Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Colorado…

It was a wonderful week in Colorado this Christmas Season. After flying in on a quite turbulent day in Colorado (the morning after a wreck at DIA!) and braving the cold Colorado weather, Lindsay and I are back in Arizona, where it is 72° today. It took us a little over 13 hours to get home and it was cold the entire way with the coldest weather and most snow being in Santa Fe, NM. We came through Hatch, NM right around sunset and it makes me want to go to their chili festival this coming Autumn.

Christmas Eve, I set up the dining room table with a centerpiece of floating candles and greenery with Mom's china and stemware.

Christmas dinner we had Spiral-Cut Ham, fresh green beans, potato casserole, fresh Hawaiian roles, home-made carrot cake, cannolis, and lots of cookies and other sweets.

And I thought it was supposed to be kids who couldn't sit still!

Friday, we got to go to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, formerly the Natural History Museum and see the always stellar dinosaur exhibit. Lindsay and I used to go down there to draw all the animals when we lived in Colorado and it's been over 10 years since I have been.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Arizona Winter Sunset

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas in the Desert…

While we don't go very overboard with decorations at Christmas time, we do a nice little desert tree laden with glass ornaments in some very unique shapes (Egyptian Casks? Motorcycles? Winnie the Pooh? Yep on all three). We then finish it off with Chili Pepper lights and lots and lots of cactus and desert motifs.

The finishing touch is a Mexican blanket we bought at a local roadside stand. Oh, and the tree is only 3.5" tall. I've had it since college and I see no point in not using it.


I don't know what's wrong with these kids today!
Who can understand anything they say?
They a disobedient, disrespectful oafs!
Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!

Ok, just so you know, I actually like kids and the above is from the musical “Bye Bye Birdie.” But can someone please tell me if I'm being overly annoyed?

Every afternoon, my neighbors kids play not in their own yard, but in mine. They run up my hill, down my sidewalk (the one to the house, not at the street) then onto my driveway. Then they run back and repeat this about 40 times all the while on scooters, rollerblades or some other form of rolling shoe. Invariable, one of them falls and biffs it and a session of screaming and hollering ensues. Luckily, it appears there is ether a baby-sitter or older sister with them. I haven't had to scoop one up off the concrete yet.

Here's what bothers me most. Ever since this family moved in, the mother has treated me like something she scraped off of her shoe. We used to talk to her husband, a real nice guy, but not a lot of control over his family. The mother goes from the house to her car, nary saying a word. When we've been out there, she's looked at us, mostly me, like I've got horns. I have a little theory that she's a very jealous woman. See, her husband came over one afternoon and exclaimed that he thought it was so cool that I ride a motorcycle. Oh jeeze! I can only imagine how that went over. That was about 2 weeks after they moved in.

Let's see. Their kids walk on my fence in the back yard, a 4ft. tall concrete wall that has a wash behind it, they've tried to literally walk into my house because they lost something in our yard, they tell us we're heathens becuase we drink coffee and tea, hmmm... that's all I can think of right now.

So … becuase her kids are tearing around my yard, don't you think it would be the polite thing to do to introduce yourself to the person who may be rescuing your child when they fall and hurt themselves?

Well, this weekend I'm getting some planters and barricading my walkway. If that doesn't stop it I guess I'll have to just talk to the adults.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanks Giving

Lindsay and I got to fly out to Birmingham for Thanks Giving this year. Neither of us are happy fliers; he doesn't like takeoffs, landings or pretty much anything else and I really don't like takeoffs. I get so wired up just before we start – sort of like a build up of anticipation. I used to get the same way before riding my motorcycle too – but once I got going, everything was fine.

Anyway, after a long day of travel we arrived in Birmingham to a nice pizza dinner at Lindsay's parent's house. That was followed up with Thanks Giving pie and a movie for the night. Thanks Giving day, Lindsay and I slept in until 10:30! I couldn't believe it. We never sleep that long at home. I helped in the kitchen with all the sides while the boys watched movies (I think it was Godfather of all things!) in the other room.

Friday we got to go flying out at the R/C field with Lindsay's dad. Lindsay crashed a plane in the pond beyond the airfield and I could barely control mine. I swear I'm not that dumb, but those controls are pretty difficult for me. I kept turning my control the wrong way. Luckily though, we were hooked up to a trainer with his dad and I never crashed my plane. We spent Friday and Saturday night at his brothers house. That was fun.

Saturday, we went to the Barber's Vintage Motorsports Museum to see all the bikes. There wasn't a lot of new things to see, but it's always a cool place to visit. Saturday night we went out to eat in Five-Points which is a downtown intersection in Birmingham. It's a neat place with a lot of neat little shops and stores. We're not much of "clubbers" though, so we kind of just called it a night before 10.

We caught a matinee of the new James Bond flick Sunday; excellent movie, though I do have one complaint. Too much close-ups of the action. I would have liked to see the camera pull back a little here and there as the herky-jerky camera messes with my equilibrium a bit. Also, much of it took place in the desert, and since I live in the desert it didn't feel as exotic as the last one.

Monday we headed home and just like every trip I take, Tuesday saw me laid out with a big strong head-cold! Darnit! Also, I completely forgot to take Mr. Happy on our trip – I was so mad at myself all week about that one.

Happy Thanks Giving all and thanks for a great vacation!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What’s On My Desk Today

Inspired by Jimmy Pickering, a wonderful illustrator and former(?) Disney Imagineer, I decided to do a little, “What’s on my desk today?” First off, YIKES! Clearly somethings gotta go! The Simpsons diorama? The Guiness mug (don’t think so), the mounds of paper, how ‘bout the printer? Clearly, some organization is in order here. Oh, and usually there is a cat somewhere in there too.

Yep, the heap runs right onto the floor. Oy vey, everybody!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Healthy Eating Musings…

Over the past couple of days, I've been doing some research into diet and exercise (gotta get rid of this excess weight people!) and I've decided to cut out certain foods. First on my list is processed foods, things like ready-made anything, pretty much all fast food, and anything else that has a list of ingredients seeming longer than the number of people who work on a Pixar film. That's a lot by the way.

So, I am starting by eliminated white sugar, white flour, white pasta, rice and anything that contains corn syrup. I will continue to cook with corn syrup, as it in itself isn't necessarily the culprit, but I'm no longer going to drink colas and sodas, which is essentially carbonated, flavored corn syrup.

So, I'll let you guys know how it goes. Today, I got a mandarin chicken salad from Wendy's but omitted both the dressing and the asian noodles, because of either sugar or bleached flour. It wasn't bad. I'm sure a lot of people would hate it, but I actually like lettuce. This weekend I'm going to be making pumpkin pies for Lindsay and I'm excited to see how they turn out without the usual sugars, flours and other stuff.

So, if anyone has any advice on how to cut this stuff out of my diet, or if you've experimented with other cooking methods, please feel free to tell me.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Friends Lost and Found

Over the many years since graduating college, I've long searched for a few of my friends from back in the day. Good grief, almost before the internet was mainstream! :P This weekend, while perusing another blog it made me think of one in particular – a girl I was on the color guard with at CSU. I'd googled her before, knowing her last name might be new, but nothing ever popped up. Until this weekend. It has been wonderful reading about her life's journey and her growing family. Also, she is a fabulous knitter! Wow, those are some beautiful pieces.

So, as much as I don't necessarily embrace our modern technologies (I didn't get a cell phone until only a year ago and we don't have cable, a garage door opener or even a car with keyless entry), there are times when I don't know what we even did before the internet.

Hmmm … besides my computer and Lindsay's iPod, we really are kind of backwards in the technology scheme. But, that works just fine for me.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Sunday Lindsay and I spent the afternoon at Buckelew Farms, just west of Tucson. For a small entrance fee you get to go pick out a pumpkin (or as many as you like) on their huge pumpkin farm. Horse-drawn carts drive you around the farm pulled by two horses each. There were hundreds of people at the farm this year, all getting that perfect pumpkin.

I chose two small ones and had to convince Lindsay on getting one of his own. We carved them tonight and I made the kitty and the small scary one.

Hope everyone had a great and spooky Halloween!

Halloween Office Party

I was invited to a lunch-time office party at the puzzle place I used to work and since I was invited with little notice, I had to scrounge together a costume. Having just watched a few episodes of The Simpsons last night, I thought, I can do that costume!

He is portraying a character from a pretty disconcerting movie, "A Clockwork Orange." I borrowed Lindsay's Coach Derbi hat, tossed on a white shirt and tan pants and my motorcycle boots and did the weird eyelashes. So, there you have it. I also tried an Indiana Jones look, but Lindsay liked the other guy. Creepy though.

I did my best Malcolm McDowell angry look but still, most people thought I was Charlie Chaplin? I'm not sure I see the resemblance?

I painted on a 4 o'clock shadow with some brown eye shadow, borrowed Lindsay's clothes and yes, he even has an old bullwhip from his Arkansas days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Annoying my cat…

In the numerous years that I have photographed my 16 year-old Ashley, she has never once sat still. So, I have a bunch of blurry pictures of her. Oh well. Here are some that I took this morning, playing with my macro lens. Our A/C is completely dead so the house is a little warm right now. As such, she has taken to stretching out as long as she can make herself on the bed to cool off.

“Will you please get that camera out of my face?”

“Why are you photographing my hairy toes with black bean feet?”

Scrounging through my old photos…

I came across Lindsay's and my trip to Colorado on the motorcycles. It all started out so well.

We spent our first night in Holbrook, Arizona exploring the downtown life. It's a fairly small town right off of Interstate 40, but has a great Rt. 66 history to it. I thought these dinos were too fun not to photograph. I probably like dinosaurs almost as much as Carson.

Our second day in, took us to the beautiful city of Southfork, Colorado. We stayed in a wonderful little cabin and were greeted every time we stepped outside by the local orange tabby. I spent my evening photographing the numerous hummingbirds just outside of our cabin and Lindsay spent the evening watching "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel. That seems to be our regular schedule when we are on vacation. Since we don't have "television," we watch Discovery when we're out and about.

Traveling over the Continental Divide, we stopped to take this picture with Mr. Happy, our companion puppet.

This would be the GSX-Rs last stop as a bike without damage. I recall this rest area being up a pitted dirt road overlooking the San Juan Valley. Though it was cloudy, we had no idea what the afternoon would bring.

I took this image after making sure Lindsay was unhurt from his accident. We were so lucky that day that both of us were all of our motorcycling gear as well as the fact that Lindsay was completely unhurt when he totalled his bike. I guess I was too distressed to take photos of his bike, but I wish I had in hindsight. It didn't actually look totalled, but sure enough it was.

If you look at the zigzag of dark directly in front of my bike, that is the course Lindsay was on. Hail and bikes do not mix. It's like riding on ball bearings coated in oil. Not good!

And here is Lindsay after we got his bike back upright assessing the damage.

We haven't taken a long motorcycle road trip since this vacation, but I'm sure we'll get out there and do another one. Maybe not to Colorado though. We should have left earlier in the morning. I know better than that – there are always thunderstorms that pop up in the afternoons in a Colorado summer.

And because Lindsay can go about a minute without a bike, we replaced it with this:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Official Business Owner

Well, it's been about 3 weeks since I opened for business. Only the future will tell if I opened it at literally the worst time in my working life! I am officially incorporated as Kerrie Robertson Illustration, Inc. I have to place my papers in a local newspaper or other approved source for 3 days in a row, otherwise my incorporation will be dissolved.

There's so much to do that you just can't learn without all of the small business resources out there. Thankfully, I've been able to find a little help getting things done. But the paperwork! Whew, I'm a full time illustrator, designer, admin, accounts receivable, marketing person. Yep, the list goes on and on.

Every day, I keep thinking, I need to do this, that and some of that too. First up is to get my REAL website up and running. I feel so weird sending people to my blog to see my portfolio. I've also been networking like a crazy person. I have made a few contacts and there are a few people interested in my work, and luckily I've been able to do some local freelance for some companies around town.

The only thing I'm still waiting for is my actual business license.

Friday, September 26, 2008

A Break, Worries and Hopes

…and if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you...

Last week Lindsay and I took a much needed break from work, business and the world in general. We escaped to the outdoors of the Grand Canyon taking only what we could fit in the trunk of a Miata. For those of you who have never witnessed one, it barely fits one small suitcase. We trekked through the beautiful vistas of Northern Arizona, traveling through the always stunning Sedona along the Oak Creek into the backside of Flagstaff. Heading north out of Flagstaff you are greeted with tall pines mixed with stunning aspen trees almost ready to turn bright golden yellow from the waning fall days. On northward we traveled, moving up onto the Colorado Plateau through Tusayan and finally to the abyss of the canyon itself.

My photos clearly do not do this magnificent place any justice. It is an overwhelming place to visit for both its immense size and trying to take it all in just how long this canyon took to develop. Lindsay and I camped within Mather Campground for 3 nights (cold nights at that - 38°!) and on our last night sat out on the rim by ourselves and looked at the stars. There is no light around the canyon and there were so many stars it was hard to make out the constellations. Being in the outdoors always gives me great appreciation for what we have. Clean clothes, a soft bed, and warm dry feet. All is right in the world when you can sit on ancient seabed rock while wishing on shooting stars at the edge of the abyss.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So that brings me to my worries. This past week was my first week of - for all purposes - self inflicted unemployment. Every day I read about a new bank collapsing, a city having gas shortages and politicians questioning if this will be the next "Great Depression." I think to myself, "what have I done?" I've thrown away a perfectly decent job where I made good money at one of the most volatile times I've witnessed in my lifetime. All that I can do is keep on swimming.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So, now my hopes. I have always believed that people are basically good. Yes, there are a lot of really bad people out there, but most people I meet are very sincere and helpful. If things really go bad, you better believe I'll be one of the people out there to help give a hand. So, I move forward with confidence that if my business or my plans do not succeed it is not for lack of trying.

These photos were taken in quick succession as I scrambled onto the side of the canyon with a 1,000 foot drop almost immediately behind us.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Transition In Life

Well, only one more week to go at my current employer. Part of me is sad to go. I've been with them for 4 years now and have learned a tremendous amount in that time. But I am very excited with this next stage of my life. It is now up to me alone to be successful in this endeavor and while I can tell you it scares the bejeezus out of me (what if I fail, what if I succeed?), I am thrilled that I have this opportunity. I wouldn't have it, were it not for Lindsay's pursuit of his own career that we've been through these past 4+ years.

I appreciate everyone's kind words over the past few weeks. It was a very stressful week at the office, especially with one employee in particular who took my leave as a sign of me purposely wanting to hurt my company. I only hope that someday they are able to get past their own neurosis and look at the bigger picture. I just wish I could shake their remarkably unkind words.

Anywho … my whole point of this post is that I will only post here things that are not illustration related as I have started a new blog that is only illustration related. That would be here: Kerrie Robertson Illustration. I hope you all can check it out and give me some feedback.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Business Cards…

As a designer I find that one of the most challenging things out there is creating an identity for yourself. It is so much easier with other companies. How do I come across sincere, but professional without looking like I have too much self importance?

So, I present to you 3 business cards that I've worked up over the past couple of days. These are just temporary that I have to print out so that I can hand them out to some people at an upcoming event next Thursday. After that, I really work on my identity! Yikes.

As you'll see to the right, there is a poll. Hmmm… I guess I really should have added in a "none of the above."

Choice 1:

Choice 2:

Choice 3:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Post Script

Well, I did it. I got some strange responses, some upset responses and one "so you just chose this time to quit to screw us?!?" Hmmm … that was actually the polite way it was put. No, I didn't do that to hurt anyone. Anyone who knows me, knows that I always put others before myself.

Anyway, my Creative Director looked visibly upset but understood why I was leaving. Now, I have two weeks to survive!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Great BIG Desicion for Me!

Well, with a title like that one might think children, divorce, moving … well, children are already on the RADAR, no way am I divorcing - my marriage is quite strong, and moving? Well, we've already started our countdown on that one, but that'll be a few more years.

No, today (actually tomorrow, as I've pre-written this) I will be handing in my letter of resignation. This is a big decision for me – read BIG – because I have no other concrete job lined up. I've been working nearly non-stop since I was a 15 year old kid burning fries at McDonald's by Crossroads mall. Does that place even exist anymore?!? I have been working at establishing my career as a Graphic Designer over the past 10 years, and one might say I've been successful. I have often worried that Graphic Design has a short shelf life as a career - as you work your way up in the field, people either don't want to pay you for what they believe they could get out of a recent hire, or you simply cannot continue to work under a Creative Director. The latter is where I stand. I have to find my own voice as a designer.

Why would I leave a company one might ask? I have a steady paycheck and well, let's see, that's about all. I'm not growing as an artist, and I need to see if I can hack it out in the big bad world of freelance. Plus, I have been getting increasing ill from this job. It's not a bad place - in fact it has some great aspects to it, but the stress level is becoming increasingly intolerable. Why continue to put up with it if I don't absolutely have to?

So, the first day after I have left my current company I will go downtown, get my business license and start my own illustration business.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Playing with the camera…

This photo was taken looking north
towards the Catalina Mountains.
I even caught a little bird in the shot!

Lindsay and I went to check out the new (pretty cool!!) Dodge Challengers today and on the way I stopped and took some photos of the fabulous cloudscapes around Tucson. I'm still learning how to use my camera – a Canon Powershot A530 – and thought these images would look good in black and white. I tried to find a setting for a black and white mode on the camera itself, but no such luck. Just sepia. So, into PhotoShop they go and here they are.

This photo was taken on the manual setting with a 1/500th shutter speed, which is probably why it is so grainy. I then took it into PhotoShop and added curves, levels and a bit of hue/saturation. I opted to due a saturated blue, rather than a black and white on this image.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thanks For a Great Vacation Mom!

It was a another great yearly vacation in Breckenridge, CO. I always look forward to these family visits. It was great to see my Grandmother and we got to discuss a few things. I wish her well and will send her some pictures to hang on her bedroom wall soon.

I had a great flight into Denver International with these two little red foxes as escorts. It has been a long time since I have seen the Rocky Mountains and it's always interesting when you get to see them at 20,000 feet elevation.

The accommodations were beautiful and I got a great workout with 4 flights of stairs every day! Whew. My altitude coping abilities need to come a long way. My sinuses were bothering me every day with a 2-day sinus headache to start off the vacation! But, the beautiful surroundings more than made up for it.
Everybody's cooking was amazing and as usual Mom brought way too many groceries. I wish I'd been there to help pack up to leave. We were able to find a great little hiking trail near the Blue River that ended up in downtown Breckenridge.
My trip back down to Denver started with a snowstorm. Yes, a snowstorm in August! There were icy conditions at Eisenhower tunnel and hard rains the entire drive to Denver.
The flight home was mostly turbulent and marked with thunderstorms surrounding the entire state of Arizona. Because of the full moon, you could see the cloud tops and the lightening in the faraway storms the entire trip home. Now, I'm back in Tucson and back to work tomorrow! Bummer.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Weekend in San Diego … again!

A couple of weekends ago, Lindsay and I spent a quick vacation in San Diego. We stayed at our favorite hotel, went to our favorite restaurants – Anthony's Fish Grotto (thanks Rylan!) and Tent City on Coronado Island. We also picked up this little souvenir.

We bought a Mazda Miata for Lindsay so that the 62 mile route he has to take to work is a little less expensive for us. The gas savings alone will equal more than the payment for the car, the insurance is a bit less than our truck and now we have 2 cars just in case I need one for an emergency or inclement weather.

On our way home to Tucson, we went through Imperial Valley just outside of the mountains of San Diego and it was absolutely brutal. The rental car I took had a thermometer built in and it hit a high of 116°F! As we got into Tucson in the evening the temperatures had cooled down into the mid 70s. It was good to be home after all that heat. I have no idea how anything survives in those kinds of temperatures.

I already miss the beach…

Having owned the car now for about 3 weeks, we are finding that not only is a little 2-door convertible a fun car to drive, it is much, much more cost effective for us.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Bridget

Happy Birthday Bridget and to anyone I've missed over the past couple of months. It's been so busy, and I know that's no excuse, but this year has felt like a real roller-coaster. First, Grandma has been ill, Lindsay finished school and got a really good job, then almost immediately after that my job looks bleak! Plus, all the freelance that I am trying to do … I'll try to do better in the future.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Fine Art Illustration?

As the book that I am illustrating – "Going On a Train" by Pamela Ott – continues to be worked on I find that I am creating more than just simple little drawings. They are much more like paintings to me, all done on my computer. I am striving for a realistic, but simplified look to my work. So, you won't see every rivet on the train, or every hair on the person and it might feel a little child-like.

My general work flow consists of pencil sketches, then I move on to tight pencil drawings, scan those into my computer and arrange them into the final pencil sketch. I then take these sketches into Adobe Illustrator and redraw them with lineart. This is then copied into Adobe PhotoShop and then I paint in the color and detail. I have created a few custom brushes to give the look and feel of pastel paints on Canson paper and there you have it.

This is my most finished spread. I am still working out a few more details like passengers in the background as well as finalizing the sky.

As the train progresses through the book, I thought it would be fun to see it also progress through the day. I'm very happy with the moody look of this spread, which is about 8/10ths complete.

Early morning, the train is nearing its final destination.