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I promised a while back to tend to the homestead so my mum could escape for a little vacation. The task entails tending to 16 English mastiffs, aka very big dogs. On top of the oozy ladelfuls of drool, it's also been pouring all weekend and Ive spent all day, everyday, running back and forth tending to the pack. My helper, for lack of a better word, also managed to leave the back door (and inner gate) open when two of our alpha dogs were outside and one young male was inside and got out. The older alpha male is very territorial..and by only a stroke of luck (after having just sat down for a 5 minute break to have a cup of joe), I heard the telltale sounds of a fight outside...thank goodness I had my window open otherwise I wouldn't have even heard.

I tend to take for granted how big and powerful these dogs are because I grew up with big dogs (these three are right around 200lbs each).. But you quickly realize their massive strength when you are trying to pull apart a brutal dog fight. For the most part the damage was minimal, despite all the teeth snapping, thrashing and noise they made, but the young inexperienced male walked away with some pretty nasty gashes to his ears..which I managed to patch up (and spending the weekend now cleaning and disinfecting the wounds every few hours..and also put him on antibiotics just in case).

I don't envy my mom's choice of lifestyle. It is a brutal amount of work to balance taking care of all these dogs and giving them the individual attention they need (and it isn't even her day job, as it were!). I'm happy to help give her a break..but goodness, I'll be happy when she is back!

So in anycase, to take my mind off all the crazyness at the homestead, and because I can't get anything substantial done between my duty jaunts, I just figured I'd post some random stuff.

Ive been seeing some friends getting new computers fairly recently and some have posted pics of their new beasties. I also decided to build a new computer, finally, as a christmas gift to myself. My old machine was 4 years old and photoshop was just a giant ball of lag so it was as much a necessity as it was a desire for a new toy. Well I was fairly picky about choosing a case and if I had my way I would just design my own. But I finally found one I absolutely fell in love with for it's clean lines and elegant simplicity. So below I bombard you with pics of my new beastie. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] bagheera for helping bring her to life..

I called her Simoom..and she is fierce as the wind for which she is named )

That is all! Phew, that helped my sanity a bit I think!
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OOOh I never post any deeper machinations here, so why not? I'll give this a go!
So for a topic, how about constructive criticism for the artist? This is a topic I have thought about on off and on, usually after seeing an ill placed/written critique labeled as 'constructive' on someone else's art. Now this may seem obvious to a lot of people, but hopefully gives a few folks out there some food for thought all the same!

First, there are two main points to be made on the nature and place of constructive criticism and here they are.

1.All artists should seek to better themselves:

Alright, well on the surface that assumption seems to make sense. Why not? After all, if you are the sort of artist who is trying to make a name for yourself or carve out a spot in whatever professional industry you desire, then this is just the right philosophy to have if not the most important one to have.

But what if that's not what your art is to you? Perhaps bettering your skills is not your priority when you set out to create. Is there anything inherently wrong with this mentality? No. If your goal of art is merely pure self expression with no other definitive end goal, ie your hobby. Say you already have your dream job and art is your way to unwind and posting it up in a public gallery helps make the whole experience all the more pleasant. I say all the more power to you.

This is just something to keep in mind when you write constructive criticism for someone, or at least it is something I keep in mind. Not all artists are the same, we don't all create with the same goals in mind, so when some folks discourage critique, maybe their reasons are completely benign and they are simply there to share their work.

2. All constructive Criticism is created equally:

This is something I see quite a bit in galleries. Someone will make an attempt at a constructive criticism, and often the delivery method is rather blunt and cold, and the receiving artist will be upset by said critique. The goal of the criticizer is usually with all the best intentions in mind, so of course they feel upset when the receiving artist seems to throw that critique they tried so hard to write back in their face. So they say something along the lines of: "Well if you want to improve, you should learn to hear the plain truth about your art".

Alright, well that has some sound logic to it. Nobody will improve if they are constantly mollycoddled. But does that mean there is only one formula to writing critique and that is "straight to the Achilles heel!" ? In my opinion, no.

But, I should further subdivide things here a bit more. Some people DO thrive from constructive criticism that just tells things straight with no buffer fluff. In those cases, your critique is absolutely constructive, because after all they will utilize the concrit to better the piece. That is the very essence of constructive criticism. But another person may find such a method of delivery disheartening and instead of nudging them to improve the piece, the criticism only makes them shy away. In those cases, your criticism, however well meaning it was, is no longer constructive. The very aim of giving 'concrit', to shorten the terminology, is to help an artist better a piece of work they created.

In short, not all criticism is constructive if it falls on deaf ears, so to speak. And in the end, you are wasting your own valuable time writing these well thought out criticisms when thwey will be shrugged off or leave a sting. I should think it is in your own best interest to take a little care and thought on the best method of delivery so you will actually be heard and your time and effort appreciated.

A blunt edged critique that just points out all the stark negative aspects of a piece without countering it with some good, can make you feel rather small. No one likes the feeling of being talked down at and imo, that's just what a lot of critique feels like. I also like the philosophy of, write only what you would say to the person's face an idea that is often lost when dealing with people as a person protected by the anonymity of the internet. Chances are you would soften the blow a bit if you were speaking to the person face to face, so why not do the same online? Oh I'm not saying make the critique a tower of compliments before placing the criticism in the very tippy top of the radiant tower, but surely there are some good things about the piece you can find to say to show them, 'hey you did good', before telling them 'but this is what would make it better!'

So Let's make a few more points then, after I obviously poopoo'd all those noble hearted concriters ;D!

3. Growing a thicker skin: Hey that ain't easy!

Just as I believe we should be considerate of how we deliver constructive criticism, the flip side of the coin is also learning to accept (or tolerate at least!) constructive criticism, even if it was not delivered in the best of fashions. If you share your work in a public forum, do not expect every comment to be one patting you on the back for your wonderful accomplishment. Even if your goal is not to revolutionize the art world as a whole with your art, not everyone will know that. Just keep in mind that if they took the time to say something in depth, they were likely trying to help you and not knock you down a peg. And if it still bothers you, step away and take a deep breath before commenting back, if commenting back at all. I understand the creative process is a deeply personal one, often interwoven directly with our emotions...but honestly most criticism is not an attack on you or your art.

In other words, both sides should be considerate of each other!

4. Constructive Criticism: That there leg is wonky.

AAhh well here we are at the biggest rub at last. Someone leaves a lovely comment on your work consisting of a few short words. "That leg is wonky!"..and you reply "How is that even helpful?" and they reply "Im giving constructive criticism you snob you cant even take it you should get out of the art world" (punctuation ommitted for effect).

These sorts of comments drive me bonkers, and in my youthful days, my eyes would bulge, teeth gnash and I would ride in valiantly with my counter-comment banner waving! And then I learned my lesson.

Some people simply don't know how to deliver a constructive criticism. So, you ask, what is a good 'constructive criticism' composed of then?!

WELL, let me fill you in. (this is my opinion of course!)

A well thought out politely worded commentary that consists of the following:

a. Things that are solid about a piece, name at least one, it can't be hard and it starts you off on the right foot with the artist. Chances are they are less likely to tune out if you say something good about the piece before jumping straight into the criticism. And for that matter, if you are giving constructive crit, surely you thought that the piece was worthwhile enough in the first place for you to spend your time helping the artist make it even better...so why not name a reason or two that do make it worthwhile?!

b. There's something wrong here: Point out the elements of the piece that could use some improvement. (You may want to start off with only a few criticisms, and if the artist is appreciative of your input, add a few more, and again try to counter it with maybe another strong point of the piece.)

c. Follow that up with suggestions or reasons that those things need work. Telling them the head looks weird does not really give them anything to go on does it?! And if you suggest something that needs work, offer up a suggestion of how they could make it work better. IE: "Maybe if you brought more light into the foreground, the characters would stand out more from the background."

That's really it. Constructive Criticism is a two way road but sometimes people seem to treat it as a one way road. But taking a little time to be considerate of the people going the other way makes for a far more pleasant trip for everyone involved!

~~~~~~~
So I think I will stop there as I'm sure it's already TLDR. I welcome input and a difference of opinion. I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on the matter of constructive crit!

COS-mos

Mar. 22nd, 2010 01:04 am
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COS-mos
Into the whisper of open deep, between the wisp and stalk of light, twisting pulling pushing waning. Wander singing light and weeping dark, clouds of golden immolation reaching into eternal sight. In the cerelean eye, on the horizon's curve, leaning into the deepest embrace.


~~
A musing on space from the glory of earth-scape.
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As some of you may know I've had a helping hand in putting together the Werewolf calendar for the past few years, something I've thoroughly enjoyed and felt humbled to be a part of. But to cut to the quick, both Myenia and I have been discussing trying to involve more of the artist community, because after all we just can't feature every artist out there who has a passion for drawing werewolves. So we are holding a contest for an official feature in the now 4th run of this calendar.

We do strive to make an effort to rotate artists each year and give both new faces and already established werewolf artists a chance to participate in the calendar and share their vision of the werewolf with our audience. This, however, still leaves out a looot of people and we wish for everyone to have a go at this and to share their werewolf passion on a public forum with other werewolf enthusiasts. That is to say all the art will also be featured on the website for everyone to see.

Below is more contest info for anyone interested! )

Thank you to everyone who has supported the project so far, we are happy to be able to bring back the calendar year after year!
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I came Across this anime unintentionally while flipping through tv channels and it simply absorbed me in. The anime 'Memories' is a film that consists of 3 unrelated episodes, each is written and presented in a rather enigmatic format. Of these three Magnetic Rose was my favorite and so I wish to share it with you. (It is divided into 5 parts on youtube) I also rather liked the stylization of Cannon Fodder(the third episode), which would be of particular interest to you folks that like unique art styles!


Part2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVQFLgd8ZSc&feature=related
Part3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVkSDsq2U4w&feature=related
Part4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4sI4oizVcQ&feature=related
Part5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CljGr63NeA&feature=related

And if you are interested in cannon Fodder:
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As promised, posting a tiny snippet of writing whilst holding my breath about doing so! Just a little something about a desert leopardess.

Simoom

mantle of snow kissed cool by moon
silk sable rosettes painted pristinely
eyes of ancient amber
burning through the night
She is present and she is perfect
as the folds in windswept sand
parched of rain
quiet but untamed
and later
hot and burning
beneath the milky snow mantle
and smooth sheet of silk sable rosettes.
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I still lurk on lj, but it seems as time goes on I post less..share less of myself. I think I feel selfish to share myself, my stories in art or words as many others have more interesting stories that ought to be heard before my own.

But maybe this is just a silly way to think. So I wonder..

I occasionally write for myself..usually things I never share with anyone, mostly because I think them cheesy but still deeply personal. I think there is a fragile part of my ego that will always remain. I know it is silly to worry about what others think, but the thought of someone laughing at something that..however silly it may seem to them, still means something to me really bothers me. On the other hand I feel disconnected and distant from things when I don't share my creations. In many ways just the act of sharing is motivation to continue creating. To open up your vulnerability to the world, and imo creations can be just that, is exhilarating in itself. It's like leaping with your eyes closed and not knowing just where you will land..it's exciting. And at the core of the desire to continue creating is a need for this fuel, to stay excited enough to continue creating...well imho anyway.

SO enough rambling, I wish to make an effort to start sharing more again and being less of a recluse. And to the meat of the matter, would anyone be interested or adverse to seeing me post personal writings? Most of these are just short prose I write at random moments but also sometimes short stories.

I miss ya guys, genuinely! The longer I am away the more I realize how much all you folks feed into my drive to create. That does not mean it is your job or obligation to pat me on the back or feed me compliments. Just knowing you stopped by and looked..or read..or even just glanced is more than enough for me.
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originally courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] nimirpard. For all the design geeks, photoshop users and general font enthusiasts....



..entirely too amused by this.
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Just a heads up for anyone who held off ordering a werewolf calendar, the pre-sales will be closing in just under a week. There may be a small number of extra calendars printed for resale after the pre-orders close but in years prior these have gone in a matter of days. So if you would like one for yourself or as a holiday gift to someone special, now is the time to get one!

We are extremely excited by this years edition and the amount of talent packed into the calendar and hope in turn you will too. After all this calendar would not continue on without your wonderful and continuous support! Thank you to all of you that have supported this project or helped spread the word!



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To read more about the calendar visit: Werewolf Calendar website
To purchase your own copy instantly via paypal: Purchase Page

This year's participating artists are:
Balaa, Dark Natasha, Goldenwolf, Khaosdog, Loba North, Myenia, Rayndancer, Synnabar, Therese Larsson, Thornwolf, Vantid, Zakka, Zowolf


to see a sneak peak of what the calendar will look like, click here )

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Won't bore ya guys with a wall of text so will just say some local friends and I (Matt, Jennifer, Scotty and myself) drove to Bandon, Oregon to see the animal Safari there. All I will say it was totally worth driving through the night to get to! Baby leopard and lion petting was the best part of all. Ive never seen baby cubs this close up and I realllly did not want to leave! They also had Binturongs(will post pics later)! I'd never seen one before that!

These pictures are all taken by [livejournal.com profile] nimirpard, just so I am not unjustly taking credit for such lovely shots. I post processed them and now I'd like to share them all with you. The leopard's name was Bentley and he was just the biggest ball of energy and LOVED children (or rather tackling them and clinging to their faces ;D..but all very gently and without ever retracting his claws).

More pictures from the trip may follow, for now have a biased entry featuring primarily Bentley.

Game park Safari 1 )


Thats all for now, back to catching up on stuff. To those waiting on e-mails, I apologize for the delay x__x.
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A good friend, [livejournal.com profile] wicked_sairah, is trying to raise funds for an emergency surgery to save her kitty Todd. This was certainly, as with all animal emergencies, completely out of the blue and she is left between a rock and a hard place. She has, very reluctantly, taken up accepting donations to help her cover the cost of the surgery. If you can spare even the smallest amount her paypal address is: Wicked_creatures@yahoo.com

More info in her journal here: http://wicked-sairah.livejournal.com/367241.html

and copy and pasted from said journal:
"I got a quote from the surgeon.

I need $3,500 by tomorrow for Todd to have emergency surgery to correct the Intussusception in his intestines. We have a couple hundred in our account right now and we won't have any money to spare until close to the end of the month. If I borrow the total from someone who is willing to help, I will pay you back monthly until it is paid in full. We can write a contract if need be.

If you can help by simply donating, please do so.. Todd and I would be very grateful.

Paypal: Wicked_creatures@yahoo.com

I am unable to take on a bunch of commissions right now for this, but if that is what you want, we can talk about it.

Thank you"


Thanks in advance to anyone that takes a moment to read and spare a little. I think most anyone that has had a fluffy, scaley, or feathery companion can identify with this situation all too well. I know I sure can..and it always seems to happen when you are flat broke!
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Firstly just a heads up to anyone that held off ordering the Pinup Portfolio, online sales of the Pin-Up Portfolio will be ending Sunday, September 20th. After that there will likely be a limited number of the folios floating around at conventions, but as each artist was limited to a set number of folio's they could purchase, there probably won't be too many out there. So just giving ya all a headsup in case you missed your chance previously.

ANYWAY, that aside, I'm heading to Rainmurrfest (Rainfurrest) tomorrow and will be dealing there all weekend. I am most likely not taking any commissions at the con unless your idea particularly gets my gears turning {:..but I will have some originals at my table, bunches of lovely matted prints, Endangered Ark decks, Pathfinder decks and bonus goodies,and one more copy of the wildcat card deck. Also other stuff...including some freeeeebies. So if you are gonna be there, stop by and say hi, always a pleasure to meet new people and chat ^_^. I plan to make this a super ultra laid back con and not full of stress and crazy.

ALSOOO on a raaandom tangent, been wondering what YOU folks would like to see me draw more of. More speedpaints? A certain animal? A certain style of art?? Anything is game. I'd like to start trying more and more new stuff.

And just so this entry isn't completely devoid of art. This was done between two computer crashes..I don't know where it came from but I had to get it out of my system:

Serenity
by *balaa on deviantART


***EDIT:...had the date of the pinup folios closing messed up x)
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I guess I shoulda posted this yesterday but I didn't want to announce presales until the whole project crew knew it was a go [:. The Rare2010 Calendar is now open for presales!

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More info on Rare2010 and a new speedpaint :D! )
Thank you, as always for stopping by and having a look!
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Im working on some exciting stuff, well at least one exciting thing, but I can't show you guys D:. So have some other stuff instead :D

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larger versions behind cut! one sorta NSFW due to very mild female nudity )
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Well finally, Werewolf Calendar sales have opened! It seems like a long haul to get to this point this year but as always the journey has been worth it. I hope you can forgive the plug, but I just wanted to announce sales for any of those on my watchlist that may be interested in a calendar!


~~~~~The artists this year are:~~~~~~

Balaa, Dark Natasha, Goldenwolf, Khaosdog, Loba North, Myenia, Rayndancer, Synnabar, Therese Larsson, Thornwolf, Vantid, Zakka, Zowolf



We are absolutely thrilled by the sheer amount of talent we have had join us this year and hope you will be too!

Some details about the calendar
The calendar price is $21 within the continental USand 27$ Worldwide
These prices include shipping.

Calendars will be shrink wrapped and sent with a cardboard insert to prevent damage. Calendars purchased by November 20th, the pre-order cut off date, will go out in the mail at the beginning of December.

The number of limited calendars available after November 20th will not be announced until then, so if you want to ensure that you get one, order before that date!

Calendars are full color, 8.5 x 11 inches, 100 lb gloss cover, 80 lb gloss text inside pages.

If you are interested in purchasing one, please click the banner below for more info, paypal checkout and other payment options!

werewolf calendar

Thank you for your time!











~~~~~~~
Also, thank you for all the supportive comments on my last entry. I was able to get to the bottom of the situation and it is now resolved as far as I'm concerned. I appreciate all your suggestions and kind words!
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I'm really not at all sure why ANYONE would want to do this, but apparently someone just tried to hijack my livejournal. I received a 'lost password' e-mail today, which on it's own I wouldn't find TOO suspicious since it happened once before(although it did make me wonder then too). But then all of a sudden I was booted out of my primary e-mail address and told that the password was changed on that account (the account which the 'lost password' email was sent to). I have NO clue who would do this or for what reasons. I have never given out these passwords to anyone so I do not know how someone could have even guessed them or for what means.

I am posting this primarily just in case this someone does manage to gain control over my accounts again and starts posting suspicious entries or you receive odd e-mails from me... I'm really worried about this and can't fathom why anyone would try to in any way steal my identity. I haven't even used this account to really post anything private as I decided to just use the journal to share art...

Kinda worried now..
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[livejournal.com profile] sekhmet is just starting a new life and moving out on her own with her boy. That's a hard and trying time for anyone and she is working hard to make it work. She does absolutely gorgeous work and is now offering discounted commissions!!

Sekhmet commissions of fantasmicalness!

(comments disabled as if ya have somethin to say, comment on her journal C:. Good luck hon, here's to keepin' good thoughts for you!)
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So I'd hoped to get a bit more sketched over the weekend, but c'est la vie, but a few things is better than none c:

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a pitture for Hida whom has been sending me adorable sweet lil notes on FA for a while. I figure he ate all the other color fruit loops and only left the blue because obviously they are the best.

~rest down below!~  )
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[livejournal.com profile] wicked_sairah's husband just lost his job out of the blue. Both Sarah and Ben are great people whom have always helped me out when needed and they have done the same for many others. Sarah is offering badge commissions to try and keep money coming in while Ben looks for another job and I wanted to help spread the word for her. She does wonderful and unique sculpted badges. If ya want to find out more check her journal at:

http://wicked-sairah.livejournal.com/366065.html

Here's sending some good thoughts her way <3!!
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Ive been working on a buncha other stuff so haven't gotten around to doing too many more fun sketches. But have the ones I have done! Starting with one for Synnabar who is one of the nicest most generous people I have ever been honored to meet. Stop spoiling me you >{.
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(I dunno why but when I looked at her character today I instantly thought of Calcifur from Howl's Moving Castle. I imagine the two of them would get on swell, what with her being a demon with flaming mane/tail. At least thats how I thought Ive seen a few people depict her, forgive me if Im wrong! But they make a cute couple all the same ;P )

one more for Synnabar and a few other stuffs )

Thats all for now, hopefully I shall have more this weekend!
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