Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

I decided this year to make a Christmas card. And as you can see... it is based off of the previous image I created. I just like the idea, the font, colors, and mood. I of course decided to add a bright star, but wasn't sure what else I would add. I just wanted to keep it simple.

So, Happy Holidays. And Merry Christmas!

If anyone would like help me decide which star position they like... :)

Remember Who you are

So, a While ago now... I think back in 2011 or 2012 I made this. It was sort of inspired by another image I saw combined with the awesome font I used.

And it touched on the idea that when we forget who we are... Children of a loving Heavenly Father... we can fall down dark paths and be lost, or worse meet our death. I had had some dark passages I passed through, so this was a heartfelt and sincere statement I created.

Anyway, Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Life continues

I guess I could say I have been in a digital cave or sorts huh?
Or a small blue foam built office in the garage. :P

What has happened and what has not happened over the last several months... too much to say here.
I can however show a few "projects" I have been doing and some WIP's I have. BE PREPARED for a long post folks!!!

 This year I had this great ambition to build my own studio. It was about March that I got really into the idea and a friend of mine suggested that I not purchase a prebuilt... because they were like 5K for a 12x16! And the ceiling was still quite low... 6 or 7ft ceilings for an artist using an easel is a really bad idea. And he suggested that he could do it for 2K roughly. I also had another friend who was willing to front the 2K! Unfortunately, my friend to help me build.... he got really busy and as far as the project goes... he fell off the map. :( In the meantime I was supposed to get a materials list and figure it out (really? me?) and then get back to him. Eventually I just jumped into Google Sketchup and started designing away. Initially I wanted a 14x14 because they fall under the 200sq ft max size for the city/county to sidestep the need for legal permits etc... that crazy stuff is crazy. I decided in the end though to go with a 16x16 size to maximize on materials which are 4x8 generally. And then adding in the idea for a scissor truss to get a higher ceiling... I was on my way. I already had 3 windows and a door. And with the 2K I eventually got, I thought I was on my way. I even wanted it to be a design that could be split into two and placed on a trailer... which also added the option to add more segments in between. The image shows the rest of the idea. Needless to say..... FOREVER passed. And things changed DRASTICALLY.
Moving on.

 See those cute kids? Nadia planned a trip to see her folks in Missouri. While there, family got reacquainted, and our suburban nearly died! It was all on a wing and a prayer from the start. Still, the kids got to do some Hand Prints in concrete for grandma and grandpa :) Yay! After many attempts to convince us to move out there.... we headed home. And more wings and prayers... we miraculously made it home. Approximately 22 hours straight driving there... and again back. I was insane. Questionable suburban, 5 kids.... you do the math ;)

 Some fun between or around then. Papa Murphy's pizza has saved many a meal for my wife! And the pizza is amazingly good! :) On this memorable occasion, I think it tried to come to life... or explode. Epic large bubble!!!! It tasted very good. :)

 I guess near the first of September... I actually got sick and tired of waiting. I found the stakes I had put in that spring in April I think, and figured where the studio would go. 14x14 and 16x16. The weed-wacker was out of commission, so I used my shovel.... yes, a shovel, and DICED the weeds down. Insane? Sure. But that killed everything but the grass that magically popped up after!!!!! I was happy to see grass. Who knew?

 Ah. A cat. Yes, this is our kitty. Our landlord is not happy... but somewhere before when we asked, he didn't' have any trouble. Now, since we had new carpet put in this spring (yes, a whole bunch of HUGE  information/events/life I have skipped...Sorry) he was not too keen to the idea. Everyone will be happy to know that the kitty immediately and magically knew how to use the litter box in the bathroom. Now... if we could just figure out how to get her to stop barfing and gassing us to death! We named her Stardust though. Siamese as far as we can tell, but with grey stripes here and there. Beautiful cat. Full name though is Gasious Barfolemew Stardust. It adds up. Nadia noticed that the cat eased my stress A LOT. Well, until the Stardust barfed on our bed..... It became 50/50 after that. And technically we got her as a birthday combo for Elizabeth and Ashley. So far, Ashley has the highest score for scratches on her. And she doesn't learn either. Sigh. We like our little Stardust though. It has been good to get the kids to keep our food cleaned up more and the responsibilities... though the barfing might be connected to that very learning process taking time. :( Not sure.

 Ah yes. I assisted my birth-mother Desiree on this one. An 18x24 portrait of Mary she was commissioned to do. However, the deadline was looming... and faces, well, she needed more experience and time. So she asked for help. All I can say, is I had 24 hours... and I basically repainted most of it. And... Acrylic! YUCK! Oil next time please. But that takes time to dry. Still, it worked out, and the client was happy as was my mother :)

 Now this is interesting isn't it? The same day I painted the portrait (Sunday) these showed up on a trailer. A good friend of mine and I had a miscommunication/misunderstanding. He understood that I wanted to try to build my Studio out of Pallets!!! Um, No. He and Nadia thought it was a good idea, because well, traditional means and materials appeared to cost over 3K!!! So (for $250 he had me pay him) I ended up with approx 180 pallets of 'varying types/sizes'. Although, about 80 were 36x44, and about 70 were 36x40 and all in pretty good shape! Thus, as I was in a bind (and I was in painting mode), and it was 6 months of frustration to get to this build... if it ever happened, I paid my friend and stewed for a bit. Also by that point my other friend had offered me all the money to build (which unfortunately by that time it had solved more deficiencies we had with bills than with the project... much sadness and frustration). Still as you can see I had also purchased 2x4's and 2x6's ready to attempt.... something.

 What I decided to do was use the pallets dimensions to get final design and dimensions of the studio.

 Here we have two designs for the pallet studio. One is 17'10' wide and the other... hm, not sure. But each was 7'10" deep :) And AGAIN... I designed from scratch in google sketchup. But this time in less than a week, because I had actually learned a lot about how to use it by that time. Well, for this kind of structure. At least I knew dimensions, angles, and "MATERIALS" right?

 And here we see the angle shot. I decided to do the wider design, but with the floor of the shorter one. Its pretty much the craziest and weirdest idea I think I have had. I had a lot of support to do it... no shortage there. But it has been the HUGEST challenge of self confidence. And then the Landlord called one day to ask about my special little pile of pallets ( he OK'd me Building one - I made sure to get permission!!!)...and he was unhappy, but as I explained that I was using those to build my studio... he just "expressed" that I make sure not to make it look "trashy". Thanks Landlord. :(

 During and before that point I need to inject this little project. I had a few pallets from last year. Nadia had decided to start an Etsy store called "Revivd" where she was going to sell rugs she was making by recycling old shirts. Really awesome! We thought maybe I could make these pallet shelves like she saw on Pinterest and sell them. These specific ones I made though to help her store books and stuff she had. Sigh... though, they have yet to find a place on the wall. :(
 Various stains were fun. Oak, Red Mahogany, American, Cherrywood, and offscreen some Whitewashed ones too. :)

 Back to work on Pallets. Here you can see the 4x4 corners and the 8 parts (3 pallets 2 2x4's) that are for the shorter walls.
 This is of course the floor using 15 pallets and 8 2x6x10's. this allowed for a small porch on the front. The second half will only need 2x6x8's.
 Yay! Finished!!! I wasn't able to afford Skids like I wanted to... 18 foot 4x4 or 4x6 are hard to find and REALLY expensive sadly. :( I had pallets to set under it... and had it squared and level!!! Wahoo!
 And here we see a short/side wall propped up and the long wall laying on the floor.
 And with some help from a few friends (David and Karen THANK YOU!!!!) we had them up and screwed in! This was about mid October.

 Supports were left because this was only one half. How I am going to maneuver the square footage going over 200? No idea. Still, it is built to be able to sit on a trailer... and go with me wherever I live! Main point there.

 And this is same day later... What cute kids!!! Oh, and look at those shelves over there. Hm..... :P

 I don't have the photo here, but we had purchased a new table last year from DI.. and it had two leaves, and was big enough for all 7 of us... and more. In fact, with both leaves it doesn't fit. LOL. THIS however, is the old one. And I decided to sand it, and stain it Red Mahogany. Because I wanted to. And it looks AWESOME! and it sits without its leaf right there under plastic collecting until I get the studio done. Sigh... :( I put a gel stain over the leaf one day though... and TOTALLY botched it. :( :( :( So, no poly on the main circle yet. It collects a lot of stuff where it is at though. Nothing like a project kitchen right? Someday I will finish those cabinet doors too right?

 Now for some art. How odd. LOL. This is a camera shot on my monitor oddly enough. I am currently redrawing the lines cleaner... and then I will repaint it with that color scheme perhaps. Either way, I did this last year and have been reworking it recently. A friend of mine who plays Destiny on XBOX One inspired me to draw more and I thought this guy looked sort of like characters in that game. Initially it was inspired by Feng Zhu's design cinema I keep track of on Youtube and it is an awesome resource for learning, inspiration, and fun! :)

 This is an actual sketch I did while my friend played Destiny. The Golgoroth boss from my point of view. I took artistic liscense of course. All straight blue BIC pen on 9x12 Pentalic sketchbook paper.

 Next we see an oil painting I did while at an expo my wife and a friend invited me to... nothing sold, but I painted. All from imagination. It was cold, so the bottom hasn't been finished much more than that. Still, a good practice and I got to show off a bunch of my best work.

 Yes... I know. Its not rotated. Sorry :(. Blue pencil and another day visiting my friend while he played Destiny. :) He actually got me to do more sketching and drawing... I had become seriously "detached" from traditional work. Very sad... so these guys were very very good. :) Now to take them into Photoshop and paint them :)

 What a crazy kitty :)

 AHA!!! Roof has started. 2x6x10's and the 36x44 pallets. November 6th. I am beginning to panic... and I can't do this part myself :( Thanks to my help :) David.

 I might note here.... we had to move the whole thing 2.5feet to the right. Notice that powerline? SERIOUSLY?!!! anyway, I wanted to make sure my studio wasn't underneath those lines. And also to friends who let me borrow their ladder. MUCH needed.

 My, my. A door opening? And a door. A friend gave me the door in exchange for an old project he needed to still pay for. No frame or hinges though :( He has since gotten me some hinges though. :)
And might I add a note... by this time I am both in much better physical shape from lifting and working with pallets over a month and a half, having lost wieght and most of my growing gut... AND, I am experiencing more severe back pain, numbness, and constant burning. Joy. It affects my attitude some days for sure. Aleve. Stretch. Relax. Repeat. New back please. 

 Downtimes... Nadia started to make these little papercraft figures for herself and the kids. And watching them I thought that it would be fun. So I found an Optimus Prime version. MAJOR JUMP in complexity and also in SIZE. I mean really... that is just his head, and it took 3 pages! Really fun and a good learning experience.

 Oh, I love this one. I haven't done more on this because I want a good scan of it in this stage. but really it has all it needs to be a painting. Still I would like to make it a more presentable blue pen sketch. More of my Sun, Moon, Stars, Earth symbolism on ruins/walls in a nature landscape. I often do them in church on Sundays when I am just sitting there. Not as often as I used to... 5 kids and calling as Sunday School Secretary takes most of my time.

 Optimus has a torso!!! yay. l4 pages of cardstock though... Yikes! I have almost completed the arms now however, but they and the sword were 21 pages! Finished he is over 24 inches LOL.

 November 21... new fridge. That week our fridge just suddenly stopped working. We pulled it out, looked underneath.. cleaned out dust bunnies and called our landlord. We kind of upset him with our timing.... but that wasn't our intent... He just has that responsibility, and isn't' always with the program. The old one did start back up, but wouldn't cool down below 40 on the highest setting... and the last time it was serviced was in 2000. Regardless, we got a new fridge the next day! YAY!!! but 3" narrower... bummer. I do like the rounded corners though... and new, and working. Yup, good.

 November 21st! Second half of roof on!!! Or is that the 2/4th? LOL. I had another friend give me the tarp you see which only sort of helped. Snow is on the ground. Yessir. CRAP. But roof up. Say... does it look like a glorified Nativity Stable from the other side to you? Maybe I should sell it for a couple grand for that purpose? LOL.
 Other side.

 And from the North side outside of the fenced yard. It is just 6 feet or so from the fence to the east of the yard. Again, I asked WAY ahead of time for permission to do that. Now to just make sure it doesn't look trashy. Do pallets = trashy? NOTICE however that there is 4x8 OSB on the roof now. Just 5 7/16 sheets $53. sigh.... anyway, I placed the door to see how that would look as well. :)

 And from the front.

 But wait!!! it needs to be weatherized at least a little right? Can't put anything inside unless it has something. Tarp went on roof at this point. 4 pm I and Nadia went to Walmart and got 10'x25' black 4mil plastic. Two bags fit PERFECTLY around the whole thing with a few inches to spare. Using 1x2 blocks to screw down and hold it in place... and baboom... A big black shack. And I finished around Midnight? Why am I doing this again?

 And from the other side. I would like to note that I have a good portion of the wiring for lights in now. Thanks to the help of one of my good friends. AND... I have decided to move the door opening to the right.. with two of the windows center and left next to each other. That way seems to make more sense. Bigger north light. Still needs about $200+ to get the other half up to this level.... sigh. And when I get it... it all goes to bills as is expected right? ON an amazing note, I didn't' mention this, but the friend who gave me the tarp..... also gave me enough metal roofing to do the whole roof!!!!! Someday I'll be doing a family portrait for him... Because the whole purpose of this is in part to have room enough to do traditional art. (I'm in a small blue foam box in the garage right now... like being packed into a 8x12 storage room- Desk, Chair, visitor chair for Nadia/others, and barely room to get in and out) The other reason for this building is to have something I actually OWN and can move with me (hopefully right?). And then the fact that working from long distances has not worked well... family circumstances involved, and I have always wanted to work close to or in the home. Why pay another $1200-$12000 a year for space? Oh yeah, because I can't afford to.

 No Shave November... and Shannon turns 7!!!!!!! My little girl is growing up :( Sniff.

 Well, what do we have here? Why this is the half dead dresser that was in the little girls room. One of the top three drawers was missing. and two drawers had bottoms broken out and were sitting on the top anyway! It was wide enough that it only fit in awkward spaces. Our house we rent is fair on space... but it has some cramped spaces. This photo was after I had taken it completely apart and sanded it. You will notice though that the beveled edges of the bottom drawers weren't sanded though... and they have the original finish.

 The idea was simple, and had many benefits to actually pulling off! Make a bench out of the dresser to put in front of the flimsy banister by the stairs at the front door. One which all of the shoes could go into. One which would allow EXTRA seating. And allow Nadia to use the shelves that were currently at the banister over with the school books and stuff. No more baskets of shoes and boxes of other stuff on top balancing precariously, and coloring books, shoes, and STUFF all over right in front of the door!!!! (tears of joy)

 Now we see that I have cut the top down but allowing the sides to keep the back they had before. I used the pieces that divided the top 3 drawers on the left and right of the back, while I used an extra piece of wood I had from old shelving on the main section of the back. Clips are gluing a part I had split a little :( It all worked out in the end.

 Don't forget to condition the wood for even staining! It helps because then the stain doesn't get soaked up so much. However, I really love the white wood preconditioned.

 Add Red Mahogany Miwax stain! By the way, I have placed an adhesive sheet of plastic down on the floor. No linoleum was harmed in the staining of this project. 

 And Viola!!!! A little silver paint to the hardware, some redesigning of where screws go in, some dowels to affix the top bar to the back.... and an amazing little bench from an old half dead dresser :)
I had to build a middle support from the center divider early on by the way... so it has all the strength to support that it needs. I did however, poorly measure the distance of the seat on top of the drawers...  BIG OOPS! I had to literally carve into the supports below the bench seat piece to allow the drawers to go in and slide. Minor annoyance and a good learning experience. I then applied the pressed board to the lower back that the dresser came with after I cut it down a bit to size. Finally all I had at that point was some crystal clear spray to coat the seat and back. I wish I had used Minwax's polyshade to stain this instead... but we got the regular stain instead. It has some scars, and a few gaps here and there, but as a first "Revivd" piece of furniture... I am very pleased. Mostly to "unhijack" the kitchen... I felt so bad. I had it in my head I could do all of this in a day or two. LOL A week later!!!! It still needs a foam cushion and some fabric, but for now we have an extra body pillow wrapped in a red blanket... and it fits PERFECTLY where I put it. No more clutter, More seating, More shelving for my wife, New better dressers for my girls, And less stuff/dressers sitting in the garage taking up space! Win, win, win, win, win, win. 

Now everyone says I need to make them and sell them for $3-500! I do have another dresser sitting in the garage I got half dead... hm... And I have all that hardware and several other dresser parts to make another one of these potentially! Perhaps. But NOT in the kitchen again. So, back to getting the studio put together... even if it ends up being a shed to work on projects like this one right? 

WELL.... that was an adventure. Again, I skipped A LOT of stuff. Nearly a whole year of miracles, disasters, losses, fears, perseverance, discovery, health, sickness.... and LIFE. Oh... and I've started to teach art to young kids. More to come on that too. The student becomes the teacher... I need to put an actual curriculum together. 

Happy Holidays everyone!