Monday, August 18, 2014

A lesson in neuropsychology

It's not always fun and games around here, you know; sometimes, you have to learn something. Oh, who am I kidding: learning IS fun and games and it's the best part of being alive! I have to read about at least one new thing a day (and why I keep trying to pick up new hobbies like some people pick up stray beats picking up bad habits).

So, today, I'm going to share a couple of interesting links with you. And I'm compelled to do it because people harbor false "facts," e.g. humans only use 10% of their brains (WRONG!).
Another myth that gets perpetuated is one about a person being either left-brain/right brain. So, if you're one of those who believe this, head over to NeuroLogica's blog and read why it's not true.

I guess part of the problem is that our brains aren't very reliable.

For a fun course about memory, what it is (and it's not a single, specific thing), what our misconceptions are about it, and how to improve it, I highly recommend The Great Course's series, "Memory and the Human Lifespan."

Okay, that's the lesson for the day; now go and have a great week! :)

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, August 11, 2014

July's Doodle Day

I have good intentions to doodle daily, especially since Alison Hertz's Doodle Day group on Facebook is such a fun place to hang out. But, most months, I don't get around to sketching regularly. *hanging head in shame*
July's prompts were all about animals, which is a favorite topic of mine, so I made an effort to play along. Here are my quick (most of them taking 5 to 10 minutes) drawings.

I started out with graphite...
dog - large breed

 But then, I noticed my box of charcoals...and remembered how in love I was with them once upon a time. And you know what, I'm still in love with them.

dog - small breed
cat - long-haired
cat - short-haired
fish - moray eel; I hope I put that song in your head!
squirrel - flying (a.k.a. Super Squirrel)
when I got too busy, I combined the next two topics: deer and rabbit
Right after that last piece, I bought the Art Studio app for the iPad on Sylvia Liu's recommendation. I've never done digital art before, so took the opportunity to play with it, doing quick gestural sketches:
another mash-up from not having enough time - snake and chipmunk
I cheated on July 13, and used this panda I did back in 1988
I didn't do a new doodle for July 14th either, but substituted this kakapo pastel piece for the "parrot" theme
Compared to the more traditional pieces like the two previous ones, my digital drawings are "quick and dirty" but I think they convey a lot anyway.

l'éléphant dansant
Which inspired a little limerick:

There once was a young dandy elephant
Who fancied himself trés suave and elegant.
’Til one day, by chance
He was invited to a dance,
And found he was quite out of his element.

giraffes are weird, weird looking beasts and their spots are a pain to draw

I tried combing two prompts, giraffe and octopus, but I wasn't pleased with the octopus, so I tried my hand at a seahorse (next)

the theme of the day was aquarium animal
in honor of the first moon landing of July 20, 1969

have never drawn a griffin before; may never draw another again
chimera - some depict it with a lion and goat head and a serpent on the tail, but I prefer the equal footing creation with all three heads on the shoulders
For the owl prompt, I did a sketch of a Barn Owl cocking its head...
but I really didn't like it, so I drew a second one, which I liked slightly better even though it's creepier:
Barn Owl, take 2
jaguar, reaching for something...
comedian in training
also a funny guy
I need to fix the shadow on this; makes him look like he's floating
a little coquettish, no?
third time cheating this month: for the theme of mouse today, I used this sketch I did back in the mid 1990s
baby chameleon
Hope you've enjoyed this art post today as much as I enjoyed participating in Alison Hertz's July Doodle Day!

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, August 04, 2014

My Favorite Scene - You Want Proof? I'll Give You Proof!

Slacker and flake that I am, I still haven't bought a microphone yet, so I hope I spoke loudly enough to be audible this time.

The book I featured today is You Want Proof? I'll Give You Proof! by Sidney Harris. It is such a hilarious book that even re-reading the one page that I show you in the video was enough to make me giggle. See if you can tell that I'm suppressing laughter during the clip. :)
Have you read any of Mr. Harris's cartoons in The New Yorker?

----edited to add----
Since it was hard to see the cartoon in the video, I'm putting the image below:

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, July 28, 2014

Handmade Beauty Box and a garden update

Yes, I used to make soaps: sushi soaps (+ pickled ginger and wasabi soaps) circa 2008
A number of years ago, I used to make novelty soaps, so I was reading the Soap Queen blog religiously. But, then, I had to make time to focus on writing, and stopped soaping, though I made some good friends in that community.

One of those wonderful friends is Michelle (Within the Hive) whose post about Soap Queen/Bramble Berry's newest venture, Handmade Beauty Box: DIY Delivered, I saw on Facebook.

Handmade Beauty Box: DIY Delivered is a brilliant idea that I've been waiting for. I love trying out craft projects with kits and wished there were kits for making my own skincare and beauty products. They must have read my mind. :)

Anyway, Soap Queen held a giveaway contest asking for suggestions on what people would like to see in these kits, as well as to vote for a new logo, and I was one of two lucky ducks to win a three month subscription!

The first kit will be shipped in December and I can't wait! I'll post about the packages and also my results (hopefully, I won't embarrass myself too much), so be sure to check in and you can laugh (with me, not at me, right?) at my attempts. In the meantime, go check out Handmade Beauty Box at Facebook, Twitter, Intagram, and Pinterest to see if it might be something you would like to do!

* * *
It's the end of July (ACK!!) and time to start preparing for the fall garden. Here are a few fall crops that hubby planted.
from front to back: gai lan, rutabaga, and kohlrabi
Chinese cabbage
malabar spinach - a first for us
There is plenty to harvest now though.
4 different kinds of basil: sweet, Genovese, Thai, and lime
about 80 heads of garlic
ginormous onions
harvested yellow onions; red and storage onions to come
 And look what else is growing in our garden...
3 little Song Sparrow eggs
How's your summer harvest? Do you plant fall crops?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Monday, July 21, 2014

About face(s)

I was PMing with Erik Thurman, my agent-mate, about art and I mentioned that my favorite subject was portraiture. I told him I'd share some of my previous work, and here they are.
rough charcoal sketch
pastel piece of hubby's grandmother as a young lady
charcoal of myself in my 30s
watercolor of my friend's two daughters
conte crayon exercise to capture the planes of a face (she sat across from me in the class)
 And then there are rough sketches of portraits I never completed...
a friend and her husband on their wedding day (from 15 years ago)
my MIL and her second grandson; I started this when she was still alive and probably will never finish it
So how does one get good at portraiture? Studying the skull is one of the ways to improve.

Sometimes, it helps to get a feel for the 3D-ness of the head by trying to sculpt it.
my first roma plastilina bust in a class taught by J.P. Darriau
side view of above bust (just wanted to add that the model was very good looking and actually had hair, which we weren't supposed to convey)
I love doing portraits, but I do think that it's one of the hardest things to get right because it's difficult to render a likeness of the individual. You can draw an apple to make it look like an apple though it doesn't have to look like a specific apple, but if you're doing someone's portrait, you can't just draw a face to look like any old face; it has to look like that person who commissioned you.

Don't let that deter you though. The best way to get good at it is to practice...a lot! :)

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams