Sunday, 29 August 2010

A New Series and Gibberish Baby Talk

Omens and Endurance

Finally, I am writing my last sentence in the Geisha's diary and tucking her in for a temporary slumber. It's been such a rich and nourishing journey for my now somewhat fuller mind. All the knowledge and cultural experience were extraordinary, although I'm sure that I had just barely touched the surface. But who knows? The Geisha might one day reawaken into another transformation. Only time will tell.

So here I am, closing one page of a diary and turning another leaf of a journal. Omens and Endurance is also the first piece of a newly brewing series, Sweet Delights of Misconceptions. It is a series that has been storming in my head for the last couple of weeks under constant consumption of caffeine and a few aspirins (only when desperately needed, of course). Something that I have been putting off to do for so long, after succumbing to my poor time management and my stubbornness to always do things that appear more important than they seemed. Sounds familiar? :)

Anyway, if you've noticed, I have recently been plunging into vaguely known territory of digital painting in Photoshop. My minimum skill and experience in this medium, stored in the bleak memory of my college years,  is by far the biggest challenge. But hey! if I could bear two children for 9 months each, then it could mean nothing, right? Well, all I have now is a sore arm, stiff back and a blurry vision (the aspirins took care of some others). So I think I'm still good to go.

And to answer the questions many of you asked about this alien medium I've been using, here are a few peeks into my very amateurish attempts...

I started with a black and white graphite drawing which was done with softer and more detailed shadings. After scanning it in high resolution, I began 'painting' one color per layer as I would when painting in oil. Yes, it needs precision and definitely a lot of patience as I had to use just the right tones to achieve the smoothness I wanted.

Experimenting with the layers was the the next big step. At first all those effect names came only as gibberish to me. I even thought "multiply" literally meant that I would end up with a dozen different layers and "color burn" would allow me to see the layers turned into something singed and black. Silly old me. :)

Then after carefully painting the whole drawing, I began tampering with the textures with some surfaces I had prepared beforehand. A few crease here, a little smudge there with pastels, and I ended up with a texture template like this one. Of course, many of you are probably a lot more creative than I am, so by all means, throw in some paints or anything else you have in mind.I won't go too deep with all the steps of mixing the template with the painted piece, because all I did was 'plunged and dived'. The only key is to try out everything more than once.

So like a child with a new toy, I discovered that Photoshop is a haven of layers and effects. It's fun to try different things, singularly or by mixing them up. I know, I know, this whole step-by-step description probably sounds like 'baby talk' to most of you super experienced digital artists. But, I am, without a doubt, just a baby in this medium. But babies will walk and run someday, don't you agree? So if you're like me and have been putting off to create art digitally, maybe it's about time you dipped your little finger in and just see how the water suits you.

Believe me, you won't lose your touch with the traditional skills you already have, but you'll find them more enhanced than before.

Have fun!
Amalia oxx

Monday, 23 August 2010

Resurrection (IF - Atmosphere)

I have awakened, soaring from death, my dreamless slumber.

What can I say? My fascination and utterly bewildering attachment to these exotic images are proving to be quite a blissful catastrophe up there in my head. I see them with my eyes widely opened throughout the day, and even more so as I close them at night. Strangely enough, I see each beginning transforming from a single line and shaping into a vivid imagery even before I put the tip of my pencil onto paper. Quite exhausting, don't you think? I feel like being in a rush and running in a race with only myself as competitor.

Though I have no idea where this intoxicating drive is taking me, I know I am enjoying the thrill of the unknown, daring me to unfold and push myself just a bit closer to the edge. So please bear with me and wish me a little luck on my expedition into the depth of my own curiosity!


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Dusk at Dawn (IF - Star Gazing)

tilt your head up, star catcher
plunge yourself high, far and beyond
for fear and comfort are here
whenever dusk retreats at dawn

~ A.K ~

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Dancing Child (IF -Caged)

small graceful steps, 
tracing the shadows of light
a face as white as snow
lips as crimson as blood

elegantly bewitching
graciously captivating
bright as daylight
solemn as the night 

~ A.K ~

Writing history along its path, the life of a Geisha is one unlike any fairy tale. It is beautiful and elegant. Eerie and sad. Retold more than a million times, yet misunderstood twice as many. Although history shows how much beauty these women artists present from their skills of entertaining, it is still a hard known fact that Geisha are haunted by the dark misconception the world has upon them.

Evolving from the world of prostitution during the Edo period, Geisha began a new leaf in life as professionally trained artists, skillful in music, dancing, poetry and the art of entertaining. They were taught to act as the best of hostesses, engaging in friendly conversations with male clients and sometimes flirting in playful innuendos, although none was to be expected beyond that. These were the things that true Geisha did. It was their life, their identity.

The false assumption of Geisha being connected to prostitution started during the Allied Occupation of Japan, when prostitutes dressed as Geisha and offered sexual services to Americans stationed in the country. Sadly, the misconception grew and continued to the modern days, leaving a dark stain on the faces of these women.

However, as no flawless face ever walked on earth, the Geisha world was also known by its tradition of "Mizuage", a ceremony that was performed at the coming of age of a "Maiko" (apprentice geisha), when she was considered ready to turn as a full pledged Geisha. Sadly, this ceremony involved the practice of exchanging the Maiko's virginity for a large sum of money from a sponsor who gave the highest bid. It was a practice that was not considered as prostitution by Geisha, but a large flaw in the eyes of the world, and outlawed in 1959.

So as history told itself, a Maiko, literally known as "dancing child", lived willingly inside her golden cage, just as Geisha grace the world of art in their cage of misconception until this very day.

If you're still interested to read more, by all means, visit this site or find out about the life of today's modern Maiko on this blog. Have fun! :) 

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Topic Remains Open

First of all, I'd like to thank each and everyone who has commented on my last post. It was quite an ugly thing to discuss, but crucial, nevertheless.

I realize that at the beginning as I started watermarking my work, all I wanted was to 'protect' them from being taken and used without permission. However, after further observation and having the art of vandalism being 'demonstrated' to me so boldly a few days ago, I have seen a new light in the purpose of watermarking. It may only act as a veil-like shield for our work, but with no doubt works effectively as our 'claim' on them. Our name, written on each piece of art that we publish will function as a label, an information of the rightful creator and owner of the art. Thus, being spread widely throughout the internet, people who view them would automatically have this information stored in their memory. It's quite certain how the work of one artist with just one group of friends could be recognized in that particular group. So could you imagine if the artist had more than one group of friends? The label will be recognized in an interconnected chain link of people throughout the world. Frankly, with this in mind I could let out a tiny breath of relief.

So this is not a lost battle. My voice may be small, but I will not falter or surrender quietly into the night that easily. Yes, the topic will remain open for I suspect to be quite a long period of time. So please, lets look out for each other, as I will look out for you. Just as wolves do in their pack.

I must also point out that every human being has their own spatial rights. With our mind working differently from each other, I'm certain that we all want just a little bit of respect from one another. So friends, artists especially, lets always remember that permission comes before borrowing, not after. No matter how strongly you need to prove your point and especially if you plan to tamper with it. Of all people, we should know that better than anyone, don't you think so?

All in all, again, my deepest gratitude for sharing your brilliant thoughts on each of my posts. My perspectives on things are widened because of people like you, and I'm more than grateful for that.

All my best,

Monday, 2 August 2010

Pirates and Pickpockets Prevention 101

Image Theft. Ugh. Not a very tasty thing to digest, I'm afraid. It's something that I was taught during college years (by brainwashing and subconscious tampering) to fight against and prevent at all cause. A strange kind of education, especially if what you want to do is to share your work to all human kinds through the internet, where pirates sail the oceans and pickpockets roam the streets.

So shrugging this off, at the beginning I started publishing my work with only minimum protection. None of those huge watermarks covering almost the entire area of the work, no flash animation implemented to cunningly prevent the images from being nicked, or even the innovative yet annoying 'no-right-clicking'. Which for people such as myself is like second nature, considering you can navigate through the pages by doing that.

Then came the day when I saw my own work used, by... lets say a hamster. Published without notification or even permission, and for personal profit use, I might add. Funnily, I felt the strangest kind of feeling. Like having a flock of my own hair cut off and taken away without asking. Exaggerating, am I? Well, I'm just trying to be honest. So after seeing yet another one of my work used by a much larger hamster, I decided that maybe I should just give a stronger protection to my work, not because I felt overly protective about them, but because I think that there's a lesson to be taught here.


No matter how subtle. No matter how discreet. Besides, I would've given the permission anyway, if only they had asked.

So now comes the part where I need your help, all of you wonderful and generous kind of hamsters. I was asked by an observant blogger friend if I could somehow find a way to minimize the signature watermarks that I use on all of my work. Why? Because apparently it's getting in the way of the viewing and probably  annoying to some people's eyes? Well, since inputs mean a lot to me, I've decided to come up with a couple of options. Ones that I could still use to teach those pirates and pickpockets not to go home full handed, whether for them to use as a whole artwork or even partial by cropping.

Now, which of these do you think works best? (Please click away if you need to...)

Again, thank you so much for reading this. I realize some people may feel that image theft on the internet is something which is inevitable, especially for those working in the art area. But I don't think I could ever just watch or even walk off while someone takes away something of mine without permission.

Ask. It's all they need to do.

Amalia oxx

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Sweet Delirium (IF - Artificial)

All right, I'll admit it. I am a hopeless romantic. And by that, I mean 'utterly hopeless'. To me, the feeling of finding love romantically is like discovering a new land. Boundless and full of excitement. How can it not be? When your head spins and blood rushes as your brain releases 'pleasurable' chemicals to take over your whole body completely? When the urge to smile and sigh lives strongly in you like an alien form, even when nothing else was working out in your life? It's quite obvious. Love is like a drug, and we lose ourselves willingly inside it.

Unfortunately, every good romance has its dark skies. If you could find love, you could always lose it. When you give it to someone, you may not receive the same in return. Alas, your heart becomes a playground and not all games have their share of fun at the end. But just like a drug, love's pleasure is a permanent resident inside your brain, ready and waiting for the next chapter of discovery. Which, to no surprise that some people may say, only 'fools' fall in love. Blind, nonsensical and silly as they are. Rightfully deserving of the painful jabs and kicks clobbering them out of their wits. Their only heart, black and blue, sadly with no supply of artificial hearts to help them through.

I was one of these fools. Blind, nonsensical and silly that I was. Always eager to find love, always excited to embrace it. I've tasted the joy, the bliss, the tears and the yearning. All mixed in together in a bowl of bright red bitter sweet punch. Though amazingly enough, it never stopped me to open the door for love. Again, and again, and again. So much for self inflicted pain,some may say. But it didn't matter to me, because despite of the pain, I was happy as I could ever be.

And now, older and hopefully wiser, with love safely harbored and mounted, I still think that there has never been a greater drug to man than the overwhelming feeling of being in love.

Sweet Delirium is inspired by my beloved and talented sister, Mita, whose art is like a charm filled with the magic of love. Both yearned and longed for.


PS: Anana, proud is one heck of a feeling to bear. That's how I always feel when I see your art. 
Ok, kapan nih makan baso bareng??? :))