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New Art and Itchy

July 31, 2009

So there’s a good chance I’m allergic to pine sap or pine needles. Not in the sneezy headachy way. No, I never seem to do anything the usual way. Instead, handling it makes my hands break out in tiny tapicoa-like blisters, especially around my fingertips and on the inside of my fingers. It’s a mild form of eczema, and like eczema it itches like mad. I’ve progressed from the blister stage now to the point where all those little blisters have burst and my fingers and hands are super dry and peeling.

NOT fun when you work with your hands for a living. So I’ve been delaying on my oil painting for a little longer (since the paints and the cleaners tend to dry my skin out worse), and trying to use moisturizer and take breaks away from the Cintiq so the heat doesn’t aggravate it.

That’s probably TMI, but since we’re on the subject of health… it’s one of those things that really suffer when you’re a work from home artist. You’re mainly sedentary since you’re at the computer or the easel or the drafting table for so long, and your posture suffers. Eating … there’s another bad habit. Not eating, actually, I should say. I skip meals when I’m deeply entrenched in a painting, and it’s not till late in the evening when I’m ravenous when the thought of food finally occurs to me. By then I want to eat the computer, I’m so hungry.

Since we’ve had Maggie, our labrador and probably german shepherd puppy, I’ve been getting out of the house more. Today we walked two miles to one of the local parks, met a really sweet boxer boy named Andy who quickly put Maggie in her place. I’m hoping, as the weather turns cooler toward fall and Maggie’s more up to date on her shots and better on the leash, to spend more time going to the local parks (we have a LOT of them around here), and doing some sketching out doors. Maybe even have  chance to sketch some of the softball players practicing, or the kids running around on the playgrounds. Not to mention the gorgeous old gnarled oaks that are all over town.

In the meantime, however, you’re just going to have to suffer with two new art pieces. Fiery Ida (above), was my attempt at a more painterly style portrait inspired by the pirate paintings of Howard Pyle. My model is the fantastic MizzDraconia (Ida Walker) over on dA. You can check out her gallery of costumed stock images here and I also worked on this during one of my live Ustream sessions here:

The one below, Lightblind, was my entry for the Drow vs. Illthid challenge on ArtOrder. After seeing some of the other entries I feel a bit meh… but I’m really glad I participated anyway. I love the work I did on the background on this one, and while the lighting could have been better, I’m still pretty happy with it. There are over 400 mushrooms in this painting… in case you’re curious.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2009 11:22 am

    These are both gorgeous. I especially like the first one for both her stance and her clothing. How long did each project take to illustrate?

    Sorry about your hands. That’s a nasty allergy to have, and it’s only affecting your hands? My youngest child has had eczema since she was a baby, and it’s a constant struggle to keep it under control. Unscented laundry detergents and soaps are a godsend.

    • mercuralis permalink
      August 6, 2009 10:38 am

      Yep, only my hands… and a little on my feet and ankles if I wear sandals and walk in the grass. It’s *very* mild… I did some searching online and it’s like the mildest form you can have. Turns out my grandmother (who was a florist) had it too, and would get breakouts from some of the things she had to work with. My aunt has a much more extreme case of it, so I guess it’s genetic. I’m very glad I only have the mild form. I remember getting it when I was a kid, usually after handling pine needles on the playground.

      You first question though: The drow painting took some hardcore painting time, most of about two weeks. The portrait only took about two days, but I work faster when I’m working directly from a single photo.

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