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: http://www.christianunschooling.com/math-think/

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.

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.

New Art site, again

I have moved my art site again. ¬†As fun as it was to be part of the wordpress.com 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 http://elasah.com (if it takes you to the old site try http://www.elasah.com/art/ instead.  It will eventually be just http://www.elasah.com 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: Elasah.com

It is not self-hosted, for simplicities sake it is over on wordpress.com. ¬†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

Life as We Know It

Yes, we still unschool. ¬†Yes, it is still working. ¬†Yes, we still both work from home though it has shifted even more from me working to Shamus working while I hang with the kids and keep the household running smooth so he can focus and be productive. ¬†Yes, I still love our life and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Ice Skating

Shamus is working, a lot. ¬†Things are financially stressful but that is another post (and one I have been pondering for a while but which may or may not actually get shared. ¬†All I can say right now is that God is amazing and much more reliable than any paycheck.) ¬†On that point I want to mention mint.com– if you are having a hard time seeing the big picture of your finances, suck at budgeting, or just like seeing everything in one place then it is well worth a look. ¬†It is working great for this financially challenged family and being free helps. ¬†We had recently discussed the possibility of me taking on ¬†a part time job to fill in the current gaps, but various factors nipped that in the bud. ¬†Mostly the fact that me being here facilitating the children’s learning is key (they would learn anyway but Shamus cannot field their constant questions AND write 3 comics a week, 3 articles a week, and do 30 hrs a week programming not to mention keep up on his blog and several side projects.)

Ice Skating

The kids are happily occupied talking to fellow unschooling friends on Skype and text chat, interacting on FamilyRUN, playing Build-a-Bear (their favorite game to play? ¬†School–“except we know most of the answers already, but we get to learn new things too”.) ¬†They are also occupied playing ¬†Plants vs. Zombies, a lot. ¬†Talk about an educational game that ¬†you don’t realize is educational. ¬†Essentially you could think of it as a fun way to learn financial planning and organizing your resources— of course you could say the same thing about Star Craft and other strategy games. At the pondDue to the snow, snow, and more snow they have been avoiding going outside (especially now that there is no ice to skate on). ¬†The kids are also very involved in a new Lego Quest weekly challenge run ¬†by a friend on Twitter. ¬†Lego Quest carRachel is thrilled to have made friends who can talk when she can, Essie is reading her way through multiple series of books (having read all the Gregor the Underlander books in a week and moving on to several other series I can’t remember) , Issac is building all sorts of things and intent on beating Mario Galaxy on his own. ¬†We are spending a lot of time listening to audio books together, playing games together, talking together.

At the pond
Picnic at the pond

Me? ¬†Aside from all the cleaning and rearranging going on (lots of re-purposing and getting rid of which I find a quick way to beat the urge to go buy something new. ) ¬†Now that the website issues have been dealt with I have been free to work on painting (trying acrylics still. ¬†It is interesting but maybe I am getting somewhere?) ¬†I am doing less reading and spending time on the computer¬† (due to eyesight issues) and more listening to audio books which means I am being more productive– I feel like I need to be doing something if I am listening to audio books. ¬†And since the cd player is in the kitchen and we are being VERY frugal in our meals I am spending a lot of time in the kitchen cleaning, rearranging, and baking. ¬†Yesterday it was no-bake cookies (naturally sweetened, carob, peanut butter, coconut, and oatmeal), homemade granola bars (naturally sweetened with oatmeal, cranberries, peanut butter, cocoa nibs, coconut, flax seed), and lots and lots of bread dough. ¬†The day before I chopped all the raw veggies in the house, making a nice salad mix and freezing the rest. ¬†Oh, and I finished a painting–a commission by my sister-in-law for her employers. Watercolor

Appreciate a Dragon Day

Being that I adore dragons (always have, well since I gave up on unicorns in the 4th grade) and thoroughly enjoyed Donita K. Paul’s Dragons series I thought I would share some of my favorite dragons for Appreciate a Dragon Day. ¬†(My two very favorites are in the bedroom where my hubby is asleep so…. they are sleeping dragons and we let sleeping dragons lie.)

First is the one I did when Cat mentioned feeling like a dragon the other day (and which you have already seen):

Dragon doodle

Then there is the wonderful antique dragon coffee set my in-laws bought us last January for our anniversary (which is next weekend).

Dragon tea set

Also in our home is the Guardian of the Futon: the dragon I bought for Issac for his birthday last year at IKEA and which migrated downstairs so often that he eventually became our futon guardian.
IKEA dragon
Another favorite who often gets overlooked (because he sits like a gargoyle atop the shelf in the office is the Guardian of the Video Games.
Dragon guradian of the video game shelf
Below you will find my Bibliophile Dragon Horde painting (still unframed) above the awesome paper Chinese dragon Rachel made me.
Dragon horde + Rach's Chinese Dragon
And finally, because my favorite dragon shirt is in the summer clothes and because all my favorite dragon books (including The Enchanted Forest series, Here There Be Dragons, and “Max’s Dragon Shirt”, as well as the books mentioned above) are elsewhere, are two small dragons that keep me company at my desk:

Purple dragon

Rock dragon

And our favorite household dragon quote? ¬†“Dragon shirt” said Max.

Valerie Comer also has a post up for Appreciate a Dragon Day.