Category: Paintings

Math in Art

*I am a lazy blogger. Mind you I have been blogging off and on since 1999. Why yes, I had a blog on the original “Blogger”. I remember vividly making one, being so excited (I had a new baby and was one of the early “mom bloggers”), and then Blogger reset everything after a crash and I lost my blog. We all had to start over. Sigh. Anyway, point is nowadays I seldom have time to blog, what with working full time, having 3 teenagers, running the Christian Unschooling facebook group (nearly 2000 members now), and well, life. So you mostly get posts that are reposts of things I have written elsewhere, because, posts.

The following is in response to a new to unschooling mom asking how to make sure her passionate about art daughter was learning math. Obviously my post here is proof read, formatted properly, etc unlike the original post which I wrote on the fly. ūüėÄ

Family Portrait- Heather Young 2010
Family Portrait- Heather Young 2010

With art, math is more of a natural thing that happens and less of a “this is math” thing. If I try thinking of math while I draw/paint my brain actually stops doing the type of art I want to do and I get too analytical to do the more organic work I prefer. (I play a lot of logic/puzzle video games which use the math part of the brain when doing programming and very architectural drawings and tend to spend more time watching vibrant/visually stunning animes and movies and listening to music when painting- helps my brain get into the right mode to work). That said you do use math naturally as an artist and it develops as you develop. So this is more for the mom and whoever else is worried about the child learning math than for her.

Book Dragon- Heather Young 2013
Book Dragon- Heather Young 2013

You use a lot of math think to do perspective, scaling things for drawings- whether up or down, composition, layout, proportions, as well as anytime you work on a realistic drawing it is all in your head visual math. The only art I can think of that does not use math as a default would be doing complete abstract (and many abstract pieces are full of math). Anytime you are taking something real world and putting it on paper (including fantasy and manga style, but I am saying, anything you could build and see rather than abstract concepts) you are using an organic math in your head to decide where things go and how they fit and where the lines should go. Mostly it is because when God created the world He filled it with patterns and lines and you can’t draw without replicating those at least in part, and the more you do it and the better you get the more math you are actually using, whether you recognize it or not.

Dragon Daydreams- Heather Young 2013
Dragon Daydreams- Heather Young 2013

Nowadays I can actually see myself doing it, and my art is much better because of it, though when I was young, math made me panic and I had to “ignore” the fact that I was using it and rather intuit it to get it figured right. I still intuit it, but I also intuit most math in other things- if I think about numbers my brain switches them around (there is a name for it- it is called “dyscalculia”- makes doing bills extra interesting), but if I let myself not think about them and intuit the answer it is almost always right.

Beach House Portrait- Heather Young 2009
Beach House Portrait- Heather Young 2009

There is a big difference between conceptual math and arithmetic- arithmetic is 1+1 and people naturally get that stuff because we use clocks and money, bake and play games, and everything else in the real world that uses arithmetic every day. Art, on the other hand, uses a lot of conceptual math- the scientist/mathematician stuff that most people don’t think of as “math”, it is just another form of that. Seeing patterns and using them to know where to put lines and color and shape is much more conceptual than it is arithmetic . That said artists do also use basic arithmetic for figuring proportions and things in more complicated drawings and layout- think M.C. Escher type stuff.

St. Mary's Convent, Freeport, PA- Heather Young 2010
St. Mary’s Convent, Freeport, PA- Heather Young 2010

More on the difference between conceptual math and arithmetic here:

Art Media series #2 ACEO- Heather Young 2012
Art Media series #2 ACEO- Heather Young 2012

Also, is you want to see where I am actually posting my art nowadays on a semi-regular basis you can visit my tumblr here: Pocket Lint of the Soul

The Games are In!

Remember a while back I was illustrating a game? ¬†Well the game has been printed, shipped, and is now FOR SALE!!!! ¬†Yeah, I am a tad bit excited! ¬†you can go buy a copy for yourself (and one for your friends and family and birthdays and holidays and….) over at Whimsy Games.

And in case you are wondering, yes, we have played it and yes, it is not only fun but takes a bit of brain work, decision making and some math.

The Daily Blather

My brain is not doing so well as far as coming up with postsРfrankly we are just too busy living.  So here is a cross section of what we are up to:

We spent the day running errands, going to the library (where we got some awesome book and audio books, including a Diana Wynne Jones) and got to go to the park for the first time this year. ¬†We brought along Esther’s best friend -we called spontaneously as we were driving by her house. ¬†I love that her mom, Rachel’s pinano teacher, is as spontaneous as I am and happily agreed that she could go along. ¬†It was windy and chilly despite the supposed 65 degrees though it did get nice and warm when the sun peaked through the storm cloud dominated sky. ¬†I love having kids that are old enough to play at the park on their own¬†whole¬†I sit in the warm minivan and read my library book. ¬†They managed to get¬†muddy via¬†mud puddles and creek plus they explored a fallen tree and all the old fountains at the park. ¬†(I forgot my camera and though my cell has some photos they are hard to get to.) ¬†We got to explore both the purple park and the lower (gazebo) park because we had to leave for a bit (someone had to use the restroom so we ran to Big Lots and picked up some snacks too.) ¬†After that we headed down to the smaller¬†Alameda¬†park where the kids climbed around and had enjoyed the creek. ¬†Rach sat in the car with me as she is still pretty run down after being sick so we read our books and watched some Larpers preparing to play. ¬†It was actually pretty awesome and Rach was tempted to go talk to them to see if she could get involved since that is one of her dreams and we didn’t even know there was a group in the area. ¬†I am sure there are more but I actually recognized several of the people from the comic book store.

We stopped at the thrift shop where we found the original Clue game– which we played over and over when we got home. ¬†LOVE that game. ¬†We also found a Lego Harry Potter Night Bus still in it’s plastic bag for $.49 which is awesome. ¬†Also we found Esther some much needed tennis shoes, Rach an awesome skirt (she is like me and lives in skirts–her sister? ¬†not so much, except for in the summer.) ¬†I found something for me as well but now I can’t remember what it was. ¬†Oh, but I found my husband an awesome hat at Kohl’s (where I had one of those $10 gift cards they send out.) ¬†I spent $4 which is more than I usually do with those but it looks awesome and I had promised him a hat after PAX, because we are also a hat wearing family. ūüôā


We also managed to mail out a pile of things that had been waiting to go. ¬†Of this I am proud–I am bad at remembering to mail things. ¬†Our post office is awkward to get to though we have a sweet little post things place where we¬†love¬†the owner and this time, because my brain was on backwards, we ended up using both the main post office AND¬†visiting¬†Miss Josie who when the kids were small would let them help her box things.

I am working on another painting– based on the ¬†18th photo down on Melissa’s post here. ¬†Aren’t her photos wonderful? ¬†When my own photos run out of interest I have a habit of turning to hers for¬†something¬†to paint, and that one is gorgeous. ¬†I am thinking of doing partial color so that should be fun. ¬†I am taking photos as I go and you can keep up with them here at my Facebook page. ¬†I didn’t get anything done on it today because we were gone all day but I did get the masking on last night– which the kids think is funny because the liquid friskit I use is bright orange (you use it to mask out the white in watercolors) so the painting looks freaky. ¬†Will post¬†a photo of it to the¬†Facebook¬†page when I get the next layer don e and can post both photos.

We are celebrating our first Passover this weekРit has been an interesting experience which I will relate in another post.

Work and a Gift

Actually the title should be something about how work is a gift from God, which it is. ¬†How bored we would be and how little enjoyment we would have if we didn’t have something to do with our hands.

I am excited because the Lord has gifted me with several bits of work to do that may lead to other bits of work in a field I adore. ¬†This is especially exciting because it combines skills I have developed over time (which is always nice– I would much rather do that which God has prepared me to do than some random new thing for which I am not designed), books (which if you don’t know already I am passionate about), and creativity (design using Gimp as well as with my pen and paints).

A friend of mine, Grace, owns a small publishing company, Splashdown Books, and was talking about all the work she had to get done this month and I (per usual) volunteered to help.  I got to layout a book cover (which I enjoyed a lot more than designing websites) and got to do a small painting that will be incorporated into the covers for the series.  And then she paid me for my work on the very first night which I was not expecting (like I said I volunteered) and for which I was grateful.  And it looks like she may have other work for me (at the very least the rest of this series which is also exciting, and fun.)

Ever since I was a child and wrote “BCL” in every one of my picture books (B___ Children’s Library) and then proceeded to organize them by author (and type for the non-fiction) I have adored books and wanted to have something to do with them. For a long time I thought I wanted to write and though I do I do not consider myself a “writer”. ¬†I don’t care enough about writing itself to research the best ways to write, writing styles, getting published and all that. ¬†On the other hand I AM passionate about art, a well designed book cover (I will often pick up a book based on a great cover), and encouraging good writers (and there are a lot though there are also a lot of ¬†the other sort of writers out there.) ¬†So it is exciting that God is leading in that direction at this time (I don’t know what He has planned for the future but I am enjoying where I am.)

That, combined with doing the box art for the card game (more art from that over here) is making for a very busy me. The sooner the box art is done, the sooner we can get it published so I am working to get it done quickly, and praying over the work constantly.

Also cool is that Shamus has had several possible offers regarding paying gigs (for both writing and his videos).  We are prayerfully considering each, especially since we are feeling very led to continue in the direction we are going.  He has also been writing about 2,000 words a day on his book, which is coming along nicely.

Finally my mother-in-law showed up with some cash from my father-in-law this morning. ¬†She ¬†said, “He just told me that I was to give this to you kids.” ¬†So that is pretty awesome and appreciated. ¬†Have I mentioned that our families are wonderful and have been such a blessing to us? ¬† Regardless, I will say it now, they are wonderful and a blessing. ūüôā ¬†(Later on Rachel came home (she had spent the day helping her grandma and practicing piano at my mother-in-law’s church) she came laden with perishable groceries that my mother-in-law had gotten us: eggs, salad, fruit, and cheese. ¬†Did I mention they are awesome?!

And now back to work. Trying to finish the final element of the box art before Sabbath so I can touch it up then get it scanned after Sabbath.

Appreciate a Dragon Day 2011

It is Appreciate a Dragon Day!

Around here dragon appreciation is a daily thing. We love our dragons. Last year I posted pictures of the dragons around the house. This year the kids got excited and made dragons and I have several new dragon paintings to share.

Rachel started making a dragon with plastic forks and coffee filters but realized that idea wouldn’t work and started making a sculptural one with a marble track Issac has. That worked– it has a rotund body, a round head, a ribbon smile, and wings from the netting of Issac’s pirate ship. Only thing is she used tape to hold it all together and it fell apart before I could get a photo. So that was a sad dragon.

Issac was going to make a dragon but got distracted trying to build the Empire State Building with his railroad track pieces.

Esther attempted to make a standing dragon from Issac’s old dragon costume (which is very too small on him). She used wire clothes hangers and old blankets to fill it. After several attempts she gave up on the clothes hangers and stuck with a plain stuffed dragon.

Finally I did a few dragon paintings (mostly asleep, I should note:) I like sleeping dragons) over the last year that I thought I would share:

Let sleeping dragons lie.

Long Winter’s Nap

Dragon’s Day Off
Dragon’s Day Off

Now go forth and appreciate the dragons in your life. ūüôā ¬†(And if you did a post about it leave a copy of the link in the comments so we can come check it out.)

Where We Are: December

Painted this a few minutes before Sabbath began Christmas eve--an excellent reminder of my own need for rest and peace.

*Please excuse the awkward wording–I have a cold and my brain is full of goo and my brain is transposing words left and right.)

First off, hoping you have had a blessed holiday season whether you celebrate or notРwe kind of celebrated Hanukkah (we lit a small menorah made of playdough and birthday cake candles and played with the dreidel)  and celebrated Christmas on Christmas eve with our extended families Christmas day we had a small immediate family celebration then a short visit with my 82 yr old grandmother) while celebrating a much needed Sabbath.  It turned out that we all got sick which made me even more grateful that we did most of the celebrating the day before.

This month has seen much blessing from friends and family who have stepped in to cover our needs in various ways despite the paycheck we expected not showing up (please pray it comes in the next few weeksРthings are going to start getting shut off otherwise).  From friends who sent us cash (which bought much needed groceries and paid the immediate bills) and gave me  small jobs that covered Christmas dinner and a few small gifts to family members who stepped in and paid for gas and our steer (which means that we have plenty of organic, grass-fed beef), to small gifts of much needed items, even Christmas gifts of clothes that are needed and FIT and grocery money (the kids are so excited about the Whole Foods gift card from my WONDERFUL sister-in-law) we have been amazingly blessed.  It is not comfortable, especially each day not knowing where, when and how the next need  will be met.

I am usually the “God will provide” person– every time we have a need I am the one who trusts and believes and watches for God to step in– and He always does because He is faithful, but I am struggling– every few days I get knocked over with a wave of fear and I am battling it with His help. ¬†The thing is, because I am usually the one who just trusts it is affecting the rest of the family having me worried. ¬†So I am praying diligently for patience, faith, and the ability to stand strong in faith.

So now I am praying for a miracle, and trusting we will have one soon.  He is faithful and He has provided thus far therefore I can trust Him and I am standing on His promises that He will take care of us.  That said just an update on other things:

Shamus is writing a brilliant book while working on all his other projects. ¬†Brilliant I say. ¬†He was working on an epic tale (which was well written, makes a perfect short story, and fizzled out because he didn’t have his arc figured out before he started) but this one is shorter, funnier, and just plain awesome and I can’t wait to share it with others. ¬†He is also trying to finish up so loose ends so he can start applying various places who may be interested in his work– but those would all mean moving and him working in an office (which would mean not writing). ¬†We are really praying that somehow the Lord would provide so that he can continue to work from home (and actually get paid what is promised to him) and that he would be able to keep writing which is really his passion.

The kids are growing like weeds (Rach is 5′ 5″ and a half! and the other two have rapidly shortening clothes). ¬†They are also maturing at an alarming rate. ¬†They all set out to buy gifts for everyone in the family with their own money and did a beautiful job. ¬†Rachel has been saving up and purchasing her own lunch foods (her own choice–she wants to¬† learn about economy, the cost of food, and learn to do for herself so that when she is old enough to move out she knows how to live economically.) ¬†Issac made rice packs as gifts for everyone and Esther not only purchased special gifts for individuals but she stepped in several times to help the family out using her birthday money.

All three kids are keeping very busy with various projects.  Rachel had to stop piano lessons until we get paid again but is occasionally babysitting for her teacher in exchange for a lesson and is also doing quite a bit of babysitting otherwise.  Esther is not going to be in the next show due to monetary restraints but is happily engaged in other projects (most including books either reading of or writing.)  Issac is building and creating and making constantly.

I am sure there is a lot more they are doing but right now my brain is shutting down so I will instead point you to a post that is where my heart is and is better able to express how I am feeling at the moment than I apparently am in my addle brained state:  My dear friend Holly shares it here.

New Art site, again

I have moved my art site again. ¬†As fun as it was to be part of the community the inability to fix stupid issues within the theme was not. ¬†However, this time it was a much simpler move and really no big deal. ¬†I found a theme I am happy with (though there are some issues¬†with¬†double images due to some remnant code from the old site, I believe) I am pretty happy with it. ¬†I do not, however, promise not to change the theme because I¬†have¬†a slew downloaded that I am tempted to try, this one was just the prettiest so far. ūüôā

So, hop over to the new (if it takes you to the old site try instead.  It will eventually be just but it is there for now.  Also, I have a small new holiday greeting/painting waiting for you there.

New Elasah Art site

So I gave up on incorporating my art site into this one. And am tired of my art floating around the internet so now I bring you a one stop spot for all my art:

It is not self-hosted, for simplicities sake it is over on ¬†This also means I can’t mess with the theme so even though there are some things I am not thrilled with I am in general very happy with it. ¬†I still have more art to upload but there are already 73 paintings there to peruse. ¬†And if you use a feed reader you can access the feed here or you can stop over and subscribe via email. Also, all the buying info is linked at the top.

Happy Valentine’s Day

This is a repost from last year.  With 3 sick kids and all the other stuff I have going on this is all the energy I have.

Honestly I am more likely celebrate it being Friday the 13th than Valentine’s Day–at least Friday the 13th is interesting and different.¬† But since I am not a pagan and not the least bit superstitious I don’t really celebrate either.¬† Once upon a time I did, I longed for someone, anyone, to give me a nice, romantic¬† Valentine’s Day gift and was always devastated when no one did (even if I got something it never lived up to my romantic aspirations.)

About 5 years ago, maybe more, God dealt with my heart on this issue.¬† Honestly, there is no way ANYONE or ANYTHING can live up to such romantic twaddle as the world would have us believe and get all caught up in.¬† And honestly, if it weren’t for the world telling you it was important, would you REALLY care?¬† We are loved and cherished beyond anything by our Lord and Saviour, and HE never runs out and buys us flowers, chocolates , and a romantic card.¬† Instead He blesses us with beautiful wildflowers, incredible sunsets, His wonderful Word, and all sorts of small daily blessings–so many that if we just open our eyes to see we are amazed at His love for us.

And so, nowadays instead of moping about not getting a gift I don’t really care about on a designated day that I don’t really care about, I realize how blessed I am to have a husband who loves me every single day and shows it, and a God who loves me even more than my husband, and who goes out of the way to show me every single day.¬† And I challenge you to do the same.¬† Even if you don’t have a great relationship if you are a child of God then you are LOVED. ¬† I challenge you to find women in your life who have no one, who struggle, who need to know that they are loved, and go out of your way to show them your (and God’s) love for them.

And I offer you a Valentine’s Card just from me to each of you, and offer it to you to share with whom ever you feel needs to know that they too are loved.

My Valentine’s gift to you.¬† Have a blessed day regardless of your circumstances and relationships and know that you are loved with everlasting love that goes beyond that of any mortal (John 3:16).

Valentine back

Valentine front

close up front

close up back