Things I’m Learning from Watching YouTube Painting Lessons

YouTube has lots of instructional art videos and now that they have an autoplay feature I’ve been seeing more than I ever thought possible. Many of these tips I’m learning from the videos although some I’ve learned from simple trial and error (mostly error):

  • Use a minimal sketch. The first impulse is to draw a very detailed sketch, but what works better is draw very basic outlines.
  • Use a soft lead pencil. Some pencil lines are okay, but mainly you want paint to be the stand out.
  • Use a minimal palette. Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Dark Blue, Light Blue, Orange, etc.
  • Spend extra on good brushes.
  • Same goes for good paper.
  • Use leftover mixed color for a prewash.
  • Use Payne Grey for deep woodsy trees and foliage.
  • Use the side of your brush for good tree effects.
  • Build from light to dark.
  • Keep an opaque white handy as cure for over-painting and highlights.

The Poutine Problem

Oh Poutine! Grab your forks

Being an expat Canadian it’s hard for me not to love the Canadian National Dish, Poutine. Simply put Poutine is french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. The result is a delicious, cheesy, fattening mess–did I mention it’s also delicious? Ignoring the fact that it’s hugely fattening, the problem with poutine is the gravy. If I could find a restaurant in DC that makes it, I also have to be wary of the animal the gravy comes from; I don’t eat red meat so the gravy either has to be chicken or vegetarian. Most chefs don’t take my needs into consideration so since DC is going through a pork craze there’s a lot of sausage gravy in the few places that have Poutine on the menu.

If Poutine takes off, as it should, in DC I know there’ll be a lot more variations. Right now it’s a delicious novelty and therefore has limited variety.

I wish I could recommend some places in DC to try this food from my homeland, but I haven’t tried any. I’ll update as I try different places as informed by Yelp.

Today’s Watchlist

Simplifying Your Life – I purged a lot when I moved in February, but I still have way too much stuff in my life.

Downsize Doctor is a consultancy that helps people unclutter their lives.

All this leads us to why we want to unclutter our lives in the first place and that’s to find focus to be happy and creative. Flow of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. The book Flow by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi is a good introduction to the psychology.

Industries Being Disrupted or In Need of Disruption

Its not enough publish a list like this and not add explanation, but right now this the beginning of a thought and there will be more coming.

Doctor Offices
Working for the Government
Postal Mail
Brands (and the question of what a brand is, i.e. it’s not a logo and a Pantone color)
Web Ads
TV News
Email (I’d rather receive a text than get an email if only the artificial 140 character limit was discarded)

Social Networks like Facebook are in need of disruption, but will probably die first in favor of new networks.

Tim’s Vermeer


Tim’s Vermeer advances the ever present theory that Vermeer used a camera obscura to help guide his brush. In this case technologist, Tim Jenison, designs and builds a table sized obscura and recreates “The Music Lesson.” Truly the intersection of technology and art and just makes Vermeer’s work even more thrilling.

Film Cameras

Once upon a time I was married and then one day he left me. I think he tried to be kind, but what is kindness when you love someone and he leaves you for someone else? When I moved out of the house we shared he told me that I could leave some things at his house at retrieve them later.

I left three cameras with him, 1) Pentax k-1000 – This was my first ‘real’ camera, it cost $200 at Sears in the Garden City Mall in Winnipeg. 2) Canon EOS 10s – I bought this for school. It was a completely automatic hog of a camera. My professor was right when he said I should have bought something more artsy. 3) Mamiya Twin Lens Reflex – Boy do I love twin lens reflex cameras. To me they are beauty itself. The Mamiya is not quite a Rolliflex, but it’s not bad.

Later turned out to be later than even I imagined and three years on I asked for my cameras back. We didn’t part on good terms so it took me a long time to even try and contact him. I haven’t heard back and maybe I won’t.

Jorge’s Ultimate Liquid Creamsicle

Okay, this isn’t an original idea, but it’s an easy way I found to get that classic Creamsicle flavor.

Here’s all you need for one 15-oz serving:

  • 1 and 1/4 cup vanilla soymilk (not plain! vanilla!)
  • slightly less than 1/3 cup orange juice concentrate

Mix the soymilk and concentrated orange juice, and voila!

We like to serve this in our collection of dead-dot-com beer glasses.