Dice, spool, ornament still life – blue lightbulb (#6)



Phew! Finished just in time for my desk to get packed up. Compilation canvas and some final words coming soon…

#5 – Red and green lamps
#4 – CFL spotlight to the left
#3 – Pink Christmas lights to the left
#2 – Interior floor lamps
#1 – Early winter afternoon daylight

Dice, spool, ornament still life – CFL spotlight to the left (#4)

#4 in my first lighting practice series was lit using an ordinary CFL bulb (“soft white”, to be specific) in a desk lamp pointed straight at the scene from the left. I also continue to correct composition and perspective issues with each successive piece.

So far my method has been to use the previous painting as a base for the next one, though I do end up fully painting over it in the process. This has worked well, as it lets me spend my time on color and not repeating composition, though I do keep fixing things with composition as I go.

dice-spoon-ornament_spotlight_to_the_leftColor-wise, I feel like this is the most artificial looking of the bunch so far. Everything’s the color you expect it to be (and probably the closests these objects have been to their “real” colors), thanks to the lack of natural light and use of almost-white interior lighting. However, a trip to Fred Meyer for colored bulbs has ensured at least a few alien-looking entries will be added to this series soon.

Photoshop CS6
A couple hours

#3 – Pink Christmas lights to the left
#2 – Interior floor lamps
#1 – Early winter afternoon daylight


Dice, spool, ornament still life – pink Christmas lights (#3)

Round 3! Here’s the same scene again, this time illuminated by an enormous wad of pink Christmas lights and a smaller wad of rainbow Christmas lights off to the left and below. They gave everything a pinkish cast.

dice-spoon-ornament_christmas_lights_daylightI’m really enjoying this series and am becoming a little obsessed with finding unique light bulbs and lighting arrangements to point at it.


Dice, spool, ornament in daylight (#1)

Dice, spool, ornament in interior warm lights (#2)


Dice, spool, ornament still life – evening interior lamps (#2)

And here’s the same scene again, this time with “evening light” – ie: a desk lamp to the left and a floor lamp across the room. Here’s the earlier version painted in daylight.

dice-spoon-ornament_evening_lightbulbPhotoshop CS6
1.5 hours

I painted over the previous version (don’t worry, it was a copy 🙂 ) to save some time and to help what might eventually be a whole bunch of these look consistent on composition. Dinoraur’s crotch makes me lol.

In the meantime…

Well, my finger’s recovery has taken much longer than expected.  I suppose there’s a difference between cutting a cyst out of flesh and fat (like usual) and cutting a cyst off the thin layer of tissue between finger skin and bone.  It’s healing up nicely, but it’s still interfering with resting my hand while I paint. Boo hiss!  (I probably got the darn thing from painting anyway.)

In the meantime, I’ve been working on two projects that don’t require my painting hand:

1) My web dev skillz by writing new articles on my home/life blog leveluphouse.com.  I’m exploring Google Analytics, learning about search engine optimization, CSS, and I’m just plain having fun writing about my adventures.  I’m also trying to get into Twitter and Tumblr, but I’m still much more into good old fashioned blogging (can blogging really be called old fashioned?) and website building.

2)  Wy Goes With, which is the working title of my first game app. Jim’s gone off exploring path finding and AI on a side project of his own while I crank away on improvements to WGW, trying to turn it into a brief but cohesive experience.

Obligatory screenshot:


My only complaint right now is feeling too stretched out.  When I write for leveluphouse, I feel like I’m neglecting my app.  When I get involved in my app, I feel like I should be painting.  When I’m painting, I’m super happy and have no complaints. 🙂

I hope to get back to painting very soon.

89 Days!

…and I didn’t waste a single second!  I’m selective about where I work and the projects I take on, but with the way the game industry is right now I knew it wouldn’t be long before I found an exciting opportunity to return to full time work.

I’ve never enjoyed a long break from work/school like this, though, so I was eager to make the most of it.

The last three months have been nothing short of fantastic in terms of personal development, home improvements, and my own business development.

To commemorate it, I’ve composed a list of my major accomplishments.

How I spent my 89 days (2 months, 28 days) of unemployment:
  • Repainted my computer room, turned it into a slick home office
  • Built a standing desk out of an IKEA surface, long table legs, and some shelf brackets
  • Finished my self-paced online Java programming class
  • Replaced the house’s main water line (an ill-timed emergency)
  • Replaced the house’s hot water tank (another ill-timed emergency)
  • Spent five days in Illinois seeing family and friends
  • Spent four days at Disney World!
  • Repainted the master bathroom (goodbye, awful purple :D)
  • Refinished my master bathroom vanity (goodbye, more awful purple :D)
  • Patched multiple holes in the kitchen ceiling left over from previous projects
  • Learned how to fearlessly wield a nail gun
  • Reattached baseboard trims throughout the house (left over from flooring project)
  • Finished all outstanding electrical work on the house
  • Repaired two toilets and upgraded one with dual flush
  • Learned modern HTML and CSS techniques, built several websites (blushplush.com, zudopod.com, majoh.com)
  • Sold three betta plush on Etsy
  • Built a lightbox “photography studio” for photographing my plush art
  • Photographed + posted my best plush on white backgrounds, which immediately resulted in more faves and sales on Etsy
  • Revamped BlushPlush’s branding, including website, DA, Etsy, promotional materials, and pack-ins
  • Learned enough WordPress and HTML to build my own WordPress theme (leveluphouse.com)
  • Learned enough php and JQuery to build a fake online shopping cart (plushgrubs.com)
  • Played a ton of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, The Sims 3, Skyrim, Portal 2, Marvel Avengers Alliance
  • Read several books and all those long Atlantic articles I wanted to read but didn’t have time for
  • Cleaned out my closet and went shopping
  • Installed an SSD for my PC’s Windows drive
  • Completed some digital paintings
  • Sewed a bunch of grubs and bettas
  • Sewed an Iron Man costume for Wy (it’s adorable)
  • Created a digitized inventory of everything we own, purchase prices, date purchased, etc and documented everything in a series of videos in case we ever have to prove anything to an insurance company
  • Cleaned up my garage, edited and organized most of our storage areas
  • Bought a new car (our 4 year streak as a one-car family has ended!)
  • Got an exciting new position as a Game Designer!

Job news!

Just a brief post to commemorate some good news: I’ve been hired as a game designer for Playdom, a Disney development studio in close by Bellevue, WA.

Those who know me well know it’s never “just a job” to me – it’s me giving my all to a single client.  Taking on a single client is riskier than the diversification that comes with freelance (case in point: being laid off with a quarter of my fellow colleagues by Glu Mobile a few months ago), but I want to be a part of the team that created Marvel Avenger’s Alliance, which I believe is one of the finest games currently available on Facebook.

I’m very excited about developing for Facebook, which is more similar to PC gaming than any platform I’ve developed for before (with the exception for the couple of PC games I shipped early in my career, of course).  I love the challenge and the marketplace associated with mobile, but PC gaming is my roots and my natural habitat is behind a keyboard.

I’m very excited to get to work.

2013 Blog Status Update

This post is to formally announce the creation of majoh.com/blog

  1. I ported the old contents of the blog from Blogspot to WordPress.  This is why some images are still hosted on Blogspot.
  2. This blog is no longer just a picture blog.  The old format was to paint something and slap it up here.  The new format is I will actually type something to go with most updates to give insight into my process and thoughts about my artwork.  I’m not used to talking about my art, like, at all. I keep its meanings and my processes very private, so I think this will be a good exercise for me.
  3. This blog is no longer just for artwork.  I intend to use this space to develop a bit more of an online personality.  I’ve been posting artwork online for nearly a decade but almost nothing about myself.  I’m not used to talking about myself either – like, at all.  Maybe this is a good place to start. 🙂

That two month gap in posts…

…we moved! Huzzah! Behold, the lovely new Casa Grant:

Yup, that’s a bonafide 100% authentic Grown-up House! With 2-CAR GARAGE ACTION! We’re very happy with it – especially after tearing out the filthy carpet that had been gathering crust since the first Bush administration, fixing drippy pipes, a not-locking front door lock, replacing faucets and outlet covers (not at the same time!), replacing a leaky furnace, and slapping our own personal style onto every wall we could before we moved in two days before Christmas.

My awesome Dad flew in for a week in early December to help us transform this place from borderline fixer-upper to one pretty awesome place to hole up in for a while.

We drilled:

We hauled:

We covered the most insanely ugly paint treatment I’ve ever seen:

We went completely buggo replacing the kitchen faucet over and over until it was finally in right AND squirting hot water and cold water properly:


We found this weird wedding memento in the garbage can: (Okay maybe some people are into wedding doo-dads, but Jim and I didn’t even get a photo album from ours, lol)

We used a lot of this overpriced blue tape (this is our master bedroom in its “before” state!):

And we ate our weight in M&Ms:

This is the second time Jim and I have squeezed a move in the brief space of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas – our Moms think we must have a vendetta against holidays. The dust has finally settled, though, and we’re settling into the groove of living in a place that’s nearly three times larger than our first home!

Now that we’ve got life somewhat back to running smoothly, we’re slowly incorporating fun things back into our evenings and weekends… like painting! And Netflix, and Rock Band, and conversations that aren’t about pipe insulation or wall colors.

Moon & Kamen (done)

At last, the series is complete!

The whole thing started after Jim and I watched a few episodes of the Japanese-made live action Sailor Moon show on YouTube. Drawing Sailor Moon coincided with me getting serious about art when I was around 12/13ish. I thought it’d be fun to revisit the characters, having not drawn them in some 15 years or so now. I started with Moon originally but mid-way through, got a great idea for Mercury and painted her instead. She became the first in the series that would eventually include all of the main cast, and would occupy me from March to May. As I worked on the others, I kept revisiting this one, starting it over a couple times and changing its direction each time.

This summer was really a bad time for painting, though – my Dad came to visit in May, Jim and I looked at an endless stream of real estate in June, I went home to Illinois for a week and a half, I worked at GenCon with some friends in Indiana, I took up evening exercise (in addition to my hour in the morning) in effort to kick start some weight loss, my job sent me to CA for a few days, and then I was sick with the flu for a week – it’s just been nuts, and I wasn’t able to paint regularly for most of the summer.

But the best time of year is here at last! Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons. I feel inspired, and free time has returned. I was finally able to finish this series!