Friday, October 4, 2013

What Would Guy Do

I am really digging the memes. Mostly because the subject is gracious and amiable about the weirdness of his fans. And because it is easier this way to cheer a friend. So today's less than quick RA meme takes us back to the days of Robin Hood.

It's been a week. We've had a lot of things go wrong at work and a lot of changes. For me, as I said over at the other blog, it is a season of loss. And I've lost again. There are times when you know what is right to do but that doing it is going to cause more problems. So you go with it.

Guy has a lot of those days with the Sherriff. There are times when your plan is to go with it because going against the tide, or orders, and doing what you're supposed to do is actually more hassle than it is worth. So you do what you are told and keep your head down. You know the plan will backfire but no one will listen. So you wait for the fallout. Guy has a lot of those fall out days. Actually, I think that is his job description. More than once though, even Guy, black hearted, soul-less, some would say gut-less Guy just can not stomach one more horrible thing. And his compassion comes out. Of course he covers his compassion with a plausible "save for future use" justification to be "nice". But every time Guy was nice to someone it backfired on him. And this expression sums up the cavalcade of thoughts that run through your head at those times.

I think Guy is one of the most misunderstood characters ever. And as compared to Robin, far more interesting because of it. Especially since there was the reformation and transformation process in the latter part of the third series. His complexity offers more similarity to each viewer than Robin's happy-go-lucky and somewhat superficial characterization in this series. Guy is the dose of reality that this legend has always needed. Sure John was an ass. Richard was non-existent while he was gallivanting across the bloody Judean sand dunes. Robin was maybe not supposed to be a caricature of a local hero, he did have those nightmares to fill in the missing parts of his personal story, but he just isn't like the majority of us. Guy is us. Wee at once hate him and love him for it.

I've never seen such a cock-sure jackass be so convincingly full of self doubt when he gets a few moments alone. It's like being at work. Everyone sees someone who is certain that she knows what is going on. Most of the time I do. Most of those days though it is a convincing ruse. I know the best way to do my job. But I do not know anymore that it should be done that way. I make too many enemies. My outward confidence has been misunderstood, misreported and mistaken for callousness and aloofness. According to some I don't belong there.

And I don't. I know I don't. In my head. Where Guy lives in his head he knows he should be somewhere better than Nottinghamshire. He knows he should be better than the flunky to a whack job like Vaisy. The thing is.... that is in the head. What the heart and the self image knows is completely different. Guy's self image tells him that the mistakes he's made are insurmountable and he deserves to be a flunky because he couldn't be a better step brother to Robin or better son to his parents. What his heart tells him is that even though he still cares about his countrymen and the people in the shire there is very little he can do to change things to make everyone's life better. All three voices will wage war in his head. To make matters worse, Guy is kind of a dork. He is not socially well adjusted because he keeps judging himself. In judging himself he has drawn a veil around him so even if he had decided to go against the Sherriff before Robin came home to be the Hero, he would not believe that anyone would work with him because to him, his past is as fresh to them as it is to himself. In many ways, Guy is stuck being the twelve year old kid who couldn't control his pesky little almost step bother. Classic oldest sibling bullshit.

That is why I like this picture so much. He's reliving every choice and consequence against his intention and finding that he lacks in everything but good intention. I know that look too well. And the only thing that you can do is smile and walk away. This is a lot more pleasant in sentiment than my original meme concept. I had wanted there to be something about fantasizing about what you would do to your enemies.

Oddly enough... that might be more a me thing to do than a Guy thing to do.

Anyway. I hope that this helps my "Guy" friend on her rough days. She is a single mom with two jobs and a chronic non life threatening disease. She is going to have a lot of days where this is going to be the best face to wear.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Being Yourself

I admire a lot of art out there. Some of the sketches I've seen the last few days have awed me. Many of the entries for ARTPrize in Grand Rapids set me back on my heels. Moleskine is running a sketchbook series that I find absolutely astounding. I guess I can not get passed a notebook for writing because I have a hard time thinking of anything worth drawing in them... I save it for the sketch books.

And sometimes I am overwhelmed with the "I Wish I Could_______ Like______ Does." Perhaps that is not a good thought to have. I start doubting the awesomeness of my own stuff. If you are going to sell it you have to think it is awesome. If you don't no one else will. Really though.... I do a very decent job. And there are a lot of things that I like about my own stuff. So I shouldn't let the fact that I love other things diminish what I do. Comparison is not always helpful. Now if you evaluate yourself to see how you are doing day to day or with projects of a similar nature than you are doing something healthy.

Today's digital art is a Birthday Greeting that I can pop across time and space with email. Yes, it is the same style as yesterday. It is also in a color scheme that I am not always comfortable with. And let's face it. It's been 4 years since I have rightly had my hands on my physical art supplies. So I do need to get some of my principles down and remember those art rules that used to come so naturally to me.

This is my style. It is a fact of my life. I could want to be a hundred other artists but I am me. The choices I made with my art lead me to this place. And so it stands to reason that this is who I am as an artist. I am much softer and romantic in art than in life. Which is good because there needs to be a softness to me. I can not be all horns and thorns all the time. I like visual texture and elegance and have very little of it in my daily life. Again... this is me and I need to be me somewhere. It may only be at the easel (physical or digital) but at least I am getting back to being me.

And my art is reflecting me more now than it has in recent years.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


I love the way this watercolor turned out. But I wanted to do more; just didn't know what I wanted to do. With the digital editing process you can play with a lot of ideas without worrying about destroying a painting that can take several days to accomplish. You can also do more than one thing to it.

For example: my stargazer in my signature stamping style
Or I can do a little wishful thinking and turn it into s piece of graffiti that looks chalked or sprayed instead of water colored.
I wish graffiti were as creative as this in our town instead of the
raggedy tags we get when the kiddies think no one is looking.
It doesn't take long at all to alter your own art. And like I said.... you don't worry about ruining it with experimentation.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Making Memes

It's a thing. It is officially a thing... the crafting of a meme, to put words to pictures that might or might not belong together that may or may not get a laugh but is always intended as an homage to a person, place, thing, concept. Grumpy Cat, a.k.a Tardar is the number one meme on the webs. I can not begin to guess who comes second. Who's on first, What's on second. And cue the Doctor's music......

Ear worms used to be comedy sketches as well as music (like the afore-referenced "Who's on First" routine from Abbott & Costello (see "Before our Time" in your parents book of things kids don't understand) That is not a real thing but should be. It used to be if someone was whistling the Andy Griffith theme, you'd catch a snippet and that would make your brain playback the opening credits in your head. You had it to yourself and then that would release a flood of memories from the show. And it happened with any show tune that someone came up with. You had some happy little memories dancing in your head. These days rather than just let the accompanying imagery from an audio memory trigger dance around in our heads, we clip, cut & paste, disassemble and reassemble then photo edit those snippets and post them on the web.

I thought you could only do this with photoshop. And then web pages started hosting editing functions. It is like having your own little Scrapbook fest. Except there aren't 30 women gathered around talking about layouts and inspiring each other. It is you and the music of choice and the only inspiration comes from the other memes you've seen floating around. And I got to thinking, after seeing some very good Sherlock memes lately...

Are memes art? Are they craft?
Some, undoubtedly, are literary to be certain. The word play, more than pun and as sophisticated in logic & humor as a Calvin & Hobbes comic strip qualify as word art. But is it graphic art? Not always. Not unless you are talking about the "Keep______ &"... meme. It has a very strict graphic layout and set up for it's execution. Oh... and that would be meme #2. My personal favorite is the new firefly Keep________& meme. So while literary because it is composed almost entirely of words it is graphic because the words are the thing.

To be sure, I have seen a lot of things that are just slapped together. And then some that are just breath-takingly composed and executed. So I thought I would give it a go using picmonkey.  And this is what I came up with:

obviously the photo credits belong to the original photographer and the
graphics belong to Picmonkey. My only contribution is the composition
 & the wit.
About choices: the memes I like best have photos that reflect the idea of the chosen text. Since it is a question and the question follows a basic "if/then" statement with references to time elapsing I wanted a picture that was "current" as I already had the Edwardian era picture as an end goal. And let's face it, this is my favorite look on him. The expression seems to say: "How thick are you?" or, my most hoped for interpretation of the top photo, we think that Richard has asked a rhetorical question and is waiting for the answer to sink in.

The second photo reflects deep concentration. That rhetorical question is being considered and answered and about 30 nanoseconds after the shutter clicks a mental "D'oh" will register. My hope with this composition is that the elements all blend to lead the viewer through the same thought process I had in trying to answer the question for myself.

The whole thing reminds me of the format that we used to use to make hand stamped cards back in the day. Which is essentially how my scrapbooking style developed. It is similar to ad layouts I've seen recently. And there is not too much to think about. Picmonkey did all the math, and suffered the headaches of trying to figure out what the optimal layout options should be. You just chose based on the number of photos you are working with.

The color scheme is analogous because I wanted something elegant that did not distract from answering the circular question or from such well crafted stills. Not to mention that the focus is more on Richard Armitage than on the humor. Though both were essential in cheering my friend up.

And yes. It did cheer my friend up. It has been submitted to an RA fan site. And I am hoping they will share it with the world. If not.... I share with a handful of my friends around the world and hope some RA fans will find it and enjoy.

And....... I just remembered I have some thoughts in draft that I wanted to share for his birthday last month. Don't feel bad RA, most of my friends didn't get theirs this year either.

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