I believe it’s time to take American patriotism back from the right. Toward that end, I have painted an American flag, complete with 13 stripes and 50 stars, using acrylic paint on a wood panel. I then photographed and uploaded it, so you can get your own American flag stickers for your car, or t-shirt, or whatever. Now you can purchase patriotic merch and have your money go to support progressive values!
I painted this concept originally in oils many years ago, at the Fremont Fresh Art festival and it sold at auction for $50. Years later I was bummed I didn’t have a high-res photo of it, so I did what any sensible artist would do: I repainted the thing. Now you can own your own copy, or have it printed on a t-shirt, skirt, or other fun stuff, by the nice folks at RedBubble.com.
Sketch is enjoying this pillow made from my painting by RedBubble. Just search for”alymcf” to find my artwork, printed on pillows, t-shirts, phone cases and more.
My tween’s desk has been a source of parental horror for me ever since I caught her eating a bowl of soup directly in front of the laptop keyboard. Banning soup from the area isn’t enough though. I mean, look at the photo below. She doesn’t have any real space to do her crafts while watching endless sessions of PopularMMOs on the laptop screen. I’ve been telling her for months that we just need to raise the lappy up on a platform, push it back aways, and add a bluetooth keyboard which we have kicking around, but she recoiled every time I brought it up, apparently unable to convince herself that the effort of moving her little bins of whatsit back there were going to be worth it.
So while she was at school one day last week, I decided to take matters in to my own hands, aka, “saving her from herself.” It’s a power technique all parents need to have in their toolkit when raising a stubborn child.
Once I got past stripping away layers of garbage and out of place materials I began to notice some shrewd transformations my child had done:
Clever use of pencil sharpeners to hold those silly little golf pencils
Cheap wind chime kit ingeniously morphed into a mobile with straws, paper clips and little paper shapes.
Once there was room, I moved all the little bins and put in these cheap plastic shelves from Daiso and then arranged her stuff. Lappy went up on a riser with the keyboard tucked underneath.
See how much better it looks? Well, it’s not Pinterest-worthy but still. In my house, this counts as serious progress. Especially since the kid loved it.
Every Easter, after the egg dying is complete, I snatch up some of the leftover egg dye, pour it over wet wool, and nuke it until the water runs clear.
This year I tried both a natural dye from PCC Natural Markets and the usual chemical ones (by Dudley).
You can probably guess which is which!
When I was in fifth grade I got a valuable lesson in what makes art realistic. A boy in my class challenged me to a drawing contest: which one of us could do a better drawing of war time, as judged by our teacher. I got out my markers and drew a pretty, colorful cartoonish drawing of a tank and stuff. He drew a scribbled pencil sketch that to me, looked like a huge mess. Who won? He did. The teacher said his drawing, drab and chaotic as it was, represented what war was really like, more so than mine.
Which of these two paintings do you think better represents “war”?
Francesco Goya, “The Third of May 1808”
Watercolor by Kenneth Wootton
People occasionally ask how I get my paintings to be realistic.
Close up of “Dance” by Alyssa McFarland
I always say: Paint what you see. The trick is in the seeing.
Let’s look at a so-called realistic painting. What makes it seem realistic?
I would argue it is because most everyone would agree, “that’s what it really looks like.”
Hyperrealistic painting by Patrick Kramer
Now take a subject where the painter has taken a bit more creative liberty. This may be exactly how this painter sees the world, but not with his eyes. He’s filtering what he sees through the lens of imagination.
Noah’s Ark by Thomas Kinkade
What about stuff that doesn’t even look like it’s trying to be “real”? Well then you’ve got a case of the painter perhaps trying to express a new way of seeing:
“Weeping Woman with Handkerchief” by Pablo Picasso