ellenmillion: (Default)
Have you missed some of my creative updates over the last month? I'm doing monthly roundups to try to keep some sense in the chaos!

April started late - I spent the first several weeks doing a whirlwind grandparent tour of three different states. I attempted #faepril, but burned out after 7 or eight of them, and wasn't particularly happy with any of them. I was also working ridiculous hard on exclusive work that I won't be able to show off until July (except to Patreon patrons!), so it was a brief month from the outside...

Artwork:

My big release was this painting, for 78Tarot:


I also did three rough sketches for Sketch Fest #86: http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/sketchfest/sketchfestartist.php?id=9&date=86
All of them were for my failed #faepril attempt, none of them were very polished!

Posted at Torn World:


And at Portrait Adoption:



Writing:

A poem for subscribers at Torn World: http://www.tornworld.net/storypageview.php?id=614

Almost no not-a-book writing.


Other:

Livejournal's insistence on adding advertising for visitors (despite my paid account!) was the final nail in that coffin, and I imported my journal to Dreamwidth, which is where my primary blogging now is.

I had a cold for a few weeks of the month. When I went to the doctor, they said 'walking pnemonia?' I said PLBT! and refused to get xrays, and was better then next week.

Favorite photo, Me and Guppy with a GIANT plastic cow: http://hotlink.ellenmilliongraphics.com/ellen/baby/IMG_8554-withagiantcow.JPG
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
Today, I feel like SuperMom. I got the preschool literacy bags washed, sorted, restocked, and relabeled over spring break, and delivered them back to the school this morning. They looked awesome. The teacher told me that hadn't been done that thoroughly in eight years.

I also have programming successes to report - the Torn World overhaul is basically done. Minor pages still need updates, but they are all Small Stuff compared to what has gone before. And I got the Muse Fusion page all coded up and ready to release, too. In time for Muse Fusion today! Horrah!

Come leave prompts for writers and artists: https://www.tornworld.net/musefusion.php

The predecessor of Sketch Fest, this is a prompted creative jam. Leave prompts, or ask questions, and you'll be surprised what you might get back.

Also, have some artwork:



Now I'm off to wash dishes and get ready for bellydance!
ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
I have been working away at the NDA project, and I'm up to 19 on #inktobers, so that's still looking possible! I've been writing just a few words a day, so the not-a-book is crawling, but I'm counting it as progress. And I've been squeezing in a few ornaments, since my only big show of the season is in two weeks.


I did this one based on one of my favorite #junicorn cards from this summer.

And I had so much fun painting skeletons that I did this one:



Four of these are mine. I keep thinking R2D2 ought to be easy and fun and recognizable, but it's just a lot more work than it's worth and really hard to keep mechanical enough. I think natural things are a lot easier!

Guppy has informed me that she will stop growing when she's eight.

I told her I was still growing and I was forty, and she informed me that I'm not still growing, I'm just getting more numbers.

Okay then.

Also! There is another event I just added to my last entry - on Sunday the 30th, I will be at Sipping Streams doing another coloring party! This will be so much fun - there will be tea, and amazing food, a fabulous face painter, free coloring pages, and the use of my high end coloring tools. Come enjoy!!

To project work now! I'd love to get to the final approvals stage of this portion by the end of the month. That means knuckling down.
ellenmillion: (dotaddict)
I am quite good at a wide range of things, and it would be easy to rest on those laurels. I would even go so far as to say I have mad skillz in a few select places, and it is tempting to stay in my places of ease, to do more of what I do well only, to surround myself with yes-men, and attempt to be the best in my circle of acquaintances. I'd probably feel better about myself and my abilities.

Instead, I nurture the company of people who are better than I am, at many things, and I challenge my comfort zones at every opportunity. It's not enough to do the same things I've mastered, I feel.

One of those things I continue to force myself to do is take painting classes.

I am not a good painter. I have moments of adequacy at best. Traditional watercolor is the worst of those, being the exact opposite of the way I work. It's so... messy and imprecise and the people who do it well seem to revel in the way you can't always control it. I am used to doing detailed, refined sketches that are liberal with erasing and editing. I do my work in teeny pens and fine points, and I'm pretty good at making something look like itself and adding lots of fun detail and stuff.

But watercolor?

I am weepingly terrible at letting it do its thing. I overwork like mad and I am wretched at thinking in negative space. My teachers scold me (kindly) for hard edges and I spend too much time trying to mix just the right color instead of glazing to get it. I don't know what to expect when I touch new paint to a worked surface, because I haven't yet figured out how the paint dries, and I can't predict when it will lift off and when it will glaze over and when it will bloom and when it will drip. And dammit, I painted that thing and it looked perfect and I had a moment of triumph, and then I blinked and all the pigment oozed away like disappearing ink and I had to paint it again five times and none of them were as good as the first time and it all looks messy now.

I recognize that much of my frustration is a matter of practice. But I spent a lot of time this weekend growling and muttering and telling my paints that they aren't behaving and wondering why on earth I am torturing myself like this when I could be just drawing with a pencil and inking. I'm good at that, I like it. I find it relaxing, and it gets me good results. Why would I pay good money for a class and spend good money on supplies and then suffer and sweat over something I don't really plan to pursue with any seriousness?

I'm hoping that it makes me a better artist, that getting out of my familiar ruts will force me to look at things differently, to stretch different muscles. I don't ever expect to be a fine watercolor artist, but I would like to be better than I am, and I'm willing to drag my ego through the mud do do this. I hope that it will bleed over into my other artwork, strengthen the skills I do have, and add some depth to the work I love to do.

I suspect it will take more labor than I am willing to shoehorn into my life before I feel anything more than pathetic at this pursuit, but I'll keep swimming upstream.

Probably the best part of this class? Was getting away to take it. I drove my campervan out to Chena Hot Springs for a long weekend of painting and soaking in the hot pools, and Jake came out the last night to join me. It was lovely, and my classmates were charming, and the teacher was a wealth of knowledge who gave me great grappling hooks to use on this learning curve.

I will be sharing my finished (er, mostly unfinished) work from this class with my Patreon patrons. The rest of you will have to imagine what I did.
ellenmillion: (Number 1 Dog Ribbon)
Yesterday was pretty stressful. Today has been immeasurably better.

Layla came over with crepes and we painted!



The first owl I painted got enough positive feedback that I decided to tackle some more. Plus a turtle, and more tentacles! And also a raven, not pictured, that I'm super happy with. They were fun, and I feel like I'm learning more and more with each one. It is, however, really easy to spend a lot of money on pretty ornaments in all the colors of the rainbow... I hope they sell at the bazaar, or I'm going to fill up the house with them.

In other news, the Kickstarter funded!! Woo hoo! It took about 48 hours, and we have a subscription service! Horrah! I've added a high level reward that includes a print and digital 1-year subscription and a custom piece of artwork by yours truly. I don't offer commissions anymore, so this could be a rare chance to get something special.

A link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1624616265/monthly-fantasy-coloring-books-for-adults

Tonight, I'm going out to dinner and a movie with a friend, and life is good.
ellenmillion: (tremble puny mortals)
Yesterday was an unexpected weekend day, because Jake's calendar said so.

Woe! < /sarcasm >

Productive weekend, if not a lot to show for it - lots of little repairs... we installed a light above the kitchen counter, I fixed the handle on the chest freezer and re-repaired the KitchenAid. Much cleaning, good food, and a long walk for me and Norway. It's colder today - under zero! - so there's a cheerful woodfire in the stove.

I left Rails alone all weekend, though I moped about it whenever I remembered it, and opened it with trepidation again this morning... to find that it's not at ALL as bad as I'd built it up to be in my head. I made a few cosmetic changes, tweaked a few conversations just a little, and decided it worked. Is it perfect? No. But I don't think I got far from the mark I was aiming at, and it's engaging. It's totally set up for a sequel or two, it ties up just exactly what it HAS to, and I think it does the characters justice. Done! Just need to ebook it up and think about Kickstarting a print copy. The next section is up to the public in Railbrakes.

Muse Fusion is this weekend, Sketch Fest is next weekend!

Have some art and photos:



+4 more photos )

And, artwork! +5 )
ellenmillion: (ellenisartist)
Stole some painting time last night.


I shall scan and do a real post of them later - the color in the photo is washed out of the ACEOs in particular, and they are two of my new favorites.

EMG-Zine Retrospective forthcoming. 1000 words (exactly!) into one of the most grievously missing stories for the Rails series and not hating it. Guppy being adorable. I'm going to go play on the floor with her now.

Painting...

Sep. 1st, 2012 09:32 pm
ellenmillion: (elsa's tongue)
Painted yesterday. People may or may not have tried to talk to me while I was doing so, and I think I may have changed a few diapers. Did not end up with too much paint on the baby. This is what I made:



ellenmillion: (ellen with wrench)
I'm pulling out my paints right now - free prompted abstracts are now open!

http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/abstracts2.php

This is a fundraiser for EMG-Zine, which is in danger of being canceled after the June 2012 issue. Free prompts are open during today's window, and there are a variety of prizes and perks to choose from! Tips will get you your original paintings, entries in drawings for copies of our anthology, subscriptions (which come with advertising!), coloring books, larger originals and much more. Don't be shy about leaving prompts without tipping, though - some of the sponsorship options come with extra sponsorships for free prompters. Link back to this project to improve your chances of winning a free sponsorship!

You may comment here with your prompt, but I would prefer you used the form to keep me organized... it collects all kinds of information so I don't have to come back and bug you for it later (like your prize preferences, and your address, so I can send you your sponsorships and prizes!). All information is strictly confidential, and don't worry about duplicating prompts... I like tackling an idea more than once and it's fun seeing how they can vary.

Help EMG-Zine keep publishing awesome non-fiction on the art of the business of fantasy art and writing! Inspire teeny fun paintings! Spread the word!

http://www.ellenmilliongraphics.com/abstracts2.php
ellenmillion: (Default)
Now closed to new free requests! If you tipped, please make sure I have a second prompt for you! If you'd still like a painting, you may get request one (er, two, actually!) only if you tip. This offer is open until the end of tomorrow.

Some background on the project... )

I will take photographs of the pieces in batches today, though scanning will require a few days of drying time, and at the end of the project, I will also take pictures of the nursery, to show you the curtains you helped me fund.




Tip incentives:

  • Tip any amount, and I will absolutely do your prompt, no matter how many requests I get. You may also send your prompt in advance, starting now; you do not need to catch the window of prompts to get yours done, though it will not be posted until Tuesday, with the others. Thanks to folks who have tipped, I will be painting every prompt that comes in during the free window. I may not finish them all today, depending on how many prompts come in, but you will see something created from your prompt!

  • Tip $2 and I will scan a larger image of your piece. You will also receive an icon of your word (or phrase) like these (Thanks to donors, everyone will receive an animated icon!!):



  • Tip $3 and receive the original of your painting in the mail, domestic (US) addresses only.

  • Tip $5 and receive the original of your painting internationally.

  • Tip $10 and you may request a larger painting - up to 5x7 inches, OR your own ACEO and your choice of one of the ACEOs unclaimed within 24 hours by the prompter. You will receive the original(s), domestic or international shipping. I will make you two icons, you may supply the text for the extra one.

  • Tip $20 and you may request a painting up to 9 x 12 inches, OR your own ACEO and your choice of two of the ACEOs unclaimed within 24 hours by the prompter. You will receive the original(s), domestic shipping only. I will make you three icons, with text of your choice, or one animated icon.

  • Tip $25, as above with international shipping.

  • ACEO prints of any of them are available for $1 plus $1 flat shipping fee (domestic or international, any quantity).

  • If I get to $100 total tips, everyone (who gets a painting) will get an icon (whether they tipped or not). - We've made this goal!

  • If I get to $200 total tips, everyone will get a painting, even if it takes me a few extra days. - We've made this goal, too!

  • If we get to $300 total tips, everyone who tipped may get their icons animated (a simple word fade or blinky star). - We're there!

  • If I get to $400 total tips, I will do a second ACEO painting for everyone who tipped. If your original tip got you the original, you will get both originals - We made it!! If you tipped, be sure I have an extra prompt from you!

  • If I get to $500 total tips, I will give everyone who tipped a free ACEO print of their choice in addition to their originals (no matter how much they tipped!). I will also send the original of their ACEO to anyone who links to the project, whether they tip or not.

  • If I get to $600 total tips, everyone who linked to the project will get a second (or third!) ACEO painting, whether they tipped or not.



  • Any amount that we go over what I spend on curtains will be spent on nursery improvements. (Like windowsills, and light fixtures!) You will get photos! Update: curtains and rods have been ordered! Window returns are next on the list, and a full accounting will be posted with the photos.



    You may also mail your tip to:

    Ellen Million Graphics
    PO Box 82851
    Fairbanks Alaska 99708

    Email me to let me know it's coming! You may also spend EMG credits - just let me know!

    You may tip in advance, during the prompt window, or within 24 hours of the posting of the finished painting photos to claim your prompted painting. If you miss the prompt window, you may tip to get a painting until I have finished all of the outstanding paintings!

    If you tipped and are displeased with your finished product (did I use a color you hate? Just doesn't feel as good as the others?), I will do ONE do-over on request, OR you may select from any existing, un-claimed pieces. If you are still horribly unhappy with your painting, I'll refund your money.


    Prompt guidelines:

    The window for free abstracts to your prompts is open now! If I get a manageable number of prompts, I'll leave it open longer. I will be painting something for every prompt that comes in.

    Prompts should be simple ideas, single words, or short phrases. For example:

  • Hope
  • Turbulence
  • Brilliance
  • Dreaming Awake
  • Neverending
  • A green swirl
  • Something red and yellow

    You may add qualifiers (I hate orange, I like softer lines, I like the swirly green piece, the feather piece is my favorite, etc.). More complex and representational things may not translate well to abstract, though I may do very simple things, like:


    Birds

    Also, tell me what you'd like on your icon! (A few words? A phrase? Your username?) I will choose a section of your painting for your icon and give it a very simple animation. (Let me know if you'd prefer un-animated.)

    If you tip, leave a second prompt, because we are close to that incentive! Also, be sure to tell me if you want a larger painting, if you tip $10 or more, or if you want the extra ACEO(s)!

    Previous posts showing some more examples of my abstracts:

    http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1198108.html
    http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1198704.html
    http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1188962.html


    Please spread the word and link to this post! I look forward to painting for you!
  • ellenmillion: (fairysquash)
    As you've probably noticed by now, we're building a nursery! I'm expecting in February, and we're frantically remodeling what used to be my studio into a safe and finished room for our guppy. So far, we've rebuilt some of the walls, rearranged the electricity, built a closet, sheetrocked, mudded, taped and painted, put in a laminate floor (not the one we really wanted - it cost too much!) and carpet in the closet. We're tackling trim next, and I'm looking at curtains... and our budget. I swear, we can't get out of Lowe's or Home Depot without emptying the wallet, even bypassing the fancy and high-end options for everything (1/2 price remnant carpet, yay!), and as often as we've been there over the last two months, it's starting to add up!

    So, the curtain budget is pretty tapped. Why Ellen (I said to myself), why don't you use this as an excuse to try crowd-funding with your abstract paintings?

    Self (I replied), that's a lovely idea.

    I can staple up some second hand rugs over the windows, in a pinch. We don't have anything fancier in our bedroom. But I'd really like some nice curtain rods and blackout curtains that I can pull back easily... I live in the land of the midnight sun, which I imagine will be pretty confusing to a baby we're trying to convince to sleep, so standard curtains won't cut it.

    I'd like to earn these curtains, and paint some abstracts for you!


    Details

    Participation is free! I will paint to prompts for as long as I have energy on Tuesday, August 9, doing tip incentives first, people who helped spread the word next (be sure to tell me if you link to the project!), and first-come, first-served after that. These will be abstract ACEO (2.5 x 3.5 inches) paintings, acrylics on canvas sheet. Some of my favorites are behind this cut here... )

    I will take photographs of the pieces in batches on painting day, though scanning will require a few days of drying time, and at the end of the project, I will also take pictures of the nursery, to show you the curtains you helped me fund.

    Tip incentives:

  • Tip any amount, and I will absolutely do your prompt, no matter how many requests I get. You may also send your prompt in advance, starting now; you do not need to catch the window of prompts to get yours done, though it will not be posted until Tuesday, with the others.

  • Tip $2 and I will scan a larger image of your piece. You will also receive an icon of your word (or phrase) like these:



  • Tip $3 and receive the original of your painting in the mail, domestic (US) addresses only.

  • Tip $5 and receive the original of your painting internationally.

  • Tip $10 and you may request a larger painting - up to 5x7 inches, OR your own ACEO and your choice of one of the ACEOs unclaimed within 24 hours by the prompter. You will receive the original(s), domestic or international shipping. I will make you two icons, you may supply the text for the extra one.

  • Tip $20 and you may request a painting up to 9 x 12 inches, OR your own ACEO and your choice of two of the ACEOs unclaimed within 24 hours by the prompter. You will receive the original(s), domestic shipping only. I will make you three icons, with text of your choice, or one animated icon.

  • Tip $25, as above with international shipping.

  • Prints of any of them are available for $1 plus $1 flat shipping fee (domestic or international, any quantity).

  • If I get to $100 total tips, everyone (who gets a painting) will get an icon (whether they tipped or not). - We've made this goal!

  • If I get to $200 total tips, everyone will get a painting, even if it takes me a few extra days. - We've made this goal, too!

  • If we get to $300 total tips, everyone who tipped may get their icons animated (a simple word fade or blinky star). - We're there!

  • If I get to $400 total tips, I will do a second ACEO painting for everyone who tipped. If your original tip got you the original, you will get both originals - We're a little over $70 to this goal, if you've tipped, feel free to leave a second prompt!

  • If I get to $500 total tips, I will give everyone who tipped a free ACEO print of their choice in addition to their originals (no matter how much they tipped!). I will also send the original of their ACEO to anyone who links to the project, whether they tip or not.



  • Any amount that we go over what I spend on curtains will be spent on nursery improvements. (Like windowsills, and light fixtures!) You will get photos! Update: curtains and rods have been ordered! Window returns are next on the list, and a full accounting will be posted with the photos.



    You may also mail your tip to:

    Ellen Million Graphics
    PO Box 82851
    Fairbanks Alaska 99708

    You may also spend EMG credits - just let me know!

    You may tip in advance, during the prompt window, or within 24 hours of the posting of the finished painting photos to claim your prompted painting.


    Prompt guidelines:

    If you are sending a tip now, you may send me your prompt at any time, either as a comment here, as a private email, or a PM on Facebook, etc. I'm flexible! If you are participating in the free window, you have to wait until Tuesday, August 9th. I will post an entry here at LJ where you may leave your prompt in a comment. I am planning to leave prompts open for about 4 hours, approximately 9 AM - 1 PM Alaska time (1 PM - 5 PM ET). If I get a manageable number of prompts, I'll leave it open longer.

    Prompts should be simple ideas, single words, or short phrases. For example:

  • Hope
  • Turbulence
  • Brilliance
  • Dreaming Awake
  • Neverending
  • A green swirl
  • Something red and yellow

    More complex and representational things may not translate well to abstract, though I may do very simple things, like:


    Birds


    Previous posts showing some more examples of my abstracts:

    http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1198108.html
    http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1198704.html
    http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1188962.html


    Please spread the word and link to this post! I look forward to painting for you and hope you will leave me some prompts!
  • ellenmillion: (Default)

    ACEO - satellite
    (available!
    $1 min - add multiples to pay more if you feel inspired.)


    ACEO - Beams
    (available!
    ;$1 min - add multiples to pay more.)



    ACEO - constellations (reserved)


    Read more... )
    ellenmillion: (thud)
    The world is too full of things I want to do. This weekend (so far), I have done these things:


    This...

    ...became this:


    Wait until I add PLANTS!!

    I also painted these:



    And I ate many delicious things, got a few layers of sunburn, fed many mosquitos and got a year older.
    ellenmillion: (juggle)
    My inbox is down to 85 emails!! *stunned*

    The Torn World anthology proof came in, and the bulk of the first run has been ordered!

    I have a new story up for Sea Monster Month: Tides of Blood and Music. I wrote this earlier this month for Muse Fusion, and I'm really pleased with this one. It is only public until the end of the month, as part of the sea monster celebration, unless it is sponsored for $15. You can send me Torn World or EMG credits (email me for either), and I am accepting partial sponsorships for this one: $1 at a time (add as many to your shopping cart as you'd like)

    It is a sad story, with a hopeful ending, and artists who have struggled with depression may find a familiar spark here... I particularly like that it shows the Empire (which can often be painted in broad brushstrokes as controlling and bureaucratic!) looking out for its own.

    And speaking of brushstrokes... a few more abstracts...


    ACEO - Swishes in Green and White $1 (I've decided to make some of these 'pay as you like!' - add as many quantities to the cart as you feel it's worth and can afford and grab an original aceo for $1 or more! First come, first served!) This one is very textured, and took days to dry. It's very touchable!

    One more available and three more claimed... )

    And a sneak preview of the next batch:



    I'm finding I'm not fond of the way this red paint behaves, and also that I'm lacking a few good colors. It may be time for a paint order. >.>

    Programming now...

    Paintings!

    May. 23rd, 2011 02:41 pm
    ellenmillion: (Kativa2)
    More abstracts have been processed! (...and the last batch is sitting on my floor all packed up and ready to mail!)


    ACEO - "Briar" $8.00

    The others are all claimed! )
    ellenmillion: (thud)
    Woops.

    I had an hour set aside for art, and I decided 'what the heck' and broke out the acrylics. A little over an hour later, I came to, blinking and covered in paint, with 18 little paintings finished. Some of them I'm iffy on, some of them are okay, and some of them, I really, really like. Most of them are very thick (though not all), so it may be a day or two before they dry completely and I can scan them. I had to scrub paint off of my computer desk, and my back hurts because I couldn't stay in my chair to finish them; the light was bouncing off of the wet all wrong. I've got to figure out a better painting posture.

    Oh, and I also managed to get green paint on the cat. She didn't appreciate that.

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