Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Oil Painting II


It’s taken some time, but some things are starting to click.  That’s some things, not everything. 

In class we’re doing one-day paintings of a still-life du jour.    We have about two-and-a-half to three hours to knock it out from start to finish.  Here’s the attempt from class 1:



And here’s the attempt from class 2:



As to homework, we picked the name of an object out of a hat, had to come up with two other objects and make a composition where the picked object was the focal point.  I got “glass.”

Ironically, I chose to include a wine glass in my Oil Painting I first homework painting last spring.  What goes with a wine glass? Well how about a bottle of wine and a pyramid of oranges?  What goes with a regular glass?  How about beer and a church-key opener?  (That’s probably a little more intuitive than wine and oranges!)  Looks like I’m destined to have a liquor and glass period (…sigh…).

This time, instead of painting an empty glass, I emptied the bottle and filled the glass with beer.  By the second weekend, I was able to watch a white, cottony mold grow in the bottom of the beer while I worked on the painting.  Interesting, but kind of gross. 

I still have some finishing touches on the 18” x 24”painting but here’s what it looks like now (I’m not painting the mold!):


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Forecasting


I once read the three rules of forecasting: 
1.  Never forecast
2.  If you do forecast, forecast often
3.  When you’re right, never let them forget it!

When I project the future, I mostly project prior experience forward in a straight line function.  I think most humans do that.

Reading projections made in the last century for this one in Your Flying Car Awaits, by Paul Milo, I can see that there’s a hitch in that logic.  If that were to work, by now we’d have, for example:

  •            Life spans of 140 plus years
  •            Jet-powered cars
  •            Flying cars
  •            A new ice age
  •            Martian settlements
  •            Nuclear fusion
  •            Man-made weather
  •            Picturephones (hey, we have that!)
  •            Two-day work weeks
  •            Safe cigarettes
  •            World peace
  •            One world government
  •                       …you get the idea
This book reminds me that the future is unknowable.  Milo says, “It’s human nature to worry about the future, which, if this book has shown anything else, is largely unknowable.”  He’s right.

Things don’t typically unfold in an orderly fashion.  Instead, history lurches from unforeseeable, discontinuous happenings toward infinite possible outcomes.

Will global warming end our species?  Will China be the world’s largest economy?  Will Iran develop a nuclear weapon? Will Syria comply with the agreement to destroy its chemical weapons?   Will gun violence become extinct?  Will Congress ever be functional again (assuming it ever was)? 

You could craft a cogent argument based on history and trends for any of these questions.  It would be plausible, believable and unlikely to happen. 

I have to remind myself of that from time to time.  It's good to have a plan, but better to be adaptable!