Together We Can Rule the Galaxy…

Anne Gatchell, Crafts

I came up with this little idea a couple of hours ago while reading about simulated annealing algorithms. They are super neat, and I am excited to implement one.

Anyway, I had this cute little Vader doll that I got after George Takei posted a link to it on Facebook. I knew there was a photograph or cartoon just waiting for the doll to be used in, so it has been in the back of my mind for several days. Then I realized I obviously had to do something involving a bunch of pink marshmallow Peeps.

I ran out to buy the Peeps, but I had everything else I needed; I even had the spare hay from last year. I whipped up this little scene real quick. If I had any free time, I assure you that this would have become a stop motion video. Maybe next year!

I posted two versions of the strip below. I can’t decide which I like better. But, I am going to post them on Mr. Takei’s wall to see if he will share one! It was nice to take a break from studying for some good old fashioned fun. Back to algorithms, I go!

Did he just make a pun on galaxy?

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Hope you enjoyed them! Let me know in the comments which you liked better. I also like the single frame images by themselves, especially the “Join me…” one.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Blank Canvas

Anne Gatchell, Art Process, Oil Painting, Painting

Sometimes a blank canvas is a beautiful thing. This is usually the case when it is being prepared for a painting that already exists in my mind, or for a feeling that I want to paint as I experience it. But, at other times, a blank canvas can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

I have some ideas for a painting I want to do, but none of them are fully formed. I want it to be beautiful and full of meaning. But, I have a deadline to meet with this piece, and so I need to get it going. I also have lots of code to write and a career fair to prepare for.

I often think that restrictions are great for the creative process. They wake up the engineer in me.
I feel like I am rising to a challenge and it helps my come up with creative solutions. But, when I am faced with a blank canvas that holds a million possibilities, sometimes is feels far more suffocating than the most restrictive palette or assignment. Especially when the only restriction posed is one of time.

So, I think I need to let time get incorporated into my creative process. Or, perhaps, learn to harness it to my advantage.

In my creative process, I like to grab an idea, and then let it stew in my subconscious mind a little bit. Then, I feel it slowly forming underneath the surface. I let it simmer until it is solid enough to grab onto and think about until the next roadblock appears. I am still figuring out how to apply this process to this particular piece. I suppose I have narrowed the subject matter down significantly from infinity, but that merely opens up another infinity of possibilities for how to portray and arrange this subject matter.

I guess that is why art is so beautiful. It will never, ever become dull.

At least I am proud of my nice stretch job on my heavy duty bars:



Hanging Lake and New Watercolor Tools

Anne Gatchell, Drawing, Painting

This weekend, I had the pleasure of hiking up to Hanging Lake, followed by a heavenly dip in the Glenwood Springs Hot Sulphur Springs pools. It was magical for many reasons.

The beauty of Hanging Lake is unsurpassed, as anyone who has seen it can attest. The beauty and variation of the landscape on the way to Glenwood from Boulder, and the wonderful, varied, and warm people we met on the trail and at the lake are some of the reasons that Colorado will always be in my heart as my favorite place to be.

I used some lovely watercolor pencils from Faber-Castell and my amazing new water brush to do a little sketch of the lake. I only bought three colors of watercolor pencils: burnt umber, Prussian blue, and dark red, so I did not have the means to capture all the green around me and the perfect turquoise of the lake. But, we all know what it is like to buy a whole box set of colors and only use a select few, so I limited myself to those three when I was at Meininger’s last week getting paper for an unrelated concept art project.

I love the pen, I love the pencils, and I heartily recommend both.


iPhone Case

Anne Gatchell, Crafts, Drawing, Illustration

For many months now, people have been making vocal notes about how beat up my iPhone cover is. It’s true. It is a plastic incase cover. When I bought it, it had a nice, warm, muted gray finish which was soft to the touch and had just the right friction coefficient between itself and my palm. But, alas, two years of wear had scraped most of the lovely coating off of the plastic. Whenever I got a comment about how bad it looked, I maintained that it still did its job. Why would I buy a new $40 case if this one still works? I’ll buy a new case when I buy a new iPhone, thank you very much!

I eventually scraped off the remaining coating, and was left with an equally ugly cover that was also very slippery and tended to fly out of my hands as I gestured.

Today, as I was wrapping up a monochrome still life oil painting, I had the urge to gesso my lovely little phone cover. After rubbing in a layer of gesso with a paper towel, the cover had enough tooth to take a couple more layers. I then proceeded to go at it with my Prismacolors. I was certainly procrastinating… I have another still life to start today and an in-depth 2-point perspective scene to finish. But, once I started the cover, I could not stop, because I wanted to get the whole thing done so that I could spray it with fixative to keep it from smudging.

I finished the front edge with a gold paint I have on hand, since the colored pencils wouldn’t hold to the lip very well. I’m not sure if the gold was the best choice in color, but I can always change that. It looks like I rushed the paint job a bit, too. I will have to go over it again when I have some time. The bottom of the case is still cracked, but perhaps some epoxy can fix that. The Crystal Clear fixative worked really well. I hope it protects my colored pencil!

Here are some shots of the cover: