Monday, July 24, 2017

Blind Contour Yearbook Friends

Last week, Tammy of Daisy Yellow did a live stream on Instagram, demonstrating blind contour portraiture on index cards. I was subsequently inspired to do a few of these portraits myself using my old friends from Hughes High School's Class of '25 as subjects of my wonky portrait play. I actually do blind contour drawing almost every year with my middle school students as a drawing warm-up/"getting to know each other" game and it always generates smiles and giggles. However, I forget to do these myself so I was grateful to Tammy for the reminder to relax and get silly. 

These are in a Stillman & Birn hardcover Beta sketchbook; I finally finished Volume 1 of Sparks of Madness so it's time to start Volume 2! I drew from the reference photos (mostly without peeking,) colored with Tombow markers, and then added a few more details with a fine point technical pen.

Quick, fun, and betcha can't do just one!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

One-Day Sale at Society 6

Heads Up: 

Society 6 is running a 1-day sale Sunday July 23 starting at midnight PST and running all day until 11:59 pm PST. This is probably their best deal: 20% off everything AND free shipping. There are many fantastic artists at Society 6 offering their art printed-on-demand on a wide variety of products. Society 6 handles printing, shipping, and payments and artists get a small cut of the sales generated. I'm there too with my mixed media owls on a small selection of items and as of today, this pretty, energetic flower print as well. I particularly love the canvas pouches but you can find all sorts of gift and home decor items. Interested in supporting Lost Coast Post? Click here to beam on over to my Society 6 shop. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Studio Beckons

I didn't mean for so much time to lapse between posts but I am, for once, trying to let my body's [irritatingly slow] healing process take the lead. I've had much more fatigue, pain, swelling, and bruising with this surgery; three weeks post-op and my foot is still not ready to come down off the elevated pillows for long periods of time. I am returning to the studio by degrees though and dabbling in a little bit of everything for as long as I can tolerate it. There's not much time left now in my summer break and I am overwhelmed with preparations for a brand-new art program and teaching focus at work come September. (I'll write more about those exciting developments soon.) In addition, my annual October art show is looming so there is certainly no shortage of stuff to do. 

Healing from surgery has its ups & downs and some days, it's more down than up. However, if I manage to spend even 15 minutes at my studio table, I remember that art makes everything better. Life isn't perfect but it can be colorful, playful, and creative. I can't wait to get back to doing and teaching art at my usual pace.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Road Bump, Not a Road Block

So I lost a lot of sleep last night over this stupid Photobucket screw-over but this morning, I woke up with ideas and resolve. Sometimes what feels like a dog pile needs to be interpreted as a kick in the ass from the universe. I've been dithering over creating a website for years, mostly because I felt leaping from a blog to an official website meant I was taking real ownership of my "artisthood" and deep down, I wasn't sure I was worthy of such a designation. Enough already: it is time to set aside reservations and claim my space in the wider world of professional artists.

The real anxiety-producing issue is that this new challenge is really poorly timed: I am still early in my post-op recovery (not able to drive so that makes life extra inconvenient) and I am in the middle of preparing for huge, exciting changes in work this fall. Somehow I am going to have to fit in preserving my blog archive, pulling 1550+ photos off of Photobucket, and building a website from the ground up. Cue hair-pulling and sense of overwhelm! Luckily, I had already been dabbling in Wix for work. It is mostly drag & drop designing so it might not be as difficult as I fear.

In the meantime, I'll be uploading photos directly to Blogger. There are size & storage limits and Blogger has an annoying "auto resize" feature but it'll do for now. I'll have to find a different option for hosting videos...maybe I'll just post to YouTube and temporarily drop the idea of a more formalized online class. I think the best solution will be a central website where I can have a blog (hopefully with all my past posts,) photo gallery, and shop/class site. It will just take time which is in pretty short supply right now. *breathe*

I deeply appreciate all your love and support! I have tried to live as if obstacles thrown in my way - whether they are health issues, financial restrictions, or crooked corporations - are just annoyances to be conquered, road bumps rather than road blocks. The ride might get rough and but I will continue onward.

PS: Here's another great article on what Photobucket is doing to its customers.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Photobucket Issues & How This Space Is Affected

For the eleven years that Lost Coast Post has been a blip on the internet, I have used Photobucket to host my photos. I upload my edited photos to the service, get a link, and then when I write a blog post, I embed that link in the post so the photo shows up. In short, Photobucket stores the pictures and allows 3rd parties (i.e. Blogger) to access those photos.

Well, as of July 6, 2017, Photobucket has decided to deny 3rd party hosting/linking to all but the most expensive plan. My account was up-to-date and in good standing before the change so I can continue to link to Photobucket until May 2018. At that time, I will need to pay $400 per year (due in one lump sum) to have Photobucket host my photos. If I don't pay, all photos in my blog will disappear and be replaced with the Photobucket logo and a "Unable to View" notice. And in case you were wondering, no warning was provided to customers; I was made aware of this issue via another blogger and had to go digging through Photobucket's site to find information on this issue. I'm sure they buried this huge policy change because they knew it would anger a great many people.

As you might imagine, I find this situation outrageous and financially impossible. Photobucket is going to cut off access to my photos, even ones I uploaded and linked to under plans that allowed 3rd party hosting when I paid for them. I will have private access to my photo library (theoretically) so I can download them but there will be no links available. There was zero heads-up on this policy change. In addition, in recent months the Photobucket site has been riddled with technical difficulties. Just today, when I tried to log into my account to upload pictures for a fresh blog post, I got stuck in an endless log-in loop. Half the time, I cannot even access the service I paid for.

Bottom line, this change means two things: 1) I need to find another way to store/host photos for the blog and 2) I will have to go back through almost 1000 blog posts, replacing blocked photos. I will need to download the original photo from my Photobucket library (if I can't find it in my archives,) re-upload to another site, and then replace the disabled link with a working link. Often times, this will mean restructuring the post itself. In addition, if you read through the endless pages of users' angry comments on the Photobucket site, a vast majority are having difficulty simply accessing and downloading their photo libraries. I have each and every one of my 1500+ photos on Photobucket saved elsewhere but it will be intensely time-consuming to dig through all my archives. I have some time to do this but it is a tremendous amount of work to add into my already chaotic life. I will just have to work on the problem bit by bit.

I am asking you, my beloved readers, to please be patient when this whirlwind hits. I am, in this very moment, trying to find an alternative to Photobucket (Google Photos?) so I can stop uploading to Photobucket immediately. (There's no point in continuing to use the service - even though I just renewed my plan a month ago - if access to those photos will be cut off eventually anyway.) I am looking into creating a website, purchasing a domain etc to see if perhaps that would be a better option. I am also considering Patreon.

I love Lost Coast Post and will continue as long as I am physically and financially able.
Please understand that I live on a shoestring budget and I cannot, in any way, add huge new bills into my budget just to be able to blog. Give me some time to see if I can figure out alternatives but be prepared for changes. I treasure your support of my art life and hope you will continue to show up for my art and ramblings wherever they may be found. This particular space will NOT close up shop unless I simply cannot find an easy, reliable, and affordable way to host photos for my posts.

How You Can Help:
1) Suggest photo hosting sites. Photo sharing sites that have reliable, affordable 3rd party hosting rules are hard to find.

2) Suggest alternatives to having a blog here at perhaps? Has anyone ever used Wix to build a website? (Keep in mind I am not super techno-savvy nor do I have a lot of extra time/energy to get that way.)

3) Check out Patreon...would you be interested in supporting me on Patreon? (For say $2 - $5 per month to read blog posts/see art...more for access to how-to/videos etc) It is totally OK if you can't but it would be nice to get a feel for what people think of Patreon. I have considered it in the past but always assumed I wouldn't garner much support in that particular format.

4) Tell me to breathe and not panic...

5) Stick close because I have more art to share and will do so as soon as I find even a temporary fix.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Art Always Finds a Way Through

Taking stock,
Leaving a digital post-it note
To reference later
When things get tough:

I've had 11 benign masses removed to date
(All but two from my feet.)
No guarantees that a 12th won't arise.
I've lost three bones from my right wrist
And subsequently had that wrist completely fused
With bone dug out of my hip.
My left radius has been shortened.
Two tendons have been released via scalpel,
One in my wrist, one on a toe.
I've gained two titanium plates
And 12 screws.
For variety,
April 2013 brought a diagnosis of
Young Onset Parkinson's,
Solving a decade of mystery symptoms.
Sprinkle in a few migraines each month
And I am a limping, shaking, painful mess.
And yet,
I am still standing.
(Not right now
But soon.)
Art always finds a way through.

And with the art comes

From their sick beds,
Fragile & failing
But fearless,
Henri & Frida showed me the way:
I will tremor,
I will hurt,
I will be constrained
But as long as I reach for my art
I will always be free.
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