At Last, a New Computer

computer1 For about six months I've been saving up for a new computer, ever since I realized that my poor battered laptop that survived through college, a hundred research papers, and a novel, simply was not able to handle Photoshop (which I want/need to learn) or a tablet (which is my next savings project).

I posted about my technological dilemma in Digital Doubts, and in the end I decided that buying a new laptop was a better plan than trying to upgrade my old one.


Isn't it beautiful?

Now I just have to learn Windows 8...

Influences 2014

I found this old Deviantart meme thanks to Lucas Durham. These are artists whose work I greatly admire, and their art has heavily influenced mine. I've been lucky enough to have some of them as my teachers. (Sometimes their skill makes me want to burn my paintbrushes, but they always inspire me.)


1. William-Adolphe Bouguereau

2. Gennady Spirin

3. Donato Giancola

4. Alphonse Mucha

5. Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

6. Kinuko Craft

7. Scott Gustafson

8. Arthur Rackham

9. Lawrence Alma-Tadema

10. Herbert Draper

11. Rebecca Guay

12. James Gurney

Feel free to try the original meme for yourself, and post a link in the comments if you do! -

Meme created by fox-orian.

Digital Doubts

I've come to realize that I really, really need to move into the 21st century--at least when it comes to art. I still want to work in traditional media, but adding the basic tools of a Wacom tablet and Photoshop would save huge amounts of time and frustration. For one thing, I could take rough thumbnails from my sketchbook and develop them on the computer instead of trying to enlarge or alter the sketch by hand. (I always lose the energy of the original idea.)

However, there are a few problems I'm still mulling over:

Old Laptop + Upgrades vs. New Laptop

My laptop is seven years old. Last summer the hard drive crashed and a friend replaced it. But the operating system is old, and I have a suspicion that it's only a matter of time before the laptop dies for good. Should I try to upgrade to Windows 8? Or just buy a new laptop?

Photoshop CC vs. Corel Painter.

Everyone I've asked seems to prefer Photoshop to Painter. Painter has a reputation of being difficult to learn. Painter costs around $400. Photoshop is now only available by monthly subscription from Adobe-- the last non-subscription version, Photoshop CS6, costs around $700. Arg.

My Beautiful Tablet

No debating here.  I'm pretty much sold on this tablet.  It includes Photoshop Elements and a free trial of Painter.  (I still need an operating system that can manage either of those.)

If anyone has any advice to offer in regards to software and laptops, I'd appreciate it.

Stories in Stone

Once upon a time there was a small town in the backwoods of Florida. This town is so small that if you turn right or left off of Main Street, you find yourself bumping along dirt roads. There's a farmer's market, a couple of art galleries, and a Mom-and-Pop's grocery. Not much else. About a quarter of a mile from town is the old cemetery. Old cemeteries are like old libraries: full of dusty, half-forgotten stories.

"Mother" Mary E. Herbert lived through the Civil War. I wonder if she lost any sons in the battlefields of Gettysburg or Bull Run. At the end, she was remembered as "Mother." Not wife, daughter, or sister. Mother.

C.P. Huffman.  Here's a tale.  A Union Army veteran who came South and never left again.  Maybe he fell in love with a Florida girl.  Maybe he loved the sunshine and orange trees and never wanted to pass another dark Northern winter.  He was buried here, "At Rest" behind old enemy lines.

This family protected their burial plots with a fence delicate as lace, strong as iron.  Someone still cares enough to leave the fence, but not enough to restore it.  Is there any iron left under the rust?

Inside the fence is the grave of Benjamin K, just sixteen when he died.  I wonder if he had a sweetheart.  I wonder if he was a wild, spoiled rich boy, notorious for flirting with the girls, but secretly loving only one.   His heartsore parents bought him a handsome stone...

...with a cupola on top.  Eventually the cupola toppled over, too heavy for its skinny columns.  Poor Benjamin.  I suppose there's no one left with the money or the concern to put his cupola back.

Old Mr. Crom.  When he was born, women wore bustles, gloves, and bonnets.  When he died, women had discovered the miniskirt, free love, and LSD.  After Queen Victoria, two World Wars, a Cold War, and Woodstock, all Mr. Crom wanted was a nice quiet game of golf.  I hope he got it.


Here lies Dr. McRae, who wore grey and saluted the Rebel flag.  Now a tiny Union flag pokes out of the soil over his grave.  He doesn't mind it.  Perhaps he was a doctor during the war.  Perhaps he sat up at all hours of the night pulling bullets from wounded men-- the Grey and the Blue.  He closed the eyes of the dead and soothed the fevered dreams of the living.

Long after the war, as an old man dozing in the sun, he still imagined he heard the thunder of cannons, and smelled the burning reek of gunpowder.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to anyone living or dead, friend or relation isn't entirely coincidental, but nearly so.