Well, supposedly DecemBlog has started and I’ve yet to put anything up for it! Tonight I have assessment on a bunch of art pieces from throughout the term so I’ll be pretty much calling those artworks ‘done’ whether I like it or not. And then maybe they’ll make their way here ­čÖé

In the mean time, here’s a find I made yesterday. It’s been two years since I found my last four-leafed clover but on the way home yesterday I found two. And another two two-leaved clovers that appeared to be legitimately short one leaf. It feels good to get my average back on track.

Mah Jong Scoring

In an effort in getting my head around the scoring rules of Japanese Mah Jong (which are generally more restrictive than the rules I’m accustomed to playing with) I’ve been putting together a few scoring sheets. Here’s one, listing the Yaku (valid winning hands). It’s a simplified table comprised of the information from Wikipedia’s page├é┬ádesigned to fit on one A4 page.

Click here for the list

Excel crashed part way through me formatting this and although it auto-recovered the file, when I saved that auto-recovered file over the old one it corrupted it! Argh. At least I had an older branched version of the file saved so I didn’t have to start over from scratch.

Caress – Step-by-step

I’ve been trying to do a phoenix picture for a while, but none of my concept sketches were working. Late last night I started on this piece though, and quite liked it. The bird isn’t a phoenix but oh well. Here’s some pictures I took during the painting process.

After doodling some concepts for the painting, I choose one I like and working from that concept, draw the image├é┬ástraight onto watercolour paper. I’ve included some shading to give me some information about light and dark areas. I struggled with the face planes for a bit but was able to scribble tests of what looked good for the fall of light by scanning the sketch and putting shadows down digitally in a trial and error manner. Once I was happy with the stark shadows on the girl’s face I copied these shadows over to the sketch.



Here’s the drawing submerged in our laundry sink. This is to stretch the paper – something I don’t normally do but wanted to trial this time. The idea is to get the paper to expand by soaking in all the water…

…Then tape it down securely to a board so that it remains stretched. When reapplying water during the painting process, the paper will not warp, or at least if it does warp, it will subsequently dry flat as the tape is keeping the paper stretched.

Once I have the image taped down, I put down some initial colours:

Then I let the picture dry (well, force it to dry with some encouragement from a hairdryer) and work mostly wet-on-dry for the rest of the painting process. I have problems with my tape – the paper pulled itself free from the tape as it shrinks and ended up cockling. I use this opportunity to take a progress scan:

I then soak the back of the painting to make the paper expand again and try taping it to my board again. It works okay but the painting still gets unstuck from the tape as it dries. Guess I need stronger tape. I’m not a fan of the gum tape stuff but maybe it’s the way to go…

Here’s the finished picture:

My big mistake in this painting was trying to use bruising and scratching techniques to get the feathers done. It really didn’t work out and I spent some time trying to work out how to heal over the paper. Well, that wasn’t going to happen. I’ve also done a pretty dodgy scan, the colours and contrast really didn’t come out great on my scanner. Come visit me and see it in person some time!