Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, art and the occasional rant!


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Art – projects on the go

Two weeks left in the Fall term and have final projects/assignments in progress for all classes.

I just submitted my Photo Essay for Photography class online. There is still one more assignment but it is just putting together a portfolio from existing work – we don’t have the details yet. The Photo Essay was a bit of a challenge but it is done! I took 282 photos and ended up with 16 usable ones! Mainly due to focus issues. I can’t see well enough when shooting manually to know if the focus is perfect or not. So I get them on the computer then look for ones that are in focus. Hard way to do it, but is what works to get my assignments done. Luckily I am pretty decent at composition, so the ones in focus are generally good enough.

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Working on a multi-media piece for my Digital Resources class. It is the final part of a two-stage project. The first part was called ADD – we had to choose some of our work (analogue – hand created work) and digitize it. Then produce a digital output – printed or projected, etc.

For part one I took photos/scans of nine of my watercolour paintings and ink drawings and made them into a collage in Word. Yes, Word – it is what I know really well. Impressed the professor with that. It was a bit tedious – I made the first collage with the full images on one page, then saved as a PDF, then converted to a JPG, then cropped the JPG into multiple pieces, then made another collage in Word using the pieces. Then repeated that process about a half-dozen times. The assignment said to make at least five prototypes and choose the best one to submit. So each stage was saved as I went along.

The final collage is what I submitted. I printed off five versions so I could have a look at them and the final one was the most processed and I liked it! So did the professor – he gave me 95% and commented “Outstanding!”

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Part two is called ADA. We need to take something from the first assignment that was digitized and then use it to create another analogue artwork. That is as specific as the assignment got. So, I took all my digitized printed collages, and made a collage of them by ripping and cutting them up, and using Modpodge to attach to a canvas. Then I took one of my ink drawings – decided to use the Chickadee – and scanned and printed off a dozen copies of that to create a paper tole, which was then mounted on the canvas collage. I’m still working on it – planning to use the 3D pen to create some interesting details.

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I’m really enjoying this assignment! I am not really a digital process artist, but finally, this is fun! Using the digital to create parts that then get used to create hands-on art is pretty cool.

In Painting I have my canvas stretched ready to start my final painting. I got the last one finished – I showed the work in progress in my last post. Here that one is in almost final form – I did go back to punch up the rock in the top right as it was a bit too flat looking, but haven’t taken a photo yet. I’m pretty happy with this!

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The final painting is big and I am still trying finalize WHAT I will be painting – it is supposed to be based on something out of the art journal we’ve been working on for this class. So… I’ve been sketching and doodling like crazy to have ideas in there I actually WANT to paint!

In 2D Design I am just getting the shooting done for a stop-motion animation. Had to create a “zombie” character (in the loosest sense) and a story board, then make a paper “puppet” to photograph. We need to create a 10 second GIF ultimately. I’ve got everything ready and the camera is on the tripod. Just need to set-up my light box and shoot. That’s my plan for tomorrow. Then editing of course!

For the Design Idea class we have to come up with a solution to the Bee problem. As bees are dying off and several species have been declared endangered we are supposed to be creative and produce a fix for it. We were just given the assignment on Thursday. I’ve got two pretty good ideas but which I go with will depend on timing. Due dates are how I prioritize and other projects come first. Once I get those done, I will know how much time I have left.

Drawing class doesn’t have homework assignments – everything is done live in class. I really enjoy that. This week we’ll be doing negative space and the last class the week after is a bonus class where you can increase your mark or make up for an absence. I go no mater what as I don’t miss classes unless I have medical appointments I can’t schedule otherwise.

I reached maximum hours on my work/study job as of last Wednesday so I get those 12 hours a week back to work on my projects so I should have no problems wrapping up the term. Back to work on January 2nd, and back to school for the winter term on January 7th.

Next term I will be taking Drawing (Contemporary), Painting, Web Development and “A Short History of the World” which is a general elective. I probably will be adding in another elective but have to see what is available when time-table additions/changes are permitted.

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Works in Progress

I suddenly realized this week that it is ALREADY mid-November. What the heck happened to October?? It is time to start sending off overseas Christmas cards and presents and I haven’t even started thinking about that!

I’ve been busy, and if you take into consideration how fast time seems to move as you get older, I’m almost living in the future! LOL

School is going great. There are only four weeks left of this semester which bums me out. I really enjoy the whole process.  But my next term starts on January 7th, so won’t be long till I’m going again!  I officially transferred into the Fine Arts – Advanced program this week so another two years here, then I’ll be off to Ireland (I hope!) to finish the BFA.

This semester I have had a chance to do some painting as well as design and drawing, photography and installation art. So it has been fun, and challenging at times.

For one class we had to do a Guerrilla Art Installation somewhere in the college, without permission. As this class would do this every term I’m sure the powers that be are complicit, but the professor made it out to be all black ops! LOL We could do anything we wanted, anywhere we wanted, in any media we wanted – we just couldn’t do it in stairwells for safety reasons nor deface or damage property.

I expropriated a locker and created this display – read the artist’s statement to see what I was illustrating…

For another project in the same class we had to illustrate levels of meaning. This is my completed assignment. I call it “End of Days”, micron pen and watercolour, 9×12″.

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This is the Artist’s Statement for this one:

My work entitled “End of Days” uses the imagery of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as foretold in the Bible, Book of Revelation 6:1-8. The White Rider is Pestilence, the Red Rider is War, the Black Rider is Famine, and the Pale Rider is Death. In the Bible they are triggered by The Lamb of God opening the first four of the seven seals on the scroll held in God’s right hand.

The Horsemen are a metaphor for the end of humanity, or God’s Punishment, depending upon your point of view. They each represent one aspect of humankind’s mass destruction – disease, war, famine and death – any one of them can trigger the others, causing a cascade effect. Pestilence shoots arrows poisoned with disease, War causes humanity to kill each other, Famine starves those who aren’t killed by disease and war, and Death ultimately takes them all.

I added images of recent history that could be leading us towards the end, in my opinion: nuclear weapons, mass destruction of conventional weaponry and a few individuals in positions of power who have contributed to bringing us to this precipice.

In Drawing class we have been working on the basics (I started mid-year so my second semester is actually semester one of the program): perspective, texture, shadow, etc.

In Design class we’ve been doing a lot of things in Illustrator – using forms and grids, etc.  This image is the final submission for Project 2 called Exploring Point & Line. We had to cut out a bunch of circles and lines, the lay them down to express certain terms and relationships (like balance, contrast, chaos, etc.), photograph them (needed 25 different ones minimum), then edit in Illustrator, lay them out in the prescribed grid, correct white and black balances, print, mount on board with a cover… I got 100%.

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The final project in Design is creating an animated GIF using cutout drawings… ack! I’ll definitely be posting that when it is done!

In the Painting section we’ve been doing studies outside of the ground in the woods, then working on a painting based on those using colour theory to create earth tones, etc.

I’m still working on the main painting from that exercise, so this is a work in progress shot. It is done in acrylics but I am thinning them out quite a bit and building up the colour in washes. It is on a board, not canvas.

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Photography has been extremely challenging for me – issues with my vision make it really difficult to read and see the camera display and controls and I also have difficulty holding the DSLR (there is a reason I love my little point and shoot!) So when I get a good shot to meet the assignment I am really happy. This is one from the project using window light for portraits.

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In photos Pod (short for Prince of Darkness) usually appears as a black void, so I was really pleased with how the sunlight illuminated him – and he was a very good model!

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I know I keep saying it, but I am loving being in school and learning, and creating while I learn.


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Hey, it is Inktober

I am once again starting a monthly challenge! Let’s see how far I manage to go this time!

My record isn’t the greatest on the daily art posting challenges – I have completed ONE out of several I’ve started. But I am really proud of that one.

I may get through this month being that I am actively a full-time art student and drawing everyday, and not just classwork. I carry pocket sized sketchbooks and fill them up while waiting to get into classrooms and studios.

These are the first three I’ve posted on my Art Page on Facebook at Shannon Fennell Art  (you should go check it out, and give it a Like while you’re there!)

So far these are in my pocket sketchbook. I’ll move to larger paper once I’m through with homework! I had a couple of paintings to get finished.


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New shoes!

I am getting creative over the summer. Without any homework I have time on my hands so started to play around with customizing some shoes.

I’d pretty happy with how they turned out!

AllShoesI am now scouring every store in the area for cheap cotton/canvas shoes in white or very light colours.  As it is mid-summer I have missed optimum stock time as they are now putting out the Fall stuff, but am finding some in discount bins. But is difficult to find any size 10 left!

I may see what I can do on dark colour shoes with a bleach solution… sort of a reverse batik look maybe.  Or… anyone else remember acid washed denim?

It is an experimental process as I am playing with the different colours to see how they work – some do what I want, others don’t.

Here is the process – plain shoe, colour added, and finished product.

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This pair is my favourite so far.

I found some plain white baseball caps at the dollar store so am doing them too. And I think I will look for some t-shirts and scarves as well to make myself a whole outfit for face painting in.

Once I get everything working the way I want I will be selling/taking commissions for custom wearable art!

 

 


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What I saw on my vacation…

This will be the third and last post about my Transatlantic cruise in May aboard the Disney Magic.

We stopped in five ports – Ponta Delgada in the Azores and Lisbon both of which are in Portugal, and Cádiz, Málaga and Ibiza in Spain. We disembarked in Barcelona and were taken straight to the airport so I am not counting that (other than waiting 5 hours to check-in is stupid!)

There wasn’t a lot of information provided about the tours or ports – just the brief description in the brochure/website with the prices. On other cruises I have been on we always had port talks on board and were provided detailed printed information about the ports – history, maps, shopping information, etc. I was really surprized that there was nothing provided on this cruise.

May 20 – Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal

Tour was “Highlights of Ribeira Grande” and the brochure description was “Scenic travel towards the central part of the island to Serra de Agua de Pau and Barrosa Mountain. After a brief photo stop, travel toward the north coast and visit Caldeira Velha monument. Continue to Ribeira Grande for a brief stop before heading to a local farm known for breeding Lusitano horses. Enjoy wine and cheese tasting at the farmhouse and visit the horse stables.”

I had never been to the Azores before so was very excited. I woke up early and saw the lights of the island on the horizon, and was able to watch the ship maneuvering into port and docking – all from my veranda. Pretty cool!

Weather was overcast with a low ceiling so we couldn’t see the tops of the mountains. Which was a shame.  Also hampered the views from the top of the mountains so we couldn’t see the whole island from the top – that was a bit disappointing.  But still was a great tour.

Ponta Delgada is the largest city on the island and Ribeira Grande is the second largest. It is a very beautiful place. We drove through Ponta Delgada and up the caldera to view the largest undeveloped volcanic lake on the island – it was hit and miss whether we would be able to see it due to the clouds, BUT just as we got to the lookout point the cloud opened up enough for us to see it! There were some excellent views of the island on the drive as the clouds would break every now and then.

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We then stopped at the Caldeira Velha Monument – which is a botanical park, not a “monument” as we were thinking it meant. There were hot springs there with public access so lots of people soaking in the pools. It was pretty cool seeing the water boiling up out of the ground, but it did make you think how close we must be to active magma! Lots of very Jurassic Park looking plants.

It is a very pastoral island, lots of agriculture. Their cows are very content – all pastured and clean. They take trucks out to the cows IN THE FIELD to milk them! They supply a huge percentage of dairy products to the mainland, along with tea and other products.

We then arrived in Ribeira Grande which means “Big River”… um, no. It is a creek, barely. But must be the biggest on the island I guess.

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A very picturesque town with old Portuguese buildings but lots of modern touches. A Hybrid Lexus cruised by us and the guy next to me commented he must have turned off his engine to coast down the small street – I pointed out it was a hybrid running on battery. We stopped at as shop selling local liquor and souvenirs.

This island is known as “The Island of Hydrangeas” and they are everywhere – so I bought a fridge magnet in the shape of one.

We then went to a horse farm the bred Lusitano horses and saw some absolutely gorgeous horses! Their stable was beautiful too. The owner explained the history of the breed and how her family got into them. The Lusitano breed is from the same Roman era base stock as the Andalusian and Lipizzaner, and you can see it in the conformation. So beautiful. And they were so calm and friendly, for stallions!

Then they took us to another building and we had a wine and cheese tasting – well, slightly more than a taste of cheese for me! I didn’t try any wine of course. The cheese was really good – six varieties all made there. Some was fresh made just for today! They explained all the processes and features of the wine and cheese.

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Then we went back to Ponta Delgada. I stopped to buy some local tea – which is excellent by the way! It was Orange Pekoe and very smooth and pleasant. Wish I had bought a bigger box now.

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On the tour our guide told us that most of the flora and fauna we see are imports. When the Portuguese first arrived on the island it was mostly low scrub. As the islands are pretty far out in the Atlantic and isolated, the natural migration of things was very sporadic. There are no poisonous insect or animals on the islands, and even mosquitos are very rare.

There used to be orange groves all over but a disease killed off the industry and they diversified into pineapple (they grow it in greenhouses!), dairy, wine and fruit liqueurs, and also wheat and corn, etc. Tourism is just starting to really take off in a big way.

I really enjoyed the day. I’ll add the Azores to the list to possibly visit again sometime.

May 22 – Lisbon, Portugal

I had visited Lisbon before in 1995 when we did our Mediterranean cruise. So I chose a tour outside of Lisbon.

Tour was “Sintra and Casais” and the description was “Travel to Sintra, a 19th century UNESCO World Heritage Site. Have free time for shopping and sightseeing in Sintra’s city centre, and visit the quaint shops and cafes. See the Sintra National Palace (Palácia da Vila), considered the best preserved medieval Royal Palace in Portugal. Drive to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point of mainland Europe for a photo stop. Return to the pier passing the towns of Guincho, Cascais and Estoril.” I chose the Adults Only Departure.

I woke up really early and was able to see the first sight of land from my veranda. So I got dressed and went up to the lounge to watch us entering port. Lisbon is VERY big and the shop cruised under a large bridge on the way to the docks. Was fun to watch (and not my first bridge!) There were two other ships already docked when we pulled up.

I was a little unimpressed with the “tour” as it consisted of the guide dropping us off at the locations – he talked a little on the ride about where we were going, but did not escort us or show us highlights. In the Azores our guide was with us at all times, giving us information and pointing out interesting things.

Sintra was beautiful though, set on the side of a steep hill, the palace was very impressive.

There was also a fortification on the top of the hill but we weren’t given any information about it from the guide – I probably could google it…

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Anyway, it was a very nice place and pleasant to walk around, although VERY congested with tour traffic as there seemed to be a tour bus unloading every 2.3 seconds! There were lots of nice shops – higher class tourist things, locally made crafts, etc. I bought a cork bracelet and a small handmade and painted dish (which has hanging holes so I’ll put it on the wall.)

We then went to Cabo da Roca – the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Great views (if you can get the other million tourists out of your way!) Cliffs and tidal activity was impressive. There was a big monument but trying to get a shot of the text was difficult as people were constantly blocking it to get their own photos. This was just a photo/rest stop. Ended up having to wait for one woman who took 20 minutes more than we were told!

There were lots of flowers – all low shrubby stuff and pretty.

The drive through Cascais was nice – rich resort town, pretty much the same as any other rich resort town on the Mediterranean coast.

We drove through Lisbon a different way than the trip out in the morning and I thought the streetcar was cute. When we got back to the ship we (the Concierge passengers) were invited to party on the Captain’s private deck just below the bridge to have a viewing of our departure from Lisbon’s harbor. There was all sorts of food and drinks, and character visit from Daisy Duck.

May 23 – Cádiz, Spain

Tour was “Seeing Seville” and the description was “Drive to the city of Seville from a guided tour of the 12th century gothic Seville cathedral, the third largest church in Europe, home to the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Wander through a bevy of winding, narrow cobblestone streets and gaze upon a myriad delightful, whitewashed houses during a walking tour of the Barrio se Santa Cruz. Visit the quaint CallejÓn del Agua and spend some time at the Hosteria del Laurel for a beverage and snack. Have free time to explore the city on your own. Take a scenic drive through Seville before returning to Cadiz.”

The tour didn’t leave the ship until 10:45 and it was a very long day! Great, but long. It was a 1.5 hour drive to Seville from Cádiz.

Seville needs so much more time to be explored! The old section is beautiful – Moorish, Spanish, old Jewish quarter – was very much like Morocco. The main square in the old part has the Alcazar on one side, and the Cathedral on the other which is the largest gothic cathedral in Europe.

The Alcazar was definitely Moorish – it was almost the same as the palaces I toured in Morocco last year! The craftsmen who did the tile work quite probably were the same! The Spanish built on top of the original Moorish palace without altering the original. They liked what was there so just added to it.

It was the same with the Cathedral – they like the mosque building so just converted it. The minaret was used as the bell tower.

The tower of the Cathedral has 35 ramps, not stairs, as the call to prayers happens five times a day so the Imam would ride a horse up to make the call! We could go up if we wanted… I didn’t.

Columbus’ tomb is inside the cathedral – it is only a little bit of him actually as he was buried twice before. They did do DNA testing and it IS him though. Quite a cool tomb – different than others I’ve seen in European cathedrals.

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Part of the tour was going for Tapas – the guide had read a list of choices to us on the bus. But when we got to the restaurant the waiter said no when some asked for things off that list. We got ONE tapas and ONE drink each. Our table got ignored for quite a while, then my plate (was cheese – four slices of a local Parmesan type cheese…) was forgotten and I had to flag down the waiter to ask where mine was. I also asked for bottled water – but the label had so many ingredients on it in Spanish, that I didn’t bother to even open it.  This restaurant was decorated with bulls… not paintings or ornaments, actual bulls mounted on the walls, many, many bulls who died in bullfights. With plaques with the date and killer noted on it.

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After the restaurant our local guide took over and we all were given “whispers” which is the sound system the guides use so you can hear them when they are up the block! She led us around, took us on a tour through the Alcazar and the Cathedral, the Jewish Quarter (the Santa Cruz District) which is against the walls of the Alcazar. After the Cathedral we were on our own.

I went into a couple of shops and bought a painted wood fan and a fridge magnet (my souvenir of choice for this trip). Then I went and sat on the monument steps in the middle of the square to wait to meet with our main guide at 3:45. We then walked to the main street of modern Seville to meet the bus. We drove around a bit to see the gardens and building – which were pavilions from different countries. The Jacaranda trees are stunning! Clouds of deep purple. I tried very hard to get decent photos of them.

I dozed off on the ride back to Cádiz – we got back to the port at 6 p.m. which was the time the ship was supposed to be departing! Then there was a massive crowd in the customs building and then a line for the gangplank. It was a chicken coop style gangplank, and steep. I took a couple of steps, tripped and did a face plant on it… hit hard on my knees, both wrists and my head. Sigh.

Long story short – it was a “possible fracture” in my left wrist and bruising on the rest. Dent in my head lasted three days. Their x-ray machine wasn’t high resolution enough to determine if a mark on the bone was a mark or a fracture. So I got splinted for the rest of the trip. Luckily we travel with a pharmacy so I had anti-inflammatories and pain pills.  The Doctor gave me a waiver to use to cancel the shore excursion I had booked for Málaga as we didn’t know what I would be up to doing tomorrow – that meant I would get a full refund.

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May 24 – Málaga, Spain

I went ashore on my own and had a great day. Absolutely beautiful!

When I woke up I was a little stiff but walking was fine (as long as I didn’t actually touch my right knee!) and the wrist wasn’t an issue, it hurt, but the splint protected it. So I took my pills and decided to go ashore and walk around on my own. The shipped was docked RIGHT at the town and the dock was meant for cruise ships so was all laid out for tourists! It all looked gorgeous from my veranda!

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There was a bus to take us up to the town from the ship – it wasn’t super far, maybe a kilometer or two total to the town, so if you wanted you could probably walk easily as it was all sidewalks. I wore my skirt to I wouldn’t be putting pressure on my sore knee with pants.

The bus dropped us under some Jacaranda trees! I had a map of the city, so took a few minutes to try to orient myself. I really love these towns! Málaga is old but modern, clean, wide boulevards, narrow streets, and it all mixes up together really beautifully. I got a little off on the map – thought I was one street over but I figured it out. Everything is very close together.

I walked up a very wide pedestrian boulevard with lots of modern boutiques (posh, not tourist!) and wandered around up little side streets. Then I found the cathedral and town hall square, which finally got me in-sync with the map I had! Even the cobblestones were arranged beautifully here.

I then went to the Roman amphitheatre and climbed up to the top seats. It is right there in the town – I love that about exploring Europe, you can see all eras in a couple of blocks!

I decided to go see the Picasso Museum – he was born here. There was the museum and then further out was his house which was also a museum but I wasn’t sure how far that would turn out to be. The museum was only about a block from the Roman amphitheatre. Entrance was only 7€ which was pretty reasonable. There were twelve galleries and work in all mediums that he worked in! Mostly owned/donated by his family. I used one of those audio guides to go through. I’m not really huge into his work as I don’t “get” cubism, but this museum had all his periods represented. And in person, even the cubist stuff is pretty impressive! The colours and texture are really awe-inspiring. There was a shop so I got a couple of postcards of two of the paintings I really liked, and a fridge magnet.

When I left the museum it was getting very hot out so I decided to head back to the ship. I hadn’t brought a hat with me so didn’t want to add heat stroke to my list of current issues. I poked around the duty-free shops at the terminal but didn’t get anything.

I have to say going out on your own is nice as you don’t necessarily run into crowds when departing or boarding. I was quite happy that I had cancelled the tour I had originally booked.

May 25 – Ibiza, Spain

Went ashore on my own – very long shuttle bus ride and the map that was sitting on the dock on a table was only in Spanish.  A lady on the bus asked where I had got it and I told her it was just there and I happened to notice and took one. No one from the cruise or buses bothered to hand them out. Had a walk around the old town which is mostly converted into bars, restaurants and tacky tourist stores. I bought a fridge magnet at a little shop in a hut right by the shuttle bus stop.

Ibiza is a little, um, less impressive than the other ports. First we were docked way out at a multi-purpose pier (commercial area), the shuttle ride was long and confusing so there was no way to figure out if you could find your own way back, the place wasn’t “clean” – lots of litter and just dusty looking. Where we were dropped at was kinda scuzzy – the buildings along the street didn’t look any older than the 1960-70s. I was pointed over to the other side which was the old town. So I walked across the embankment and explored along the waterfront and up a few streets.

I didn’t bother going up to the castle – I was tired and starting to feel the effects of my fall the other day.

Ibiza is a small island and the place is geared for partying tourists – lots of night clubs and night life. Didn’t see any parks or green areas or public squares in the small part I saw in this town. But I didn’t explore too far away from the shuttle stop to be honest.

We were packing and disembarking in the morning so I was back on board around 3 p.m.

So that is what I saw and did off the ship on this Transatlantic Cruise on the Disney Magic. Overall a really nice trip (not including my trip on the gangplank!)

I would definitely like to see more of the Azores, Seville and Málaga – maybe one day I will take a land tour of the area and spend more time exploring.

 


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What I did on my vacation…

On my vacation last month crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the Disney Magic I wasn’t too ambitious, it was a vacation after all!

We spent a total of seven days at sea and the ports we stopped at were Ponta Delgada in the Azores and Lisbon both of which are in Portugal, and Cadiz, Malaga and Ibiza in Spain, we disembarked in Barcelona and were taken straight to the airport.

Other than accumulating as many character photos as I could (I explained that in my previous post here) I took it pretty easy. I saw a bunch of movies – Infinity War, Solo (the premier!) A Wrinkle in Time, Dr. Strange, Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and did some crafts and activities.

I went to several of the 3D craft sessions and made things – pre-printed paper and you cut it out and put it together.  One was Pascal from Rapunzel (I painted him with my watercolours) and another was a parrot I wore on Pirate Night (pinned him to my shoulder which worked pretty good – at least it did long enough for photos. He got a little floppy later!) Also built a VERY complicated paper Cinderella but never took a photo of her!

Played 80’s Music Trivia in one of the pubs teamed up with my sister and brother-in-law – we only missed one out of 50 (only thanks to Iain) but there were two teams with perfect scores.

Saw several live musical productions and shows – they were only 45 minutes each but very good. Their cast is very talented – obviously all the musicals were Disney themes!

Did some shopping on board – a couple of shirts and small things. I am not a big shopper on trips – my souvenirs from the ports were fridge magnets, some tea from the Azores (really nice tea) and a couple of postcards.

I did a few paintings and drawings. I had taken my pencils, ink liners, and watercolours. And did manage to do some work.

I went to the “Animation” drawing classes on board – they were fun BUT… the way they had us draw Stitch was wrong. My niece wasn’t impressed. The ears are wrong, the size and shapes are off… I tried to fix it later and coloured it, but it still doesn’t look like Stitch. I did it exactly as shown – so had no other reference at the time.

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I also drew several Disney characters on my own – Ed and Ursula were a couple of those.

As thank you gifts to our Concierge team I drew each of them and then added watercolour – they were all really pleased. I was too – turned out really nice in my own humble opinion!

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On Pirate Night they had fireworks at sea. It was a decent night to be out on the deck. I actually managed to get some decent shots, even with my little Sony Cybershot!

One day my brother-in-law booked us on a Galley tour which was interesting. It was actually a lot smaller than I thought it would be! There is one station with a dedicated chef for preparing food for people with allergies. I have to say they were extremely diligent about food allergies – they have your information on file and ALL the waiters would come and ask you questions. When you are seated in the restaurants – even at open seatings – they ask your cabin number and print off the notes they have on your dietary needs.

Deck 3 where two of the restaurants and most of the adult spaces (pub and clubs) had huge portholes – was fun to look out while waiting in lines! This is mid-Atlantic Ocean – just look at that sea! Like a mirror.

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I caught this little princess while we were in line for dinner.

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They also produced “deck dance parties” which were short shows on stage on deck with characters and extremely loud music. I only went to two – the first welcome one and the Pirate Night show. They also showed movies on that jumbo screen – mostly classic Disney and the newer Pixar stuff.

It was a very relaxing trip.

I will post about the port visits in my next blog – lots more photos to share!


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Making a Serpopard

Bet you are asking… What’s a Serpopard?

I didn’t know myself until about a month ago.  I was getting a bit of a head start on my final 3D Studio project by googling “mythological creatures” as we had to do a large sculpture – had to be four-legged and a “real” creature from any culture’s mythology.

I was looking for something unusual that would fit the parameters and a Serpopard or Serppard image came up in a search.  I thought that was pretty interesting. The image has been found in Ancient Egyptian artifacts and in Mesopotamia of a big cat and snake combination creature – long snake neck and lion or leopard head and body, with some variations in design among the images found.

There were photos of the artifacts and other ancient depictions, and also quite a few artists’ renderings on Deviant Art and other places too.

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According to what I read, experts aren’t sure exactly what it was meant for – the representations are old and there is no explanation accompanying them, so it is guesswork about the purpose of the creature.

I did some sketches to figure out my version and roughed-out the structure of the armature. It was to be done using Sculpey which is a polymer clay that you bake in the oven.

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I used steel wire to make a basic structure then wrapped it with about an entire roll of aluminium foil to bulk it up and get the basic shape built. It needed to be pretty close to actual size and shape as you don’t want to have very thick and/or uneven coverage of the clay. Optimum is about 1/4 inch thick.

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I started to think about how to do the details – I wanted to make scales. I looked at photos of cobras (very Egyptian!) and their scales look just like sunflower seeds! So I bought a bag of sunflower seeds and sorted through the entire bag, I looked at EVERY seed, to find the perfect one.  Then I made a mold by pressing it into a disk of air-drying clay. All my scales would now be perfectly uniform and the proper profile.

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When I was ready to sculpt I started with the basic creature shape getting the profile right and building up muscle. Then I did the leopard head. For the ears, to make sure I didn’t break them off later, I used small bits of flexible metal mesh, made them the exact shape I wanted then covered with a thin layer of clay.

Then I carried on with attaching the scales, ONE AT A TIME. It looked awesome and just like cobra scales! I did the initial patch on the back… later I went back and added more to chest, and patches on the tail and neck.

I also wanted to build the Ancient Egyptian jewelry separately and attach it to the finished animal, so that it looked worn instead of a solid part of the sculpture. I went and bought coloured Sculpey – turquoise, red, gold, blue and black.

I used the flexible metal mesh to build the collar and head-dress – they needed the interior structure and had to support the weight of the clay. One piece of mesh cut and then folded and/or twisted into shape that was then covered with the gold clay very thinly. Then I rolled and cut all the teeny tiny rectangles in the coloured clay to inlay, and create the designs. Oy, I do like to make things difficult for myself! I also used real beads and one small lapis disc to make a scarab on the collar.

I was using King Tut’s mask as my inspiration so… I wanted to do the crown of the combined kingdoms which has the Vulture and the Cobra on it.  Teeny tiny little Vulture and Cobra heads, on the forehead of the Serpopard. So I twisted up some craft wire as they needed to be reinforced to prevent breaking off later, then covered and shaped them.  My hands are not designed to work on this small a scale! But, I think they turned out pretty cool!

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I had bought a board to use as a base for it, so I rolled out all my leftover gold clay, and enough of the flesh coloured to fill the board. It looks quite cool, like sand, so I left it as is and didn’t paint it.

I attached the jewelry and checked it over for flaws, mounted on the board and then into the oven to bake!

I spent about 3 hours building the armature at home, 11 hours plus on it at school, then brought it home again and spent 16 more hours on it which included the baking time. After it cooled (and I ate dinner) I started the painting. I did a double layer of white as a primer over the creature’s body, and then mixed up a cat body colour base and a base colour for the scales and applied them. That was all I managed before heading to bed.

I had to take it back to school and finish the painting there, and handed it in after spending almost 4 more hours doing the final painting. It was graded (don’t know what I got yet) and I did the paperwork to enter it in the end of year Juried Art Show, and left it with the instructor.

I’m really REALLY pleased with how it turned out and I put it in the show marked For Sale.

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