup.
First, Jeb bowed out of the 2016 Race for the White House 2018, more accurately described as the demolition derby. He and the clan are dissing the National Republican Convention, even.
Pretty bummed. I like principled governors like Jeb Busch and John Kasich, who accomplish reforms and know how to navigate the system. I want to see in my lifetime an immigration policy for Hispanics in particular that institutes a pathway to citizenship for a people who have enriched our culture and who have been welcomed through our back door for some 50 years. Continue reading Flip Flops in my Digital Art Gallery
Cubic Me is an empirical fantasy of a splendid day.
I was drawing portraits and saw a photograph of Lady Gaga. Soon I was blurring reality in juxtaposition.
I was studying Cubism. My first attempt at Cubism was a self-portrait, titled Modular Me.
Since I enjoy geometric prints and adored geometry in high school, Cubism promises to be a natural for me, but I have some work to do.
It’s fun to re-composite an image in geometric shapes, but more challenging is to imagine a flat object from different viewpoints and to create that final image with differing viewpoints and on different planes, which is pure Cubism. Continue reading Cubic Self-Portrait in My Dreams
First, invitations for twelve to an upper room
A guest of honor, ceremony, singing,
Communion, a remembrance of His promise to come again,
I will not eat of this bread or drink of this cup until … you and I become one
His farewell shook the earth, blackened the sky.
Friends mourned His leaving not knowing
The Father above was planning the first Easter surprise.
The Lord’s day –a resurrection – a coming again.
The guest of honor has gone to prepare a dwelling place
with streets of gold in heavenly places.
We’re invited, too, but He led the way.
Because He lives, we too shall live evermore.
If these things were not so, surely He would have told us.
Peace be unto you