Otto and Mia

A couple of days ago my sister-in-law Rachel sent me the cutest video of Otto spending some quality time with my niece Mia. It’s short, but it always puts a big smile on my face. In fact, I can’t stop watching it, so I thought you might like to see it too.

Happy Friday!

strange sunsets

I’m not much of an early riser in general. If left to my own devices, I’m more likely to stay up late and wake up late. So it’s no surprise that in general, I’m a stranger to sunrises.

In fact, even the word “sunrise” seems to be unfamiliar to me: today when I was downloading the images to gather for this post, I named them all “sunset-1,” “sunset-2,” etc. Oops!

Obviously I’m much more familiar with sunsets! I enjoy the colors and the play of light amidst the clouds as the sun falls to the horizon, and I often can’t resist taking photos of sunsets, such as these:

sunset-clouds

sunset

For the past week and a half I’ve been up before the sun rose to get myself to Annapolis where I had an on-site freelance gig. When the sun began to rise, the skies were breathtaking, and I was inspired to snap a few shots during my morning commutes.

pinklines-2

sunset-glow

sunset-trees

misty-morning-2

Whenever I get up before dawn, I relish the soft glowing light of the morning. Despite the difficulty of having to get up when it was still dark outside, the sunrises I got to enjoy were a real treat.

magic scanner

Before the end of 2011 I bought myself a new scanner.

My old HP All-In-One scanner/printer got the job done, but scanning was always frustrating because it never quite captured all the detail or accurate color of my art. I’d do my best to edit the images, but I knew it could be better.

I did a ton of research and decided that the Epson V-750 was the scanner for me. Most of the comparisons I saw online showed scans of slides and photographs, but I was encouraged by the detail that it picks up, even in photos, so I felt confident it would do my art justice. I wasn’t disappointed!

I won’t go on and on since the images speak for themselves.

Each of the following scans are minimally edited, mostly just cropped and a little dust clean up. In the images below, the HP scan comes first, followed by the same image scanned with my new Epson.

Kaleidoscope Drawing
HP Scan

Kaleidoscope Drawing
Epson Scan

Kaleidoscope Drawing
HP Scan

Kaleidoscope Drawing
Epson Scan

Isn’t the difference amazing? For me, the Epson really shines in the lightest areas. It captures the detail of every mark I make; even light pink colored pencil, or delicate graphite. I’m sure I could bring out the color in the Epson images, but I was so impressed by the quality right out of the scanner that I wanted to share them without any editing at all.

The Epson V-750 has been a dream come true so far. It’s fast, it’s quiet, and the image quality is impressive. I actually look forward to scanning. No more frustration!

**Update**
I almost forgot! I made these two drawings for a couple mail art exchanges to Kati Driscoll and Rhya Tamasauskas. I just love the way Rhya described the mail art I sent, mentioning that “the collection of colours and textures reminds me of the beach at sunset…running in sand as the landscape changes in big sweeping gestures right before our eyes.” Isn’t that dreamy?

workspace clean up, before & after

I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump lately. There are a number of reasons that have contributed, one of which was the fact that the mess of my studio and desk was getting out of control to the point where there wasn’t a clean surface for me to actually work on!

before

It’s been on my schedule to clean up my desk for weeks now.

I’d made a few false starts before, but would always get overwhelmed and find something more interesting to do. Last night I finally got focused. This time I told myself I would just dive in and not stop until it was done! It worked!

I got the surface clean, and even windexed it til it squeaked (which wasn’t hard considering it’s a glass table).

after

I was proud of my accomplishment, but after posting the images to twitter, I got a couple comments that made me pause.

@kimikobashi said, ah! i need to do that. but it almost looks like no one works there! 🙂

@jessicagowling declared, scary – i dont like empty spaces – clinical and weird. GET SOME ART, BOOK PILES AND MESS ON THERE IMMEDIATELY!!!!

I definitely saw their points, and I decided I’d have to take another photo with my desk set up for working. I was done for the night, but this morning I went about setting up my desk to get ready for painting. Then I took the “after-after” shot.

after-after

There’s some creative decoration/clutter, but plenty of space to work. The last photo makes me feel even more satisfied than the second completely clean surface. To me it’s inviting and organized, and makes me want to sit there for a while and make some art, which is exactly what I was after!

What do you prefer for your workspace? A totally clean surface so you can focus on your task? A few knick-knacks to keep you company? Or the more chaos the better?