Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Version of Queen Victoria Gothic Florin Ring

victoria florin ring - Photograph by Tim Irving

I was delighted with the ring made from an 1875 Queen Victoria, gothic florin. The jeweler "Pasquale", had agreed to paid with another florin (1874), which I put in the mail during the middle of December. Last Monday and totally unexpected I received the ring pictured above.

The jeweler had made the ring using the one I sent as payment, this one retains the original coloring to show the gothic text and decoration in greater detail. There are no problems with the original ring but Pasquale is a perfectionist and wanted to make make a variation of the original. It's fabulous, it retains the gothic feel but looks contemporary.

The last ring I owned was a gift for my 21st birthday, I lost it before my 22nd birthday and haven't wore jewelery since. But I do like this ring with its symbolism and the story behind it. I've sent Pasquale a note of thanks and another florin for his troubles.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

5th Dimension - Paper Cup

Like Amazon reviews, sometimes the user comments on Youtube are more entertaining than the actual video. I'm a big fan of The 5th Dimension and Jimmy Webb whose videos attract some creative comments on Youtube:

"This is the best song about paper cups that I've ever heard!"
"Here inside my paper cup, everything is looking up"
"I must admit it`s in my " paper cup songs " top 5 !!"
"I've heard they really would cut up...tear it up...and cut a rug at those live performances."

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sketchbook Pro for Nexus 7 Tablet

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro

January in England is very dull. So dull that I have to walk the dog by 3pm because by 4pm it's dark and I can't see what I'm treading on, or in. Therefore most of my creative pursuits involving colour are done between 9am and 1pm. However, thanks to Santa I can now draw and paint in colour even in the dark, I have a tablet with SketchBook Pro.

My tablet is a Nexus 7, I use it to check my email and listen to radio stations around the world using tunein. I can store and edit photos as soon as I've taken them using Photoshop Touch, and I watch arts documentaries from the BBC archive, like the one below.

Tove Jansson documentary on BBC iPlayer
I installed SketchBook on Christmas Day, it cost $2.99. I made drawings over the holidays, each one a little quicker and a little more pleasing than the last, then on New Years Day, I happened to see a review of SketchBook Pro on "PC Advisor" web site. After reviewing SketchBook Pro they gave it 3.5 stars out of 5. I ask you! This app costs less than a cup of coffee and a lot less than a tube of paint and they give 3.5 out of 5. Not only that, but the reviewer didn't show any drawings, which leads me to assume he can't draw. So I'm here to redress the balance and give you my honest opinion.

My own experience of SketchBook is that it runs smoothly on my tablet, it's easy to learn and that it's a pleasure to use. The biggest hurdle to drawing on a tablet is using a stylus but this can be a big advantage. I discovered years ago that my paintings improved if I used a bigger brush. (Ron Ranson demonstrates using a 2 inch brush and an eye patch). Using a stylus feels like painting with a big brush. The stylus (I use a $2 stylus from Amazon), initially feels clumsy, like tying shoe laces while wearing boxing gloves, but after a few goes you start to adapt and get a feel for it. As you can see below, the stylus tip is very big, which is good, it stops you fiddling.

Brushes - Photograph by Tim Irving
Painted in oils with brushes shown

Big tip of stylus can feel clumsy - it stops you fiddling
One you get a feeling for drawing with the stylus SketchBook Pro has everything you could possibly need for drawing. It has 150 brushes, each one adjustable. Infinite colours presented as either, colour picker, colour chart, colour wheel etc, plus you can store favourite colours and brushes in a library. Between the brushes and the colour controls it's possible to make any mark, fat, thin, opaque, transparent, scumbled, cross hatched and anything else. I drew the matchbox below with Sketch Book to illustrate a few of the painterly marks you can make

On my tablet the brushes are pressure sensitive, just like a real brush.You can draw with layers! Like using clear acetate you can put each part of your drawing on separate layers, foreground, distance, sky, colour and figures. You can choose from 3 canvas sizes, it's possible to draw on a big canvas that can be exported as a Photoshop, PNG or JPEG file.
SketchBook Pro painting by Tim Irving

Going back to the "PC Advisor" review, what's not to like? Improvements! An Albrecht Durer auto drawing mode would be a nice addition to the next up-grade. Other than that I can't see what else is required.

I love this little app, it does all the above and more for less than the price of a cheeseburger.
I give SketchBook Pro ♥♥♥♥♥♥

SketchBook is available for Android devices, Ipad and Iphone.

Music from Mali

Fatoumata Diawara - Sonkolon


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