What have I been up too lately? I’m not really sure. I’ll have to think back. Two weeks ago I finished a whole bunch of art cards. Those are little drawings or paintings done on paper that is the size of a baseball card. A piece of art to hold in your hand. I draw and/or paint them with various methods but this time I used my markers. I used a pencil too but markers were how I finished them.

To start the art cards I dipped into my sketchbooks to find some images I wanted to work with. I organized my sketches on the computer and set them up so that nine sketches could be printed on a single sheet of nine by twelve inch bristol paper. I printed out the sketches in blue line and then drew over them in order to make finished drawings. Next I scanned in those finished drawings and printed them out in blue line and finally worked over the blue line drawings with my color markers.

Some of the art cards I made from already finished drawings. I’ve been scanning in all of my drawing for a decade and a half now so I have quite a vast library of images that I’ve made. Sometimes for these art cards I’ll flip through that library to see what catches my eye. Then I’ll repurpose all or part of a drawing for a new art card. It makes things go faster if the initial drawing is already done but I don’t always want to work with an image I’ve already made. That’s when I go back to my first method.

I use these art cards to make my “Drifting and Dreaming” comic strip that I post on Sundays. I use two of what I call “Cartoon Art Cards” (a drawing of a person talking) to surround a single regular old art card and write a small text story underneath them all. That’s one of the ways I make comics but I’ve also always meant to sell some of the art cards on Ebay or some such. Art cards are meant to be sold to the public or traded with other artists but I’m not well known enough for anyone to care about mine. I’d be lucky to get ten bucks for a card and since it takes about an hour to make one there is not much profit in it.

I spent a lot of time making those cards over that week. I made about forty of them. That’s a lot of hours. One thing I liked to do with the cards is to line them all up in a grid pattern. They looked nice together. I’ve always said that numbers impress and though any individual art card may be pleasant enough on its own when they are all seen together with their colors and images all bouncing off of each other they really look interesting. I think it would be really cool to make a poster out of a whole bunch of art cards. That’s a bit beyond my printer’s size range though.

I’ve also been working on one of my large photo collages of my cousin’s wedding. It’s something I usually do for my friends and family when they get married. Weddings are notoriously difficult to take photos of. There are lots of moving pieces and bad lighting situations to deal with. Pro wedding photographers use many pieces of equipment and expensive lenses to handle all the bad lighting. Plus they have to anticipate where to be and handle the wedding participants plus the wedding guests. It’s not an easy gig and not a business that I envy.

I’m good at making something from nothing though. That’s what artists generally do. I can make something nice out of a lot of crappy pictures as long as I use the good parts of the crappy photos. I’ve learned how to shoot an event not for any individual photos but for an overall feeling of the thing. It’s difficult to describe and not easy to do because I have to stop myself from worrying about capturing that “One image” as I shoot. I leave that “One image” to the pros.

I’m having a particularly difficult time with this photo. Usually when I make one of these collages I have a few central images that I work around. This time I really didn’t have any. Due to odd weather related circumstances I could barely shoot the actual ceremony. Then the hall that the reception was in was large, cavernous, and dark. Plus they turned the lights nearly off when the dancing began. Pretty typical. Shooting weddings ain’t easy. That’s for sure.

I’ve gone about making this collage differently than my other ones. Since I had no large central images to build around I picked at the edges instead. I’m not sure exactly how it worked and it took a long time to do. It was sort of like how you do a puzzle by putting together the edge pieces first but not really. It was a struggle to surround an idea that wasn’t there yet. I had to keep on believing that I could pull it all together. Good thing I did.

I still need to buy some canvas for those stretchers I bought back in the beginning of the summer. I worked on a couple of smaller canvases this summer but never finished the one that is still on my easel. I don’t know why but I lot interest in it half way through. I might still finish it someday. We’ll see.

I did finish a bunch of prints a few weeks ago. I drew some interesting drawings of faces about two years ago that I never did much with. I couldn’t find anyway to add color to them that interested me. All my usual methods bored me with those faces. Totally unrelated to that search I recently was working on a Photoshop filter recipe to manipulate and make something interesting out of low-res photos that I found on the web. One day for no particular reason I decides to run that filter recipe on my drawing of faces. The faces were colored in my usual way that bored me but the photo manipulation of them totally changed their character. I liked them. I ended up digging out about three of those old faces to color and run the filter recipe on and made some new prints. It was nice to be able to finally make something I liked out of those drawings.

So I guess that’s what I’ve been up to. I’m sure there are some other things too but I went with whatever came to mind. And the mind is a tricky thing.