Saturday, 31 May 2008

SitePoint free Photoshop ebook

If anyone is interested, SitePoint are giving away a free photoshop ebook for a few days (The Photoshop Anthology: 101 Web Design Tips, Tricks & Techniques ). It's geared towards web design elements, but a few people might find it interesting. You don't have to sign up for anything however it will email you to send you the direct links. They regularly provide sample chapters of books and have some really good articles on web development.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Creatively Diverse: Costume & Garb making

The last few months have been fairly quiet on the art front. I haven't disappeared completely, but the painting has definitely been on the back burner as I work 9-15hour days in the day job. But despite of a lack of interest in painting (i.e. I'm not painting every spare minute), I've discovered some new creative outlets that are helping to re-invigorate my love of art.

Each week I trundle off to my SCA - Society for Creative Anachronism meetings (a medieval recreation group) , where we learn about life in the past. We explore how people lived during the medieval to 1600 AD time period, learning about weaponry and fighting, clothing, arts, sciences, history and a host of related skills. One of the skills I have been learning is clothes making (we don't do costuming - we make clothes). Now I am a little domestically challenged - probably more from laziness than any real lack of co-ordination, but medieval tailoring can be as simple or as complex as you make it.

So what can you learn from costume/ garb/ clothes making and how does this help the art?
  • You have a greater understanding of costumes so when you go to paint or sketch a costume, because you know how it is constructed, you can work out how it's going to sit, look and feel. It also makes you obsess over historical paintings, looking at seams, linings and blackwork!
  • You increase your dexterity. Hand-sewing and embroidery require precision, repetition and patience.
  • You learn about patterns and motifs - not just costume patterns, but embroidery patterns, fabric patterns, printing blocks, culture and time period specific motifs, colour symbology and a great range of visual references that you can incorporate into your art
  • Costumes can be used for reference shoots (maybe you can claim them as business expenses)
  • Hand sewing/ embroidery/ knitting can be very soothing tasks (when you're not having to unpick!) So you have an added bonus of relaxation
  • Sewing groups can give you social opportunities. It's fun to sit with a group of ladies (and men on occasion) and chat about anything and everything while being creative
  • You get exposed to some magnificent artwork as you go trawling through reference sites on particular time periods and clothing pieces
  • You learn about natural dyes and pigments that can also be used for painting
  • it's still using your creative muscles
  • it gives you a sense of accomplishment wearing something you've created
Essentially what I am trying to say is when your time is scarce and you just don't feel like picking up a paintbrush, there are many other creative outlets that you can explore. There's no need to feel guilty because you aren't painting, rather you should be exploring as many different creative outlets as you can. Not only can it give your creativity a boost, it can also be a chance to make new friends, relax and recharge the batteries.