I've been watching episodes of "Dead Like Me" all week. A year ago it was Alfred Hitchcock. I get on these kicks.
This week we learned that my mother-in-law, who just turned 83, has congestive heart failure and will not live much longer. She's in the hospital right now but will be moved to a hospice this week. I love my mother-in-law and will miss her, but for now I plan to visit her often and share as many moments as I can with her. She seems at peace with it and plans to enjoy every day that God gives her. As a Filipina, she lived through the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, avoiding rape by the Japanese soldiers while members of her family joined the resistance. (One, my wife's aunt, was captured, tied to two saplings and split apart as a cruel form of execution.) I guess the Japs figured that if you are going to be assholes, be really good ones.
Since I have plenty of free time these days, I am working on expanding my Photoshop skills. I am studying political caricatures created by Linda Eddy of Iowapresidentialwatch.com; she is the most skilled Photoshopper I know: her work is simply stunning. I am attempting to recreate her caricature of Joe Biden (that's it on the right); not so I can plagiarize it, but so I can learn her techniques. (I won't publish my copy.) How did she create those realistic skin wrinkles? How did she make this effect of that? Then I experiment until I can create a reasonable facsimile. It may take me a week to finish my copy but I will learn a lot of new skills in the process.
She creates her digital art using only Photoshop. It seems much easier to just use a vector drawing progam like Xara X, but I am not going to take the easy way out any longer. Vector art is easier but not nearly as realistic.
Linda Eddy's art requires many layers, which are separate drawings that are finally blended together to create the image. An eye, for example, includes the eyeball, iris, pupil and a bit of reflective light; the upper eyelid, the lower eyelid and the eye brow, not to mention wrinkles in the skin to give it texture and realism. It's time for me to really learn how to use the pen tool, which accounts for much of Eddy's realistic touches. Linda Eddy makes the most realistic human hair I have ever seen; she uses Photoshop brushes (another digital tool) to do this and she is a master.
Fortunately for us, Linda Eddy is a Republican.