Bye Bye Box

This summer I did a “reboot” for my brain.   My mind had been bombarded for years with poison darts and digs to my spirit. Since my brain has been boosted, I’m ready to embark on a sensory safari, prepare to launch, my long-lasting legacy – by offering my expertise in creativity, observation, insight, and idea implementation.

 

Many people fit in the box. Some people feel boxed-in.

A few people think outside-the-box.

I think about boxes. I build boxes. I certainly don’t “fit in” the box. Are you aware of my previous boxes? Did you notice my new business boxes?

What will I create as my future un-box?

Creative Coaching Company

Would you like to go outside your “inner-box” and discover the life you were designed to live?

  AsB

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Time and Talent

This is an article written in 2010 for a writers blog.

 

How to Succeed as an Illustrator Without Really Trying

(and Other Misperceptions)

Talented Tabby Cover

by Martha Pineno

Choosing to be an artist was a decision, not a dream. I wasn’t born with drawing and painting ability. There’s NO talent here, just a decision based on interest and the guidance and support of my parents. My first interest in art came late in Junior High. Art classes in High School and summer art camps gave me the skills requisite for an art career.

I first trained to be an art teacher. Four years, two summers of art study in college gave me that opportunity. I’m a late blooming illustrator. But I believe my years as an elementary art instructor gave me insight into how young persons’ minds work and what would get the picture across. I needed to motivate children to learn new concepts with stimulating projects both in medium and idea.

When starting an illustration project

Where do I start? For accuracy, I ask the author what she prefers. Then do visual research. People have pre-conceived ideas about what something may be. For example, given the task to paint a dog one conjures up at least a dozen images of various breeds. So the image needs to be narrowed to one concept. Then elaboration can begin.

Doodle on scratch paper. Create thumbnail sketches. Ideas don’t just pop and picture themselves on paper. Read the text, letting an idea emerge into a cartoon type image. Then start sequencing. Put the ideas in order to match the script. If working with an author who is receptive to ideas, one might even suggest simpler text, easier to illustrate in a more active manner.

Inspiration?

Ideas are everywhere. Observe. Research online. I actually have to shut off my creative mind in order to get daily tasks completed. I constantly look forward to future projects, trying to find ways to fit illustrating into 24-hour days.

What keeps me motivated?

I’m self-motivated, but being paid for a project gives me extra energy. I’m also concerned about pleasing persons for whom I’m illustrating. I need verification they’re content with my work. I never assume all my work is great. Small suggestions for improvement are welcome but I become annoyed if something requires repainting mostly because of the additional time it will take to correct. However, being somewhat a perfectionist, getting things just right takes precedence over my feelings.

My favorite illustrated book?

Talented Tabby because it focused on one character, Leo. I had more time to complete it and fewer distractions.

LeoTwistee1 LeoTwistee2

Second favorite?

The Coffee Connection, a compilation of my designs and paintings created over a 25-year span. I find hand-done illustrating more satisfying than computer art.

2010CCcoverSmall

Medium choice?

Watercolor, acrylics, oils, pen & ink, cut paper, photography. Sometimes the illustrating process is determined by the medium. In general watercolor has a soft, fluid, spontaneous look. For an Early Reader my first illustrated book (watercolor) appeared delicate. Adding ink enhanced detail. Varying medium makes subsequent books unique beyond just text.

What inspires my illustrations?

Characters. But story determines background. Photos help with characters and accuracy in motion. I often combine several photos to create one illustrated page.

Lifeless illustrations?

Not mine! Paint’s naturally intrinsic motion by the brush lends flowing attention to detail. My years of painting, particularly people and animals, serve me well.

Challenges and Suggestions?

Designing entire books. Planning page turns. Blocks around art? Word placement? Title and Signing pages? Page number to meet publishing/printing costs? To stimulate mind pictures early on, divide manuscript into sections. Then focus on one action or detail. Readers can picture the rest. Since each page must relate to previous and next page of story art, illustrating is probably harder than painting complex individual artworks. Working with someone else’s idea can be difficult when it isn’t something you’d choose to paint.

LeoWindowBored

Persistence, Practice, Perseverance

Last month I moved into “middle age” (55). Or is that 40 — 30 — 20?   Who knows what middle age really is?   Doesn’t it depend on the total length of your life?   And who knows what age it is while we’re living it?

I owned and operated several businesses from age 21 – 52. The reactions and questions were not gender or age-blind.   Now that I’m an official “senior citizen”, I have a bit more stigma with my age and experience in the workplace.

I survived the standard social pressures of youth, but decided to make the most of my time to study and pursue a subsequent career by working days/evenings/weekends — my choice.  My dominant career mother and nurturing career father encouraged me. They provided what was necessary for me to learn the skills for my own career.   I had persistence. I practiced. I persevered.

At 55, I am about to embark on a new career.  Some folks lose jobs due to “downsizing”, “economy”, death of an owner, environmental disasters.   I’m starting over, not by choice, but by control and conduct perpetrated by one person and an antiquated legal system.

X vs XY Chromones

X vs XY Chromones

Men Mimic the Muse

Men Mimic the Muse

As a woman with incredible drive, I have more knowledge, stamina, experience than most youth.  I’m anticipating my new career to be an extension of  life experiences from many years developing concepts through creativity and consistent character.

Senior citizen means I’m at the top of my “game” without having to jump through hoops to get results.  Well, that’s what I’m counting on from this month on.

Solace in Sweets

Solace in Sweets

“Becoming a senior citizen should not be a time for sulking or melancholia. You are a survivor otherwise you wouldn’t be celebrating today. Survivors have lots of things to do and full lives in front of them yet. So take a weekend, a day or a few hours and just reflect on the good things that have filled your life to date and then start planning to enjoy tomorrow with joy and gratitude for the chance to be the best senior citizen ever” (source: My Thinking)

My Music Medicine

There were two comments made to me — about me — in the last year that I have been pleased to keep active in my memory:

1. “If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d want to be there with you.”   I knew what my colleague meant by the statement.  She had witnessed my broken aura.  She knew I’d find a way, a solution and anyone in my close proximity would benefit from my instinctive, inventive, inspirational ways to survive.   Another person I told about the complement, totally missed the mark — replying that I’d play my oboe to keep happy.   That’s not at all what the comment was about.

2. When you play oboe, I see a white glow around you.  You bring life to the notes.  This comment was especially impressive.

The Auric Field – Aura is life. It is the energy that animates our physical body. The auric field exists in different layers sometimes referred to as harmonics because of the color fields they emit. Each layer of the auric field is a body just as real and alive as the physical body. Each layer is a mini world with its own sense of purpose. The magic of the auric field is in how these mini worlds intertwine and dance with one another. These layers interconnect with one another determining our experience with our physical reality.”

Treatment Tunes

Musical Resonance

Music Therapy

I currently perform with the Sunbury City Band.  It doesn’t provide income — most of us professional musicians can’t survive on our highly skilled craft.   But band is part of my “music therapy”  — priceless reward of camaraderie.

L-R: Marti, Christina, Deanna, Marvin

L-R: Marti, Christina, Deanna, Marvin

My next therapeutic session will be providing music for others during a Sunday at Six program at All Saints Episcopal Church of Selinsgrove.  Second Sunday at Six (10/13/2013).   My mother (Mariam) will accompany me with piano on four pieces. One selection will be for unaccompanied oboe.

The proposed program is a mix of traditional folk music, standard ballads (instrumental version) and film theme.  Hope to see you there — if you’re in this country or county.

Office of One

Each day brings a new challenge for me as I determine where I will locate my portable office.

1. Will I work in my transitional space in which I was forced to take refuge after my multiple businesses were destroyed?

2. Should I locate a new eating establishment with WIFI and a suitable table for my laptop and papers?

3. Is the weather such that I can explore an outdoor space with a canopy of trees or gazebo?

Image

Of course this is not the typical issues a regular office worker has to deal with.  Many TV shows portray an exaggerated work environment of friendships and personality conflicts.

Lately, I find the best office space for me is OUTSIDE with the unknown ceiling height of the sky.  Research has shown that work spaces and areas with high ceilings are more conducive to creative thinking, productivity and problem solving — yet most companies confine workers to cubicles for fear an employee or student will get distracted.

Today I couldn’t set up in one of my standard locations due to a towering oak tree propelling acorns at rapid intervals — boing, bounce, plop, plunk — either on my papers or head. What I did find was and enchanting surrounding — nicer than the previous location.

ButterflyOffice

I update inventory for my website, write articles for the blog and plan for upcoming music programs and a potential replacement brick & mortar business.  I spend rainy/inclement days inside completing oboe repairs and sketching out new ideas.  Sunny/temperate days give me the greatest joy for work — outside with nature to accomplish the goals of the week.

My only concerns when working outside are rapidly changing temperature (too hot/cold), invasion of spiders, flies, mosquitoes AND rain, wind, darkness, too much light.   (hey, those sound like the same concerns during an outdoor music performance…)

Today, I had two visitors pass through my “office”:   a lady on her afternoon stroll and a stray calico cat on her afternoon prowl.  I sometimes have the pleasure of a ladybug, caterpillar, katydid and squirrels to check on my progress at work.

Katydid

Oh — office hours are ending shortly — the battery on the laptop is 20% power !    I still have time for pad and paper till “lights” dim for the evening shift.


OutdoorOffice

Caterpiller

10-1-2013 007

Dreading Treading

Fitness_Equipment_Gym_Equipment__Commercial_Treadmill_RT-C008[1]

Tonight was a breakthrough in my process of discovering the “joy of fitness.” I was informed that in the early morning, by 6:30 am, the place is full — the fitness center . . . Who in their “right mind” would think of exercising that early in the morning. Oh actually — not any right-minded people — nope, only left-minded people. My first day at the fitness club was completely overwhelming and stimulating — sounds, bodies, TVs, machines everywhere.

The contraptions look daunting. I see an eerie similarity to a Medieval torture device. But no, these are modern engineered machinery to improve human condition and endurance. Go “figure.”

fitness_equipment[1]<
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And by the way, I have to take breaks often to build my brain muscle i.e. — writing a blogpost. Tonight was a new adventure for me. I was sensing a need to try something different and this week I visualized my plan. There it was right beneath me . . . as I tread lightly on the mill. I set the speed to low, held onto the side posts — and flipped around. That was it. My mind slipped into a form of euphoria. I was treading backwards!

Don’t think that’s an easy task for someone — particularly me — who can trip and fall on a flat, dry, non-moving service while not even walking!

Can’t say I’m adept with large motor skills, but this was a breakthrough. I hadn’t been that coordinated since the days of marching band. We were expected to march in tempo, hold an instrument, count, turn on cue — and even walk backwards.

Left - Right - Left - Right

 

Photo Phace Phriends

How do I, a creative spirit, find folks in a town where there are no past connections?

I spent the early part of the day looking at architecture in another area.  I drove back to my temporary town and stopped off for supper in the local pizza shop. My somewhat new assertive courage actually worked out fine today.

BroccoliTomatoHamPizza
(broccoli, ham, tomato, cheese pizza)

I was doing work on my laptop when I looked out into the room where seven young folks congregated after school. They sat around a double table with their beverages (and sandwich) while all proceeded to peer intently into their cell phones.  They were involved in a typical social gathering with comments, jokes, belching, laughing, etc.  A group photo shoot was a predictable event for the gathering with friends.  There doesn’t seem to be enough photos of themselves and/or their friends . . .

I assumed they just took self-portraits, which would be posted on Facebook instantly, or later that evening.  The teens were certainly startled when I popped up from my seat and asked if I could also take a photo of them – but rather – if they’d be willing to be part of a creative photo shoot.     I envisioned a photo of their camera face-photos instead of their actual faces.

My animated energy was spent explaining “my vision.”  At least two in the group seemed to understood what I wanted to do for a photo.  Then one by one — light bulbs began to illuminate in their heads.   “Oh, I get it” one girl was pleased with her sudden insight.
Next, someone would project the image in their head with words to the head next to them until all 7 were “getting it.”  They even began to see the tongue-in-cheek humor in the concept.

The gang gathered around me in the same way my students did when I teach group art lessons.  This time, however, they had to help me with my technology.   First I had to get them to disconnect from the WiFi. There was a huge drain on the connection with all those “smart phones.”

I think our meeting was a magical moment — well, to me, it was.  Will I ever see the goofy gang again?  Not sure.  But if our paths do cross again, we can compare creative tech talk.

PhotoPhaces

Here are my new phound phriends and their photo phaces.

Hey gals/guys, see if you can elaborate on this photo concept and send another version to me.   Most of you in the gang participate in sports.
One of you can contribute to this blog with a creative sports shoot — and hopefully have a “ball” with it.

Thanks for providing a phamiliar pheeling of phamily.

Smile.

You’re on iCygnet Blog.

Charming Community Connection

Discovering charm in small town establishments has become more difficult in the last few years. The expense and multitude of regulations make starting a brick & mortar” business difficult. Surviving beyond start-up is an even more daunting challenge.  I survived and thrived over 20 years in a small town.

I have always been drawn to unique, non-franchise style establishments. I understand the process of start-up, development, advertising, hiring, operating several businesses. A large gap exists between “cookie cutter” franchises and independent operations.
A chart and floor plan for where every item is to be placed — a standard for block stores — keeps employees from feeling connection to their workplace.

This Wednesday, I visited Pizza Phi in Lewisburg, PA. It had the standard look of a town pizza shop. The employees were at their job — pleasant, but there was no phenomenal friendly service.  As a customer, I was also not engaged in the establishment.

PizzaPhi

Burger1

There is a spirit of spontaneity that will never feed my soul when I walk into other establishments.

I will have to build a new place with personality again — someday.

We Experienced the Extraordinary

It was my honor to educate and empower a dozen young people in my art/music studio coffeehouse over a 10-year time span. We all grew in knowledge and understanding of how to relate to the public — and each other. Our work gang was truly a delight — full of energy — creative and dedicated to accomplishing any task.

AngelaMatt_S Cheesecake

My all-time favorite energetic creative volunteer extraordinaire worked around the customer created murals.
She helped transform the space into a tearoom.

DianaSignatureWall TeaTime6

One of the best part of any independent shop is the empowerment an employee experiences because he/she is given the chance to add their creative spirit to the establishment.

The next higher level is the connection with the customer. We had a unique bond of spontaneous energy unable to be duplicated anywhere else.

WindowArt

WindowArt2

These Junior High School students loved the opportunity to decorate the windows on their Half-Days.

VE1cook

Two precocious children grew up in the studio/coffeehouse from age four/six for 5 years.
We had art, music and baking adventures.

BettyViolin

Betty and I met years earlier with her purchase of tubes of paint from Cygnet Studios.  Her first gallery exhibit featuring 70 years of artwork  was a grand event.  My father passed away October 2009, Betty was comforted through his violin the next year.  We lost Betty to Cancer, January 2011.  Her family requested my community coffeehouse for the life celebration — an honor.

JavaJournal2011

The community coffee connection is memorable. These ladies decorated their own “Java Journal” and didn’t even make the mistake of dipping their markers in a coffee cup. Way to go, gals.

GalleryGames

Sitting in the art gallery was inspirational, a huge reason many youth frequented my establishment.  Conewago Coffeehouse was more than just fun and games . . .

PositivePostIts

Spontaneity emerged and manifested itself instantaneously with this post-it project and became a new in-house activity.
We celebrated the joys of life and the sadness of death — together.

conewagocoffe-300x272

Go ahead, ask “what happened to your amazing establishment?”

Evil does exist.   I found out first hand — I looked it in the eyes . . .

Predatory placed and promoted establishments didn’t kill OUR community coffeehouse — though a few DID try with “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.” (Charles Caleb Colton) My community connection was calculatedly destroyed by a duo of “bully-boys” (names omitted for anonymity) then veiled through a twisted legal system.

I bet YOU and I are counting on justice to prevail.   Anyone for a family reunion?

Bookless Library, Artless Gallery, mp3 Opera House

539w[1]

Are we headed to pagless books, bookless libraries, computer classrooms, digital galleries, big screen dance stages, mp3 auditoriums? How do you think the future of the performing, visual artists and writers will change in the future?

Unforseen

11 Nov 2012

by sakshivashist

As days go by 

and scars go dry

There’s still healing to be done

for a somewhere someone

Who was hurt

By decision of others

And steps were taken

Which turn things around

Till peace was nowhere to be found

and yet the conscience

Blamed and flamed

Each day in da agony

Of what happened

And what further could have had

– But no force

Could control a withering heart

Enclosing a despise for all those

Who had laughed 

the whole while

when a soul stood there

Controlling its cries

For solace and

unearthed facts and pictures

Which might prove the

Innocence

Of what happened that day

And what also could have happened if they

Took a step ahead

and miscalculated instead

Costumes, Candy, Creativity

This is a repost of a blogpost from last year.  The only change was with the weather – a dreary drizzly evening – yet the groups of visiting treat seekers was varied and steady.

It seems like a strange tradition to me, but tonight I really enjoyed handing out surprises to all the children who were “drawn” to my house by the porch light. Children and adults have a longstanding interest in playing dress up — wearing costumes. Our Trick or Treat night was rescheduled to Saturday night due to hurricane Sandy’s Frankenstorm. The change was a good move since everyone would have been puddle jumping and slipping around on wet leaves otherwise.

The air was crisp and cool this evening. The sidewalks were darkened through the absence of street lights and limited household participants on the block. A porch light is the symbol for We’re Open For the Event, and I used the word “drawn” above because my chosen treat was a colorful pencil. There was a huge selection of pencil designs: aliens, camouflage, daisies, smiley faces, cars, hearts, dinosaurs. The response from the chilled costumed characters was favorable, each reaching into the basket and digging through the assortment till he or she found the perfect pencil.

1243649910qasuEqS

The children were very gracious about the gift. They used good manners to say “Thank-you”, then ran back to their parent to proudly report “I got a pencil!”

One little fella asked “Are you a teacher?” “Yes” I said. “I teach people to draw.” “What will you draw with your pencil?” I asked. Nearly every child had something that popped into their mind that they would draw when they returned home. A few children proudly announced “I’m going to use my new pencil in school.”

 

Sometimes it’s the unexpected things that make a day stand out among the passing of the week. My happy highlight was Halloween this week.

This year the most special treat for the night was a mini paint set:

MiniPaintSet

What was your happy highlight this week?
Drop a line and let me know.
Thanks, mARTi

Winged Wonders

Ever since I was young, I was fascinated by wildlife, particularly birds.  I was mostly familiar with backyard birds: robin, grackle, mockingbird, sparrow, finch, oriole.  Occassionally, I would set up a small tape recorder to capture the sounds. My favorite bird was the mockingbird because it was so adept with making musical imitations. I could spot it anywhere by sound, then locate in the tree or on the wire where it perched.

northern mockingbird

The mockingbird is one of the most observed species of backyard birds in the northeast where I reside and my favorite made-into-movie books is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  The flutist in my wind/string trio named her music studio Mockingbird Studio.  Teresa also works with rehabilitation of wild birds — pretty cool how we met later in life, performed music together.  We recorded our first cd Silver Swan which has a composition Passenger Pigeon. 

To_Kill_a_Mockingbird

At some point in my science studies, I was introduced to endangered and extinct species.   I read about passenger pigeons  and their amazing ability to travel for miles and relocate their original location in order to deliver communication. The were killed into extinction by humans.

I came across an article online about a carrier pigeon that was responsible for saving the lives of thousands of soldiers in Europe.

Over the years I lost my edge of knowledge about backyard birds but decided to name the art and music studio I founded after a majestic bird.  Instead of using the adult bird name of Swan (though easier to spell), I chose the baby swan Cygnet. You can read about the history of the swan and the story of cygnets when you go to the home page on iCygnet.com.  Nearly one year has passed since my amazing company was extinguished — put into extinction by hateful human abuse and terror tactics.

 

This blog began July 2012 as a means to reflect and rebuild for the future.   My new eCygnet eCommerce website, blog and Twitter accounts provide information and products linking the arts world globally.   iCygnet blog and Twitter explore ideas and places in addition to providing information for help and hope for individuals who may have been wounded in spirit through bullying and abuse.

Color Scales – Part 3

Painting with Color Scales
by Joey Howell (c) 2007

One way I narrow the choice down is simply to decide whether my painting will be warm or cool. A southwest desert landscape at midday will probably make me think of a warm or hot color, like yellow-orange; if I were painting a human figure and wanted to convey a down or depressed feeling, I might choose (…wait for it…) blue.

Sometimes I already have a musical sound in mind, with its own scale, or more correctly, its own mode (see below). If I have a particular mode in mind and one or more colors that I want to include, then the mental exercise of finding a color-mode satisfying all the requirements can be quite challenging. For example, say I want a major color scale with both red and red-violet in it. Well, there are only two choices: red major and blue-green major.

Sometimes the answer to the question, “What key should I use?” is rather less analytic and more subjective. You choose the key that you like at that particular moment, for whatever particular reason you have. Sure, I let my brain do a little work on the problem, because that’s fun and can be helpful, but sometimes, in the end, it’s my heart, or my gut, that decides, or some other internal “craving” for one color or another.

How do you actually use a color-scale in a painting? Here is an easy example. Without thinking about it too much, I choose a color. Say, blue-green. This is my root color. Now I write down the colors of the blue-green major scale using the formula above: blue-green, blue-violet, red-violet, red, orange, yellow, green. Then I create a 4-color chord, á la the description of triads above, except extended by one note. The resulting chord is blue-green, red-violet, orange, green. Borrowing from music nomenclature, I name this chord Blue-green Major7. Now I can create an abstract painting depicting this color-chord. I take each color of chord in turn and apply it to the canvas, a splash of thin wash here, a bold slash there, generally letting the each color dry before applying the next color. I try to emphasize the root color, blue-green in this case, perhaps by using large blotches of saturated color. At the same time, I try to balance all the colors, just as I would try to balance the notes of a guitar chord, so each is distinct, but not overpowering. Sometimes it takes a few rounds of applying the colors, but the result can be a very cool-looking, simple idea.

A slightly more elaborate example is using a color-scale for a figure painting or still life. For a nude figure, I would use the different chords from the scale harmonization for different elements of the figure. I might use the 3- or 4-note chord based on the root note of the scale for the face, the chord built from the 2th note of my scale for an arm, and the chord built on the 5th note for a leg. So using the scale of blue-green major as the example, the face would be blue-green, red-violet, orange, green. The arm would be blue-violet, red, yellow, blue-green. The leg would be orange, green, blue-violet, red. The bump and hollow riff is extremely useful in drawing nude figures or animals, so I always look for these shapes in my models and feature them in the painting, like in the upper arm or knee. Applying the first element of Synchromism, I would try to depict advancing planes in warm colors and receding planes in cool colors. So if the face is looking out at the observer, I might use orange for the nose, because it sticks out, red-violet under the eyes and blue-green for the sides of the cheeks.

So why use color scales in the first place? Unless one is interested in music as well as painting, there may be no good reason. For me, it gives a way to use my knowledge of musical scales as an analog to understanding color. By mapping my knowledge of music notes onto the color wheel, I have a better handle on the relationships between colors, how to flow smoothly from one set of colors to  another in a painting. I use my musical sense to tell me when I should abandon my scale and “go outside”, when and how to create tension/release. Also, by limiting myself to the colors of my chosen scale, I free myself to be expressive in other ways. Most importantly, I can use my ability to generate musical ideas to suggest corresponding color ideas to try.

It is important to point out that the use of color scales is just a tool. I spend a lot of time thinking about music scales, but when I am actually playing music, I am not thinking about the key and scale I am in; I’m just playing, but my knowledge and experience of scales influences how I play. In the same way, when I am painting, I am not thinking about my color scale, I just have those colors on my palette and no others (except white). I am therefore freer to explore other variables.

Is there really any connection at all between the 12 colors of the wheel and the 12 musical notes, or indeed between musical and visual arts whatsoever? It’s debatable. There are lots of differences in the way we perceive and understand pitch and color, and in the way they affect our emotions. In my heart, I feel such a connection exists, and that color scales are a great way for me to start exploring it.