Tag Archives: sky

Portentous Sky

I swear, storms are just bigger here.

I swear, storms are just bigger here.

Further thoughts on Photoshop: I wear polarized lenses pretty much any time I’m outside during the day, and sometimes inside or at night. I’m rather attached to my prescription sunglasses for a variety of reasons. Of course, polarized lenses change the way the world looks: everything is crisper. Colors are more intense, details are more defined, outlines are sharper, and shading offers more definite contrast. Basically, the world looks better. In general.

Of course, if you’re wearing polarized lenses and you use them to look through another polarized piece of glass, you get another effect. Sharper, still, in a sense, but overwhelmed with colors that simply aren’t there if you remove one of the pieces of glasses. It’s not the face of reality, and yet it’s what you see, if, for example, you wear polarized sunglasses in a car.

We went to see our friends in Bisbee over the holiday weekend, which coincided with the actual start of the monsoon–that is, the first big storm. The clouds were still hanging heavily in the sky, and distant showers dotted the horizon, as we headed back to Tucson.

Even the best pictures often fail to capture the majesty of something like this: the sun streaming down through breaks in the clouds, illuminating the lines of rain sweeping diagonally across the desert. I start with a nice image, and tinker with it, trying to light up the most stunning parts so that the flat image matches the glory of memory. I haven’t quite hit it yet.

When I was little I liked to imagine that the beams of light piercing the clouds had something to do with the proximity of heaven to the earth, even though I knew it was just sunlight. There’s something special about the big sky, about towering cumulonimbi, about light that takes on, for a short time, in an illusory capacity, the quality of a solid object. When you block out part of it, maybe, you can see a greater part of the reality of that which remains.

I fully intended to publish a comic, or at least a drawing tonight, but The Man sometimes gets really excited about particular movies or shows. Right now it’s the Netflix original series Sens8, which is pretty good, but I don’t know if it’s worth him staying up 90 minutes past his bedtime every night. I didn’t even get to work until almost midnight tonight. At least we’ve only got maybe 2 more nights’ worth of this season, so hopefully both of us will be better equipped to work by the end of the week.

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Summertime and the Cuttin’ is Easy Bulletin Board

Summer sunset bulletin board

Summer sunset bulletin board

It’s the last week of school for Arizona kids, at least the ones attending TUSD and Amphi, and I put together this dazzling summer sunset bulletin board to send them off (and for the summer staff and camp kids to enjoy). Up until about 90 seconds before I started making it, I had no idea what I was going to do.

This one took 2 days; the first day I just put up the background. There was nobody else around and I had a couple hours, so I thought I’d attempt a rainbow sunset. If I were to do this again, I think I might try to cut all the layers of paper at the same time. It felt a bit lopsided to me. For whatever reason, the school doesn’t stock purple butcher paper, so I had to tape a few pieces of construction paper together to do that layer, and it was harder to work with.

Day 1: just the sky, mountains, and sun

Day 1: just the sky, mountains, and sun

The next day I sketched out the cactus and the birds on black paper and cut it all out as a single piece, mostly using scissors, but getting the scalpel in there for some of the fiddly bits. I used my wedding invitations as a reference. A designer put the image together for me from a few pictures; this was before I knew Photoshop, or I probably would have done it myself and been even more impressed with the result, but we were pretty happy to get invitations that more or less looked the way we wanted.

Detail from our wedding invitations.

Detail from our wedding invitations.

The next day I sketched out the cactus and the birds on black paper and cut it all out as a single piece, mostly using scissors, but getting the scalpel in there for some of the fiddly bits.

I used my wedding invitations as a reference. A designer put the image together for me from a few pictures; this was before I knew Photoshop, or I probably would have done it myself and been even more impressed with the result, but we were pretty happy to get invitations that more or less looked the way we wanted.

Anyway, the silhouette was simple to draw; the hardest part was actually making out the pencil marks on black paper so I could accurately see what I was cutting. It all came out nicely and actually took a lot less time than many of the less complex bulletin boards take, about 4 hours max, although part of that is because there isn’t any text on this one. As per usual when the bulletin board is cactus themed, I used a lot of staples for spines, and also to keep the thing in place. It needs to be extra durable to last through the monsoon.

The silhouette.

The silhouette.

Last I did the stars, which would have been a lot easier had the principal not kicked me out of the library so she could hold an interview there, because it was super windy in the breezeway and I spend half my time chasing bits of paper around, but in the end it seems to have worked out pretty well.