I loves me some mental health days, but summertime is not exactly replete with them in our household. Not for the parental-type people, anyhow. No, our days are filled with grown-uppy things to do, like going to work and making charts about our non-existent mental health days.
Hey, here's one of those now!
As you can clearly see from the graph, our summer months run decidedly in the negative when it comes to free time, and yet my need for Just. One. Me. Day... It's usually close to DEFCON 1 by the end of July. And I have a sneaking suspicion I know why.
I'm blaming this guy.
(Remember when I said I wouldn't post pictures of my son in goofy hats anymore? Yeah, I lied.)
Sure, he looks sweet and innocent, but it's all a ruse! A filmflam! A con!
Okay, it's not. He is in fact an exceptionally well-behaved kid. And I'm not just saying that as his mother, but also as the Denier of All Things Good & Fun for Unruly, Recalcitrant Children. Very seldom in his 11 years have I ever had to wield my superhero-like authority over him. But as a mom who works from home, I can attest that even the most cooperative child can morph into the Annoying Orange on bath salts when you are on a deadline.
And all the rest of the time, too.
See, I'm not someone who can function with a lot of noise or distractions, and considering that all of my work takes place on a piece of equipment that can instantly connect me to more funny cat videos than I could watch in an entire lifetime just at the click of a button, well, the odds for me ever completing a single task are already nigh on insurmountable. And to throw in a kid who constantly needs things like "food" to "survive"?
Good Lord, I'm only human!
Yesterday, my son and I had a little talk about all his incessant neediness:
Him: "Mom, I'm hungry."
Me: "So, go eat."
Him: "There's no food."
Me: "So, go get some."
Him: "But I'm only 11."
Him: "So, I can't drive, remember?"
Me: "Aw, there's nothing to it. You'll be fine. If we lived on a farm, you'd be driving a tractor by now, you know."
Him: "But don't you remember what happened to Uncle Eric's tent?"
Me: "Well, it was his own fault for putting a 7-year-old on a riding lawnmower!"
Me: "But you're 11 now. I'm sure you'll have much more control. Besides, there aren't that many tents on the roads."
Ugh! Nails on a chalkboard, amiright?
Well, as it happens, my husband's aunt graciously offered to let my son tag along with her this week for some fun adventures, which worked out well for all of us. They had fun together, and I got some much needed quiet time to work on my latest digital painting, aptly titled "Tranquility."
I even made another time-lapse video of the process just for you...(tube).
Ah, I can feel the threat level downgrading already.
I identify most of my work as "digital paintings," and I never gave a thought to the term's ubiquity (or lack thereof.) I figured everyone knew what I was talking about when I said I make my paintings on the computer. But you might be surprised, as I was, to learn that not everyone is entirely fluent in the latest raster graphics street lingo. A shocking number of my acquaintances thought that Photoshop (get this) was used for editing photographs!
I have been asked by a number of these cave-dwelling chuckleheads (a.k.a. "my friends") what I mean by "digital painting" and how "it" is done. And though I am the first to admit that I am by no means a master of the art, I have at least gleaned enough from my time in the field that I feel I can adequately address these tough questions:
Digital painting is an art form that utilizes one or more image editing programs (i.e. Photoshop, Corel, Gimp, MS Paint, etc.) on an internet machine (a.k.a. "computer") to create a finished piece that resembles something that artists of traditional mediums sometimes call "a picture".
Let me know if I'm going too fast for you.
No, seriously, it's just that easy. I start with a blank virtual canvas on my computator, choose brushes and colors, and with my mouse or (rarely) my Wacom tablet, I arrange a whole lot of little colored pixel-type things in (hopefully) an aesthetically pleasing configuration that makes people want to willingly and gleefully part with their hard earned Benjamins. (Or at least the nice crisp Abrahams they got in their birthday card from Nana.)
And that's it. No icky mess to clean up, no pesky original to sell for millions. Just a beautiful bunch of ones and zeroes in computer gobble-de-gook and a numb posterior to show for my time.
So, how does that translate in visual parlance, you ask? Here is a time-lapse example of my latest binary marvel, "White Owl," a digital speed painting I created for a one-hour art challenge I will be hosting starting July 5th on Fine Art America:
Notice the conspicuous lack of actual paint in my digital paintings. Call me a maverick, but I found they tended to gum up the works.
One final note: some people call photographs with applied "painterly effects" or "filters" that mimic the look and feel of traditional methods "digital paintings". But those people are wrong and they should feel bad about themselves.
I kid. I kid.
But seriously, they're terrible, horrible people.