Category Archives: Art

Its All In the Details…

Koi by Jessica Thompson

Koi by Jessica Thompson

The Exposition

The week after a holiday at a bank is always a little rough. When you toss in a significant reduction in staff due to…life and things, and the maelstrom of chaos that ensues is enough cause a wee bit of gray matter to leak from the ears. You know your brain is mush when you read your class assignment…several times, and still misread, we’ll just say significant portions of said assignment…significant portions.

Rising Action

 

Logo by Jessica Thompson

Logo by Jessica Thompson

At least I made it a policy to review the assignments one last time before I finalize formats and submit my work. Whew! So instead of needing to complete three small sketches, I need to do six other things. Create clip art, Photoshop masks, logos, or some combination. Fortunately, they don’t need to be completed, just in process. I don’t think tea is going to cut it tonight. Note to self, coffee actually makes me vibrate. Everything gets started, compiled, and the video is completed. Adobe Spark videos are pretty cool, I’m going to have to play with that some more. I breathe a sign of relief, because it is all finished.

The Climax

Kermit by Jessica Thompson

Kermit by Jessica Thompson

…in time for the internet to crash mid-upload (which is why, girls and boys you never wait until the last minute). Expletive deleted, expletive deleted.  You know, because starting an upload 10 minutes before the deadline isn’t stressful enough as it is. Expletive deleted, expletive deleted, expletive deleted.

Falling Action

Don’t panic!

jimsconeyisland

Logo by Jessica Thompson

The assignment is uploaded, the video is posted, the timesheet is completed. That’s 10% of the course grade right there. It got submitted, one minute before the deadline, but that’s still on time. The discussion post…that got posted ten minutes late (stupid, beautiful, internet we have a love/hate relationship), not cool, but only 2%.

Resolution

The perfectionist in me rails at the lateness, my inattention to detail, the threat (though minor) to my GPA, but on the whole I’m just trying to figure out if an adult beverage will help me stop the caffeine fueled vibrating so I can sleep or just change the frequency.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. Whiskey changes the frequency of the vibrations, dogs don’t care that you didn’t get any sleep, but at least I got pancakes for breakfast.

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Simplify Your Style

Have you ever heard of Saul Bass?  Even if you don’t know the name, you’re probably familiar with his work.  Some of the most recognizable logos in the world were created by his hand, United Airlines, Girl Scouts, United Way, and that doesn’t even touch on his film work.  Psycho, Spartacus, Exodus name a few of of the films he designed for.  The power in Bass’s work comes, in large part, from its simplicity.  His ability to take a big concept and condense it into a few lines is magnificent, and this is my first tiny step toward being able to do the same kind of thing.

renoir reading womanThe reading woman, by Renoir, captured my imagination from the first moment I saw it.  Loose brush strokes and intricate walls seemed like the perfect image to simplify.  The challenge would be to capture the energy and vitality of someone engrossed in their reading, at rest yet engaged.

Simplifying the lines of her shirt, skirt, the chair, the background, all that would be simple, but without the right amount of detail, my image would fall flat.  After a few false starts, I discovered that utilizing the correct details is the most important aspect of successfully taking a beautiful masterpiece and keeping heart and soul of it intact while removing a lot of the fine details.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 11.34.58 AMUsing, a digital image of the Renoir as a reference, I sketched out my concept by hand and then drew my simplified version in Adobe Illustrator. A few touches of gradients in place of the highly intricate wallpaper in the original served to spotlight her sillouettte.  I also shifted the overall color tone to something a little cooler.  As the variances in color were removed, I discovered that my piece required more color contrast to keep it from becoming a warm toned blob.  I’m really happy with the final product, and I hope Renoir would be too.

What do you think?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 

 

 


Stories & Symbols

oriflamm

I’m a big fan of stories.  Aren’t we all? One of my classes called on us to create a symbol for a story.  We got to choose from a list of about 30 or so stories, all of which were well-known (to me at least).  As usual, my issue stemmed from having too many favorites.  I never can pick just one. I spent three days creating Mad Hatter top hats for Alice in Wonderland before realizing, they were just hats. Beautiful hats, but no one would have any idea which story I referenced when they looked at them.  Technically, I fulfilled the requirement of the assignment, but not the spirit of it.

I did the assignment again.  Yep, that’s right.  I did it again.  Now, I can’t claim my symbol is an oriflamme, but maybe the story it represents does?

RobinHood6

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Don’t Be Afraid of Mistakes

NewYearsWish_Page_1‘Til next time,

Jessica


What’s Eating My Brain?

TYPEWRITER - STOCK PHOTOHello!  Long time, no blog.  I know, believe me.  The absence has been felt.  However, I’m back.  In part, thanks to my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions, but mostly because I missed this too much not make it a part of my life.

Things I’ve discovered since starting my new job.  A job in which I talk with people all day long eats my words if I don’t nurture them carefully.  For too long, I’ve come home exhausted and unable to string together a coherent sentence. (Hopefully, that is better now.)  This will stifle writing like…well, like forgetting how to talk will stifle a conversation.

However, this did not stop my creative drive. At.  All.  In fact, without the wonderful outlet of the written word, the need to create got a little manic sometimes.  Drawings, paintings, quilting, crocheting, playing music, Legos (of course) all stepped in to take over, and I’ve produced some really great stuff.

I missed my words though.  Like most of us who are driven to write, it is more who we are than what we do, and when that part gets locked away for whatever reason, it feels, for me anyway, like a wound that won’t stop aching.  During the  “wordless time” whenever I tried to write, the ache got worse because if the mocking cursor on the blank screen drew anything out of me, it was disjointed. Reviewing what I’d written was more painful, because the form (rambling though my style may be) was shoddy and little sense could be made from the pitiful scraps I was trying to sew together.

This being said.  Please bear with me as I try to find my voice again. I feel a bit like Peter Pan with his wayward shadow.  It is out there somewhere.  I. Just. Have. To. Find. It.

I’ve also been left with stacks of really great art, and no idea what to do with it.  I may be turning to all of you for some advice once I get an idea of how to part with these pieces…if I can part with it.

Art is a funny thing.  I feel deeply that it is meant to be shared, for what good is a vision no one else sees.  Why put pen to paper or brush to canvas unless you want to share your vision with someone else.  Right?  However, as an artist I feel particularly vulnerable whenever I let someone look at my pieces, much less go home with them.  Luckily, I’m convinced I’m not alone in this. (Thank you Amanda Palmer for The Art of Asking.  I’ll tell you guys more about that one a little later.) I also need to part with some of this so I can make room for more new pieces. (My house should not overflow with stuff.)

Life ate my brain for a while.  I’m sorry.  I think it is better now.  I hope.  Maybe?
‘Til next time,

Jessica


Neil Gaiman Talks: What ifs, Why fors, and Hows

Have I mentioned lately that I love Twitter?  Well, I do.  I find some of the greatest stuff there!  For example, today I haven’t even been on Twitter, but I got an email from them with tweets I may be interested in.  (You know the one I’m talking about).  Typically, I just delete the email and move on.  Really, I get too many emails (especially since I started applying for jobs online, 30 emails a day with results from job searches!).  This time the title Neil Gaiman Follows the Guiding Light of Instinct caught my attention, and I opened it up.  My mom may read this and see a bit of inspiration from him in the story I just gave her to edit (it is based on something her sister told her that scared her when she was little.  Oh yeah, she’s thrilled to be my editor on this one). Seriously though, I love reading his stuff.  The Ocean at the End of the LaneFragile ThingsStardust, Smoke & Mirrors…really, I haven’t found anything I didn’t enjoy.

This New York Times article delves into a bit of why we like to be scared by horror and frightening stories, they discuss his Carnegie Hall performance that is coming up the end of June, and his creative process.  His thought process as a kid reminds me a lot of myself.  I was always thinking of “what-if” scenarios…then torturing my sister with them.  When I asked if she thought I could scare someone in 2,000 words or less she didn’t even pause.  She interrupted me with a resounding “Yes, definitely!”.  If anyone would know, she would.  I practiced on her for our entire childhood…maybe I still use her as a guinea pig.  (Sometimes, I wonder why my family puts up with me.  I just gave my mom her childhood boogeyman to edit for me…hmm…best not ponder this one too much.)

TheTruthIsACaveInTheBlackMountainsThe Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains has been released in a special edition with the Eddie Campbell artwork, and, for those of you lucky enough to attend the Carnegie Hall performance, you’ll get to hear him read this to music by FourPlay string quartet and see the artwork.  You can purchase an edition of the book with illustrations by Eddie Campbell as well.  (Since not all of us can score tickets to Carnegie Hall…)  If you are attending this show, please email me or comment to tell me about it!

Did you ever play the “what if” game?  You know, making up terrible scenarios and stuff?

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Oklahoma Renaissance Festival

I love May.  Although it is insanely busy, there’s a lot of good stuff that happens in May. I headed to the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival at the Castle at Muskogee over the weekend to see good friends, take in some music, and add to my ever-expanding collection of cool unique things.  Mission accomplished.

The girls who introduced me to Renaissance Faires and I piled in the car early on Saturday morning to make the short drive over to the Castle.  We ran into my friends who exposed me to the wonderful, terrible joys of Cards Against Humanity as soon as we walked through the gates.  I got to meet some new people, and catch up a bit before one of the kids wanted to see knights beat on each other. (Always entertaining.)

Frphoto (10)om there we headed over to visit the lovely Yolanda Pears of Royal Eggs.  She makes the most beautiful things, and photo (8)she does it all with real eggs.  Ostrich, rhea, emu, peacock, pigeon, quail (and probably more that I forgot about) all make an appearance in her art.  As always, temptation abounds when I visit her.  They’re all so pretty, but I only have so much money!

Fortunately, I narrowed down my list to four pretty quickly, and decided to let fate play a hand in which one I would bring home with me.  This time, the newly hatched Pegasus called my name…and my budget, plus the fire dragon went home with someone else.  The Pegasus is beautiful, and he now holds a place among the other fantastical creatures I’ve acquired from Royal Eggs along the way.

photo (6)

photo (5)However, Yolanda is not the only talented artist to cross my path at the Castle at Muskogee.  This year, I stumbled across someone new, and was immediately entranced by her designs (she’s just a couple of spots down from Royal Eggs).  She makes the most gorgeous and unique hats and jewelry. Lilly B. Haven‘s work pulled me in from the boardwalk to take a closer look.  Her hats, in particular, are just awesome, and I wish that I had some photos to show you.  Each one is a one of a kind piece, and as I was telling my friend, even if you can’t think of a place to wear them, they are works of art.  They would make an amazing addition to any wall they graced.

photo (1)For me, I was drawn to the jewelry with bullets as a design element.  I fell in love with the angel wings surrounding a bullet with stars as an identifier as well as a Winchester Colt 45 in front of a sunburst.  Not only did I find them to be cool as hell, but I thought it was also a nice, mostly subtle, way to show my appreciation for one of my favorite shows, Supernatural.

photo (4)Okay, for those of you who haven’t gotten sucked into this fandom yet, read this.  The ultra short version is that Supernatural follows the Winchester brothers as they hunt the things that make you afraid of the dark (unless you watch Doctor Who, then you know that the reason you’re afraid of the dark is the Vashta Nerada).  A special Colt with demon killing powers features heavily in the first few seasons, so finding a Winchester Colt 45 bullet at the center of a design that caught my attention, just seemed too perfect for words.  Between the angel wings and stars inscribed on the bullet, I had no hope of resisting the pin.

While the designs weren’t inspired by the show, both the ladies in the booth are fans of Supernatural, and loved the fact I made the connection.  By the time I finished talking with the lovely ladies there were hugs all around, and I was cursing my hectic May schedule that wouldn’t allow me to come back and visit the festival another day.

The whole day turned out to be wonderful, with friends, music from favorite pirate groups The Musical Blades and The Jolly Rogers.  Great stories set to music with Alexander James Adams, who plays and sings beautifully.  It wouldn’t be a faire without stopping to listen for a few minutes.  There was so much to see and do that we had to pick our favorites for the day, but, as always, it left us wishing for more time.

Even the one negative from the day, I lost my wallet, turned into a testament to the goodness of people.

A couple of days ago, after a rough start to my week, I got a Facebook message from someone I don’t know saying that she and some friends found my wallet.  They sent it back to me via Certified Mail.  They didn’t even take money for postage out of my cash.  Just in case you were wondering, there really are good people out there. (Yes, they are definitely getting a “thank you” card, and maybe a little something extra for their trouble)

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 

 

 

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How Can I Get A Job Like This?

 

LEGO logo

LEGO logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LEGO Master Builder Steve Gerling has one of the best jobs…like ever.  He builds Lego models for a living.  The tiger at the Bronx zoo is one of his creations. (check out the interview to see even more awesome pictures).  Have I mentioned how much I love Legos?  Hmm?

How would you like this dude’s job?  I really enjoy Legos.  Now, my creations are nothing compared to Steve Gerling’s, but oh, the ideas I have now.  Sign me up!

LegoHelmsDeep

Photo from Huffington Post. 150,000 piece recreation of Helms Deep

Just in case that wasn’t enough to inspire you to get playing, Huffington Post has some fun Lego facts for you.  This is an image from their article…that looks a bit different from the Helms Deep I made…photo (21)

Well, I don’t even know if the big one would fit in…any one room in my house.   It just goes to show “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.” (Eames, Inception)

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. I want to send a “thank you” out to all of my friends and family who send me awesome little tidbits like this one!  You guys are awesome.

 

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Guess Who’s on Time Magazine’s Top 100 List?

There are so many amazing people on this list, but I’m only going to discuss a couple of my favorites.

First, have I mentioned how awesome John Greene is?  Like here and here and here and here and here and here and here?  Well, it turns out I’m not the only one who thinks so.  This month Time magazine named John as one of the top 100 influential people in the world.

In his bio written by Shailene Woodly (she stars in the film adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars, out June 6, 2014), she mentions a few of the awesome things John does, like best-selling author, vlogbrothers YouTube channel, VidCon, but there really is a lot more.  I could write about the reasons I think this guy is cool, for…a long time.  However, I’m going to let you see for yourself…as he talks about other people who should have made this list instead.

Another is Pharrell Williams.  Isn’t that the guy from that video you post incessantly?  Yes, yes he is.  Justin Timberlake wrote his bio and tells the world how Williams made him “fearless” after helping him with his first album.  Then he writes about Pharrell’s own music.

That’s what Pharrell does. He injects that vibrant energy into the music in a way that you can feel. Whether it’s the chord changes that remind you of another time or the melody that instantly grabs you, you are transported to another place. You smile, you dance, you clap along. His music actually does make you happy.  – Justin Timberlake, Time Magazine Top 100 Influential People in the World

I have to say Justin’s got it right.  I adore Pharrell’s music because it really does make me happy.

Malala Yousafzai is another on the list, and she is someone who inspires me to stand for what I believe.  She has amazing courage, heart and dedication.  As an advocate for girls’ education in Pakistan, Malala drew the attention of the Taliban.  Even knowing that her life was in danger, she continued in her cause. In 2012 a man came on to her school bus, asked for her by name shot her in the head at point-blank range.  She was 15.  Yousafzai didn’t let that stop her.  Since her recovery she’s gone on to speak at the United Nations and released a book last year.  At 16 she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Okay, so that’s only three out of 100.  A lot of interesting people made the list this year, and I definitely recommend you take a peek.  I’m still going through the list and all the bios myself, and it just gets more and more interesting.  Most of the people on this list inspire me to be more, to embrace life, to take chances, to do what’s right, and to be mindful of the impact my actions have on others.  I can’t say I like everyone on the list.  Some, I can’t say that I’ve heard of before, but I’ll not forget them now.  Who inspires or influences you?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. There is a distinct possibility of another post coming.  Make sure you look for it…or beware…I’m not sure which.

 

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Kubla Khan Read by Benedict Cumberbatch

I recently posted that Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Kubla Khan is my favorite poem.  Then I found this clip of Benedict Cumberbatch reading it.  Although the cadence and pace are not the same as the way I typically read it, which is really similar to the way my college professors did, the change in pace shifted my focus to words and phrases in another way, emphasizing different imagery and motion, especially in the middle.  Its interesting, I like it.  Have you ever been to a poetry reading?  I think it might be fun.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 

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