Star Wars costume update

Star Wars Update 01So my companions and I have decided on new costumes this year for Halloween that will also serve for attending a comic book convention this late Fall.  This of course requires planning and lots of fun of dreaming up creative ideas on how to solve various problems that arise when making costumes.  I probably should be a “Cosplay person”, but I’m not sure I really fit into that crowd.  Not really sure what that all means, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, back to the project….  So we have a Star Wars theme this time since I have been watching the reruns of the Clone Wars, which I have seriously enjoyed.  I keep wondering if we shall see Ahsoka and Ventress again, since we don’t see them die anywhere and they are both trained in the ways of the Force.  So I was inspired to be a Jedi and did some drawings for figuring out how the costume should look since there are some variations within the movies.   My husband is going to repair his Mandalorian  costume, and we decided to make our friend a Wookie costume since he has always thought it would be fun to dress up in a fuzzy costume.

Okay – that seem pretty straight forward huh?  One costume is basically complete and just needs repairs and a few additions.  Repair the Mandalorian and add  jet pack.  The Jedi Knight is a basic series of layers, which is no problems for a person that has designed and sewn Renaissance clothing (most specifically Landsknecht), and the tough one is the Wookie costume.  Never made a giant full bodied gear such as that before.

So far….  the Jedi costume has been a bloody nightmare.  Could not find the pattern I wanted – it was discontinued.  The pattern that I did obtain does not work well for females.  It appeared to be a more male oriented, so I knew I would need to make some small adjusts.   I selected and cut out an appropriate size  since the pattern said that the small and not the extra small would fit my measurements.  HA!  They were totally incorrect!  I cut up my lovely light tan fabric, which I can’t get anymore of, and made a beautiful tunic that fits my husband and not me.   :(

Old linen like fabric that my Mom had in a box that had the best texture and flow for this part of the costume.  Too bad it does not fit me.

Old linen like fabric that my Mom had in a box that had the best texture and flow for this part of the costume.     Too bad it does not fit me.

So back to the drawing board.  My budget is limited.  I need to buy fabric for the tunic now, which before the funds were slated to buy fabric for the cloak.  So I start looking through my old collection of fabrics and discovered I have enough wool to make a black Jedi cloak.  Hmm.  Black.  Not what I planned.  Luke wears black and so does Anakin/Darth Vader….hate Palpatine…not a Darth Mal person.  And originally I was not planning on doing an actual character within the films.  I was going to make a generic character of my own based upon the concepts of the Jedi characters.  This has been a roller coaster, which was unexpected.

Working developing a pattern that works for my body type.

Working developing a pattern that works for my body type.

So I designed a whole new concept around the black cloak idea and need to perfect the other patterns before I go any further.  Started with an old bed sheet to redesign the Jedi tunic piece.  Still in that process.  Halloween is not far away and I still have a Wookie costume to construct!  The stress is on.

G. Winkler (c) 2014

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Posted in Costume, Culture, Halloween

The Great Seal of Nevada – My way!

NV Seal BannerThe State of Nevada is about to celebrate its 150th birthday this October 31st, and being a native Nevadan, I decided to do some artwork to celebrate this occasion.  Since I was born here and went to school here, I fondly remember always having Halloween Day off since it was Nevada Day too.  They don’t do that anymore, now they stick the holiday next to a weekend.  What a bore.  It’s not even celebrated on the correct day.  Anyway, I digress….  The point is when I was in high school, we did the parade in Carson City and when I was in elementary school, we did coloring activities that were supposed to educate us about the state’s history.  I fondly remember being given a ditto copy – that weird purple inked stuff – of the seal of Nevada to color.  I thought that was good fun.

NV Seal 01 500w

You know what, it still is.  This is the first of a small series of paintings I plan to do celebrating the history of Nevada.  And apparently not too many years ago, they actually made an official colored version of the state seal, but to be honest, I don’t care for it much.  Perhaps the photos I have seen online are not that good.  Who knows.  But I see Nevada’s landscape and coloring a bit different from that version.  This is my way of reliving that creative fun as a child and making something to express how I see the region that I was born in and grew up in.

On this first version of the seal I didn’t want to step too far away from the original concept.  Nevada is called the Silver State because of the amount of silver ore that was mined out of her during the 1800’s and basically bought the statehood for the region.  On October 31, 1864 Nevada was made the 36th state of the union, and since that event happened during the American Civil War, it may have given the North the winning edge they required to win.

NV Seal 02 500wOn this painting I decided to make it be displayable without a frame, so I selected the 1 inch thick canvas.  It’s a round image on a square space.  I could have purchased a round canvas, but those are hard to find and hard to frame.  I also decided to make the extra space into something interesting by writing the reason for the subject matter on the side of this canvas.  Then the choice of what to do around the seal was also important as well.  On this one I selected a metallic sage color since sagebrush is so prominent in Nevada.  It is designated the state flower – which seems odd because it is a shrub like plant.

NV Seal 03 500wThe mountains on this version are more like the Sierra Nevada range that I am very familiar with in that blue green appearance from all the evergreen trees.  If you live in Reno, Carson City, or Sparks, you will be familiar with this as well as the sparse contrast to the east where the mountains had been stripped of their timber by the gold/silver rush days of the Comstock Lode.  So this silver ore made my decision to make the section of the seal with the lettering metallic silver in color was a “no-brainer” as well as the dark blue colors behind the 36 silver stars.

During my years of life on this earth, I have lived in many locations some of which have been in different locations in Nevada.  Some of these locations made travel through the state on a regular basis a necessity, so I can honestly say that I have seen a good portion of the state’s landscape.  The only area I have not seen or recall seeing is the northern-eastern portion.  I say recall because my parents lived in Wells, Nevada for a few years, and they drove all the way to Reno to have me born in a proper hospital that could handle my medical needs as a baby.  They left Wells shortly after I was born and returned to Reno, so technically I was in Wells, but I don’t recall it.  I have been told that there were some interesting mountain ranges nearby that were fun to visit.  So I have lived in Reno, Austin, Las Vegas, and Henderson.  I have driven the complete stretch of highway 50 across the state many times, camped in the desert near Schurz, and attended a fencing tournament in the Black Rock Desert – no, not during Burning Man.  Can’t image fencing in that heat.  Whew!NV Seal 04 500w

So I can safely say I have a pretty good idea of what this state looks like….although Nevada can be like a puzzle with small hidden gems tucked away in the desolation.  You have to do some hunting to find those really special places.  I like to think that Virginia City is one of those special places.   The small living ghost town is often what I think of when looking at the mining operation and the railroad aspects of the Nevada Seal.  Sure other places had mines and railroads, but we associate what is close and familiar with us when observing art and symbolism.  The plow and the bundled wheat have never made much sense to me although I do recall the region having a lot more cattle ranches and alpha fields when I was young.  I suppose much longer ago that perhaps more farmers existed in this area.  Drought and people moving from California has really changed the look of the western part of the state.

NV Seal 06 500wSo much has change that I am contemplating doing a 3rd version of the seal with modern components within the seal.  Not sure how that will go over.  The second painting I am currently working on has a winter theme to it and I have changed the direction of the sunlight, and so far this second version is proving to be a challenge well worth the effort.  This painting can be found for sale at the Buy Nevada First store in what I call the Reno “Old” Town Mall that is just across the way from the Atlantis Casino.  This has been a good project and was well received by the people at the store, so I am hoping that someone will like it enough to make it a part of their everyday life.

This is the completed painting which later I relalized that I forgot to include the smoke from the train and mill, but smoke in the air is so rare these days so it was easy to forget.

This is the completed painting, which later I realized that I forgot to include the smoke from the train and mill, but smoke in the air is so rare these days so it was easy to forget.

Side view to see how I handled the large canvas without a frame.  It needs to have a finished look in order to be displayed in a pleasing manner on the wall.

Side view to see how I handled the thick canvas without a frame. It needs to have a finished look in order to be displayed in a pleasing manner on the wall.

G. Winkler (c) 2014

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Posted in Art, Culture, Halloween, Nevada

Courage

Courage comes in all sorts of packages. Sometimes courage is grandiose and fabulous with death defying feats while sometimes courage is small but meaningful like a baby’s first step. I am writing about courage that is more akin to the later one. With kind loving support from my husband I brought my artwork to the “Made in Nevada Store” and was greeted warmly by the people that run the shop. So I am proud to announce that some of my artwork is for sale at a local store that sells other items made by people locally.

Getting over this odd little emotional hurdler was great for me and gave me the chance to see all the wonderful things that other people in the area are making. (Not everything has to come from China.) So often life throws obstacles in one’s way and these obstacles can grow to boulder size especially with some of the experiences I have had with people throughout the years. These obstacles can be debilitating. Don’t let other people’s rock throwing get in your way of finding your path in life. Those kind of people are often petty, jealous, and have no real path for themselves and they enjoy ruining other people’s joy.

If you find an obstacle in your path and you can’t simply work around it, then find a friend or a means of helping you climb over that boulder in your path so that you can get to the other side. I did and have done this many times before but there are times when pebbles can seem like boulders. This was a pebble in my path. It appeared to be a boulder. Now I feel silly for letting it get in my way.

Finished painting - photographed outdoors.  The color difference is amazing.Both photos have vivid color quality and yet are so different.  I think the outdoor photo is more true to the actual appearance of the painting.  This is why I often photograph my artwork outside and that can be challenging at times when the weather is less than cooperative.

Pinto Valley Wilderness

I just finished this one and will post the details of the construction soon.

I just finished this one and will post the details of the construction soon.

Here are the two paintings that I have put up for sale. I also have a bunch of cute little wooden houses that I have painted as well. So if you live nearby and want to see my artwork as well as all the other locally made items, I encourage you to do so. Maybe you have something that you make and would like to sell.

Here’s link tot he store’s website for more information.

http://www.livelocalrenosparks.com/

G. Winkler ©2014

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Posted in Art, Inspiration, Painting

To sell my artwork or not to sell my artwork? – That is the question.

I just finished this one and will post the details of the construction soon.

I just finished this one and will post the details of the construction soon.

I have two paintings that are ready to be sold. And usually my biggest problem is finding a place to have them available for people to look at. Well, there is a place that was set up by a local businessman that wants to promote locally produced items. His name is Dave Asher, and he has put together a store in what I call “Old Town Mall” and now it goes by something else…oh, Reno Town Mall and he is ready to receive items made in Nevada. Here is a link to his website: http://www.livelocalrenosparks.com/

Anyway, my point is that I have a location to bring my artwork to and Dave seems like a pretty decent guy, but I am having a hard time doing it.

Now in the past I have done paintings and have become emotionally attached to them, so this time I have hidden away the paintings so that I would not see them on a daily basis, so I am not allowing myself to become emotionally attached to them. So what the heck is my problem!?! Why am I balking at bringing down my artwork to his store?

Yah, sure I know the pictures may not sell. And I have selected topics that I think will appeal to the local population.   And yes, I am well aware of the possible rejection process that comes along with presenting one’s work to the public for sale purposes.

So I am mulling over other possible ideas of why I am having a difficult time doing this. In my previous blog article I discussed the fact that I have never had a mentor or a role model and strangely enough, many people commented to me that I did not need a mentor or a role model and that I should be the mentor instead. Which to me is not an objectionable idea, but what would I train or help someone with? I can’t even get myself to take a couple of paintings down to a store designed for people just like me. And as an artist I have never had that opportunity to show my art, but I do understand that work needs to be in a presentable condition. There is a certain amount of presentation awareness that one needs to be cognizant of.

Here is the first painting that I have ready for sale.

Here is the first painting that I have ready for sale.

Hmmm. How would I solve this if I were someone else’s mentor? I would go with them to meet Dave and look at the store. Then after that, if the person felt okay about Dave, the store, and whatever else may be on their mind, I would help them bring the items down to the store.

I don’t have that person, who says let’s go do that. So if I am in a rut or a hard place, I have to get myself out of the hole and it does not always work. It’s getting worse as I age. I have met so many untrustworthy people and have experienced being screwed over so many times that I have a hard time believing that anything will go right. There are too many disasters and disappointments in my life. Most people would have given up years ago.

So here I sit with two paintings already completed, two more started, and a bunch of other new ideas in mind. I need to get past whatever this is.

G. Winkler ©2014

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Posted in Art, Culture, Goals

Never had a Mentor

Mentor BannerThe other day I was reading an article shared to me through Linkedin, which is a business oriented social media. I manage the company site and post articles and update information, which reminds me, needs to be done again. Anyway, this article which was titled Seven Signs You’re Too Smart For Your Job by Liz Ryan had a section about “No one around you looks like a mentor, a role model or guide” really caught my attention and I have been thinking about it for days. And to be honest, when something sits in your head for days being tossed about like a tennis ball in the game of thoughts in your head, then you know that you have touched upon something that is important in some way.

It really got me thinking about my whole life. I never had that special teacher that is so often talked about who inspires students to excel. I had good teachers and bad ones, but I never had that amazing educator that stands out as the person who believed in me and pushed me towards a goal that resulted in something better for my life.   As a matter of fact, I was told by my Honors English teacher in high school that there was nothing she could do for me.  I wrote like Ray Bradbury, and it was well known that this teacher hated science fiction and fantasy literature.   So basically in her mind I was a lost cause.  Okay, so this article is mostly about employers, so I started thinking about who I worked for. Not one of these people who had been my boss had ever been a mentor or a role model. Not one. I can think of two that I respected for their hard work and their honesty with me, but they were not mentors or role models. Just decent people. That would be Karen M. and Cody G.

Mentor Stormy sky

So I really started thinking about some of the employers I had, and it actually made me depressed. There was the insecure misogynist homophobic guy who ran the art department at a T-shirt place and fired me when a male artist harassed me with threatening comments, the kindly manager who ran the geological exploration office that proceeded to tell me that the geologists were afraid of me, which shocked the heck out of me. I spent a long time trying to figure out what I could have possibly done to any of those guys to make them afraid of me, the humble map maker. I looked at them as team members and I was doing my best to get their presentation items ready so that they could make a new project out of their findings.  Each geologist had their own unique style of putting together data and I did my best to make everything go as smoothly as possible.  One guy could never get anything right and would make up to 30 changes on just one small presentation map.  I used to love that geological draftsman job.

Then there was the ceramic shop owner who had her artists sign her name to all the ceramic pieces and she sold them as her original handmade work – didn’t work for her long. The artists were paid minimum wage and treated like dirt. Then there was the insurance guy, who I think had a mental illness, he did not want people to come in late, but if you did, you could not make up that time during the lunch time, and you had to clock out at the end of the day on time. No over time, but he wanted you to put in extra time and not get paid. He harassed me and my chiropractor about my weekly visits to the doctor, which I scheduled at the end of the day when I didn’t get much done because I felt miserable, but for some reason the employer thought he had the right to know about the visits.   I also often observed one of my upper level co-workers coming out of his office in tears while the only male employee was allowed to be sexually harassed by the mostly female staff.   And then the final straw was him freaking out one morning when I came in five minutes late – mind you I did three jobs and was paid for one – and he started yelling at me that he was in charge, and I never questioned him about being in charge of his company. The topic of conversation was about me being late and that he was in a bad mood from getting in an argument with the software programmer.   He was hysterical.    It was scary.

So no, I have never had an employer that I considered to be a mentor or a role model.

I have never had a teacher that fulfilled that role and I went to college and did graduate work in English and Fine Art.

I really wish I had had a role model or a mentor. No one has ever taken me under their wing to train me and make me better at something through their own kindness and wisdom. I feel cheated. And disappointed.

Mentor peachy roseIf you are a soul lucky enough to have some knowledgeable person take you under their wing and fulfill the position of role model or mentor, appreciate them. Learn from them and keep in contact with them. They are amazing people that have given you a precious gift of their time, knowledge, and respect for your potential as a person with a future.

I would love to have a mentor. I have done writing, painting, drawing, constructed and designed historical clothing as costumes, ran a small company, designed websites, geological drafting, digital photography, floral design, designed and troubleshoot software, social media, and started several online comic series. And I have had to do this on my own.

Any takers? Or is someone going to be afraid of me?

G. Winkler ©2014

You can read the article that inspired this blog at: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140729162449-52594-seven-signs-you-re-too-smart-for-your-job?trk=mp-details-rc

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Posted in Culture, Education, Inspiration, Professionalism

Inkjoy – inexpensive art fun with pens

Inkjoy 03 700w

It seems like everything I like, enjoy, or want to do is really expensive.  This really sucks when one lives on a tight budget, and I suspect that many artists and budding artists fit into this category.  So one tries to enjoy life and do activities that are within one’s budget.  One day while shopping for something else I happened to walk through an area that is being set up for back to school items for the kids.  For some strange reason I like all these erasers, pens, pencils, boxes, and notepads…  I have no idea why, but I do, and I happened upon a multi-color package of ballpoint pens that looked intriguing and were for a reasonable price.

You see, ever since I was a kid I liked to doodle in the margins of my class notes, so ballpoint pen became an art tool without much thought.  It was there as well as the paper, so art happened there.  My college notes had tons of decorative doodles.  And when I took college level Geography, which required detail notes about land formations and the ability to recognize slides of these formations for a test, my quick ballpoint pen doodles came in handy.  Heck, after I was done with that class – other people borrowed my notes so they could prepare for the tests.  I had quick drawings of each slide and what they were about throughout my notes, which made a big difference in studying for the final exam.

Inkjoy 01 500hSo to make a point in a round about way, I like to doodle with ballpoint pens.  And this package of colored Inkjoy ballpoint pens looked like fun.  So we purchased this modest investment of about $3.45.

So here are my first sketches and doodles done with these pens on Strathmore Recyled Paper.

 

Working on a Jedi costuming idea, so I needed to sketch out the details that I have seen. The brown pen proved to be brilliant for basic sketching.

Working on a Jedi costuming idea, so I needed to sketch out the details that I have seen. The brown pen proved to be brilliant for basic sketching.

 

Then we attended an outdoor concert where there was some serious waiting time for the guests, so I brought my sketch book with me so that I could doodle a bit.  I decided to use more of the colors and found them to be very vibrant and didn't smear much at all like some ink pens do.

Then we attended an outdoor concert where there was some serious waiting time for the guests, so I brought my sketch book with me so that I could doodle a bit. I decided to use more of the colors and found them to be very vibrant and didn’t smear much at all like some ballpoint ink pens do.

 

So art doesn’t have to be super expensive, and we can practice using simple tools that won’t bust our budget.  And practicing is so important to maintaining a skill level and improvement.

G. Winkler (c) 2014

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Posted in Art

Tahoe Truckee Airshow

TT Airshow Banner 2

This past weekend was the Tahoe Truckee Airshow, and since I am a big fan of airplanes, I had to go.  I had never been to this airshow before.   When we lived up in the Pacific Northwest, we used to go to the Father’s Day airshow in Olympia, WA as well as the shows at Pearson Airfield in Vancouver, WA.  Had plans to see the big one in Hillsboro, OR, but never got the chance to go.  So going to the Tahoe Truckee Airshow sounded like great fun.  And it was.

TT Airshow 50aFrom when we first arrived, the people at the show made everything as easy as possible to enjoy the show.   Parking was awesome, attendance and parking was free, which allowed guests to spend their money on food or products being sold by the vendors.  They had a nice variety of planes on display, some RC planes of various types, and a beautiful Telsa automobile on site for inspection.  I had not seen one in person and it was impressive.

The event organizers went through a great deal of trouble to make this a family friendly event.  Lots of stuff for people with children to enjoy.  There is a growing concern within the aviation community that there are not enough young pilots coming up through the ranks.  I had wanted to be a pilot since I was about 3 years old, but had the impression that I was not allowed to fly because I wore glasses, so I was never encouraged.  Things have changed and contact lenses make taking to the air a lot easier.  I even started taking flight lessons while living in Vancouver at the Pearson Airfield.  Passed my ground school class, passed the PAR examination, and took several flight lessons in a Piper Cub tail dragger.  So what stopped me?  The cost.  Flight lessons are expensive and people my age don’t get scholarships to become pilots.  Heck, we don’t get scholarships for anything, but that is another topic.

TT Airshow 39aAviation is one of the last challenges that a young person can do while remaining on the planet.  The air like the ocean is the final frontier on  Earth.  Learning how to fly challenges the individual’s planning skills, intellectual skills, physical skills, verbal skills, mathematical skills, and a bit of courage testing too.  If you can master the art of flying, then you might be able to conquer just about any problem that comes your way.  So if you have people in your life who yearn for flight, be supportive of that dream.  The planes are a lot safer than they used to be, and one is more likely to get hurt in a car accident than flying in a airplane.

So back to the photos….I know I went overboard on the photo taking, but that’s what going to an airshow is all about.  Taking lots of cool pictures of airplanes.  Enjoy the photos.

G. Winkler (c) 2014

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing Telsa automobile with a beautiful sparkly red paint job!

Amazing Telsa automobile with a beautiful sparkly red paint job!

Trunk space in the front!

Trunk space in the front!

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Note the young driver already dreaming about his first car!

Note the young driver already dreaming about his first car!

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Nice day to be at the Truckee Tahoe Airport.

Nice day to be at the Truckee Tahoe Airport.

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Ultralight

Ultralight

 

TT Airshow 19a

The pilot who restored this plane was kind enough to chat with us.

The pilot who restored this plane was kind enough to chat with us.

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This plane came in late, so they just parked it here and put some cones around it.

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Angry Birds!

Angry Birds!

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Lots of old military planes around the World War Two Era.  I think this was either a trainer or messenger carrier.

Lots of old military planes around the World War Two Era. I think this was either a trainer or messenger carrier.

 

RC people getting ready to show off their small but very agile planes.

RC people getting ready to show off their small but very agile planes.

Large variety of RC planes and copters were on display.  I have a small helicopter that I need to master.

Large variety of RC planes and copters were on display.   I have a small helicopter that I need to master.

TT Airshow 35a

I love the D7.

I love the D7.

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It's almost hard to believe that it's not a real full sized plane up there!

It’s almost hard to believe that it’s not a real full sized plane up there!

Parachute jumpers' plane

Parachute jumpers’ plane

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Biplanes are my favorite.

Biplanes are my favorite.

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Parachute jumper with really big flag.

Parachute jumper with really big flag.

Lunch time.  Organic food!!  Hurrah!  Something I can eat without feeling sick later.  :)

Lunch time.  Organic food!!  Hurrah!   Something I can eat without feeling sick later. :)

Mexican coke with no weird stuff in it and some sunglasses from the State Farm Insurance booth.

Mexican coke with no weird stuff in it and some sunglasses from the State Farm Insurance booth.

TT Airshow 48a

Great Day of fun.

Great Day of fun.

 

 

 

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Posted in Aviation, Digital Photography, Travel
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