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ART 101 – Week 5 February 27, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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There’s no week 4 post because I was sick last Friday and didn’t go to class.  This week the teacher showed us the movie Frida for the first half of the class.  This was the fairly recent Hollywood biopic about the Mexian artist Frida Kahlo who was married to the somewhat more famous Diego Rivera back in the 1920 – 30’s.  I was never a fan of either of their work (or politics – they were both communists) so I wasn’t particularly interested in watching this flick.  It was better than I expected though, so there’s that.

Today we started using charcoal instead of the pencils/graphite.  I don’t think I have done anything with charcoal in nearly 20 years, so I was  looking forward to this.  The teacher set up another still life with a couple vases, a bottle and some drapery.  We were to just pick one of the objects and draw it with some of the drapery.  Here ’tis:

I have to say this was a lot of fun to do. This was also the first time I’ve used this paper for a drawing. If you take a closer look (clicky to embiggen) you can see it’s pretty textured. Hell, this paper would have driven me absolutely bug-shit insane in my younger days, but now I appreciate it for additional interest it adds to an otherwise simple subject. Since the rough tooth doesn’t lend itself well to obsessive detail it forces you to take a more expressive approach. It also makes for faster drawings. 🙂

I Can Totally Be This Guy February 23, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Strange & Unusual.
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I may not have to die alone after all…

Via the Ghost of a Flea is a link to a story in the Daily Mail a few days ago:  the perfect man is a geek with facial stubble.
Lead quote:  “Most women claim to be attracted to tall, dark and handsome men, but a new study has revealed that facial stubble and a geeky personality are their biggest secret turn-ons.”

Geeky personality?  Um, okay.  Really?  Tell me more. 

“Despite complaining that it looks unkempt and feels rough to touch, the unshaven look on a man is actually a turn-on for 41 per cent of women.”

 I generally don’t shave during the weekends and holidays.  Is that unshaved enough?  What else?  Define “geeky” please.

“A slightly geeky personality came second, proving that women really do like a guy who knows their stuff when it comes to technology.”

I sit in front of a computer all day designing databases, doing data analyses and all kinds of techy crap.  Is that geeky enough?  I’m betting that it is.  Also, does an interest in knitting and crochet count towards geek cred?  I can package that as an interest in topology if necessary.

“A hairy chest was voted third, followed by a man who loves to read or cries at a soppy film.”

Ok, I’ve got hair on my chest.  I’m not sasquatch-like with the hair, but it’s definitely there.  Love reading?  Oh, yeah.  Let me show you my stacks of books ladies.  Crying at soppy films – well no, not so much but I can totally be there for you with the comforting shoulder if’n you want to do that.  I’m a giver like that.

Anything else?

“Other secret turn-ons to feature in the top ten include grey hair, glasses and being a passionate supporter of a sports team.”

Score!  I’m getting grey hair now and I’ve worn glasses most of my life!  I don’t really pay any attention to sports anymore, but I can totally fake passionate support for a team as long as it doesn’t involve baseball in any way.  I am willing to make that sacrifice.  For you. 

Hot diggity!  According to that article I’m damn near the complete package attraction-wise for women these days.  Come on ladies, check this out – you know you want it:

I can haz hot babe?

Funny, none of that stuff seemed to matter when I was in high school that’s for damn sure.

Dante’s Inferno February 22, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Strange & Unusual.
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During my illness this weekeng I’ve taken advantage of the license it gives to sit around and do nothing productive and not feel guilty about it.  Being sick is never fun, but this is perhaps the one legitate perk that it has.  So, I’ve been playing a video game that I picked up recently.  As the title of this post indicates it is the newly released Dante’s Inferno. I saw the trailer during the Super Bowl and said “Yeah, I gotta get that one.” Check it out:

At first I didn’t think I was going to like it too much, as I’ve never been really good at doing the complicated combination fastbuttonmash tricks these games demand today. When I was a kid we had one button and one stick and that was it; definitely poor training for the vastly more complex controls today. Anyway, now that I’ve played it a while on the easiest setting I have to say it really is a quite a lot of fun. One of the things I like about it is that it’s not all fastbuttonmash until everything dies, it has some nice logic puzzels too where you can take your time and figure them out. And it goes without saying that the graphics are absolutely stunning. This vision of Hell is truly beyond nightmarish. Really amazing stuff.

Oh, and this game DEFINITELY isn’t for the kids. It earns the hell out of that “M” rating. HOLY COW.

Bleh February 19, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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Staying home from class today because I don’t feel well. Mostly it’s just a sore throat and some phlegm management issues so it’s not real bad (yet), but I generally like to keep my germs at home as much as possible. Grrr. Why couldn’t this happen during the work week? I have TONS of sick leave built up just for this purpose. Oh well. One of the nice things about being sick is getting to laze around the house without feeling guilty about being a slacker. Unfortunately, I don’t really feel bad enough to do that.

On another matter, Art Supply Warehouse is having a fantastic sale on some easels right now.  Up to 84%.  By Grabthar’s Hammer – what a savings!  So I’m buying an easel today.  This is something that I really do need as I don’t actually own one yet.  As I mentioned before I’ve always been more of a table-guy rather than easel-oriented.  Considering my recent experience, and this opportunity that may well change.  Now, which one to get?

ART 101 – Week 3 February 18, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Home.
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Last week we were finally able to expand beyond just the basic lines and start using the some of graphite’s other traits so beloved by artists: range of values and erasability!

Behold! FORMS!!

I Can Haz Shading?

Here the assignment was to de-emphasize the contour lines and just define the forms with value (aka shading). I did that pretty well here, actually. Notice that there are no hard, black outlines for any of the shapes. But I was still able to incorporate line texture in defining the surfaces of the forms, most notably in the cones and cylinder.

One of the interesting things about this class is that we are working on largish paper sizes – 18″ x 24″. And we’re working with our boards set vertically. The vast majority of my work until now has been on small pieces laying mostly flat. Both of these changes have really made me rethink and adjust my typical drawing methods. In many ways I’m starting out as a “beginning” drawer too!

One of the big adjustments is that I have to use my whole arm in the drawing process, rather than just moving my wrist and fingers. That actually makes a pretty big difference right there. It has its pluses and minuses – it’s easier to make more expressive lines this way for one thing, on the downside though is that it’s easier to make more expressive lines! 😀 In other words, it’s a bit harder to control.

One of the changes I made for this drawing was a more deliberate break from the way I usually did things was in the way that I held the pencil. Instead of the usual way we all hold our pencils for writing I forced myself to hold it more like a knife. This tends to make you use the edge of the lead instead of the point. This also tends to make for more expressive lines since you have to use more of the hand instead of the finer motor control in your fingers.

ART 101 – Week 2 February 17, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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Here’s the next batch of drawings for the next week. Technically these are from week 3, but the first week doesn’t really count.

We continued with more of the contour drawing stuff. Again, this just emphasizes lines – no shading or erasing.

Still Life Composition 2

This one is a composition much like the one I did at the end of the last class with the same rules. Just different stuff and I finished just before we broke for lunch.

These next two sets of drawings are a bit different though. The subject matter was the other students in the class (a nice break from still life) and a slightly different set of rules. These are “Blind Contour” drawings. Here we weren’t allowed to look at what we were drawing at ALL while drawing. We could stop, move the pencil to another point while looking at the paper, but then had to go back to looking at the subject while drawing. This helps with hand/eye coordination. Supposedly. I don’t think anyone ever really does enough blind contour drawings to really be able to train all that much in that regard. I dunno. Anyway, the results are always amusing to look at.

Blind Contour 1

Blind Contour

These were quick drawings too – only about 10 or 15 minutes on each one.

Last week we were finally done with contour drawings and were allowed to do stuff with shading! And we got to use our erasers!! YAY!

ART 101 February 16, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Art.
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I’ve been meaning to put these up ever since the drawing class got under way, but I kept forgetting and / or attacked by laziness. Here’s the stuff we did the first day. I’m busy right now so I’ll just put these up without commentary for now and update with some explanation later. Clicky to embiggen a bit and don’t miss the two below the fold.

Oh, and sorry for the crappy picture quality.
Okee dokee I’m home, so let me tell you a bit about this stuff. This is a Beginning Drawing class, and this is often how you start to learn how to draw with what are called “Contour Drawings”. They’re often of still life subjects and the idea is to learn how to draw the shapes using just the lines of the forms. The first two drawings also had the additional restriction of trying to use just one, continuous and unbroken line for the whole thing. Kind of like an etch-a-sketch. Nobody really does it with a completely unbroken line of course, but you’re supposed to try. Also, you’re generally only supposed to draw while you’re looking at the subject and not at the paper. Also, also, you’re not allowed to erase any lines you put down. There are no “mistakes” in these kinds of drawings and absolute fidelity to the forms is irrelevant. Everything is about using the pencil to document the details you see and learning how to use it to generate interesting lines. It’s ALL about the lines. The way I like to think of this is that the forms merely exist as structures to hang your lines on. That’s actually the secondary lesson here – forms ultimately exist to serve the artist’s conception of the artwork, not the other way around. Beginning students have a tendency to think that absolute fidelity to the form and all its myriad details is the ultimate aim of learning how to draw. It isn’t.

Still Life #1


I Spent More Money February 15, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Home.
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I Blame Lemur King

It’s all his fault.  I cannot be held responsible when people go around showing cool stuff on their blogs and igniting the fire of desire in my heart.  Particularly when it’s easily orderable straight from the interwebberytubes and deliverable by express post.  Frankly, that was completely reckless behaviour on your part Mr. King.

Ooo - spinny!

Very cool! A couple complaints though. The edges on this thing are a bit sharp. There’s no attempt to round them off at all so it’s not a particularly comfortable ring to wear, particularly if you’re doing anything with your hands where your fingers move a lot. Also, there’s a bit more play in the moving bits than I’d like to see. It would be nicer if the tolerances were tightened up a bit. Still, it is extremely cool looking and inordinately fun to spin around and around.

Hot Vulcan Chick! February 11, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Art, Science Fiction & Fantasy.
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Hot vulcan chick.


Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be on the holodeck.

Ouch February 10, 2010

Posted by Mitchell in Home.
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I got my new toe shooz yesterday!  Last night I wore them around the house for a bit and I have to say they felt kinda funky.  Also, very hard.  I thought maybe there was a thin cushioning to these things when I bought them.  Nope.  It’s a hard, flexible rubber with a thin, suede-like lining on the bottom and that’s it.  It really is just like they said it was – the closest thing to being barefoot without actually being barefoot.  The little booklet that comes with them advises you to kind of ease into wearing them an hour or two at a time.  I decided to ease into them a bit faster than that.

Today I put them on and went to the gym and try them out on the treadmill.  I’m actually getting to be a pretty fast walker these days and over the typical 36 minute session I average about 4.5 miles per hour and top out at 5.3 mph with the treadmill set at its maximum slope of 15 degrees.  I had no expecation that I could do that with these right off, but I did want to push it a bit and see how well I could do in them.  Yeah, that probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do. 

I cranked up the slope to 13 degrees and started cruising along at aroun3.6 mph.  These shoes really make you want to keep walking on the balls of your feet, which require shorter, faster steps instead of  longer, slower ones where you strike heavily on the heel.  I varied the speed between 3.6 and 4 mph and even jogged a bit from time to time.  While it’s definitely an adjustment, I was actually doing better in these things than I expected.  Still, I should have stopped after about the first mile.  But I didn’t.  I really should have stopped after the first mile and a half.  But I didn’t.  I REALLY should have stopped after two miles.  My feet were definitely hurting by then and I had to vary my walking styles a bit to keep going.  But I didn’t.  I did cut the speed and slope quite a bit for the last couple minutes, and then the treadmill went into “cool down” mode for another five minutes where it slowed down even more.  I REALLY, REALLY should have cut that shorter than four minutes, but I didn’t.  So yeah, I’ve got a nice bumber crop of blisters now.  That really wasn’t the best way to “ease” into these things.