I have better computer skills than I do painting skills. I've only been painting for a year now (2020-2021) but have been computer literate, because of work, for 40 years and accumulated a lot of good computer graphics skills. As a technical publications specialist, I've spent many years learning to draw with a mouse and keyboard using Photoshop and Illustrator. I consider myself a professional user of Photoshop, Illustrator, and engineering CAD programs. Being a user for so long you develop a personal skill unique to yourself as a user. You never forget these functional skills as you move on. And now I use them for pleasure to create art. I'm devoting these skills to the arts.
Go to my Pinterest page to view samples of my work.
When I was in elementary school, I doodled on almost everything—my books, the school desktop, and bathroom walls. Not to mention how much trouble I got into. So it was natural for me to develop my eye-to-hand coordination and try to draw what I could see. After high school, I didn't see any future in doodling, so I joined the US Navy to become a jet mechanic. It turns out I was a terrible mechanic but somewhat book smart, so I did well on the advancement tests and made it to the rank of E5 in three years. Nonetheless, I was still a terrible mechanic. In the Navy, I saw a jet engine assembly book filled with illustrated parts breakdowns. I thought to myself, I’d like to draw like that since I was already thinking about what to do after the Navy. So I took some drafting classes and landed a job as a drafter in Silicon Valley. This was in the early 80s. I tried to be artistic and learned quickly that there isn’t anything artistic about mechanical engineering drawings. My thoughts of creative grandeur were squashed like a bug getting the slipper. If I wanted to stay employed, I had to throw my artistic shit out the window.
It was a mental shift to change my perspective to look at engineering drawings as documents of graphic communications. Creativity came from logic diagrams, schematics, and assembly drawings. But all was not lost; the art became a science of creating efficient communication graphics. That in itself is an art form. What a geeky thing to say. It makes you wonder why they call us techies "geeks.” CAD was the beginning of my digital design experience. There was a bit of a learning curve, and the transition from eye-to-hand drawing to mouse and keyboard drawing took some time. Think about this: if you look at everything around you that was fabricated, a picture was likely used to show someone how to make that thing. “So with every manufactured thing I see, I imagine drawings morphically emerging from them."
I'm an experienced CAD designer with 3D printing experience. I've used this technology at work to develop prototype parts for projects. I bought one as soon as it was affordable to purchase a personal-use unit. I've spent countless hours playing with it creating models for fun. Of course, the setback is that the home-use 3D printer was not as accurate as the 3D printers I used at work. Being spoiled on the accuracy and clean prints produced at work, the limited quality from the home-use printer was unacceptable. So I found a 3D printing service online and downloaded my CAD Art models there. The only problem is that it takes weeks, sometimes a month or more, to get parts in. As an artist, it's frustrating having to wait to see results. It may take a few revisions to get the right effect I want. This can get expensive out of pocket, and I don't have the art grant to fall back on to absorb the costs.
So, I just created this 1st draft model, a Hawaiian warrior shaka-bot made from a medium-grade polymer (plastic). Having one printed out of steel or aluminum would cost thousands of dollars. I don’t even want to imagine how much it would cost in gold or platinum; you can also have models printed in precious metals. That would be ridiculous. So, I stopped at this model until I could find funding for my art projects.
Maybe the next step in my Hawaiian-inspired art may be creating jewelry. Even for that, I would need to find funding. In any event, the skill and the option are there if needed. When I'm rich and famous, I'll be able to pursue such an endeavor; until then, I'll keep the faith.
I created artwork of Hawaiian royalty in a deck of cards. I even have a copyright on the artwork.
to be continued.....
The wild mustard plants grew rampant out in the open fields of Silicon Valley’s Golden Triangle. The fields I used to play in as a kid. This area is between highways 101, 880, and Interstate 237. Tech companies and hotels now occupy the space.
In the early 60s, before all those tech companies were built, these plants thrived everywhere. I remember Italian people were picking these plants; a similar plant grew wild in the countryside back home. The Italians introduced harvesting these mustard greens, which in turn showed the Asians how to pick and cook these plants.
You might still see a few mustard plants growing around Silicon Valley if you're lucky. They could be popping out of cracks in a sidewalk or sprouting in an unkept lot between buildings. These plants are more indigenous to Silicon Valley than all those tech companies.
Spiritually, Lady Bugs are a symbol of GOOD LUCK. Much like finding a four leafed clover. They indicate coming SUCCESS.
My dad loved ladybugs and let them be. These were natural predators of the aphids—a bug that would infest the rose bushes my dad grew for my mom. My dad said these bugs are good luck and not to kill them. I thought they were unique, like something out of a Transformers movie with a double set of wings. At flight, the red-and-black dotted cover would lift, and long wings would sprout. I was amazed at how well the wings were concealed.
Ladybugs lay their eggs directly in aphid colonies to ensure their larvae have an immediate food source; how excellent! They’re like transformers, and body snatchers rolled up in one.
At our home in Silicon Valley, my dad used to grow vegetables in the backyard. I believe he must have loved to grow vegetables and fruit trees from working as a farmhand in Hawaii and California. He would grow bitter melon, string beans, eggplants, tomatoes, tabungaw and upo squash, and other varieties every year. Back then, they didn’t have Asian supermarkets. Many vegetables for Filipino dishes were unavailable, so they grew their own and traded with other friends and relatives.
The Tomato Monster
I have fond memories of these tomato hornworms. They were the baddest creatures in the backyard garden; no one messed with them. I would collect them and save them in a jar for caterpillar gladiator fights. I would put a black hairy caterpillar in the pot, and the hornworm would always win. These tomato monsters can grow to a massive four inches long before they turn into a dull giant brown moth.
King of the Tomato Plant
Although I dwell in the darkness of the tomato leaves, I fear no one as I climb the vines to reach the fruit. Aphids bow down in awe of my massive green muscular body while other insects and caterpillars escape in fear at first sight of me. As I climb the largest red fruit, I look down on my surroundings as I reign supreme over the entire tomato plant, but alas, something inside me calls to me to hang off the vine and encapsulate my body. A peculiar obsession I must proclaim as I hasten to encase myself for a long slumber sleep and look forward to a new dream.
Calrose was initially used for the medium-grain japonica rice experimentally cultivated in California. Calrose was developed at the Rice Experiment Station near the city of Biggs and released to California growers in 1948.
In Hawaii, they call this rice the sticky rice, preferred by Hawaiian locals. The sticky characteristics of this rice make it easier to shape foods, like musubi and different types of sushi.
I prefer this rice over other brands just for its taste. I was raised on Calrose rice, and it was the only rice my parents bought.
As homemakers back in the ’50s and ’60s, my mom and aunties were very resourceful—not wasting anything that could be reused as something else. The rice sack was one of those items.
My mom would cut the sack into squares or rectangles, overlap the edges, and sew them together to make kitchen towels. Back then, those rice sacks were made from 100 percent cotton and were pretty soft after washing a few items.
When visiting Filipino friends and relatives, I saw these rice sack towels hanging from the drawer cabinets in the kitchen. I wish I had saved one of them. I would’ve framed it and hung it on the wall as a novelty item to remind me of our mother’s resourcefulness.
Artwork overlap layering is the best technique used in digital arts, as far as I'm concerned. After teaching myself to paint and using layering in a permanent sequential method, I've appreciated the layering capability in almost all digital arts and CAD programs.
Shaping pieces and lapping them together gives you more freedom to create quickly rather than just trying to draw your digital art on one layer. I encourage the use of many layers to categorize pieces in logical order.
As you can see in the example in the layer column, each art piece created has its layer. The beauty of this system is that you can position each art piece before or after any other art piece while making modifications.