Friday, June 26, 2009

Regency Lady Paint Scrib

I should paint more. I miss it. I made a halfway decent oily brush in Photoshop and felt compelled to test it out. This lady is out of my head, and I started the Titian way, just splattering pixels on the canvas and working the shapes up rather than making a detailed line drawing first. I only rendered her face, and even that is maybe too much. I like having texture in my paintings, but have a hard time "keeping" it. I most time render things to DEATH, a leftover habit from art school. I should go back to watercolor (real watercolor) to try'n break that habit. Anywho, I left a lot of this squirrely, and I like it :-)
I bet you guys are happy to see something besides a drawing of Avi the Dog, huh?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Elizabethan Embroidery Pattern of Insanity

Color guide for the embroidery, with the stems of the flowers worked in metallic silver

The linework finished in Adobe Illustrator

The roughly traced and altered sketch

The original gauntlet, a photo from a V&A catalog
I'll count this as art on this here art blog, since it did involve a) drawing, b) Adobe products, and c) color, material, a finished flat image.

Anywho. For those of you who don't know, I'm all about historical costuming, and spend most of my off-work time sewing some such from some century or another. For my Elizabethan costume, I am in need (and want) of gloves for the couple Renaissance Faires that are cool or cold.
Elizabethan gloves are not like modern gloves. The hand part is relatively the same, but Elizabethan versions flare out at the wrist, forming a wide, open gauntlet that was decorated with lace, embroidery, and spangles. The flare was to so that the gloves could be put on over the sleeves, which were always complicated to untie/latch/button/hook, and always tight at the wrist. Under the sleeve was a shirt cuff with pleated or gathered ruffles. This too would have to be undone in order to get a tight-wristed glove on...and then all that re-attached, and then all re-undone if you wanted to take the gloves off! Simply not practical.

With all that gauntlet just sitting there like an open canvas, ladies and specialist began to decorate them with all manner of trimmings and whatnot. Several extant examples of embroidered Elizabethan gloves survive today, and are shockingly complicated and beautiful.

All that being said, I've endeavored to make my own pair. I will do this by adding a gauntlet onto an existing pair of store-bought gloves. The gauntlet will be embroidered by hand, using a polychromatic assortment of flosses, including metallic silver.
Original Elizabethan/Jacobean embroidery. See the spangles and the silver threads?

Yes, this is nuts, BUT it so happens that I will have a lot of idle time between now and the first of August, when I am to wear the gloves. A stupidly long road trip, and a round-trip flight from the West Coast to the Dirty South should provide me ample time to at least make a big dent in the work.

A little about the pattern - the original gauntlet shown in b&w is from the V&A. I hate squirrels, so I replaced them with my trademark owl. The pattern was sketched, then cleaned up in Illustrator, and the color guide done in Photoshop. The design will be embroidered twice, on the top sides of the gauntlets only, on a re-inforced ground of white linen/cotton blend. The circles on the pattern are as yet undecided. Some period examples show these as embroidered "tufts" or little lines to fill the negative space; other examples have them as single silver sequins, which is alluring to me. They could also be pearls or some other lovely bead. We'll have to see, but for now, one thing at a time!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Viral Avi

All of this week and part of last I've had trouble with VIRUSES on my work computer(s). My main comp got infected with a nasty thing called a "rootkit." When I moved to a temporary computer so the first could be cleaned, the virus FOLLOWED me and infected that computer as well! Luckily the third computer I migrated to did not become infected (uh, yet), and now both previously infected computers are back up and running again.

What does this have to do with Avi? Absolutely nothing, but I did sketch this little doodle of her looking NOT AMUSED, as I sat idle, unable to get any of my assignments done, to express my own feelings of discontent at having single-handedly demolished two work computers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I'm Kyoot!

I sketched this with a real pen, on real paper...then I really scanned it and, well, you know the rest...

I'm thinking of making some Avi t-shirts on Cafepress. Which Avi masterpiece is your favorite?

Friday, June 12, 2009


Apparently someone (or two someones) somewhere in the world HATES Avi. How this is even possible I do not know. Perhaps they are cat people.

Why do I draw these Avi pictures in the first place? Some of you might think, "hey, this used to be an art blog and I used to like to look at her sketches and paintings, but now all that's here are these stupid dog pictures." True, although the blog has not changed. My time restraints, however, have. Now I'm a "workin' stiff." I work from 8:30 am to 5 pm, with a little too much time spent before and after on the commute. By the time I get home, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of my computer and paint something. My creative expression, what is left after pouring myself into my design work every day, is now manifest in my costuming projects.

So why do I draw these silly Avi pictures? Throughout the day I need little breaks. Sometimes it's just to look at something new for awhile, and sometimes it's to sketch something that doesn't have to be precise or rendered. It must also be very quick - I don't have liberty to spend any more than about 10 minutes on a doodle, or else I'd be a very bad employee indeed. These elements, combined with missing my puppy daily, lead to these "less-than-brilliant," always ridiculous scribbles of a dog nobody here has ever met. I spent 4 years at SJSU trying to be precise, rendered, "brilliant" and devoid of ridiculousness, so that's just about enough of that drudgery.

By all means, if you love Avi and like the silly drawings of her, let me know by using the poll at right. If you hate Avi, follow Thumper's advice: "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all," and mosey on to the next blog, por favor.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Avi StringBean

Did you guys see the fabulous poll to the right? Check it out, and let Avlar know how much you love (or revile) her!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Avi the Carpet Crawler

Avi has a couple odd and vastly amusing behaviors. One is that she likes to hide her chewbone in whatever lump of fabric - blanket, t-shirt, my $15/yd silk - happens to be laying around on the carpet, and then "finds it" again. This involves pulling the blanket (lets say) every which way, stringing it across the floor, locating the lump that is the blanket-covered bone, sandwiching it between her puppypaws, and then chewing it....through the blanket. If, on occassion, she finds the bone and it is exposed, she might toss it in the air a couple times before hiding it again.

Sometimes she places the bone on the bed covers, lays down next to it, and proceeds to toss her head into the covers, in what appears to an attempt to knock the bone away from her. However, when the bone does indeed go flying from the bed, she looks after it as if to ask "why did it run away?" A moment spent waiting listlessly for it to return, and she decides to go after it herself. Rinse and repeat.

It, of course, is not always the bone. The Minkus loves to play hide and seek as well, and takes on a whole life of it's own, to Avi. I sometimes think they play together all day long, and hold great philosophical conversations as she gnaws lovingly on its stuffed little foot.
As for the drawing, she's never fully in this position, but she does push herself across the floor, head and shoulders down, in what looks like the best method of itch-scratching ever devised by canine or human alike.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Real McAvioy

There is an actual dog that goes with all these little drawings I've been doing. Scientific name is Canis Avis. She is a source of never-ending inspiration, cuddles, and love-ups! Despite her uncannily photogenic puppy-features, sometimes she just doesn't have the patience to sit there and look achingly cute while I take a snap, especially when there are birds to be stalked or The Minkus looking at her from across the room. And so I give you Avi of the Penetrating SnarkyPup Glare.