Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sea Croissants

Sea Croissants
Sea Croissants, Lithographic print, 18x24
Lithography, Spring 2014

______Here is my first lithographic print! I began doodling some crescent-shaped worms in my sketchbook and quickly ended up with these delicate critters who are floating and bending in the atmosphere. I plan on working with them again, along with constructing some Sea Bagel buddies to abide them in their journeys. I think I'm going to create a whole family of underwater bakery brethren!

______I have really grand news about this: my printmaking teacher shined a bright light on my dull day by telling me she submitted it to a showing at the PaperWorks Gallery in Birmingham. She used her people skills to ensure that mine had a place in the show since I was diligent in and outside of class, whereas the rest of my class has been pretty laid-back and slow to start. She also said she'd gladly help me through an independent study in Lithography next Fall semester. That was a big honor since she usually tells people to go away when they want to do one. That means I would be able to make the independent study work around my own schedule opposed to attending to class at specific times. She straight up blurted out how my entire class was basically holding me back, but then said if I mentioned what she just said to anyone in the class that she would fiercely deny it.

______In my book o' life, there is really no larger compliment than one from a teacher, and I must say I feel as fuzzy as the fluffy cilia of my sea croissants.

Sea CroissantsSea Croissants

______Some of you asked what Lithography is. It's a form of printmaking, but it's much more intensive than, say, woodblock or linocut printing where you carve into a block, slather it in ink, lay paper on top of it, and roll it through the press. It's based on the concept that oil and water repel each other... and that's all I'm going to say because describing the process would one) give you a case of the ultra yawns, and two) make you stare at me with wide eyes like I'm some kinda breakdancing rooster.

______But in a nutshell? It's sort of like ghosts. Lithography is totally just ghosts n' magic. And nitric acid, solvents and grease, and inky hands that whimsically perform all sorts of scientific wonders. It makes you smell like a hazardous auto shop and look like you've been attacked by tiny scooter wheels, but most importantly, it gives you a sense of pride when you're all done with it.

______Le end. Enjoy le sea croissants. But no eating them, for they are friends.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

In the Monochrome Zone

Fancy Feet
Fancy Feet

______Has it... already... been a week?

______(waits for a response)
______(a tumbleweed flies by in the distance)
______(another tumbleweed flies by, this one so close it strikes my face, thus blinding me and sending me to the ground) hey now watch wheERE YOU'RE ROLLING YOU LITTLE PIECE OF SCRITCHY-SCRATCHY TURD


______Sorry, lost my cool (blog readers: "Can't lose what you never had, Ali!"). Hey now, you big beef jerkies. Slather a little less sass into your responses, will ya? Actually, no. Never stop. Keep on being the sassy pieces of sassafrass that you all are. That's how I like you--it keeps me thick skinned.

______Moving on.

Fancy Feet
Fancy FeetFancy FeetFancy Feet

______So this week, I was finally able to print my Lithography plate with the help of one of the art grad students; there's a part of the process where the printing plate must be sponged with water and rolled up with ink repeatedly without allowing any dastardly dry spots to appear; plus, our Litho press is much more formidable and hefty than a regular press and requires upper body muscles which I, the noodle-armed queen, lack. The process is do-able with one person, but much more feasible with two!

______Plus, he and I made a new Litho song. It went a little like, "Ne-ne-ne-ne-ne...ne-ne-ne-ne-ne... ne NE NE!"

______This is how I make friends.

______Even after that, I had enough time to stop by the Art Department Faculty biennial art show's opening. I mingled around with faculty members and grad students for a hearty hour, all while munching on tiny gouda cubes and thinly sliced apples... which was astounding considering how haphazard carrying on a conversation with human beings can be for me. Social is teh hard. How does interact I?

Fancy FeetFancy Feet

______...and here is me alongside my older brother, Zach. While home, he decided that he wanted to tag along with mother dearest and I as we snapped these photos. Minutes after we began shooting, he wandered off, soon returning with a container of sushi rolls and a fountain drink nestled in his arms. He has the ability to find food in the strangest places, probably because he is actually Bear Grylls.

______If you could be a famous TV superstar, who would it be? For me, it's a tie between Paula Deen and Ellen DeGeneres. Do I want butter coursing through my veins, or great hair and a damn decent perspective on life? Maybe both.

Fancy Feet

Dress: Knowstyle (similar)
Jacket: JCPenny
Necklace: Charming Charlie
Monkstrap oxfords: Jeffrey Campbell, via Bloomingdales

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Madeline + SammyDress


______Let us swoon over how whimsical the cape that SammyDress sent me is: it's twirly, it's classy, it's got a vintage vibe that's enhanced by it's deep, navy hue... it's got all the qualities that a sleeve-free garment should have. Plus, it's a spitting image of its product page, if not even more precious in real life. I adore the navy color (my favorite to wear!), the collared neckline, and the pleat on the back. Plus, the cape is made from a thick material that's lined to keep the brisk wind at bay.  SammyDress boasts all sorts of coats and dresses that have cutesy, feminine styles just like this. I even received two kind compliments on it when I was running errands with the parents this weekend.

______It took a little under a month to arrive, which is quick considering it was shipped overseas. Plus, this product was shipped for free, so I definitely have no complaints. The e-mail representatives are very friendly and polite as well, and I would definitely order from there on my own in the future. Hooray!


______So this weekend, the parents and I rallied ourselves up for a family shopping extravaganza. First, we made a quick trip to the bookstore; my dad bought me a copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales, which I will delve into as soon as I get through George R.R. Martin's Dance of Dragons. And since snow pellets and were a looming threat this week, having a dangerous 0.0003% chance of actually turning into snow, we also went ahead and zoomed through the grocery store to stock up on a week's worth of food.

______Hey, now. Don't make fun.


______Valentine's Day is coming up! I get sort of peeved around this time, not because oh gosh never had a boyfriend, but because these other lovely ladies turn into little grey rainclouds that pour out self-depricating Facebook statuses and Twitter updates, putting themselves down for the pure fact that they don't have a significant other. Newflash, dudettes: this is the 21st century and you don't need no man to survive. If you've got one, grand! If you don't, stop sweating over it and attaching unworthy adjectives to your darling little self. The moment when your dreamy dream man steps into your life isn't really up to you. I've been single my whole life and I'm doin' just fine... maybe a little pyscho, but doin' just fine!

______Also, Valentine's Day is when the most adorable recipes pop up. How about these heart-shaped peanut butter blondies or some dark chocolate M&M bark?

______Bake away, my squishy little sea sponges!


Navy cape: c/o SammyDress (find it here!)
Polka dot dress: Ross Dress for Less ($8!)
Tights: Target
Oxford heels: Jeffrey Campbell (similar)
Rose earrings: Charming Charlie (similar)
Ampersand ring: c/o BornPretty

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Watercolor Workings

Swarm Gradient
As Above So Below, Watercolor monoprint with colored pencil, 11x14
Monoprint/Monotype, Fall 2014

______Here's a digestible mixture of prints from my Monotype/Monoprint class last semester. I skipped over the beginning printmaking class since my art professor said that the linocut, woodblock, etc. styles of printmaking wouldn't suit my more drawing-based way of making. It's kind of nice to have friendly relationships with your teachers so you can skip over the classes that aren't going to benefit your artful production. I know many schools lack the true student-teacher relationships that my department has, so I'm more than thankful for being able to have it myself.

______She also suggested I take Lithography this year; although the heavy emphasis on process has me pulling my hair out, it's turning out to be pretty darn neat. She also told us we're basically doing alchemy, so knowing that I'm totally an alchemist now makes it worth the effort. Sweet beans.

As Above So Below (greyscale), Watercolor monoprint with graphite, 11x14
Monoprint/Monotype, Fall 2014

______I also have some excellent news--one of my art professors from last semester lent a kind word to the head of the Religious Studies department about my work and how it seemed to resonate with their desire to chalk out an illustration for their semester-ly newsletter. After meeting with the head for a surprisingly speedy hour, he and I planned out a front and back, illustrative, panel-style spread. When he uttered the minimum amount he'd pay me, my brain went internally blank since I wasn't expecting such an amount. However, trying my best not to hide my astonishment, I nodded cooly in agreement. He regarded me and hastily added, "But that's just the minimum."

______I couldn't have even fathomed such an amount that I won't disclose to begin with, but apparently the department head thought otherwise. One thing I about the my art department is how the professors are so approachable and easy to communicate with... and super kind, of course. Just the other day, my Lithography teacher stayed through her lunch break to help me solve a chemical issue with my printing plate.

It Figures

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Alabama Snow Week! + BornPretty


______This week on campus was a little startling. On Tuesday morning, soft white flurries began to descend from the grey sky, and by noon, everything was primed in a thick layer of pristine white. It was snowing. It snew, you guys. The campus was a fresh canvas ready to be tracked upon by dirt-clodden footsteps and be used for building hasty snowmen. Classes were dismissed at 11am and the citizens in the state of Alabama all had their panties in a twist to get back to their home sweet homes, and of course, roads were immediately clogged up due to the demon snowflakes.

______Thankfully, since I still live on campus and can walk just about anywhere, I didn't have to worry about immediately returning home. Instead, I spent the whole day painting from nine in the morning to four in the afternoon. It was refreshing to have the entire painting studio in my dominion, and one of my friends even visited for some fellow art fun. Later, we shuffled our feet through the slushy snow to inform the art quad that "Ali Hval rocks." That's me. I'm Ali Hval. And I rock more than limestone.

______Thanks for the help on sizing out those letters, Mitchell.


______When I dashed out to get lunch on campus just a few slippery steps away, I saw three of my art professors lined up in front of me, and wondered if they were stuck on campus at all. I knew that two of them were working on teacherly things and their own artwork, and when I left for my dorm around five, they were still moseying around the art quad in high spirits as I said my goodbyes to them. It seemed to me they were just enjoying a day in the studio without those darn, pestering students in their way... though I'm hoping they got back fine!


______My dad left from his place of work as soon as the snow began to stick, but it still took him a lengthy 7.5 hours to return home, where as the drive normally takes him an hour. He said the traffic was so congested and the roads so slick with thick ice that people were literally leaving their cars on the sides of roads and walking to their destinations or shelters for refuge. The drive up to our house is quite twisted and hilly, and my dad tallied a total of one-hundred-something cars parked along the mile-long road to our neighborhood. But my dad, being a North Dakotan man since he was a wee grasshopper, stepped in all four-wheel drive and gutsily shimmied on up and down the hill, waving innocently at cops when they urged him to not continue. He is a brave soul, he is!

______It's not like our state can help it--we don't have the equipment down here to handle snow because, well, we never have snow like that. It's like blaming Montana for not having hurricane evacuation centers, or getting mad at a banana for not tasting like calamari. It wouldn't make sense.

______On to the outfit--BornPretty sent me over this very lovely bejeweled statement necklace. I'm able to wear it all day since it's not entirely made of metal and will thus not make me feel like weights are strung around my neck. Plus, it's clearly snazzy. As usual, you can get 10% off your order at their store using the code ALT10.

______Hope you all stayed safe this weekend. Here's a friendly tip: don't eat yellow snow. Eat pinecones. Much more nutritious. They're loaded with fiber and crunchy, too.


Dress: Urban Outfitters (similar)
Blazer: Forever 21 (similar)
Necklace: c/o BornPretty
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell, via Bloomingdales
Tights: idk, but here's some similar ones
Ring: vintage
Bracelets: also vintage