Not Going to be a Dinosaur Anymore.

dinosaur

Work is getting more and more scarce as a roto/paint artist living in Los Angeles these days. It’s kind of scary, with all the competition from using outsourced and subsidized work that really is cheaper and faster, and now it is also better quality. Why not pay a cheaper price for your rotoscoping and 2D paint, when you are running a business? I can understand that decision.

So… my job is becoming obsolete. It doesn’t matter that I really love it, or that I know things from experience that I can do by hand, that cannot be done procedurally. I’ve made the decision to finally move up into compositing for a living. I would hope that I am a valuable asset if I can do my own roto/paint work. I am already performing at a junior compositor level now, why not take on the challenge of being one of the compositors that are responsible for bringing the shots to the screen?

I think I have been intimidated all along, with all the things you need to know how to do. But when I think about it, I already know so much already! I already have a fantastic foundation. And I also want to be able to have more creative input with my shots instead of just with absolute results. I’m ready to expand now. Well, I’m kind of forced to, because I need to bring in some income!

OK. So for the past month or so I’ve been studying keying and creating my own composites. I also want to expand this website so that I can have a page dedicated to my portfolio and works in progress.

Here is an example of a lovely green park scene that I changed into a winter scene. It is still a WIP but so far, so good! I will make sure I keep on posting more and more examples of any fun projects I’m doing, as always. But now that I’ve got a fire under my ass (and more free time) I will continue to learn and grow, and post what I’m doing here. This is what I’ve been wanting to do with this blog all along anyway!

In this example, I had to find a dark cloudy background, then graded it down, and keyed the tree tops, and then created a bump map so that the tree leaves get “snow” on them, and then added a thicker layer of snow on the surfaces. Then I had to punch through the tree trunks and parts of the bench. I still would like to keep working on the edges, but I think this is a good WIP for now.

before:
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Clean Slate, and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Here we are, now it’s 2018. Hopefully you are all feeling inspired to get some creative ideas out there on paper, canvas, computer, on a recording, or any other creative expression!

I believe that we, as humans, are meant to create things. We are supposed to create. Do you believe this too? It makes sense, if you look at all the different forms of life here on Earth. So, why aren’t you creating something now??? And if you already are doing something, are you working to make it better and better?

I only ask this, because I struggle with this question for myself all the time. And still, I procrastinate getting anything done. The only way to get really good at something is to just do it, and get some practice, so what does it matter that it is shitty? (this is exactly what I struggle with myself. Of course, I want everything I create to be perfect right off the bat, LOL)

I keep looking at a blank wall in our kitchen at home and every time I see it, I am reminded that I haven’t done anything to begin my ‘great work of art’ to go on that wall. The thing is, whenever I go to places like Urban Home I see wall coverings that to me, looks like I can do it, but better. And I can personalize it too! But I still procrastinate and put it low in my priority list. But, why? If I know I can do this, why don’t I do it??? I’m hoping I’m not alone with this. Sigh.

So, today, on Jan. 2, 2018, I have finally begun to paint a large canvas that hopefully will be good enough to go on our kitchen wall. I’ve been researching feng shui ideas for the position in our kitchen (southwest = yellow, orange, red… like fire) and since I’m fascinated with doing more landscapes, I am attempting to do a Fall scene. Doesn’t matter if I fail at this point. Why not just do it, and learn from any mistakes???

So, here I go!!

I hope that any of this has resonated with you, whether you are an artist or writer, or just venturing out into your desire, whatever it may be.

Happy New Year, I sincerely mean it!!!

Works in Progress

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Hey everyone!

I’m finally getting back into painting in acrylics again. I’m forever fascinated by landscapes so I figure I will try out a few. I also did a little sunflower piece too.

Just getting back into it, practice makes perfect, right?

It’s good to just do some little studies, because my real plan is to make some large paintings for the house. We’ve had our house for 8 years now and still there are some bare walls. Every time I go to places that sell decorations and I get to the prints/paintings section, I think that I can do these much better. So why haven’t I done anything? (with the exception of a few paintings I did a couple years ago) Am I being lazy? I think it’s just fear of hating what I paint. It’s fear of the unknown, maybe? Also, finding the time seems to be difficult. My husband has been wonderful- encouraging me to paint all the time. But I keep doing other tasks, making this a lower priority.

It’s time to put creativity into a higher bracket. Being creative really is a gift that we all have as humans, why don’t we shine like we’re supposed to?

Anyway, I hope everyone has a beautiful and happy holiday season!!!

Mastery

Hello again, I’m back!

I’ve been working on “A Star Is Born” for a small vfx company, since last September and wrapping up on it tomorrow. It’s on the Warner Brothers Lot in Burbank, and it’s been so fun getting to work at that location! I love how everything is different every day, when you walk around the different stages and backlot areas.

Anyway, I’ve been listening to a great audiobook that I wanted to share here: “Mastery” by Robert Greene. I’ve been meaning to read this for some time now, and only recently have been seeing some serendipitous reminders of it. It was coming up on my YouTube recommendations, for instance. So, I decided to give it a go.

It’s SUCH a great book, especially for aspiring artists! It doesn’t matter if you want to be an artist, a scientist, a businessperson, or musician or whatever… all of these (or whatever you wish to pursue) requires dedication and the courage to just dive in and do whatever it is you want to do! It talks about getting the necessary practice, finding mentors, believing in yourself, and sticking up for yourself too, when things get rough. I’m not finished with the book yet (only about 1/2 way so far) and I’m finding it to be so inspiring.
I know that I’ll be reading it a few more times.

What’s most interesting about the book is that there are many historical examples of famous people and what they went through to pursue their dreams, such as Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin and Leonardo da Vinci. I love biographies because I’ll remember that everyone is human and not some elevated amazing lucky person – everyone has to go through difficulties to become the master of their specialized skill.

I’ve been missing this blog, and thinking about how I can continue to write more consistently here. I feel strongly that I should just tell stories and when I have something new to share from my artwork, I’ll share that here as well.
I have a lot of stories, but what I really want is to share my progress as an artist.

Thank you for your time, and be sure to pick up “Mastery” as a truly inspirational book!

Mastery

Hello, again!

Hi everyone,

It’s the eve of my birthday, and I decided to work on some paintings for our house, starting tonight.

Of course, I’ve thought of doing this for probably a few years now and even focused on what to paint, but I haven’t executed my dreams yet.

I hear about how we need to just act on our ideas and not just keep thinking about it. So here I go, I will begin tonight. Although I felt inspired to write about it, tonight.

Last weekend my husband and I went to Blick Art supplies in Pasadena to pick up a bunch of supplies so now I am on the hook to produce some really great paintings for our home. I am looking forward to it, but I still worry about failure in getting it to look as nice as I imagine. Sigh. Maybe this is something a lot of artists go through.

I think about this blog a lot, too. I think that I should share all my stories here, for fun, and also to share any wisdom I have learned along the way. Not just in my career but in my life.

Oh by the way, I started a job a month ago. It is in Burbank, at the actual Warner Brothers studio lot. It’s great for me because the commute cuts my usual one by 1 hour each way every day. It’s fantastic!!! Plus, I love walking around the lot throughout the day so I see many interesting things I’d like to share here.

Okay, time for me to actually start on my paintings! I had this inspiration within the past year to do paintings that would be feng shui themed for each room. I’m interested in what comes up with this. I’m inspired, actually!
I want to start with our kitchen. I’m thinking yellows, reds and white to keep with the feng shui idea. It’s something that is interesting to me and I’ve been dabbling in studying this idea for a bit of time now. Time for me to get started!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Cheers!
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False starts.

Hey there,

I started doing this blog so that I could write about and show my progress with personal art projects and also with job training to advance my skills. I wanted to have something to show for my progress.

Well… sigh. I think that I’ve let life get in the way of art, which is a common theme of my life. I know that the little voice inside of me continually pleads with me to create a painting or even just a drawing but I tend to ignore it and give other general tasks a higher priority. I figure, I’ll get to it eventually.

I have to put my foot down and think of a way to keep making art progress. One suggestion, that I even posted here earlier, was to tell myself that every day I have to draw. Even if it is just one line in my sketchbook. Because if you draw one line, you might feel inspired to keep going until you have to do something else. I have to make creativity as one of my highest priorities!

I like listening to motivational speeches. One I just heard this morning was about how distracted we all can get in this age of social media and entertainment. I’d never heard of Bishop T.D. Jakes before, but he was right- I am letting my distractions get the best of me and squeezing out my own creative ideas and goals. It’s so upsetting to me when I sit and think about how unproductive I’ve been on these last 3 months I’ve had off from work. Granted, I got a lot of house projects done from my never ending list, and maintained a lot of things like dishes and laundry. The best things that have come from this time off, actually, has been the quality time I got to spend with my husband, and joining a crossfit gym together, and also just sitting and reading books and expanding our pretty backyard with plants. I’m so grateful for all of that. Just getting to be home every day is a treasure. I would long to see the daylight at our house sometimes, when I am working those long long hours in crunch time. So this is all a blessing, don’t get me wrong.

But now that I had this wonderful break I must learn to focus on getting back to my highest priority: creating art.

I called this “False Starts” because of all the times this summer I got contacted to go back to work, and then got told that the project got cancelled or went a different direction where they did not need me after all. I’m okay with that because I know I am a good artist and eventually the right job will come along that is perfect for me. But in a way, I’ve also had the best intentions to work on some art for myself during this time but somehow got distracted and never really dedicated time for creativity. Except for that birdhouse that I made because it was a gift for a loved one.

Oh, and I did attempt to do some encaustic paintings a few weeks ago, which is wax mixed with oil paints. I just did a few abstract things that I let melt in the sun. I guess that was my attempt to “draw a line in a sketchbook”, to get my creative juices flowing. But nothing has been done since.

I just took a picture of my clean slates ready to go!! (empty canvases) And a couple of the encaustic paintings I was messing around with.

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I decided to write this today because I want to express my thoughts on knowing you are an Artist in your heart and soul but not really showing results, which is pretty frustrating to keep it inside. I’m kicking myself in the butt to get started again.

Cheers to all you fellow artists out there, I hope this inspires you a little today, too!

Painted birdhouse

Hey everyone,

I decided to work on painting a bird house and give it to my mother-in-law as a birthday gift to her. I think it came out pretty nice!

Originally I was going to paint some folk art all over it and then as I moved along, I started wanting to paint a landscape instead. Then, a seascape emerged in my inspiration so I did my best N.C. Wyeth seascape impression.

What was fun and cool about it was that it got me motivated to get back into painting again!  Once I had a project to work on, and a deadline, and knowing it was going to a loved one, it really got me thinking about it and working away to accomplish this task.

I’m looking forward now to creating more paintings for our home. Our walls are very bare and I’d love to contribute to making them look nicer and giving some character.

All my best to you with whatever inspires you to create!!!

 

Time off

Hey there,

I was so excited about getting time off about a month and a half ago, because I could finally have time to do all of the things I want to do, versus the things I have to do.

Well… I’ve spent most of that time enjoying sleeping in and when my husband also got the same time off, instead of going on vacation together we stayed home to work on projects. We also joined CrossFit together, which has proven to me to be a really really great thing and I know I want to stick with it- to get as fit and healthy as I possibly can.

Now, after all those weeks off so far, I am finally getting to working on some art. And once I got the ball rolling, I’m obsessed with it at this point, yay!

I want to share an excellent book, if you are a creative type who tends to procrastinate. Or, just someone who is looking for some inspiration with whatever you dream about making/creating/doing.  It’s called “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. I finished it a couple of days ago, and it’s inspired me tremendously!  Here is a picture:

I’ve also been working on painting a birdhouse, which is pretty fun!  I originally bought the unpainted birdhouse from Michael’s arts and crafts store, thinking I would paint it and put it up in our backyard. Then, as my lovely mother-in-law’s birthday is approaching, I decided she would love something like this as a present. I am really getting into working on this! I started applying things that I learned from the book such as: designing what I paint on it myself, from my heart/inspiration (as opposed to what I think she might like) which is fueling my creativity.  And, knowing that I’m doing this for someone I love, really inspires me to keep going with it and not stop until I think it is finished. So here is my WIP of this so far:

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Take care, everyone! Happy Summer to you, keep creating!

 

Diligence

Hey there,

At one point a few posts ago, I said I will be writing a new blog every day. Wow, I do admire those who stick to that task!  Some blog writers admit that they have nothing to say when they sit down to write sometimes, and some how the words just flow eventually.

I read a book about 20 yrs ago called, “If You Can Talk, You Can Write” and I still believe in the philosophy.  The book said, that you should just sit and write whatever is on your mind and would illustrate the following: “blah, blah, blah, blah… Gold!”  Meaning, eventually you will meander to an interesting story and then just focus upon that, and write about it.

What I have basically learned is, a writer is a storyteller. That’s all, nothing intimidating about that. What’s really intimidating (at least, to me) is that what you write and publish, is there forever in print. So you start thinking more seriously on what it is you want to share… thinking of your audience.  I like to do this for myself, to see my own progress but I have to admit that if you have anyone else reading you start to feel accountable and set goals to put something out there, consistently.

Which I think is a good thing, if you want to see any progress. So in other words, I do see the benefit in sticking with this blog- writing.

I thought about also including some stories about my past adventures, just for fun. Just to get them out there.  My rule for myself is that they have to be interesting or funny stories. That’s all.

Alright, with that said, I’m going back to my main theme of posting artistic and creative progress.

Here, I have a clip from the movie “Her”, where I was told to remove all of the Chinese writing on the buildings, since they shot this particular scene in Shanghai.  I asked if I could replace the sign on the left with the words “Rose”. I was given permission to do this, to my excitement. My usual job in visual effects is to remove things that the filmmaker doesn’t want shown, such as removing wires from stuntmen’s bodies, etc., and someone else replaces it if necessary to the shot.  I was thrilled I had a chance to replace it with something I created! “ROSE” is mine, yay!! The visual effects supervisor had me add the extra flair to the plain block letters I originally created.

I was working at Digital Domain and then, the facility was about to move from the Venice location to Playa Vista, CA. I thought “Rose” was fitting because it was located on Rose Ave. at that time.

Rough first attempt

Hi again,

I have been going back over some of my lessons on matte painting, taught by someone from fxPhd, a few years ago.  I had previously needed to stop attending my online class because I realized I was totally lost when it came to using Photoshop.

Then, I bought an online remedial Photoshop training class that I never had time to finish all the way through.

About a year ago or so, I decided I wanted to do a projection of a sky using photos that I took of the sky near my house, then stitched together using PTGui. Then I brought it into Nuke and attached it to a sphere, to simulate the dome of a sky appearance. But I never put it into a scene, so that idea also had been put aside when I got busier at work.

Fast forward to now, where I do have some time off again. I have all these ambitious dreams of creating 5 really awesome, spectacular matte paintings so I finally got started today to resume my matte paint class.  I now feel like I am right back at square one again! I still can’t easily perform well in Photoshop so I will need to get back to that remedial PS class again, sigh.  It’s frustrating when you have ideas in your head, and know what you want to do, but the tools are not working for you.

Well, as with anything, you need to know the basics before advancing onto greater things!

I did at least go back today and try to finish that sky replacement piece I started in Nuke. That was going okay until I realized there is a technical issue with that technique as well, and needed to put that aside too.

Which leaves me to… my rough simple matte painting that I projected onto a card and then rotoscoped buildings and other objects over top of it. Voila … this is (sort of) my first attempt at a matte painting, put inside a moving sequence!  I am using the non-commercial license for Nuke so they won’t allow me to key anything so I rotoscoped everything in front – so time consuming.  It’s not perfect, but I wanted to demonstrate my simplest first step into matte painting. I will progress from here, for sure. I guess I also cannot submit the entire sequence I did, so I will post a few photos from it instead:

 

Here is a pic from the original footage:

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It’s not spectacular, but at least I got something to show here on my progress so far. I was busy last week doing personal stuff and now I’m dedicating more time on advancing my skills.

Thanks for reading!

 

A Few of my recent Landscape Paintings

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Hey there,

I’m making a point of it to write here every day, at least every day that I am not working my long hours. Maybe this will become a habit and I’ll want to write every day anyway. Or at least a few days a week.

So, a few months ago (maybe it’s been a year already! Time sure does fly..!) I created 3 little landscape paintings and then I framed them and put them up on a wall inside my home. I have felt inspired for a while now, to fill up my blank walls with paintings that I made.

Today, I plan on continuing with my matte painting online class. Soon, I will have something to show here… always a work in progress!

Keep painting and creating!