Vintage Woman

Because being older does not mean having no value

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I don’t remember how long I ran around tripping that day, because I was fading in and out of reality. At a police call box near the corner of Second Avenue and Houston Street, I phoned the cops. I was taken by ambulance to Columbus Hospital, a few short blocks away, panic-stricken and rapidly going mad. Even in my extreme psychotic state, I noticed dawn had just broken. I looked down at my arms. My skin had the texture and color of a lizard’s. So like any self-respecting reptile, I spread my fingers wide and tried to catch flies with my tongue.
Nile Rodgers, from his book Le Freak, recounting a hallucinogenic reaction that occurred when he was 15 years old.

Filed under chic nile rodgers Music books biography autobiography drugs acid trip high drug use story

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If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.
Artist Austin Kleon

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You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be. And one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity. Or you’re afraid that someone will stab you, or shoot at you, or bomb your house, so you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are 90, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90. And the cessation of breathing in your life is the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., excerpted from the sermon, “But, If Not,” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967.

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Art Book Recommendation

Botanical Portraits in Colored Pencil by Ann Swan. Easily the best book on scientific illustration I’ve seen. I keep checking this book out at the library until my limit is up.

The botanical artist, Ms. Swan instructs, accurately record how a plant grows, what color it is, and what its structure is like. Even if the work is not for any scientific purpose, it must be accurate. Any looser interpretation, she suggests, is merely a flower painting.

There’s fantastic information on colored pencil selection. Ms. Swan likes Faber Castell Polychromos pencils because they hold their point well, which is a must for detail work, especially as compared to the softer Prismacolors, and because they have a decent selection of natural greens and greys (which are used to deepen the tones of colors without changing their hue. (Didn’t know that!) She recommends 22 of the 120 available Polychromos colors as a good starter set. As for Prismacolor, which most of us who work in colored pencil are familiar with already, Ms. Swan finds their strength in that they mix well with the oil-based Polychromos pencils even though they are wax-based. Also, she finds they have a good selection of colors useful for drawing berries, such as dark purples, violets & reds. But she finds their softness annoying for detailed work. Prismacolor points (not talking Verithins) are prone to snap easily; I’ve learned this myself! Also included are other colored pencil recommendations, but it’s clear that the Polychromos line is her baby. This is very useful information. I myself have never used, nor can I easily find at the two major art stores in town, a selection of Faber Castell colored pencils so I may investigate them further.

Ms. Swan helps you get your studio together as well by compiling a basic start-up kit, most of which those of us who draw regularly already have. She tells you which other tools you may find useful for botanical work.

Ms. Swan advises even on which side of hot-pressed paper works best for colored pencil work, where to set up your work environment, how to protect your work while in progress and after completion.

As to the botanical artist’s subject - plants - Ms. Swan’s work is exquisite. She is very generous with her instruction, and I’ve even used some of her advice toward my oil pastel work. I have a deeper understanding of color, as well as a new understanding of how to break down complex subject matter.

This is a book that I’m going to eventually add to my collection, and I believe it will be invaluable to anyone who loves plants and doesn’t know where to begin when it comes to drawing them.

Filed under botanical Illustration books drawing colored pencil colored pencils plants art artist