Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Dostoyevsky completed "The Brothers Karamazov", his largest work, only two months before dying

Nothing terribly exciting has been going on for me here in Ohio; we’ve had some odd storms of late with our ADD weather, though nothing as terrible as it could be. Apparently the thunder from just the other night was the loudest that my grandmother has ever heard, but I find myself unable to comment since I was entirely oblivious. Yes, I somehow managed to absorb myself so much in the digital painting I was working on to be almost entirely ignorant of the storm raging just outside my window. Mostly I was concerned with the way the power was flickering and how this could effect my progress on the painting, so saying I was totally devoid of knowledge of the storm would not be accurate. I’m still not done with it, even now, though I’m much closer to completion. It’s tricky figuring out how to best add texture and detail to a digital medium; I must admit that I’m still very much a newbie to the digital art world, so I’m glad to have this piece to learn from. I am, however, regretting my choice to have my pope character wearing his ermine mantle, as fur is a pain. I think I would much rather slave over his six other rings that do not appear in the image than to work on another fur mantle like that again.

For my summer reading I’ve been savoring Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s outstanding The Brothers Karamozov. I say savoring mostly because of how I’m slowing getting through it, but not because I find it boring, because that’s quite far from any truth at all. I love it. I’m not sure how often people bust out laughing whilst reading this normally, but I find myself adoring every page and laughing at things that perhaps only my slightly out of date sense of humor can find amusing. I do, however, need to speed myself up and get through it, since I’m being pestered (in a good way!) about needing to read a few others books, so I need to at least get started on those within a reasonable amount of time. We’ll just have to see what draws my attention most these next few weeks; my art, my writing, my gardening, or my reading.

German Word: Today I thought I would introduce Sommersunnenwende, which, for one, is an excellent example of a long, slightly absurd, compounded German word thing. German loves to take several shorter words and cram them together to make a whole new one, and while this often works, it sometimes can result in words of a length that terrify an English speaker. Sommersonnenwende is short compared to some, and is only three words combined to mean “summer solstice”, which happened recently. It combines Sommer (summer, obviously), Sonne (sun), and Wende (turn or reveral, though it have several meanings.)


A (small) snippet of the digital painting I’ve been working on. This is mainly my pope character’s Fisherman’s Ring, which has St. Peter on it, as well as a tiny bit of two of his other rings. I won’t go into the long-winded symbolism rant I could easily divert into here.

Our road, rain-swept and feeling all dramatic.

I’m fond of this picture for whatever reason; it’s just the texture on a flat rock in our yard. I’ll probably use it to add an illusion of texture to a digital work some day, but until then I can only be fond of it.

Such a nice evening… ADD weather can be nice on occasion, too.

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy taking pictures of our pond’s lilies? Because I really do.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marimo is a variety of algae that forms round balls at the bottom of some lakes

Last week I kept busy sewing and running about with my grandmother and aunt visiting from South Carolina. Ah, but how does this, if at all, connect to dear Ohio Wesleyan? During our travels we took a trip over to Delaware and made a stop into a little shop known as Captain Betty’s. Captain Betty, a lovely, eccentric woman of her late seventies who doesn’t look a day over fifty will go out of her way to make your experience in her shop a good one. Her wares, vintage clothing for men and women, are all in lovely shape, and many come with a free plethora of information. (The captain loves to talk, and her often very interesting anecdotes on the style or how its inspired something today do not bore.) Sadly you’ll have to visit Betty sometime soon, as she’s planning on taking her shop off to New York or Nashville soon, as she gets “none of the Delaware girls” in her shop; it’s a ‘city shop’ as she calls it, and most of her business seems to stem from New Yorkers from OWU, fashion designers, and other fashion-conscious individuals. We were only in search of a few items my aunt needed for her Civil War reenacting group (gloves[successful!], shoes [the pair was too small!], reticules [already packed for New York!], and handkerchiefs [found two!]). I also found a lovely vintage kimono in of red silk that is perfect for wearing with my hakama. (Okay, so it’s a little long, but the pants still lay the same, so it works and saves me from fretting over finding fabric right now.) I did have to make a small modification on it, as the tie that was sewn into it was made to have the wrong side of the kimono folded on top, so I did a quick fix, and now it’s perfect. As Betty says, she has great things. Check her out if you’re in Delaware sometime soon, even if you don’t plan on buying anything; she’s worth the visit.

Sunday my father and I attended an annual car show, I got a minor sunburn (surprise, surprise with my nigh see-through skin), Speed Racer showed up, and I was somehow coerced into dressing various dolls with a six year old. Within a couple weeks we can put the new goldfish I got him for the pond into the main pond (as long as it’s healthy and disease free, that is), thusly bringing the father’s day ‘festivities’ to a full end. The fish will stay around, of course, and the koi books, too, but that razzle-dazzle newness of the day itself probably won’t remain. I suppose that’s what next year is for.

German Word: Algae is Algen. Don’t tell me that’s not a useful term, because it definitely is.


Sunday, June 8, 2008

There are about 70 species of water lilies around the world

So this week Ohio has been back to being as ADD about weather as usual, causing to me shelf my sweatshirts again in favour of T-shirts and the like. Although temps in the low to mid nineties aren’t horrid, it’s been sticky, but my concern isn’t for myself as much for our small fish pond; the fish can sunburn or be cooked alive, which would not be good. So we’re looking into more ways of shading it. (Pergola, anyone?) The plants are thriving, though, with our water hyacinth and water lettuce making lovely comebacks after looking down from the nights in the thirties. Our first lily of the year bloomed as well, white and especially nice to see since this particular lily had not bloomed for us at all yet. (The one that bloomed last year has two flowers nearly ready to bloom, which will be beautiful!)
My aunt from South Carolina has come to visit this week. Mundane sounding, relatives visiting, I know. But, with her help, I should be able to finish off the Hakama (traditional Japanese pants. Google it.) They have pleats in them, and I have no idea how to work with doing the final one or two steps despite how simple they may be. She’s a pro at sewing, so she’ll point me in the right direction.
I’m also wanting to start a few other art projects soon… I’m itching to try out a few techniques for working with Sculpey that I found online through making a figure of my own, and I’ve been mulling over a few ideas for drawings that I haven’t gotten around to yet. Perhaps I can get on that during the hotter weather and sneak out to water my garden when the sun is not likely to turn me to dust like so many Draculas.

German Word: “Water lily” can be translated as Wasserlilie or Seerose. Interestingly, Seerose directly (literally) translates into sea or lake rose.

Some shots of the recent lily blooming in our pond.