Category Archives: Uncategorized

Snippets & Treasures on Memory Lane

I’m preparing to sell my house, which is a moment I’m looking forward to with a great amount of joy…and a bit of sadness. In between bouts of menial labor, I need to sift through all of my worldly possessions. You know, go through the whole keep, donate or trash process. Wow! Let me tell you, I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff. There are a lot of memories tucked away in this house.

abstract black and white blur book

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Among those memories are notebooks. I used to write…a lot, and the notebooks are filled with snippets of stories.  I’ve been reading through those snippets, and a couple of things caught my attention. First, I still like reading my stuff, and I wrote a lot of this years ago. That tells me I’m not half bad. Second, I didn’t finish anything. All of the notebooks are filled with unfinished pieces. None of the notebooks are full. I just kept buying new notebooks, writing a few scenes and moved on. Third, maybe it’s time to finish writing something.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

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Itchy Fingers

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Photo by Sascha Düser on Pexels.com

You know the feeling you get when you’re enthused, inspired, and energized to do something or make something? I call this “itchy fingers”. That’s where I am.  This isn’t an uncommon phenomenon. As a matter of fact, it happens all the time.

Usually, it signals the end of a creative dry spell. Not the case this time, my friends!  No, this is the direct result of attending the 99U Conference in New York City last week. For my first conference of creative professionals, I picked a doozy.  I mean wow.

Please allow me to gush about the location for just a moment, attending an event at the Lincoln Center provides a special kind of inspiration all on its own.  Walking by the building with “The Julliard School” displayed in simple silver metallic lettering made me a little giddy. There’s a secret little dream the I held during the years of piano lessons that I would be a virtuoso to one day grace those halls. Since I was neither dedicated nor talented enough to do more than daydream, this was as close as I’ll ever get.  Alice Tully Hall’s light, airy feel and comfortable theater seating made the perfect setting for the truly wonderful speakers. Layer all this on top of the frenetic energy of New York City, and you have a recipe for something wonderful.

The stunning lineup for this event…I hoped to glean a handful of useful tidbits to take back to energize both my professional and personal work, but I didn’t expect to spend the bulk of my time furiously taking notes. As much as I really want to list all of the inspiring speaking and a nugget of what each one taught me…that would make for a REALLY long blog post.

I will tell you that in two days, I didn’t get bored once…that’s saying a lot for me. Hopefully, I’ll take the energy of May and carry it on into the rest of my year. I’m really glad I got to attend, and now…I’m off to make something!

assorted color artwork equipment set

Photo by Marko Blazevic on Pexels.com

‘Til next time,

Jess


Talking Turkey

My neighborhood has a flock of turkeys.  My. Neighborhood. Has. A. Flock. Of. Turkeys.  This is a sentence I never thought I’d utter, write or even think.  So, turkeys in the middle of the Tulsa Metro, weird, but not that weird.  What if one of them were impaled with an arrow?  An. Arrow.

While I know many hunters, and have enjoyed the bounty of their hard work, I can’t bear to see an animal suffer unnecessarily. However, I have no idea what to do about a turkey shot with an arrow.  Who do you call about a turkey?

Dad.  I called my dad.  Of course, he was no help whatsoever.  His suggestion involved No. 4 birdshot.  I thought maybe it would just die on its own, but I saw the darned thing again…and again.  It didn’t look injured…except for the freaking arrow going through its body.  My conscience (and my mother) wouldn’t let me stop there, so I called my vet.

They’d be happy to treat the turkey…if I caught it.  How do you catch a turkey?  Have you seen a wild turkey?  They’re not cuddly creatures!

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Wild Turkey via Pixabay

So, I called the SPCA.  The gentleman expressed such gratitude I cared about the animal, and he would be happy to give me treatment options…if I caught the turkey.

The wild life refuge rehabilitates and re-homes animals when they’re well. They’d be happy to treat the turkey as well…if I brought it in.

At this point I’m getting a bit excited. Who knows how to catch a turkey?  I don’t!  Does anyone have a suggestion?

“Well, this is a multi-person job,” the helpful refuge personnel informed me.  “I’ve got the numbers for a couple of companies you can pay to help you catch the turkey.”

Pay to…does anyone else realize this is not my turkey?  I just don’t want the animal to suffer needlessly.  Catch a turkey?  What the hell would I do with it when I caught it?  Load the “docile” animal in my Hyundai and trek down to the wildlife refuge?  Are you kidding me?

However, my colleague upon hearing my plight offered an excellent suggestion.  I should lasso the turkey…Lasso. The. Turkey.

Okay, so setting aside the fact this is…a turkey.  What on God’s green Earth makes anyone think I a) am in possession of a LASSO b) would in any way shape or form be able to LASSO A TURKEY?

Fortunately, she was able to demonstrate the lassoing motion…along with a handy gallop. Because apparently, I would be riding a stick pony while wielding my lasso.

Of course, this was not the only suggestion offered up in my quest to capture the…turkey. Calling Channel 2 came up surprisingly often.  Although I’m not sure what a news crew could do.  I suppose that is a multi-person effort.

My mother helpfully suggested shooting the animal with a tranquilizer dart.  Fortunately, I keep the dart gun stored next to my LASSO.  It is so much more convenient than storing them separately.

She also suggested a blow gun…that suggestion came complete with sound effects. Seriously, I’m not even going there.

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Turkey via Pixabay

The placement of the arrow came up several times, but let me be clear.  The only time I’d been in the presence of a whole turkey was at Thanksgiving dinner.  The vantage point was just a little different.  I can be pretty certain the arrow didn’t damage the drumstick though.

 

The fate of the turkey?  I have no idea.  It seemed content to be pecking away in my neighbor’s yard the last time I saw it.  In the end, I hung up the phone and poured a drink. There’s no Wild Turkey in my house, so it was a Jameson’s.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. No, it is not turkey season.  Yes, hunting is illegal within the city limits.  I did get confirmation that a few geese have also been shot with arrows.  The SPCA’s opinion is that this is not hunting for food.  This is target practice and sport.  Just in case you’re a little foggy.  Maiming animals is NOT okay.  In my opinion, hunting for anything other than food is NOT okay.  Don’t be a jackass.

 


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

 

 

 


Budding Photographer

You know what’s fun?  Taking pictures.  I love taking photographs.  My best friend would argue that I already knew this (or at least she did).  I did take a few hundred photos during our trip to Ireland, after all.  However, I’m discovering a big difference between the pictures I took before where I found a great view I wanted to keep, but I didn’t have a few very basic skills to translate that into a good or even a decent photograph.  Usually, it ended in disappointment.  Now, with a little very basic knowledge, I’m turning out much better photos.  More often than not, that cool thing I see actually emerges from my camera the way I imagined it would.

Last week was my first real experience with this.  My current class is Concepts in Photography, and I’m very fortunate in that Full Sail decided that a Sony a6000 should be included as part of our tuition package this year.  One of my first assignment, designed to get us familiar with our cameras, was to take 34 photos showing  different features and concepts.  I promise I won’t bore you with all of them, but I will share a few of my favorites.

I’m new to exploring photographers. My new favorite this week is Trey Ratcliff. You can check out his website Stuck In Customs to see what’s up with the fascination. Do you have any favorite photos or photographers?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 


The Book Is In the Freezer, Folks

I’m reading The Shining for the first time.  Are you a fan of the television show Friends?  You should be.  All kinds of life lessons there.  When a book scares you, the freezer really does work to help you sleep at night.  Thanks, Joey!

This is all in preparation for Stephen King’s visit to Tulsa.  See we’re getting a bookstore downtown in the Brady district, and it is kind of a big deal.  Magic City Books doesn’t even open until sometime next year, and I’m already excited. It would mean that I can go downtown for the First Friday Art Crawl, grab some dinner, check out some art, buy some books, enjoy a cocktail….oh yeah, it will be fun.  I need to make this happen, people.

Oh yeah!  The point is Mr. King is coming to Cain’s Ballroom (also in the Brady district) for an event, and I’m going.  However, I’m a scaredy cat and I’ve never read a single novel he’s written.  I’ve started several, but then I start thinking about the “what if” scenarios and then I start with the dreaming crazy things(this is all pretty impressive…some might say ridiculous, because really, I’ve scared myself before the book even gets remotely frightening)…this is where Joey’s freezer method will come in handy.  I’d forgotten about this until a couple of my friends (and Netflix) reminded me.

Some books require daytime reading…this includes all of Stephen Kings novels.  On Writing is fine to read at night though, that’s his memoir, not scary at all.

‘Til next time,
Jessica

P.S.

Man, I didn’t even read The Shining tonight, I just started thinking about it, and it wasn’t actually in the freezer yet.  I’m not at any of the scary parts yet, but then I started thinking about how they just moved into The Overlook.  I’ve seen the movie, people.  I know what’s coming!  It’s 11:00pm, and my stomach is all in knots and my heart is racing just thinking about REDRUM!  Now the book really is going in the freezer!

 

 


Spring is Here!

 

Ladies and gentleman, I have officially survived the first six months of my degree program.  Hooray for me! No seriously, some days survival was the only thing on my mind…well that and why technology hated me.  I can’t say I’ve loved every minute of it, because there were a couple of hours in there where I seriously doubted my ability to hold on to a full-time banking position, my GPA, my family and friends, and my sanity all at once.  However, those moments passed pretty quickly.  For the most part, I’ve loved it.  I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned in half a year.

The really fun part is watching those skills progress from clumsy attempts to well-conceived designs I’m proud to show off.  The best part is that most of the work I do for school doesn’t feel like work at all.  I get to spend my lunch hours, evenings, and weekends drawing and creating fun stuff.  Let’s face it, I would do that during a good portion of my time anyway.

For my family and friends who wonder where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing…here you go.

One project I had a couple of months ago was to choose three animals, and create sketches and final drawings in three poses that could be used as part of a logo for a company.  The final drawings needed to be done in black ink, and should be easily simplified.  Now, keep in mind this is still early on in the program, so my drawing skills are improving the more I use them (there’s some saying about perfection and practice, but I’m not trotting out cliches here).

I learned a lot from this exercise.  First, I’m better at this drawing thing than I thought.  Second, I’m not as good as I’d like. Third, I like elephants more than I realized.  There’s other stuff too, but those really stand out.

Yeah, elephants are super cool. So awesome I just kept drawing them when I finished the stuff for class.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. I’ll be posting more of my work here, but if you can also check it out on Behance. You can find my work as well as other really amazing designers and artists there.


A Year of Bravery

NewYearsWish2012‘Til next time,

Jessica


A Year of Kindness, Forgiveness and MakingYour Time Count

NewYearsWish2014_Page_1‘Til next time,

Jessica


2016 New Year’s Resolutions

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New Year’s Resolutions

2016 Edition

  1. Run a 5K…I still want to do it.  What do you think will help?  A running partner?  Some outside accountability?
  2. Payoff/Down debt because student loans are coming…best get the rest out of the way first.  I have a plan, I just haven’t been following it.  Time to cut the BS and do it, already!
  3. Make art for fun, not just for class!  With the graphic design program, the wonderful pleasure of drawing as a requirement for class is a regular thing.  While it never feels like work, I don’t ONLY want to draw/paint/design as work. Creation for it’s own sake is why I love it so much, and I don’t want to lose it.  Taking time every week to spend time making…stuff.
  4. Music…I still miss music.  Last year, I didn’t even come close to succeeding in my resolution to put music back in my life.  I’m going to play once a week for at least 15 minutes.  My guitar is fixed, so I have no more excuses.
  5. Don’t forget the fun!  Between a full-time job and a full-time class schedule, I can easily become engulfed in work. Taking time for myself, at least once a month, whether that’s a pedicure, a concert, a ballgame, or an evening out with my family and friends.  Staying connected to the people and things in my life who make it amazing, inspire me, and remind me why I started on this path in the first place.
  6. Spruce up the house!  Growing up in a military family, I tend to get an itch every couple of years. I either need to move or I do a bit of remodeling.  This year, I’ll just do a bit of painting and a few minor projects rather than a big remodeling project.  Still, it will scratch the itch.  Also, I have about a million little projects around the house that need to be done.
  7. Be brave, bold and less afraid.  I made a decent start on this in the second half of last year (and I have to tell you, it feels amazing), but it is time for more.  Decisions based on fear didn’t get me where I wanted to go, so it is time to do things differently.

Okay, so it took me a couple of days to get my resolutions together.  I started thinking about them a while ago, but I had all this big stuff on my resolution list.  I didn’t want to see 2016 go out with a whimper when I didn’t achieve much of what I set out to do.  I started on a lot of big stuff in 2015, and it means the next couple of years are going to be…well, busy doesn’t quite seem to cover it.

Thanks to the big goals I started  on last year, I went with fewer resolutions this year because life is crazy busy right now.  These are realistic goals I can accomplish.  They’re things I know I need to do, but I tend to forget about when the to-do list gets really long.  I’m not trying to make any crazy big changes in my life this year (except for maybe the 5k, but I REALLY want to!)  I’m making 2016 about quality of life.  Work and school always go better when I take time to take care of myself, actually life just goes better when I take care of myself. Funny how that happens.

Do you set any resolutions? What kinds of things are on your list?

Happy New Year!

‘Til next time,

Jessica