the art & adventures of tracy durnell


October 16, 2009


Goal Check-In

At the start of summer, I set goals for the next six months. Since it's ~4 months later, it seems high time to check up on these goals and reanalyze whether or not they're still doable / what I want.
Good progress!

* Graphic Design:
GOAL: take another couple classes (logo design, color theory);
PROGRESS: took "Graphic Design for the Web";
REMAINING: planning to take a packaging class this fall

GOAL: redo my website and make business cards for myself;
PROGRESS: designed graphics and started coding, developed Tracy Durnell 'seal', created initial designs;
REMAINING: spice up design, finalize business card designs

GOAL: get some more experience (through volunteering);
PROGRESS: no time/energy right now! I'm going to push this goal back to spring, I think.

* Jewelry:
GOAL:start selling on Etsy;
PROGRESS: launch date is MONDAY!!!!

* Life:
GOAL: get better at maintaining myself / my stuff;
PROGRESS: have done all sorts of fun body & car & bike maintenance;
REMAINING: maintain myself by getting more exercise: signed up for another round of cardio kickboxing in fall/winter, and am trying to become a runner again - went for my first run last week! Rain is hindering the 2nd run ;D

GOAL: be more social;
PROGRESS: still a homebody :(

Moderate Progress

* Reading / Writing:
GOAL: finish/make significant progress on my book!;
PROGRESS: I spent many lunch hours editing, and am about 30 pages in. I realized as I was editing how much more I have to write, and have lost momentum, switching my lunch hour back to reading.
ASSESSMENT: Start editing during lunch again once I finish current book and next book. Assess how much writing needs to happen and if I still want to do it.

GOAL: increase pace of graphic novel reviews to one per month;
PROGRESS: Wrote 2 reviews; Have notes prepared for 3 more reviews, but haven't written them.
ASSESSMENT: Get my butt in gear and write those reviews!

Haven't done anything!

* Drawing: finish drawings I started in spring; draw for different seasons/solstices
Guess drawing's not on the top of my list any more. I have all sorts of ideas about things I'd like to design and draw, but time and energy is lacking. Should bump this goal up.

* Science: study and take GRE; complete my currently-being-developed get-back-into-science curriculum
This NEEDS to happen SOON if I'm going to do it. I opened the book and read a chapter... I should make a study plan and pay money so I have a deadline...

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June 11, 2009


Demi-year Review/Reflection!

I've been feeling a little low from lack of energy/feeling like I don't accomplish anything, so I thought I'd look back at the past six months and plot out goals for the next six. And now I feel great! Give it a try! I was surprised.

Since January

  • Drawing: took portraiture & figure drawing classes; filled half a sketchbook (versus in previous ENTIRE YEARS filling only 1/4-1/2 a sketchbook)
  • Graphic Design: took a graphic design class and designed 3 brochures, one being the start of a cookbook I've been meaning to do for years
  • Jewelry: made a TON!
  • Reading / Writing: wrote 3 graphic novel reviews; have read several good books (the sci-fi books Grass, Doomsday Book, and The Forever War stand out) - I've been working my way through the dual Hugo/Nebula award winners
  • Life: rode my bike to work all through winter, I'd guess probably 60-75% of the time; visited my family and went to Yosemite!; planned and planted my garden; volunteered snowtracking and pulled weeds one morning

Goals for next six months

  • Drawing: finish drawings I started in spring; draw for different seasons/solstices
  • Graphic Design: get some more experience (through volunteering); possibly take another couple classes (logo design, color theory); redo my website and make business cards for myself
  • Jewelry: start selling on Etsy
  • Reading / Writing: finish/make significant progress on my book!; increase pace of graphic novel reviews to one per month instead of every other ;D
  • Life: get better at maintaining myself / my stuff; be more social
  • Science: study and take GRE; complete my currently-being-developed get-back-into-science curriculum


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May 13, 2009


Time management

I just finished a graphic design class at BCC I mean Bellevue College, which was a load of fun! Also a TON of work. I designed 3 brochures, 2 on Bali and 1 as a personal cookbook (they said my food photography needs improvement...fair enough.) For my themes, I picked an ecotourism Bali brochure (12pp), an "adventure" packet aimed at college age kids (8pp) (one spread below), and a fifties-themed cookbook featuring dishes ranked by the amount of dirty dishes they generate.

one spread from my adventure brochure

I have been utterly exhausted from this class for the past 2-3 weeks (it was a 6 week class). But now that it's done, I have time to start a new project! ;D

My new project is going to be coming up with a curriculum to teach myself more about different varieties of ecology, get back into scientific reading, try and figure out if grad school in ecology is something I want, and what flavor of ecology if so. Also I need to take the GRE, so studying for that will be tied in. Wheeee!

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March 30, 2009


Snowtracking with the Cascades Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project

snowy hike
As part of a citizen science initiative, I volunteered to snowshoe track animals along I-90 two days this winter.

snowy river
It's nice to get out in the winter sometimes. Snoeshoeing ftw!

Snowy forest trail
Each transect was 1k long. This route followed an established cross-country ski track, but the others were through unbroken snow.

Tricky flagging
We followed orange flagging on the unmaintained routes, but some of it was tricky to spot, like this, right at ground level, and required blindly choosing a direction and traipsing around for fifteen minutes until we could spot the next flag. They hung the flagging in summer, so some was covered with snow.

Investigating a coyote trail
Each team had a more experienced leader who could help us identify tracks. Here he's investigating a coyote trail just off the transect.

pond in the forest

stream crossing
The tracks headed up towards the stream are from a pair of coyotes. We later attempted to track them through this riverbed.

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January 26, 2009


Weekly Schedule Design for Accomplishments

In keeping with last week's posting that I aim to accomplish something noteworthy each week (last year's and now this year's resolution), I've come up with a rough schedule for the week:

Monday - Projects
Tuesday - Art (Drawing or tutorials)
Wednesday - Comics review / Beading
Thursday - Art class (Portraiture)
Friday - Projects
Saturday day - Culture / Cooking / Cleaning

Weekly Accomplishment Goals:
1 comic review
1 blog post + weekly recap
2 new bead projects
3 decent sketches/artspeak drawing
2 hours (significant) project progress - I need a better way to measure this
2 hours drawing

These goals are in fitting with (most of) my overall goals for 2009:
1) Significantly expand my art/graphic design portfolio
2) Sell my jewelry
3) Daily accomplishments - make sure I can name at least one thing I did each day
4) Exercise 3x/week (biking to work doesn't count :/ ) <-- this is not happening yet

This is all probably being overly optimistic. But if it turns out I wind up still sitting around reading shit on the internet or habitually tidying (not cleaning), as I tend to do on weeknights, I have another idea: pay myself for artistic accomplishments. And only spend money on fun stuff (like comic books, movies, art, beading supplies) what I've earned.

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December 16, 2008


Follow through!

I tend, when I'm drawing, not to follow through with many pieces that could develop decently. I focus in on one part too much and get burned out, or move onto the next idea too fast. I thought I'd showcase a few drawings that didn't make it to the finish, but I think had potential.

This was supposed to be the centerpiece of a new layout. I've since moved on.

This concept kept getting trimmed and trimmed. The original idea was for the woman to be wearing a dress lined with ermine pelts, implying that this fellow might lose his head come winter when his fur turned white.

Got lazy, cut out the skirt. Then got ambitious again and tried to get rid of the black outline (e.g. on her face). Too much, gave up.

The bottom image shows my original intent, but I let it sit for a while and decided I didn't like the girl. Again, tried to get rid of the outlines and gave up. Let me tell you, I spent hours working on the gradient for that blue dress. And the fur! Maybe it was the third wolf.

I planned to paint portraits of the main characters in my Nanowrimo 2003 book (still incomplete...). Celeste never got past an outline and sketchy colors. Gee, I wish I owned that blouse though!

This one never made it past a concept sketch. I spent too much time looking for reference pictures and got bored with the idea. I've mostly moved on from drawing pictures of tortured angels.

This drawing features Satan and his wife Persephone. I spent so much time on the outline, doing the frame, pomegranate detailing on the couch, etc, that I didn't have the energy to color it, except a print-out with colored pencils, which doesn't do it justice:

I've been reading a lot lately from this guy that I really agree with: it's time to get down to business and make things. Hey, how many posts in a row is this? Six? Maybe things can change.

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November 18, 2007


Advice I gave myself 2 years ago almost exactly

I've gotten a couple of these things lately--the cards or letters you write to your future self and a teacher mails them out a few years later. Here's what I wrote to myself in late November of 2005:

"I just want to remind you how important the people around you are. It doesn't matter what you're doing or where you are, what will make you happy is the people you're with.

"Realize that you can do the things you want, and remember to do things that you'll remember. Even though you like sitting up late at night drawing and surfing the web, all the time you spend doing that will blur together and suddenly you'll realize how much time has passed and how little you have to show for it."

Apparently I've forgotten these lessons. Rub my face in it, 20 year old Tracy.

The letter from my 14 year old self is more entertaining than advisory. In December 1999, I wrote myself:

"Dear Tracy (21 years old) [note: 14 year old Tracy could not do math, as I am 22 now],
Well you can drink now. And drive. And vote. And have sex. Legally. I wonder how many of those things you will have done by then?

"...What career did I pick? I wonder, since I haven't decided now. I kinda want to be a lawyer, an author, or a musician. Are you all three? I hope so, I really do."

I also found it important enough to inquire after Y2K?!