Archives For Thoughts

Direction

14/06/2013 — Leave a comment

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my increasing lack of written or personal blog content.

I explained briefly my reticence due to concerns about personal privacy (which seem to have gone to an unnecessary extreme), thought that it was time to get over it and share more and then asked somewhat rhetorically about people’s preference with regards to content (semi-personal writing versus image heavy).

Since then, several weeks have passed and beyond posting a collection of travel notes about Pittsburgh and ongoing daily image exercise posts, I really haven’t “gotten over it” and shared much personal content, have I? Lame. Extremely lame. I’m pointing this all out though because I’m not giving up on sharing more and I want the few of you who are still reading to know it. Since my comfort generally lies with imagery, I will probably lean toward image heavy postings at first, but I will try to make a concerted effort to actually open up more with you guys again. Sound good?

Compass Hand

For Tom

12/09/2010 — 1 Comment

It doesn’t matter whether you won or lost…. just that you tried your best. So just keep trying.
Try

Update: Like this photo? Now it’s available as a matted archival print here in my Etsy shop.

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared photos or non-daily portrait work with any regularity; but thank you, dear readers, for your patience.

I think it’s time to end the wait…wouldn’t you agree?
DSCN5640sml

Glacial Melt

26/08/2010 — Leave a comment

Haven’t been feeling it lately as no doubt evidenced in the daily portraits and lack of chatty posts. Hang in there, dear readers, my brain will defrost sometime soon.

In the meantime, please feel welcome to share any content requests you may have. And welcome to all the new readers from around the world–thanks for stopping by!

Not to worry…

20/07/2010 — 1 Comment

Var inte rädd … Jag har inte glömt er alla…

In the midst of a move, the last three weeks have gotten away from me. But fear not, dear readers, I shall return to more active and regular updates very shortly…

Day 196

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had trouble sleeping… An old friend told me years ago that we’d sleep when we’re dead.. I quite agree….

Don’t Stop

31/03/2010 — Leave a comment

Despite unrelenting rain for the last few days, I’ve been in a pretty great mood lately, yesterday especially. But today, a warm, glorious sunny day, I’m feeling blah–seems I’ve strained my upbeat muscle(s). So, I’m trying to perk up with music in the form of a fairly ridiculous and silly playlist this afternoon. Among the tracks is:

Listening to this sort of music makes me want to cook up a storm and host a massive dinner party for all the people from around the world whom I love. Imagining everyone in one place for once in my life is absurd and thrilling, but maybe some day, right? Perhaps for my next house warming? Who’s in?

The end of print publishing? Or?? Watch and see:

This morning has brought hardware difficulties to my studio which prevent digital work from being undertaken until repairs can be made. As a result, AmandaMuses will not likely see many updates during that time.

Stay tuned, folks….

So it’s Valentines Day, for those who celebrate the occasion…

Can’t say I’m the biggest romantic– I gravitate towards the Baudelaire and Poe end of the spectrum versus the Keats and Byron end. Even so I enjoy thoughtful observances of the day whether experienced first hand or not–it is a shame really that we need a scheduled holiday to get us to articulate our affections but whatever works, right?

For those who prefer the greyer end of the spectrum, here are few tunes for you:


This video was made by a fan after Mark Sandman‘s death but it’s a good song, imho.

So dear readers, how do you observe this special day?

Survival

  • Atlas Snowshoes–with ~4′ of snow on the ground, these are almost a necessity
  • Keen boots–without a good pair of boots, snowshoes aren’t much use
  • Under Armour base layers–keep warm and dry no matter how wet you get in the snow
  • Design House Stockholm pleece–warm and snuggly
  • North Face WindWall–keeps the wind out and adds a layer of warmth to any good winter anorak
  • Aleve–after all that shoveling you’ll need it!
  • How about you dear readers? What do you depend on during harsh winters?

    Images:
    mine, 2, 3, 4, 5,6

    I took this shot of myself a year ago today when I lived in Oakland, California. A lot, thank goodness, has changed since then… not the least of which is my cyborg eye shrinking back to its normal humanoid size…

    It has always fascinated me how seemingly trivial things can trigger one’s memory on a dime and transport you to another time or place in an instant– hidden snapshots of one’s life peppered throughout our daily comings and goings.

    This morning, paying bills at my desk and watching the rain pour down, iTunes surprised me with a memory jolt– a musical time machine back to college:

    This song always propels me back in time to a rainy night in Pittsburgh— biblical rain, soaking you to the bone and waiting on Carson Street for the 54C back to Oakland. The experience or night holds no significance to my present life, no new characters came into my life that night, no profound observations were made on that day, the rain did not catalyze anything other than hailing a taxi and yet it remains as a warm and vivid memory: Crumpled up in an old leather jacket, waiting beneath a street light flipping through sketchbooks with the other regular from my coffeeshop (who was also waiting for the overdue bus), wet licorice streets, headlights exaggerated by raindrops…

    It seems strange to me that such an insignificant moment in my life remains so firmly imprinted upon my memory and yet it does.

    What random moments are firmly implanted in your memory, dear readers?

    It’s just one of those days; we all have them– you wake up and the world feels grey and unwelcoming. You scuff around and feel sorry for yourself and maybe mope a little. Well today, I’m having one of those days.

    BUT instead of moping about like a fool when I feel like this, I rally my inner troops and forge ahead. This generally involves a longer visit to the closet– pulling out especially fun shoes and a colorful jacket, a bigger than usual cup of coffee, a longer lunch break and a tightening of the circle of dearest friends. When the world feels unwelcoming, I find it best to simply become the ultimate hostess– welcome the unwelcoming and just outshine the grey.

    One of my longest standing friends from childhood, loved the Beatles when we were kids; countless weekend hours swam by to the soundtrack of the fab four and today my mind has drifted back to those days:

    Watching this clip from the movie Help!, the semi-sad lyrics of the song mixed with the subtle silliness of Paul and George perks me up and makes me smile.

    How about you, dear readers? How do you perk yourself up when you’re feeling down?

    When I was an undergrad in design school , I was one of the weakest drawing students among my peers our freshman year. My professors, patient and inspiring though they were, seemed to remain concerned about my weaknesses in the fields of drawing and craft; it was the final pin-up discussions at which I shone.

    When the second semester of my freshman year came along and my drawing skills still fell short of my peers, one of my professors, who held a master’s in drawing, pulled me aside and gave me some advice. He gave me a few tips on how to improve the quality of my work, but above all advocated simply for practice. One of the exercises he recommended was to draw simple shapes over and over again– to draw until they were coming out of my ears. By so doing, I would be training my hands to be more skilled at quality of line and form. So for weeks I drew obsessively– circles, squares, cones, pyramids, triangles, lines, lines, lines; it was the mad hatter’s geometry and it was exploding inside my sketchbooks.

    By the time I graduated with my BFA, I was selected as the designer of the year, so something must have clicked along the way; the mad hatter’s geometry had pushed me further. Today, simple forms like those from my professor’s exercise tend to creep into the margins of my sketchbooks and meeting notes– an unconscious habit, it now seems.

    When I came across the above video from the Design Council, one of the first things that came to mind was that exercise of drawing simple shapes over and over and over.

    Why be good when you can be better? What do you wish you could do better, dear readers? And how do you plan on getting there?

    I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, generally, but this year it just seemed right. This year, I aim to:

    Draw more

    Draw more


    Draw More
    I’d really like to try and make more of a habit of sketching during my travels and off time.

    Be Happy

    Be Happy


    Be Happy
    I’ve learned a lot during the last few years, I’ve done some pretty exciting things and I’ve done some work of which I can be proud. But happiness and joy have not been at the core of my daily life, at least not as much as I would like.. so in 2010, I want to work on that.

    Write more letters

    Write more letters


    Write more letters
    When I was ten, I had a teacher who gave us an assignment to write a letter to someone every week for a year. It was an excellent habit and one I’ve not maintained dutifully over the last twenty years or so as I’d like to say. Want a letter or to be added to my postcard list for when I’m on the road? Send me an e-mail and I’ll add you to the snail mail list 😉

    Be more active

    Be more active

    Be more active
    Over the last few months, I’ve spent too much time in my workspace (or commuting to it). As a result though, I’ve gotten less active and miss the pace I tend to maintain when living in a more urban environment. This year, I want to be better about making a habit of being physically active since it feels so good.

    Make more art and perhaps sell some too.
    If I don’t make things, I don’t feel good; it’s as simple as that. When I don’t make things, my skills get rusty. This year, it’s time to make time for art no matter what. And to start listening to the people who have been asking and telling me to sell my work for years.

    What are your resolutions this year, dear readers? Need help with yours? Here’s a handy resolution generator.

    Jul

    24/12/2009 — Leave a comment

    How are YOU celebrating the holidays, dear readers?

    While catching up on news and blogs this evening after spending much of the last two weeks on the road, I came across a post by Seth Godin about branding that caught my eye. Over the last few months, my brand hat has been collecting dust on my career hat rack while I shift focus to more graphic art-intensive work; but ever the brand manager (Abranda, if you prefer), my ears usually perk up when the word ‘brand’ pops up on my screen.

    In his post, Godin raises some interesting and valuable points about the breadth of meaning to brand beyond just the logo or visual touch points most of us associate with the word ‘brand.’ So often people seem to relegate branding to simply a function of marketing or design which is both frustrating and reassuring– frustrating in that the topic remains an uphill battle with some audiences, yet reassuring in that the need for responsible brand advocates remains strong. Godin summarizes the issue well when he states “Design is essential but design is not brand.

    What do you think, dear readers? How do you define ‘brand’ or ‘branding’?

    “Accuracy is the least significant part of drawing… but you have learn to draw accurately before you can do anything else…”

    Five minutes with Milton Glaser on drawing from 2006.

    Video by C. Coy

    Branding Cymru

    25/11/2009 — 1 Comment

    Earlier today, I came across a post from the Institute of Welsh Affairs blog by Rhys David (as linked by Quixotic Quisling) that discussed Wales‘ image or ‘brand perception’ among world travelers.

    The post outlines the 2007 survey conducted by Simon Anholt and others, as well as the findings of this year’s survey in which Wales did not participate. Perhaps it is just my inner brand geek (have you met my alter-ego Abranda, yet?) but articles and discussions of this nature absolutely get my tail wagging. It is an opportunity to better explore and articulate the possibility of brands as more than just marketing. A brand can be a powerful thing for better and for worse.. and at its best, a brand can affect positive change.

    What struck me in reading the IWA post was the concern raised over the people in Wales being “off message” when traveling and portraying their nation to others. An interesting dilemma that makes me wonder about the problem from which it stems– is it the agent carrying the message who is getting it wrong, or was the message off-base to begin with? A brand message can not be successful without a basis in reality– want to kill your brand? Make a promise you can’t or won’t keep. It is one thing to weave aspirational tones or goals into brand messaging, but to build your castle upon a foundation of fictitious clouds is ill advised– make a brand promise that is unrelated to the audience’s experience and your brand will no doubt fail. But I don’t know that that is the problem at hand– it sounds as though the Welsh people just need a boost with regards to national pride or esteem.

    David raises a good point about the difference in branding a single organization versus an entity as broad as a nation and the difficulties of such diversity or breadth. Not surprisingly, the post alludes to Wales’ lack of brand-conveying international corporations or business like Ireland‘s Guinness , and the resulting dependence on the arts or sports for international conveyance of the national identity. An interesting point, but not one worth lamenting too much– so Wales does not have a consumable touch point like Guinness, so what. While the Guinness brand serves Ireland well as a national brand ambassador there is more to the nation than stout. So the Welsh brand yet to be articulated accurately is rooted in an abstract or complex tapestry of things– I would hope someone charged with the task would embrace these ambiguities and subtleties and explore them in a final brand identity for the nation.

    For those interested in branding, I would recommend reading the IWA post, but I also recommend it to those who cringe at the word ‘brand.’ Branding does not have to be a four letter word, people; branding does not have to be about marketing alone.

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