Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Digital Collage—2 Mapkins

Essay & Lesson—2 Electronic sketches


A Digital Drawing.  Buy an electronic graphics tablet and pen.  (I have a Wacom.)  Buy a graphics software program.  (I have Adobe Photoshop.)  Read the instructions to open a new file window (in which you will draw) and view your tools.  Without reading further instructions, try out tools in your new file window and see what happens.  Try your mouse and your electronic pen.  Try various commands you find in your menus.  Let an image develop in your file window.  It can be abstract or representational.  It might be a mess.  That's OK.  If it's ugly, that's good!  Good or bad doesn't matter, but meaning is interesting.  What does it mean?  When did meaning come?  

For example, "Animals" was one of the first electronic sketches I made by trial and error, learning a lot with no meaning in mind.  But as the image developed it suggested a scary clash of animals.  So I brought that out.

A Digital Collage—Your Drawing plus a Found Object.  Find a flat object—e.g., a magazine page, a dish, a glove—that relates in some way to your digital drawing.  Buy a scanner or a digital camera.  Read the directions to scan your object or download a photograph of it into your computer and open it up in a file in your graphics program.  This is your collage background.  Open the file containing your digital drawing.  Find your move tool and use it to move (drag) your drawing from its file window to the file window containing your background object.  Now your drawing is a transparent layer on top of your background object.  Edit your drawing to work compositionally with your object.  What does your collage mean to you?  Give it a descriptive title. 
For example, I thought of my sketch "Animals" as an unfortunate stain—a besmirching.  So I found a commercial doily I owned and scanned it into my computer.  I opened "Animals" and dragged it onto the scanned image of my doily.  Then, with my electronic pen, I erased a lot of the grey surrounding the animals and rotated them to fit in the curve of my doily.  I named my collage "Splotch".  My digital collage was my guide for the painted and stitched version of "Splotch".

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Essay—Sketching Better Electronically

Pitching Computers.  I'm often struck dumb by computers and benumbed by computer instructions.  Sometimes I  want to pitch my computer (and me) out my second story window.  On the other hand, sketching in my computer, in a miasma of technological confusion, is so transporting and engrossing (in a love/hate kind of way) that I forget myself and lose all track of time.  So I also want to pitch my computer to you as a great tool for visualizing and getting ideas.

The Computer as Enabler and Muse.  As a student attending an introductory computer workshop years ago, I was sketching banatmospheric images when I accidentally clicked my mouse on what I later learned was a "distort" command, and one of my bananas morphed—right before of my eyes—into a tornado!  That flash of visual transformation sparked a surfeit of silly and serious ideas in me.  This serendipity, born of my computer ignorance, was so inspiring that I ran out and bought my first computer.  It took a while to stop agonizing over my failure to do things right and start registering and embracing what was actually happening, thus turning "failure" into a process of discovery—learning by trial and error in a relatively nonverbal, intuitive, spontaneous, and nonjudgmental state of naivete.

While sketching electronically, you are not distracted by the challenges and limitations of real art tools and materials.  In a "virtual" sketch you can do, undo, and redo your marks, develop your composition in transparent layers that can be rearranged or hidden, and save versions of your sketching in progress.  Digital sketching dispels anxiety, because nothing is really lost or overworked beyond redemption.  Without having to worry about ruining your sketch and wasting your materials, you are free to chase ideas and capture form and contemplate, for as long as it takes, endless permutations of your sketch on your way to satori (or death from old age).

See Renie's embroidery "Stormy Banana"  developed from the digital sketch shown above.
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Monday, October 5, 2009

A Crocheted Poem

The pot in the illustrations is titled "In the Teapot", crocheted and knotless netted, 2-3/4" x 5-1/4" x 4-3/4", 2009.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ro & MeliMation: Drama in 2 Frames

The Cast:
Woman who wonders.................Romayne
Sneaky woman..............................Melinda

Romayne, enrolled in a fiber workshop at
Arrowmont School, so enjoyed the attentions of
her teacher, Melinda Barta, that she enrolled in
another workshop with Melinda at Penland School.
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Essay & Lesson—Lucky Houndstooth

See my 3-D houndsteeth— "Walking Houndstooth", "Houndstooth Nutcakes" (walnut and pistacchio with raspberry and lemon-butter drizzles), and "Tea on Houndstooth". See houndsteeth in decorative frames, e.g., "Blank Page, Mental Buzz", "Tea Time". Look for them in pictures— "Point of View", "Child's Bib", and hidden among a myriad of crosses, checkers, and Zs in "Kitchen Cloth". There's a teensy yet dynamic one in "Klatsch in a Box Rotating". Can you find it?

Related Articles: "History of the Swastika" and "Houndstooth".
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Essay—I'm an Animal

We don't ordinarily identify ourselves as animals. The word "animal", when referring to humans, is usually not used as a descriptive term, which classifies without judgment, but rather an insult reserved for the morally bankrupt, dumb, big and ugly, impolite if not crude, or simply different. Are animals, other than humans in the grip of their judgmental concepts, any of these things?

Non-human animals in my pictures often stand up and take on a human persona and commingle with humans as a reminder that, in the neutral sense, we are all animals. Like the humans, the other animals in my pictures play roles somewhat removed from the basics of life and perhaps from their truest attributes and inclinations. In "Animal Act" you see three animals in the roles of a visionary, a pretty woman, and a juggler. Reminding myself that I'm an animal (in the neutral sense) is remembering the most basic part of my identity.

See animals as dancers in "Mixed Revue" and "Blue Birds of Happiness", —and guests and diners in "Tea Time", "Call of the Wild", "Swinging at Club Mood", and "Vichysswans!". See a chicken come of age in "Fare Well, Sky Chicken" and "Sky Chicken Sprouts Power Wings".
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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Essay on Crochet—Totally Looped

See Renie's full article "Totally Looped" in Issue No. 6,
April 2008, of Dora Ohrenstein's
informative and inspiring
online magazine, Crochet Insider.
See all Renie's Crochet Works.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Essay—Cubes and Tablecloths

I remained cheerful during faculty meetings by practicing writing backwards, upside down, and upside down and backwards, with both hands and the high hope of reaching perfection. I also doodled a checkered cube repeatedly to a point of wretched excess. I enjoyed filling in every other little square, though I was never able to alternate the colors of the checkers with complete success.

Is it possible to checker a cube completely? I think checkers of the same color will invariably meet at four of the cube's twelve edges. (Fig. 1 shows one of these flawed edges.) I've discovered, however, two ways to steer clear of this problem:

You can insert a gusset (fig. 2). This enables the colors to alternate and, as a surprising consequence, suggests a tablecloth providing the opportunity for domestic elaborations. The transformation from cube to cloth is explored in "Tea Time" and "Tea'd Cube".

Or, if you're drawing a picture, you can simply eliminate the checkering problem by lopping off the offending checkers (fig. 3). This surgical method is used in "Blue Checkered Cloth" and "Spot of Sky".

As a way of circumventing a 3-D pattern problem, my
checkered tablecloth stands for an intuitive and comic leap of the imagination. In the final frame of "How to Checker a Cube", I'm looking through the window into my own imagination.
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Monday, April 23, 2007

Essay—Thinking about Bananas

I like bananas for how expressive they are and how easily they morph into other things: a crescent moon, a tornado, a nose, a boomerang, etc. And I like the banana's graceful form. A banana is an arabesque in the round, challenging to draw, though I doubt we ever drew one in art school.

 In Basic Drawing, we rarely drew fruit of any kind, and never a banana. In Life Drawing we drew human beings in every conceivable (and inconceivable) position but never in relation to any other objects, not even clothing, much less bananas.

Our Life Drawing professor once told us, "If you can draw a woman's breast, you can draw anything." It was exactly at that moment that I began thinking about bananas. My very first thought was, "au contraire, if you can draw a banana you can draw anything".

I often want to draw a banana. In my works, sometimes a banana isn't just a banana but a compositional device, a trick, or an icon. Examine the bananas in the following pictures and decide for yourself:

"Banatmosphere", "Through the Window", "Stormy Banana",
"Lunar Drift", "Banana Moon", and "Epiphany".

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

The First Vegimal

For an alternative pronunciation of the word "catato", see
"A Battle of Wills".
"Catato" for a three-dimensional view of this vegimal.
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