In Defense of Snowflakes

 

You wanna know the worst cuss word , name calling descriptive you can use on someone you hate? Get ready. The word is Snowflake. It’s not a four letter word . It’s a four letter word plus a five letter word.

This is really odd when you stop and think about it. How did such an innocent unassuming word get to be so vile?

Well. I don’t know.

What once stood for strength and beauty is now the thing of useless dregs of society.

Want to bring someone real low? Call them a snowflake.

Pendulums swing as pendulums do.

Let’s face is it. This is just a pendulum swing, a knee jerk reaction to a generation raised to think of themselves as precious and beautiful.

There was a time in this fair land that to be associated with a snowflake was a good thing. Now valedictorians claim the idea is Victorian. You are not special we are told. Nobody is special and you don’t deserve anything.

This from a generation (mine and my parents’) who pretty much consumed everything. So there is not as much to go around. This is why they want you to buy the only thing left: the lie that you are not special..in any way.

 

 

Young people…don’t believe it!! You can be special and not entitled. You do deserve a kind of bestowed dignity by being part of the human race without earning it. But you can lose it by being an idiot or criminal or both.

Now presidents mock you if you think you have basic human rights and call you a snowflake.  Snowflakes have no rights, they say. “They think they deserve everything.” Not true.

Every human being despite their skin colour, gender, etc deserves love, shelter, acceptance and basic rights.  Once you buy into the lie that a snowflake is something that melts in the face of confrontational heat you then open yourself up to bullies, tyrants, rapists (people who chose to not be a snowflake but a stagnant puddle).

A snowflake, like a spider’s web, is a strong structure and does what its particular design calls it to do. It is beautiful and unique. Combined, that is unified, with millions of other snowflakes it is a powerful , almost unstoppable, force.

I think it’s time to defend snowflakes. I think it’s time for the pendulum to swing back toward the middle just a little bit.

Those are my thoughts anyway. Thanks for visiting and please check out my ebook, especially if you like snowflakes. :^)

 

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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.

720’s, 360’s and 1080’s

Swirl Cat Vortex

From a new series of acrylic paintings of mine which I haven’t named yet. :^)

Does anyone remember VHS ?  Hello. Helloo (echo).

VHS was a format used for taping and viewing movies. We still have  a trunk full of ’em kicking around here somewhere. (A copy of Babe and some John Wayne movies popped up here recently during a cleaning spell.) They were small tombstone sized cassettes with literal *magnetic* tape wound around two spools. Sounds pretty ancient, hunh? Cool stuff for so-called Millenial’s to rediscover.

The thing about VHS tapes is that they were definitely low res. That’s techno-speak for blurry and out of focus. Back then my eyes were good; and real sharp. You might say they were high def . That’s techno-speak for sharp and focused; like knobs and buttons that used to be included on electronic equipment.

vhsappreciate

As a visual artist I really do appreciate technology. Now as my eyes need to be dressed with varying thicknesses of glass in order to focus on the work at hand I can be very grateful for the sharpness of DVD and Blu-ray. As my eyes get weaker the picture has gotten stronger. The monitors boasting of 1080 p resolution are also a bonus. I think if I were to watch a VHS movie today without glasses it would seem more like a watercolour impressionist painting that was left out in the rain.

This is where art comes in, say, as in painting ( or sculpture, music, etc). I’m not sure technology has really improved upon the experience of viewing art. Some art-works take weeks or even some,years to complete; all to be consumed instantly on social media and passed over faster than the index finger can respond from eye-to -nerve-to-brain and back again…or something like that.

nothingcompares

*Nothing compares to seeing real art in real light! Paintings that are designed to be viewed bathed in natural light are shared on back-lit unnatural canvases  (called monitors).

For many years I followed the stars and night skies on National Geographic pages and Astronomy books. The pictures and artist’s renditions captivated my imagination. But one day , late in my teens, I acquired my first reflector telescope.  The nights were bitter cold, unlike the reading chair by the fire but the view..my gosh..the view sent a different kind of chills up my back.!  To know that the light I was seeing from distant Saturn was, although non-instant,  directly coming to me!  There was no electronic mediator between me and God.  I now had a much more direct connection with that far off planet in space.

If we rely only on our screens for the experience of art we do ourselves and our progeny a great disservice. I love technology. It has brought the world closer together and helped in so many ways. However when it comes to seeing art we need to do a 360 and see it in natural light with our natural eyes. The experience is so different and so compelling that it is the reason why many have travelled great distances, say to the Louvre, to see for themselves what great things were done.

Perhaps you and I can’t do that. We can go across the street to the local cafe and connect with the artist there. We can look at our child’s art-work…I mean really look at it in reverential silence before hurriedly posting it online among a million stars that twinkle and fade in the wink of an eye.

Thank you for visiting. Please leave a comment or drop a line.

*More about real light: ” …but Kevin, ALL light is real light and even gallery light(s) are artificial!” I know. Though if you think about it you’ll agree that most non-pixelled art is created with light descending on it rather than from behind. Recreating that original condition is what I mean by ‘real’.

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!

New Journeys

  *Self Esteem Ebook for Children

Sometimes you can find a new journey on an old path.

A new year doesn’t have to mean that everything will be new  for you.  Something good from last year or other years might find it’s way into this one.

You know how we often list off all the crap that happened last year. Debts. Sickness. Accidents and we say good riddance!.

Let’s not throw out Father Time with the bath water…er, or something like that. Father Time has a few good things to give Baby New Year.

Yeah, I know, it’s a little late in the month to be writing about New Years maybe. Looking ahead may bring anxiety and looking back may get us down in the dumps..yeah, January does that to everybody. You’re not alone. Listen to that still, small voice inside of you that wants things to be better. Reach out to someone. It really doesn’t matter what others think. It’s your life and it’s worth looking back (and forward) to anything or anyone that made it good. Don’t focus on what you didn’t get or the way you thought things should have been.

That one good thing is worth living for.

An artist does the same with ideas , techniques and inspiration what we all do with our trash. Recycle it. Revisit it. Renew it. Make it come to life!

Hey , I’m even thinking of taking up oil painting again after having set aside the ole’ linseed oil for decades. There’s something good in the familiar, ya know.  Like the smell of linseed oil. Strong aromas bring back good things and memories sometimes. Don’t dwell on the past though. Think about today.

You may find healing in the winter of your life. I hope you do..I really do.

Thanks for visiting. I know it’s been a while but I guess I just needed the time…

*Detail of Show and Tell Michelle, written and Illustrated by me, Kevin M. Cameron.

20 Years in the Making

MichelleWordpressCopy2

“20 years in the making”. That’s about right in a funny kind of way.

This is a special day . A book which I illustrated and wrote over 20 years ago is now available on Amazon (Kindle). That means that when this book was written my family had no access to the internet at home!  The most advanced technology we had was an ancient floor model TV that literally took 20 minutes to warm up.

The very first scanned copies were saved on floppy disc which if I remember correctly could only hold up to 1 megabyte of data (?).

There’s more to the story at MichelleBook.com  if you’d like to check it out.

From time-to-time I’ll post how things are going and what I’ve learned about ebook creation for children’s picture books (the things they don’t tell you).  In some ways it was easy. I watched lots of youtube videos but I ran into some snags or glitches as I went along.

This is the Amazon  link but you can find the book on other Amazon sites such as .com and .uk

Just a note that since it is a larger file (picture book) it may take a little longer to download but Kindle claims it will do this in the background as you work on your computer.

Coincidence 

If you go too Google today you will see an homage to Lucy Maud Montgomery or just check out Wikipedia.

She was a children’s author from Prince Edward Island ( very close to Nova Scotia where this book is based from). It is her 141st birthday today. This was a totally delightful coincidence as I had planned to write this article today with no knowledge of it being her birthday.

Thanks for stopping by and more to follow!

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…

Dusting off the Pixels

Michellesummer

Have you ever had a project you’ve put off for a long time; maybe days or months?  What about years?

As well as working on my business ( kevincameron.ca ) my side project for this year is to finally finish compiling a book I created way back in the nineties.  Yes folks that makes me kinda old depending on how young you are. ha.

 So I wrote and drew/painted this children’s story based on a character named Michelle.  The scene above was a test promo painting with the famous Cape Blomidon, Nova Scotia in the background.  The actual story is based in the winter time.  I have all the pages and they are in good condition as I kept them in an acid-free plastic bag.

Wow has technology changed!

The good news is that in the past you almost had to get a publisher to accept your story in order for it to get printed but now you can simply upload your pictures to popular book creation websites. Years ago  this was an expensive process.  I remember an acquaintance  self publishing her colouring book and it cost her thousands to do so.  I think only the front page had full colour , of course.  Back then your only alternative was to outsource the artwork to be printed to an inexpensive overseas printer ( that is, China).  Today , not so. We have the option of ebooks and such.

Although all the pages of my book were scanned in ( some stitched) they were only scanned in low resolution.  Home computers had limited power back then or you had to have one the size of Hal 9000 to copy a book. ( exageration , of course).

My goal this year is to purchase a decent large format scanner ( 11 x 17 will do).  Then I can rescan at a higher resolution and do touch-ups in CorelDraw or Photoshop.

Well, that’s it for now.  Please visit again to see  my progress.  To those younger than I:  You have many more advantages today for self-publishing and reproducing your art.  Sure the competition may be more but , hey, you don’t have to go through a gate-keeper just to publish your stuff.  Get out there ( or in here) and do it !  Have a good one!