Sunday, October 23, 2011

Latest Homework

One thing I've found interesting about art class is that rather than stifling creativity, constraints seem to foster it.  The latest homework limits the composition to eleven shades on the white to black scale.  You are furnished the white and black paint and have to mix the other nine shades yourself.

I chose my favorite oldest daughter's high school picture because it fit the bill of the assignment -- head and shoulders shot and a lot of different light values.  (Maybe some day, I'll do one of my favorite youngest daughter).

The picture below is the project about mid-way through.  To get to this point, you had to outline the different shade values (converting color to black and white) draw a sketch and then draw an enlarged sketch (twice as big) for painting. The numbers on the large drawing are my shorthand for which value of grey, white or black to use.

The assignment this weekend was to paint for five hours.  The art teacher warned us that "you can't fake five hours of painting." Here's where I was after about six hours before breaking for dinner.

Like a horse that smells the barn, getting this close I just couldn't stop.  So after dinner I went back out to the shop (studio now?) and put in a couple of more hours to finish it.  Here it is done at 9:30 PM (an early night for most projects where I'm close to the end and just can't stop).  I'm not sure I captured the original image, but at least it looks like a person!

Here are the two previous homework assignments.

Line, Movement and Space

Shape as an Element: Harmony and Variety

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Catching Up

The tag line at the top of my blog says in part “This is a repository for sporadic, random musings…”

Little did I know just how sporadic and random I would be.  I see I haven’t put anything on my site since July 27th – almost three months.

I think Mark Twain captured it in The Invalid’s Story (1882). In the words of the expressman (per Wikipedia, an expressman refers to anyone who has the duty of packing, managing, and ensuring the delivery of any cargo on board a train), death is “awfully solemn and curious.” 

I found myself feeling awfully solemn and curious recently when I learned of the death of a high school colleague, Mike Thornton.  He was two years behind me in high school and sat next to me in band every day for two years.  He went on to play tuba in the Cincinnati Orchestra, retired two years ago and died last month of a heart attack. Age 59. 

This follows the death of another tuba player colleague, Rich Nahatzi last year. Rich was two years ahead of me at Peabody.  He was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died shortly after.  Age 61. 

I know people die every day.  Always have and always will.  It’s inevitable and unavoidable.  But it sure is awfully solemn and curious.  Peace Michael and Rich.


Looking back at this site, I realize that I just haven’t been motivated to do anything with wood since the rolling pins.  I don’t know why.  What I have done, though, is sign up for an art class.  Art 101.  I think there is some kind a law that says when you hit your 60s you take up art and get ready to move to Florida. 

Where will it lead?  Who knows?  For now, I’m just enjoying learning something different from my day job and developing fundamental skills.  Here my first line design drawing homework.


On the work front, I’m on my third job this year – all with the same company.  With any luck, I’m done with job transitions for a while.  At this stage of life, I no longer have a burning desire to set the world on fire, as I once did, in my day job.  And I wonder what possessed me to be so driven at former times.  (So why am I going into work tomorrow -- a Sunday?)

Maybe this different perspective is influenced by seeing many of my colleagues retire (or worse!).  For too many decades work was my primary priority.  Not anymore.


Finally, I'm pretty amazed by Emily’s and Matt’s chickens.  Most of us are so removed from the sources of our food that we can’t appreciate where it comes from. It’s a lot different going to a grocery store and buying a dozen eggs in a sterile cardboard (well, plastic) container than going out to the coop in the morning and collecting production from the night shift. 

It’s kind of a miracle that we’ve been able to form such a friendly relationship with a bird over the last 10,000 years or so that it gives us our daily bread (well, egg).  Maybe that’s why I chose this theme for my second art homework.


Oh, about that wood-working thing.  Here are some shaving brush handles I turned today for my nephew’s handmade soap business. Hope they work.