Tag: art

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

A Plethora of Blessings

God has been doing so many things that I am having a hard time keeping up with it all.  However, I really feel I need to continue to share so that I can keep track and possibly encourage whoever might be reading as well.

This weekend had potential to be a rough one.  In fact, it started out pretty rough spiritually speaking.  It was so bad that all of us were feeling itРlike constantly being slightly embarrassed and uncomfortable. Everything seemed to be off and finally today, after much prayer, discussion to see where things went off, and listening, we figured out the trouble area, confessed, and things have cleared up.   The key word that God keeps impressing on us is love.  There is more to it but that was where we were going wrong.  We were not being loving of some specific people and needed to get back on track.

On the other hand, God provided in several amazing ways this weekend in the midst of uncomfortable situations.

  • We were nearly out of enzymes and gas plus several vitamins that we really need due to health issues. ¬†The Lord worked it out that during our weekly visit to my grandmother she gave us, on the spur of the moment, enough money to buy some groceries and enzymes. ¬†Due to a sale at GNC we were able to get the vitamins, enzymes, and then go next door to Walmart for a few key groceries to fill in the gaps.
  • When we went to get gas the girls decided to use some of the money that Grandma had given them to get a drink (which meant that then Issac wanted to do the same which caused all kinds of confusion.) Their expenditure normally wouldn’t have made a difference on my gas since I usually pump gas first then go pay. ¬†However the card reader didn’t work so I had to pay inside (which made me cranky because apparently that store doesn’t due debit card prepay) which meant me standing at the pump in frigid temperatures, twice, trying to get the card to work and running in the store twice instead of just once (did I mention COLD and that I was whiny and the kids couldn’t make up their minds?) And because of all that I got a discount and was able to pay for the gas using the money from a small job I had done that morning before and which had paid immediately.
  • A friend gave us several bags of groceries (with lots of home canned goodies from her freezer and pantry as well as some meat to fill in where we have cut into our own stores, thanks Connie!) which despite some confusion was brought to our house by another friend. ¬†There was a bit of a mess involved about which I felt awful. ¬† However, God worked it out beautifully so that Rachel ended up getting babysit today in exchange for a piano lesson and most of it ended up being just my discomfort at having everything be a mess and not really be able to make things right when people were going out of their way to help us out.
  • We were the recipient of a package of books from Donita K. Paul (which really deserves it’s own post). ¬†In exchange I sent her a painting based on another one that she really liked. ¬†It wasn’t till last night that I realized that she had also sent promotional bookmarks with it, one of which she signed! ¬†Will take some pictures of the books and bookmarks plus do a bit of a review of the books (which are excellent) when I get a minute.
  • We received a $50 gift certificate for Novica.com (and I get to do a giveaway of another $50 gift certificate to one of you, which is really exciting). ¬†As you know I normally don’t do giveaways but I have been so impressed with their items (which are handmade by artisans around the world) and we have been so blessed by them in the past that I would love to share. ¬†The really cool thing is that tomorrow is our 14th anniversary and we don’t really have anything with which to celebrate so we ordered a few things that we absolutely love as an anniversary gift to each other. ¬†We managed to keep it completely under the $50 including shipping and even had a few dollars left over on it to donate to artisans. As far as the contest goes, I am thinking I will do the contest in the next few days (God willing, I will start it tomorrow).

Art Class

Once upon a time (nearly 2 years ago to the day) I posted 9 figure drawing lessons for kids (and adults if they want to join in) and people still come looking for them.  You can find them all here.  Please keep in mind that originally I was doing these real time and life was rather hectic.  If you decide to work through them feel free to leave a comment or email me if you ahve any questions or just want to share:

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Lesson 7

Lesson 8

Lesson 9

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.

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

Artsy Fartsy

Due to eye issues (long story short I can’t see to read or work at the computer but can see for everything else–¬† Hoping it clears up soon) I have been spending my time away from the computer.¬† Lots of snow outside (constantly snowing for the last week and the next week to come) means lots of snow shoveling, which helps my eyes feel better so I am doing lots of snow shoveling.

Also have picked up the paints again, this time trying out acrylics which I have a natural aversion to.¬† They are made of plastic and despite my love of computers I can’t stand anything plastic.¬† I prefer materials I could make myself and I can make oils and watercolors no problem.¬† However due to the RA oils are out of the question–oils are surprisingly hard ont he hands.¬† So, I am giving acrylics a go–¬† which is interesting as I am completely and totally out of all reds beyond bright orange.¬† In case you haven’t notice I LIKE red and use a lot of it in my paintings and attempting to work without red until I decide if I can even bear to work with acrylics is an interesting challenge on top of not having touched acrylics since I was in high school (at least 20 years since I touched them).¬† And in that time I have spent most of my time working in oils and more recently watercolors.¬† Watercolors are very different from acrylics, you work them differently, the support is different, everything is different (even the palatte of colors I have available to me).¬† And I refuse to go out and buy any acrylics until I am sure I am going to use them.

So I have a work in progress and have also joined several weekly painting inspiration groups (attempting to get back into doing Illustration Friday as well as the other art groups I am a part of.¬† And likely will do so if my eyes continue to be a problem (can’t do too much database work when I can’t bear to look at the screen for more than 5-10 min at a stretch–typoing this while looking at my keyboard. :))

I do have a new-to-me computer to work on which has plenty of space fo photos of my work plus a dual boot which will allow me to work in Ubuntu AND use the Windows programs I need to use.¬† Now if I could just get a new camera to replace my “dust in the lens making it impossible to take decent art photos” camera¬† I will be doing good.¬† God provided the computer box (my brother-in-law’s cast off) and so I will have to trust Him to provide a decent camera, and maybe even a printer/scanner so I can get prints of my work done.¬† I have a feeling I will be doing less website work in the future (hoping– health issues make it too hard to be diligent) and I much prefer doing painting and photography anyway.

We’ll see where it all ends up, every year I think I will do this or do that and then find myself doing the thing I thought I was done with.¬† And yes, when I get some work done, or at least further along, I will post it.¬† Right now my husband is loving what I have done with acrylics but I am finding it pretty creepy looking.¬† If I just had some Payne’s grey and some crimson I would be much happier– why yes I am a color snob, why do you ask?

Waiting room

Imaginary little girl combined with the real waiting room –drawn while waiting in radiology for a friend who’s daughter has spina bifida.¬† Painted and little girl drawn later in the Spina Bifida clinic while waiting some more.

Funny story about this one.¬† While waiting in the clinic for several hours children and parents came and went.¬† Finally, after reading for some time I decided to work on this a bit more.¬† As I got out my watercolors the sweetest little girl, about 3 years old, came over and started watching me work.¬† She then ran back to her mom on the other side of the room and told her there was a “painter”.¬† The mom shushed her and said no, I was just wearing a beret.¬† She isisted and finally they came over together, her mom tickled pink that I really was an artist and really was working and that I was allowing her sweet little daughter to watch and ask questions while I worked.

Randomly random because my head is still busy

  • I gave up and cut my hair.¬† I have been getting a lot of headaches lately and it hurts to have my heavy, thick hair up and it bugs me to have it down so chop-chop.¬† I did ask the kids if it would be all right (I kept it long because they loved it) but too much is enough.¬† And so, my new head:¬† It is frizzy here because my hair is naturally VERY wavy and I hadn’t used a straight iron (which surprisingly does not straighten it though it does smooth it.)¬† Yes I cut it myself using lots of time and mirrors and hair clips. ¬† I hate having someone else do it because my hair is tricksie and they always mess it up. ¬† This is my favorite cut, is flattering on most people and looks good with my favorite accessories–hats and hoop¬† earrings.¬† No straight on shot because I was having a hard time getting the camera set up.:)
  • Hubby says that now I have to dye it blue or purple so I can look like one of our favorite anime characters, and it is AWFULLY tempting:

  • The girls have been working hard at learning to draw and paint better and have been using my poor sad bunny as a model (no, I do not own an actual model, he is out of my head and the kids are using him as a spring board for their own paintings.¬† We have bunnies EVERYWHERE.¬† It is my humble opinion that these bunnies are BREEDING.

    Rachels bunny

  • Issac has been enjoying what snow we have been having (off and on, snow then rain then back again, driving us all insane–“Make up your MIND!”¬† The girls built giant snowmen down in the field and Issac worked on a speed bump.

  • Rachel has been spending every possible moment either playing chess with her new board or trying to convince someone to play with her.¬† Here she is with a friend (sporting a new haircut which I had just done a few moments before and which reminded me how much I LOVE this haircut.) They had a great game while their brothers who are the same age were upstairs cleaning up a bit of a mess.
  • The mess?¬† Oh my.¬† Do you KNOW how many teeny, tiny Styrofoam balls are in one of those squishy nylon pillows? Especially the squishy purple marshmallow bunny pillow?¬† I am STILL cleaning up those stupid little balls.¬† The boys found the balls that had come out of the peep which the girls KEPT instead of throwing away and dumped them in every, single corner of the mess (which the girls were supposed to have cleaned) of a room which is the girls.¬† You see the mound of laundry?¬† That was AFTER I took several loads downstairs.¬† The girls had left PILES of clothes and blankets on the floor which were then covered in very static-y little balls. The 2 7 year old boys had to clean as much as they could but the girls then had to deep clean their room (like they were supposed to).
  • I got a new camera which is wonderful and capable of taking lowlight photos without a flash which is why these photos exist –usually I wouldn’t have enough light to take these.¬† And it takes MUCH better photos of my art without a lot of lightboxes and fuss–this shot below is right off my drawing table no extra light or anything.
  • Oh, and then there are the elephants.¬† I am still working on the new website for my art so I posted it over at Elasah.com but I got a new palatte and watercolor journal and jumped in and did this weeks Inspire me Thursday which you can see here: