Art School and Creative Cloud problems

Posted by on January 24th, 2015  •  0 Comments  •  Full Article

My boots

My boots

After 25 years of painting with pastels, I should have expected oil painting to be a challenge. Somehow though, I had this dream that they would be a shoe in. Guess I’ve always  been a dreamer. I signed up for an online training course at the Virtual Art Academy. It’s only $20 a month. I’ve been cutting expenses since I went to part time. I dropped both my climbing gym membership and my Adobe subscription. I was spending $29 at Adobe, and 38 at the gym. That cleared out 67 a month, minus the $20 for the class.

When I called Adobe to cancel my creative cloud subscription they were very persistent in trying to change my mind. They offered first one month, then two months free, if I would sign up for another year. They were basically harassing me, then begging me to stay on the plan.

Finally they offered me the $10 a month light room and Photoshop plan…but I turned that down too. After finally getting Adobe to agree to simply cancel the Creative Cloud…which I had had for at least 5 years, they informed me of the following:

“Because you are cancelling before your year’s contract is up (September), there is an early cancellation fee of $130. ”

I had not noticed that I was signing up for a one year contract, similar to a cell phone contract. I thought it was month by month. It’s quite possible that when I first signed up about 5 years ago, it was month by month, then it switched to an annual plan…and I didn’t notice the fine print. If you go to their website and investigate pricing, you will find that a month by month subscription automatically rolls over to a one year contract after the first year. Read the fine print!

Regardless, I find it disturbing that Adobe treats it’s customers this way. If the software is underpriced on a month by month basis, they should clearly offer a month to month subscription at a higher price, with no automatic plan change. I feel that Adobe just stole $130 from me. I would encourage you to be very careful and suspicious of Adobe’s contracts.

An even better idea is to find an older version of the software (CS2) on a DVD at Ebay and install that. You can get the free Digital Negative converter here. By combining Photoshop CS2 and the DNG converter, you can get modern RAW files to open, such as those from the full frame Canon 6D.

It is behavior like this from Adobe that causes people to hack the software. I prefer to always use software legally. I feel that they do a great job creating the software, and deserve to be paid. However, when they treat longtime customers like this…it does leave a bad taste in the mouth.

For now I’m using Gimp, which is free open source software. I have an old copy of Photoshop 7 that I purchased 10 years ago. It is perfectly good software. I may install it if I find I miss Photoshop.

The class I’m taking has me doing black and white value studies…and talks about the music and poetry in painting. I’m not sure about it, but there is definitely some good information there…so I will stick with it for a while. I can still keep painting my bad paintings, while I’m learning…so I have nothing to loose.

Work is going great…on the two days when I teach. I have a great bunch of students. It’s fun to have a full class of people interested in web design and animation.

This is a red pepper and some salal leaves. The red was surprisingly hard to paint. It took a lot of thinking and experimenting to make it look bright. 9 x 12 oil on board. I’ve started painting small to save money while I learn. This is the first painting I’ve been happy with in a couple months.

Red pepper

Red pepper 1-25-14

two for work and five for art

Posted by on January 8th, 2015  •  0 Comments  •  Full Article

What a strange vacation that was. Of the three weeks, I spent two painting, and less than one week climbing. My partner arrived 3 days late due to car trouble. But still, even when he did get there I was ambivalent about climbing.

Even stranger was that I didn’t do a single sellable painting in all that time. I had thought that all my studio painting since October was preparing me for plein air painting. But when faced with those big orange cliffs, I could not make them look real, at all.

After two failed full color 7 hour paintings I switched to monotone. By doing a wash of raw umber I was able to fall back on my tried and true neutral ground style of painting. With a  wash of umber (brown), I was able to pull forward by lifting out the whites, and push back with pure umber. This meant I was basically doing something similar to an india ink wash. Painting in monotone means I didn’t have to worry about hue, it was all black and white values and much simpler.

I took a couple down to show dad after work last night. We spent a long time talking about art, and how the monotones were lovely on their own. When I told him I was considering doing a larger version in full color, he argued that they were a perfect interpretation of how “the artist saw the light”, and why would I try to improve them?

I argued that they weren’t sellable…that color sells better and that bigger is priced higher. He had a bunch of his drawings out from when he would sketch lawyers arguing before the supreme court. He was a superb cartoon style quick sketch artist, classically trained in pen and ink. It was right about that time that I was also first experimenting with oil painting at 17. I have vague memories of him showing me those sketches, which he had held onto all these 5 decades later.

He was having one of his amazing days where he was on top of his game. He wasn’t confused at all, not even a little bit. 91 years old and just an amazing old guy, trying to support his sons dream of becoming an artist.

I have 30 students in my web class this quarter. It’s super fun to have that many students. The room feels full of energy, and while I don’t know all of them yet, I have a sense that it’s going to be a fun class. I’m teaching two days a week, which gives me 5 days to paint, every week. If I can’t get some sellable paintings this quarter I may have to give up this painting dream and get back into object oriented programming.