Thursday, January 31, 2013

art-o-rama vs art-a-tunity vs art-o-mine

Time for a field trip. Went to a big show in a huge warehouse space. Monster works of art. Dang, what kind of drugs was he on? Over and over, wave after wave, paper and canvas and boards and stone and.......gee my little squirts on paper are nothing.

Another scene, another place. Man what were they thinking, where're  they going with this? It's like they are trying so hard to do something big or complex. It looks so intricate, so elaborate, complicated. I never seen so much work that required sweat to accomplish, so sophisticated.

One more place, the doors are locked, I'll just look through the windows. Yeah, I guess you can call it art. Oh, I'm having a flashback.........remember that movie "Eddie and the Cruisers"? The scene when Diesel was hammering licks on his ax at a bar. Eddie told him he played too many notes to be memorable. Great skill yes, a stunt for sure, memorable?, nah! Then Eddie played straight up'n funky (I still can hear the tune).

What's the diff? It's just art. I closed my eyes, counted the works I did by my own hand reviewing the history of each. My muscles relaxed and my heart stopped racing. I realized I am not competing in the trend wars or the top artist of the world race. The art feat is not me and the starving artist network doesn't need me. I can't see or imagine to see through eyes not in my head and I don't have to forget everything I learned in school so that my natural talent can come back.

I don't try so hard to make art. I just do it because I like to do it. When I play and fuss and experiment and stumble, I do just that. Then when art shows itself, I recognize it, embrace it, I'm done. I used to think a high degree of education and skill is what I need to have. Today I consider myself a "graphics primitive" and "art dabbler" compared to many. But the primary goal is to make art according to myself. That's the thing that makes it unique. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

deeper into my lines

The secret of any artist in any medium is to take what is in the head and make it so others can see it. Sometimes the transition or translation is smooth, sometimes not. Sometimes the outcome is exact, maybe close, and sometimes not as envisioned. We call that artistic process and artistic skill. Drawing is a big part of all that.

I talked with a local artist and teacher, he told me that most people do not know how to look so they can't draw what they see. I say they can't draw what they think either. Why? You have to get used to drawing, making a mark, guiding a pen or pencil. This is about the need and desire to do it. Now, what does that mark communicate? Does it say what you intend to communicate? Just like when you learned to write words and arrange them to convey speech, marks on a page can become pictures. It can start with cartoon like sketches and end up photo-realistic.

I am a notebook fanatic. Back in the day it was poetry writing, now it's sketchbooks. What is this about? You got the knack, you are developing the skill, you need to work on content to make it all relevant. I'm sorry you can't do one thing and then the other. In fact usually content drives you to develop the skills so that you can have your say, express your view, record for posterity in a way that others can appreciate it. What mathematician writes in an unknown language? He or she uses the symbols known by all and if they get inventive, they explain in detail the new form. Drawing even though the outcome can be abstract, is based on primitive forms and shapes common to human thought and physical abilities. I wish they quit trying to get monkeys and elephants to draw, that's fun but lame on too many levels. That's my point, even man's primitive levels are high levels.

So that's my art lesson. Desire to make a mark, learn to make marks. Desire to draw what you see, learn to look. We look through our passions. I was a model in a life drawing class. The class first drew me in caricature, big lips, knobby fingers, wide nose, what they thought a black person looked like. The teacher cursed, scolded and shocked the class, I was so embarrassed. Look dispassionately, like a camera, faithfully recording what is. You can go in and add your passion (details) later. The second round of pics were better, more life-like. The third round I appeared on the students paper. Life drawing, not cartooning.

Me, I'm a drafter, used to shapes and symbols. I gravitated toward more abstract art. It tends to be a different kind of looking than life drawing or cartooning, yet I consider if folks will understand what I'm trying to say or at least be comfortable with it. Lines and shapes and color is a language that requires lots of practice. Today it is common for practice works to be displayed as art. It is common for folks to say, "that's not his best work", in retrospect. The world is a flood with practice or developmental art pieces, so the buying public should be picky, choosy and discriminating. Buy because you like it first, then for the name if you must. Hey I went from drawing art to buying art. Hint! Hint!

Monday, January 14, 2013

my kind of lines

The main problem being me is I do more than one type of drawing. Yes the years of being a draftsperson has taken it's tole. Free hand drawing is still a challenge especially on the PC. I just can't seem to get enough of a handle on it. I usually wind up drawing on paper and scanning the drawing into the PC. This can be awkward at times.

Drafting is somewhat mechanical even if it's electrical, which is the realm my training has been. Electrical drafting can be unsatisfying, schematics are so symbolic. When you get into physical hardware designing circuit boards and device enclosures, things begin to get more interesting. What I am saying is that drawing things can be as intoxicating as drawing people, if you're into that. But mechanical drawing is not what I had in mind. Now architectural subjects are cool to me. This area is what got me drawing in the first place.

I started sketching houses in pencil, then ball point pen. I was fascinated with perspective views. My drawings were all about lines and using lines to represent textures and shadows. I even managed to use lines to show reflection and transparency. Not just exterior views, also interior views. I think my knack was designing. You know, if I were doing it from scratch, I'd design it like this.

When I made the jump into computer aided design, AutoCad was/is the tool of choice. I got to use it because I worked for some industry. I could not afford to buy my own copy and as the machines to run it well went up in price/quality, so did the price of AutoCad. There have been several drafting programs out there of lesser value, usually with awkward or un-AutoCad like interfaces and features. The kicker is that all have run on the MS PC platform. There are to date a few Linux drafting programs but because I am not into that realm anymore I can not elaborate.

BUT what has turned my head is a program called Sketch UP by Google. Sketch UP does 2D and 3D drawing and shading and............runs on MS machines go figure. I tried running Sketch UP on my Linux machine using WINE a MS Windows virtual machine for Linux. Not being code savvy I couldn't make it behave. Then I got Virtualbox which is a virtual machine hosting system. You can load many different operating systems on it, I installed XP. It runs in a Linux window just as if it were installed by itself on a PC. Then I installed Sketch UP onto XP. It works great, plays nice. I do have pictures of progress...........
Not too shabby for a guy just puttering around. I use the free version Sketch UP 8. There is a Pro version I am looking at, the price is nice, but for now this is fine. Oh yeah, the first pic was processed through a rendering program to get the more realistic qualities, the second is in a sketch mode. A heck of fun anyway.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

note from the baker

Hi all, been real bizzy with normal stuff. Baked another batch o'video cards. First batch in August of 2012 and I was real excited. One card lasted only 2 months the second 5 months, not bad. Imagine how long if it were made out of Twinkies!! Now I know I need to get online and buy a new/used card or a new machine, I'm stall'n.

Any way I preheated the oven to 385 degrees and baked for 10 minutes. I used bamboo kabob skewers poked thru paper plates to make a rack to rest the cards on.

The only words of caution, off gassing of circuit board materials are probably not cool in a cook stove used for cooking meals. And if the circuit board has can capacitors do not cook, they might explode.

So here I am staring at two working laptops again, and again I do not know how long they will last. They look clear and glitch free.

Other things happening I am always butting heads with Abode product users at the Art Gallery. Converting things into formats they can use is trying if you convert from Linux app formats to Adobe like formats. I say "like" because often the Linux or open source version of Adobe formats is not always a good fit. I blame this on Microsoft and Adobe. They are companies who change their propriety stuff and don't always think about the open source programs. I have few problems with PDF, JPG or PNG, but Inkscape's SVG (a vector format) doesn't get over for Adobe fans.

I just completed a slide show in a Linux app called Imagination. It takes many kinds of media files and turns them into MP2-3 files to be burnt onto a DVD or VCD. 69 different transitions, various amimations and sound track, it is loads of fun.

So I use different programs to work on the parts of this project, like Audacity to trim an audio file to fit my slide show. Gimp and Inkscape to make and size each picture. Then Imagine to arrange it all and make the final slide show file.

We do get PC donations at the Gallery (sometimes dumped). The older PC's are only cool if they can do graphics. We discovered that even my slide show file requires a little power to do the transitions smoothly. Still slide shows are a great way to make an older PC useful.

OK. I've got to go do the dance of joy and gloat over my two laptops, later!