Hey, I usually take a break when Our Thoughts Precisely posts the break announcement, but I think I'll be away a little longer. I'll be around, but not posting (except for post that were prescheduled). Anyway, art dump in coming! Also, thanks for reading and enjoy your holidays.
Kinda, Sort of Break / 2021 Art Dump
Book Review: The Way To Go by Kate Ascher
Author: Kate Ascher
Publisher/ Release date: The Penguin Press; Mar 20 2014
Goodreads Barnes & Noble Book Depository Penguin
Synopsis From Goodreads:
ARC Review: Her Honor by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell
Author: LaDoris Hazzard Cordell
Source/Format: Celadon Books; Paperback ARC
Publisher/ Release date: Celadon Book; Oct 26, 2021
Goodreads Barnes & Noble Book Depository Celadon
In Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a rare and thought-provoking insider account of our legal system, sharing vivid stories of the cases that came through her courtroom and revealing the strengths, flaws, and much-needed changes within our courts.
Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firsthand how prejudice has permeated our legal system. And yet, she believes in the system. From ending school segregation to legalizing same-sex marriage, its progress relies on legal professionals and jurors who strive to make the imperfect system as fair as possible.
Read the rest on Goodreads.
Her Honor Details the various cases that Cordell has presided over, and issues as well as people she’s faced in and out of court. And in some ways, how it shaped her perspective. Something I enjoyed is how she took the time to explain the history of many terms and procedures. All of which were typically sandwiched between the cases that it related back to in each chapter. Since this was the majority of the book, the introduction, served its purpose well. It mainly went into how she became a judge, what was enticing about it, and some of her background. This let the rest of the book get on and do its thing. As the synopsis states, it does “shine a light on all areas of the legal system…” Especially the countless difficult decisions that she and other judges had to make concerning heavy topics and/or complex situations.
Overall I enjoyed Her Honor, and I recommend checking it out if your looking for a nonfiction court book that's very informative.
Book Review: Clash of Steel by C.B Lee
Author: C.B. Lee
Source/Format: BookishFirst and Macmillan; Hardcover
More Details: YA; Remixed Classic
Publisher/ Release date: Feiwel and Friends; Sep 7, 2021
Goodreads Barnes & Noble Book Depository Macmillan
Synopsis From Goodreads:
Book Review: The Shadows (The Books of Elsewhere #1)
Book Review: Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Source/Format: Bought; Hardback
Goodreads Barnes & Noble Book Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
I previously read, but did not review, Remember Me by the late Mary Higgins Clark. I enjoyed it so much that I strolled around the house picking out whatever else was available. I settled on Let Me Call You Sweetheart. It’s pretty much about how Kerry McGrath cannot stop asking questions after seeing two women on two different days with the same face. A face that just happens to be that of a murder victim. The synopsis had me hooked.
I was definitely on edge the entire book. I think it’s because the main character’s obsession with getting answers. I was right along with her every page, and then some. Of course, in Clark fashion, there are multiple points of view from a range of characters. Although Kerry’s was the main POV, it leaves the reader at least two steps ahead of her. No matter how many notes I took I was not ready for the twist. For the most part, I was wrong, to which I am grateful for. I did have a couple of good guesses though. However, the revelation read quicker than I was expecting it to. And although integral to the story, I did not care for some of the POVs.
All and all, as much as I had my qualms, I enjoyed every bit of Let Me Call You Sweetheart. I recommend checking it out. Especially, if it seems interesting, or you’re looking to read something suspenseful.
Thanks for reading!
ARC Review: Twice as Hard
Author: Opeyemi Sofoluke & Raphael Sofoluke
Source/Format: Bookish First and DK Publishing; Paperback ARC
Publisher/ Release date: DK; Jun 15, 2021
Goodreads Barnes & Noble Book Depository
This book is an exercise in building your network. We've spoken to over 40 successful business people to help you gain from their advice and create space for your own personal growth. Twice As Hard is an exploration of Black identity in the working world and a blueprint for success. You will learn what obstacles limit opportunity for Black professional progress, how to understand and overcome racial stereotypes, be productive, find purpose, and ultimately thrive in business.
(Read the rest on Goodreads)
I barely read the synopsis, so I went into this initially thinking it was going to be mostly interviews. But, as I mentioned above, it was a mixture –which I loved. It had a lot of personal anecdotes and quotes from the interviewees. Plus, there wasn’t much paraphrasing, essentially letting the contributors add their own voices. But that’s not all. Each chapter delves into various situations using statistics, the authors’ own experiences, and the interviews to back it up. Situations like draining experiences and feeling unwelcome in certain spaces, especially in corporate ones. However, at every turn there was a piece of positive, uplifting, and encouraging advice to get through. Finally, I absolutely loved that the last chapter is full of advice from everyone, and the reflective questions at the end of all the chapters (except the final).
Over all, I enjoyed Twice as Hard and the advice that comes with it. I recommend checking it out if it seems interesting to you.
The Speedpaint: Arting Part 2
This is the second part in my Arting posts. Today I’m going to talk about what I painted on my first speedpaint. You can read Arting Part 1 HERE.
As I said in part 1, I wanted to start a Spring. I need a sort of logo and I had an idea of what I wanted. I ended up with a decent amount of sketches, but I settled one (I still want to illustrate the other ones). Since I settled on Sweet Dream Afro (that can be found here) there were many elements I wanted to include. First and foremost, I wanted to make fashion like piece. The hair had to be natural, so I went with loose twist outs. And finally I wanted a dream element, the sleeping kind by the way. In this case I opted for closed eyes and a dream journal. This is a personal touch because I have been keeping a dream journal since 2013. I may talk about how I got into dream journaling eventually.
In previous iterations (and this one) I had trouble with the clothes. What color, shape; and a skirt or pants? Speaking of color, I originally imagined more pastel colors. However, I started considering darker options for the clothes when I decided to use a darker hair color. I settled on what you see now. I found other combinations I liked. So, similar to what I said above, I may do another piece with this same character. You can see the final art below, and how it came out from Spring above vs mock up. This is the first and last time I’m using that triangle as of right now. I have something else I'm designing.
All and all, the time was around 7+ hours. However, it may be way longer because the files for the sketching and line art got corrupted… Yay!
Trying Something New (Arting Part 1)
I’ve been drawing much more recently. And I wanted to do a Teespring (now Spring). And then I realized that I never posted much of my art online. I settled on doing what I thought I’d never do –starting a YouTube. It was the last thing on my mind, but here I am. This is part 1 of Arting. I’m making it up as I go. Before I start, I think it should be said that I am not abandoning blogging. Nope, I’ll probably blog more about my adventures in art and my thought process. I’m also going to be adding a page as a sort of gallery; plus, I’m thinking of revamping my Instagram to include both my art and reviews. Today’s post is mostly rambling. The speedpaint will be in part 2.
I’m mainly doing digital speedpaints and it’ll be that way for a long time. I have always been drawing since I could remember. Watching art videos just came along naturally. Eventually, I got my Wacom Bamboo Fun, which was bundled with Corel Painter Essentials 4 and Photoshop Elements 8. That’s when I started watching digital speedpaints to try to learn the software. Also back then, I got Manga Studio Debut 4. (And you can imagine how mad young me was when I found out the cover art was done in Photoshop. I can’t recall, but I’m pretty sure Manga Studio itself had more abilities than Debut. Nonetheless, here’s a fun fact, Manga Studio is now Clip Studio Paint. Okay, back to the topic at hand.) Watching, re-watching, and editing my first video felt somewhat nostalgic to be honest.
I had a couple of programs to get started. Like AMD Radeon ReLive to screen record and Blender to edit it. That combination was fun until I nearly killed my computer. Recording was constantly crashing my graphics card. I’m surprised I even got as many clips as I did. Especially since the files for the sketching and line art got corrupted. I’m really disappointed because I was happy with them too. I sped everything up in Blender from 7+ hours to 6 minutes. Now, to be fair, Blender is more for modeling and other things, not video editing. But my rendering time ended up being around 4 hours. I let that go over night, but I knew it was too much. So, I then tried to use Kdenlive. I love the layout and user interface a lot. But it wasn’t what I needed. I chopped up the second video I’m worked by a lot. As it turns out, you can’t CTRL + A (select all) and speed up clips nor connect them to do so. To have to manually select each clip to apply speed changes was not efficient.
I tried so many open source programs. I’m currently taking a chance with Olive 0.1 since it's unsupported. I can’t merge clips, but the speed can be adjusted all at once. I still have to manually slide clips back together, but the render time wasn't too bad. About an hour for 23 minutes Back to the first video, I took the already rendered video and added the final image in Kdenlive. This ended up rendering in 36 minutes. I can’t wait to post it. Anyway, rambling over. Thanks for reading.
Artist’s Loft Necessities Acrylic Review
I received the set in 2019. Over time, I have slowly used various things out of it. It wasn’t until recently that I used the acrylic. While my mom was trying to paint a glass ornament, I was trying it out on the paper that came with it. I immediately noticed how thin and transparent it brushed on. The paint dried horribly on the ornament and she ended up coving it with some of the other acrylics we have. Somehow, I managed to get something decent with my first painting (not pictured). Despite my first impression I wanted to try again. The next two painting are on Artist’s Loft Watercolor Pad (you can find that here).
|After I painted over with|
|Original with Artist's Loft|
I was able to layer the paint a bit better with it watered down. I also controlled the streaking some by doing the wet on wet technique. Despite being hard to layer and my gripe with streakiness, this turned out to be fine for how I paint hair. So that’s somewhat a plus.
For an attempt at fair comparison I did one more painting. The left side is Liquitex Basics. I used quinacridone magenta and titanium white. The right is Artist’s Loft Necessities. I used crimson red and titanium white. I did this for texture and opacity rather than color.
At the top of the paper is a thick and diluted swatch. I messed up the first swatch (top) for the Artist’s Loft because I accidently added more paint when I was trying to only do one swipe. So I did a smaller one under it. I went back to the paper that came with the set and it is more textured. I’m not sure exactly what type of paper it is. In the end, the Artist loft acrylic fared better but I still like Liquitex Basics (seems creamier). However, I enjoyed using it more on this paper. I struggled less with layering and getting some opacity.
My Pros and Cons
- Doesn’t dry fast when thick on the pallet
- Dries somewhat quick on paper
- Fine if you don’t mind thin paint
- I somewhat like it for painting hair
- Works fine on heavily textured or porous surfaces
- Transparent and thin
- Hard to layer, and sometimes waiting until mostly dry to get some layering
- Streaks easily
- Overall difficult to work with
- Small tubes
Thanks for reading.