Seeing Success Through One Lens

16 x 20 Acrylic wash on canvas. K. Cameron

Seeing Success Through One lens

Last  night for an undisclosed reason I woke up 2:30 am. I went back to bed at 5:30 am only to remain in a REM-less sleep. You know the sleep that is not sleep. The one where for all intents and purposes you are awake. In fact I’m still in that state as I write this post. The lyrical description “Day Sleeper” aptly applies.

To pass the time between 2:30 and  5:30 I decided to spend it with my old friend Jack Daniels,er no  ..my old friend Google, who would help me search out and find other accounts of misery. Misery loves company.

The room was quiet and a bit cold. Outside it was -8 degrees Celscius (0 is freezing btw). A small electric heater clicking on and off in a creaky old house with the occasional sound of snow moving on the roof was all that was to be heard.

I felt alone.

I read blogs and stories about people who were going through a tough time in their lives. Most of them could have been bettered by just a small windfall of monies to give them hope. For example, one guy had been unemployed for over 8 years.

They all had one thing in common,these personal stories.  Success is and was defined as one’s failure to overcome a problem in their lives. Money was really at the crux of most of those problems. Job loss lead to divorce, loss of dignity, etc. One lady wrote as if this would be the note they found after her demise.  Sad. She mentioned how much she loved her 7 year old son’s smile but since everything in her life was chaos there wasn’t much point in going on. I can only hope her comment was more of a melodramatic plea but one never knows.

I think this all comes about because, especially in the West, we see life through one lens. We have created a so-called civilization that gauges all of our success/well-being on what we possess or our possess-potential. Once this substructure of thought is wrenched from our psyche we consider the most awful, despicable actions to ourselves or our neighbors.

We suppose we have nothing left to stand on.

We even consider leaving those that we love because in our minds we create their minds lens for success. We don’t even know for sure what the they think of us or that the they even give us any thought at all.

True, sometimes we do know what they think. Usually a dear relative will inform us of our delinquencies and failures as if the very proclamation of them would some how create an answer! Usually their soapbox sermons include a damning list of past and vast failures. This gives us another angle on the saying, ” Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” In another words, your enemies may be less hard on your mental health than your friends/family.

What to do?

Snap out of it. My idea is tell myself whatever I need to in order to change my thought. If you know me you would know I never swear. In this case though a firm audible/ inaudible “ta hell with it!” might really help. Seriously but move on from there.

Find the ‘7 year old son’  reason to live another day.

I think the smile of a seven year old boy ( or girl) is worth something. It was for Leonardo Davinci! He’s gone but the Mona Lisa’s smile lives on.

Sure, sure…Maybe it doesn’t give you the money to buy him/her an ice cream or a trip to Disney Whirl but who cares!  In a way it’s not all your fault. Society plays a part. If we could lift ourselves even temporarily away from social expectations and see that people lived on this planet for centuries without this thing or that we might see the great crime committed when we even consider doing ourselves in.

I know. Depression is not so simple all the time. It’s a mental illness. However living our lives as if dancing on the edge of failure all the time is indeed to invite depression-disaster.

I think this is where art comes in.

This is my problem when we think about art and money as the same thing i.e. in the same category.

An artist can indeed, be successful without making a dime from their art. The point of art is to get us to see things differently or for how they really are. Being a financially successful artist is no gauge of how successful our art is.

So I say keep trying to sell your art. Sure thing. Although it’s not a measure of how successful you are as an artist or a person. No way!

So with these thoughts I leave you as the guitar strums me out.

All talk of circadian rhythm
I see today with a newsprint fray
My night is colored headache gray
Daysleeper…

My bed is pulling me.
Gravity

R.E.M.

 

 

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Leaving a Mark

My impression of Harvey Specter in a rough sketch.

We hear a lot these days about leaving a carbon footprint. The fact is as  humans we move about the earth leaving behind a life-trail. Sometimes it’s a good trail. Sometimes, not so good- as in the plastic jetsam that is smothering the planet we call home.

This post is not about pollution though. It came about as one of those in the shower moment thoughts. Too much information? Do you ever have those? Like Barney Rubble sometimes our true talent for singing only comes out in the bath or shower. Maybe it has something to do with being baptized in water- a return to the womb , so-to-speak.

This post is not about inspirational talent in the shower.

If you’re anything like me you have moments of what might be called minimalist thinking. When you have an epiphany and it turns out to be so profoundly simple. It occurred to me that most of what I do can be paired down to simply leaving my mark.

This is likely true for all artists. If you think about it then you realize that all art, music, film, sculpture is about leaving a mark whether lasting in the cerebral sphere  and passed on audibly/orally (like music) or something  tangible in the tactile realm- like even a gravestone.

We are all leaving a mark .

I’m not sure why, at the early age of five I was so intent on drawing my first mural on my sliding bedroom door. A large face with stubble and a cigar. ( no one smoked cigars in my family). For some reason some innate desire reached out to that pencil or crayon and began asserting an influence on my surroundings. Since then my interests have been in art, caricature, painting, drawing, drafting, film-making,logo design and of course, writing. All of these are about leaving a mark.

Just like the earliest of scribes who pressed bone into soft clay to create cuneiform tablets we too share in this amazing quest to leave our mark upon history.

Now from here one could ask and point out the obvious. What kind of mark are we leaving? We’re you or I really proud of that painting or Youtube video we did? Of course part of being human is playing the fool. We all make mistakes. Sometimes big ones that just don’t get erased too easily.

However, I’m not going to press those questions. I’ll preach to myself first.

Suffice it to say that artists leave a  mark. Perhaps this post is a bit open ended or anticlimactic. You’re invited to comment or further the discussion. It was, however, the fact that in its simplest form my job or at least my avocation here is to leave my mark; to leave behind a record for others to experience.

This fact has left an indelible impression upon me.

So now what about you? Anything to add to the discussion be it ever small or large ? :^)

10 Years After…but who’s counting!

Can you honestly go back to doing something you love even if you haven’t done it for years?

The short answer is , Yes, I think so.

I used to do live (and studio) caricature work for fun (and extra income) years ago while holding down a full-time job. I used to hit the malls or go to local events like school graduations, farm markets, etc.

The gallery below is from 2005. I believe, as memory doesn’t serve, that the last live event I did was in 2007.



Fast Forward 10 Years Later.

Over the years I developed some farsightedness that makes it difficult for me to focus on what is only a foot or two away (about the distance from my eyes to my drawing board.) Caricaturing means being able to see nuanced expressions in detail of a person’s face at about 4 feet away and then taking that mental snapshot and putting it on paper (about a foot away). Of course glasses can correct that,etc.

Also as malls and public places seemed to be giving way to online meet-ups it seemed harder to get places that were live events.

Then some insurance issues began to crop up where a shopping mall would have to ‘hire’ me under their insurance (I guess in case erasure dust or flying pencil lead might harm someone. “keep getting your caricature done, sonny, and you’ll go blind!”)

Weather for doing outside events is always ‘iffy’ with or without a tent. Since I live in the Canadian Maritimes it means weather can change almost instantly. It’s no joke and the saying goes here, “if you don’t like the weather then wait a half an hour..” We’ve been dealing with climate change on a micro level since Noah’s Ark!

Overall the pattern – the one I perceived- seemed to be on the downward trend. So I kinda gave up for 10 years!

I kept doing caricatures in my studio at home but gave up on live ones.

Then through a local business and personal development outfit I was encouraged to dust off (that lethal erasure dust) my drawing board and give it a try. I didn’t even know if I still had it in me to draw more than a stick figure. Honestly, the demons we create!

Here are some more older pics



I am , I know  not the best caricaturist out there..well, I am the best…ahem…within a one kilometer radius for sure. At least I think so.

Anyway enough trying-to-be-funny.

Never Give Up…Never Surrender.

Although sometimes it is necessary to give something up, the general rule of thumb is if it’s something you love to do then it’s best to push yourself and at least try. I had forgotten how it felt to make someone’s day just a little better and put a smile on someone’s face. For example,one young man walked away with his finished toon repeating …”that’s awesome..that’s so awesome…”. I mean it wasn’t that great but it sure made him feel great!  And that’s the point isn’t it.

Here’s some photos of the day…Ten Years After !

 

P.S.

By the way, I did have to use some dollar store reading glasses to help me check for detail just before finishing each caricature.

I do have a caricature facebook page or you can follow my artistic shenanigans here at my regular facebook page Kevin Cameron Art

Thanks for stopping by!

Multicultural Art Fair 2017

Every artist made a sale and connections with the public I was told. The painting you see above is one of ‘mine’ and it sold as well! There’s a small story to that. It was displayed on my table which was being manned  or rather, womanned by my wife and daughter.  here’s a view:

Where was I? I was just off to the right drawing caricatures , or cartoonitures, as I call them. More on them here from that day. Here’s one pic of me drawing:

Alrighty then,…back to the sale story. Brief …I promise.

I was kind of late signing up for the event and decided to do a series of paintings that were sort of mid-century modern..y’know those stylized, cartoon-ish paintings you see in the old late fifties and early 60’s movies. I think the style was partly due to the popularizing of acrylic by that time (and pop art in general).

Beth and I strolled the town a week or so earlier, camera in hand and took some angles and shots of popular buildings (Kentville,NS). I was able to get 3 paintings finished and the sands in the top of the hour glass were losing to the ones in the bottom. About 2 days before I decided to skip a street and do King’s Arms Pub. It was a good call.

Friends of the owner flew like birds on the wind and made him aware of the painting. He soon showed up with cash in hand that exchanged in to mine in a manner of speaking.  Although I was drawing at the time I managed to turret my head in his direction and shout a “Thank You sir!”

He aims to hang it in the Pub.

Photo from Henny Penny’s facebook page

Here’s the other paintings:

Several of my other stuff was sold as well that day. Great to get out. Great to help support diversity!

Thanks for visiting! More on the toons in the next post!

We Can Rebuild Him or something like that. :)

 “Better,Stronger, faster…” I’m not sure about better and stronger but this was definitely one of the fastest design and paint jobs I’ve done for commission !

About 3 days before a visit from brother ( who lives in the States ) he asked me if I had any paintings ( for sale). Well yes I did in a way but I wanted to give him something that would have more meaning between the two of us…you know, something special.

So I thought of this old show called The Six Million Dollar Man starring Lee Majors. My bro used to have the action figure and a lot of the accoutrements . There was hardly even the time for a thumbnail sketch and the final design was basically done in my head and on the fly. I knew I wanted the ‘Bionic Man’ closeup in the center with the rocket to the right and the space X-plane in the upper left. In there somewhere was to be his old corvette and the cardiogram-like analog pattern.

So we were to meet Saturday at my Mom and Dad’s place which is about a 2 and a half hour drive from where I live. By about Friday morning I thought I was never going to get it finished. Just too much work and too little time. I got pretty down about it and felt defeat looming over my shoulder.

I managed to push myself and not give up (which I was really tempted to do).  At 10 pm Friday evening I had one coat of matte finish applied to the whole thing. I did a second coat really early Saturday morning and let the painting finish drying in the back seat of the car.

My brother was very pleased and surprised having not expected the nostalgic memento. I must admit that about half-way through, whether it was a kind of exhaustion setting in or pure adrenaline I, myself got emotional during the process. As one ages, I guess, tears become an oft expression of deep joy rather than sorrow sometimes. I am thankful for the family I have now and the one I had then, so to speak.

Just like the Bionic Man the painting was made from available components so here’s a photo of most of what it took to paint “We Can Rebuild Him”.

Thanks for visiting and we’ll see you around sometime!

It’s Never Too Late ( to do what you love)

Over the Moon

Timing is a funny thing. In fact where I live the time just went ahead 1 hour (Daylight Saving Time) . Not sure if that’s relevant but just more coincidental to this post.

Do you find ( like me ) that you think a lot about whether it is best to do a thing when you feel like it or to just discipline yourself to grind it even when the feeling is not there?

Honestly I think it is a bit of both. Moderation is a word that I often feel is limiting. I mean, don’t you feel that a Yes or No or either this or either that is the answer you really want?

When it comes do doing something you love, like creating art, etc. it seems  we want it both ways. I’ve often heard other artists say ( myself included wholeheartedly) that ” Today I’m just not feeling it!” That is to say that if I don’t feel like creating something right now I should walk away from the  easel. Ever notice how this occurs usually on your day off or time set aside to actually do your art!!?

 Here’s the thing… I think both approaches are okay. I think that there are times in the scheme of things we need to go for a walk, split some firewood or take a trip. Other times ( maybe more often so) we need to just pick up the brush ( both metaphorically and actually) and lay down some paint with no idea where this will take us.

The best thing is to avoid guilt. Guilt is not a good motivator. Habit can be a good motivator ( GM), Feeling Euphoric can be a good GM, a Kick-in-the-Backside ( both metaphorically and  actually) can be a good GM. maybe a good BM could be a good GM..no, scratch that 

Guilt never works. When we say we were guilted into it then it never ends well. There are other ways to force ourselves to do what we love. It is ironic one would have to say that :”Force” ourselves.  I mean by concentrating on the small picture or doing that first small step. The idea that I can pour a drop of paint on the palette and play around with it and then draw it on the canvas…squiggling a line from left to right, top to bottom. That sometimes does the priming right there and the creative spark begins to work. Other times a grand vision  of mural proportions energizes us to create all things great and small, all things bright and beautiful…

Sometimes for my own pleasure I like to play my drums/bongos. There are times I’m not feelin it but when I  sit and tap out a rhythm to a tune  I like and in that weighted moment my spirit seems to rise with the music and often ends after an hour of enjoyable percussion.

Whatever occurs remember it is never too late to start again to do something you love. Never. You may have to scale back for health reasons or the demands of life put upon you but say to yourself that the promise of the rising sun is that you have this one more moment which is clean and bright like an empty canvas waiting for it’s next conscription.

And if you work at night then let the moon and stars inspire you.

Creating a Children’s Ebook

Childrens book

In this post I’m going to give you some idea of how I approached creating an ebook from artwork I had created about 20 years ago!

The above picture is an actual page from the book with my added copyright. The book was painted on 11 x 17 in. sheets for double spread pages and 8.5 x 11 for normal full pages.

This post will not deal with the uploading of images to Kindle book creator. This is fairly easy once you’ve determined the correct size for the pages you upload. Perhaps that will be for another post.

The first step , of course, is to write out your story. Once you have your concept you can start to write while keeping in mind possible images that might correlate. You may need to edit words and dialogue when it comes to placing it on your image due to space restrictions. In other words as you draw each page it is important to keep in mind that you will need space for text.

Children's Ebbook Drawing

Since it was 20 years ago that I created this book I do not have original photos of the process. What I have done is set up pics to give you some idea of how to go about it.

You can of course use all computer generated images.  These, however , are the actual pages I drew for the book on both 8.5 x 11 and 11 x 17 paper. This was before private access to the internet and it is exciting to know that the book can be preserved in a way and it’s message made available

Acrylic wash on cold pressed 140 lb paper was used for the final painting.  Tubes of acrlic paint were used and the paint was applied in washes much like that of watercolour. The benefit of acrylic paint is that it can be added in layers without disturbing the original coat of paint ( unlike watercolour ).

Begin by cutting your watercolor paper to the required size. Some folks like to pre dampen and stretch the paper to keep it from buckling as it drys. To do this ( I have no pics) you tack  or tape your paper to a wooden piece of plywood or better yet a board ( which will have no stains or glues ). You can pour or use a large wash brush to apply generous amounts of water to your paper and let dry. Turn it over if you wish and do the same for the other side. Let the paper dry.

childrens ebook page

Take the original drawings like as above and flip them over. These are the drawings you drew with 2h and HB pencils. Flip them over like this:

ebookbridgeback

Holding them up to the light by taping them to a well back lit window OR using a light box begin shading in all areas on the reverse side with a 2B ( soft) pencil. You only have to shade areas where there is drawing or lines. You are making a negative transfer as you would use carbon paper ( this dates me I know, ha).

Now place the drawing directly over your watercolor paper. Use some blue low-tack tape to make 2 hinges at the top so you can flip the the drawing page up and down if you need to to see if the transfer is working. But don’t do this often as it could mess up and misalign the drawing. It works like this. Take a dull ( not blunt) F pencil to trace over all your lines. Press down firmly as you trace but not so hard you tear through your paper , of course. When you are done you will have a light transfer of your drawing onto the watercolour paper.  You can now begin painting in your colors using your brushes loaded with thin washes.

Using acrylic paint washes to create a Children's Book

Using acrylic paint washes to create a Children’s Book

You may find that a bottle of frisket mask may come in handy if you want to keep highlight areas white; as in snow flakes , for example.  The frisket is a liquid rubber that can be painted on or applied to areas you don’t want your paint to color. Wait for it to dry first. Next paint over it. Later with a clean thumb or erasure you can rub it off exposing the paper substrate. You’ll find a convenient tool but not to be overused.

ebookmainpage

Sometimes, as in the painting above, you may find as I did, that you were not pleased with your first result. If so then prepare another sheet of paper and begin again. You may want to shade over your original transfer drawing  a little since some of the 2B pencil may be less impressionable after the first use. Savvy?

In the drawings above the first attempt (top painting) seemed to come out with harsher gradations. I was more pleased with the bottom result.

The last step is to acquire a good quality flatbed scanner and and with your photo software scan the paintings into your computer. For the large paintings you can scan as two parts and use your software ( such as Photoshop or PhotoPaint ) to stitch them together. If this part is beyond your level of expertise then find someone who can do it for you.

scannerebook

As I said , technology can be rather exciting!  A 20 year old Children’s Book has been given new life in the cyber-world.

If you’re interested the book is about self worth and it is available from Amazon. The Kindle format is free to download and makes your work look quite beautiful.

Again, thanks for stopping by and visit often or drop me a line.  Have a great day!

Day Late but Always Remembering

For Remembrance

For Remembrance

I meant to have this ready for Remembrance Day however I discovered that this cartoon which I drew years ago was never scanned in.  Originally it was just line art in Black and White and I thought adding some colour using Corel Paintshop would be a nice touch. So that took some time with masking and painting.

The cartoon is intended to be funny yet a  respectful reminder to think of the great cost that war always brings past , present or future.

Billville was a cartoon strip I drew mostly back in the 80’s and 90’s and was based on 3 cats we had when growing up as a teen. Two are shown here. Bill and Boots.

Thanks again for  stopping by!

Many Auld Lange Synes or Turning Over A New Leaf

M_Page_6smallSo I finally got a better Scanner. (Christmas gift, I suppose) and have finished re-scanning all of my art for a children’s story.  I started the story back in the mid 1990’s but my then scanner was really not adequate for the job. More on that here.

The art work has pretty much laid dormant in an acid free plastic bag over all these years. I think it was sort of a New Year’s resolution last year for me to get it done.  So I didn’t quite make the mark but I have made progress.  The next step is to make adjustments and clean up each of the 22-23 pages.  After that I’ll take it into CorelDraw and add words and borders, etc.  So it is coming along.  *Albeit it’s only taking me around 18 years to get it together!

Life has a way of keeping one busy and distracted…or maybe I’m just plain lazy, ha!  The above picture is a sample of one of the pages in the book.  I do think I’ll try to speed things up a bit.   Thanks for visiting and happy New Year …2014 :^)

* Several years ago I did manage to get the story together on a cd-rom but it really was inferior quality so I always considered  it unfinished to be truthful…