Some Thoughts About Writing

I may not be cut out for this whole blog experience. Over the years, I have written a few letters to the editor. Each took  approximately three hours to write. They could be no more than 250 words. Here is my process:

Letters to the editor don’t have photos, blogs do. These are from a stop motion series my kids did. I think it captures the mood well.

1 Write a little bit

2 Delete, delete, delete

3) Write a little more

4) Move a prepositional phrase

5) Write, write

6) Delete, delete, including the prepositional phrase

7) Switch the order of the paragraphs

8) Redo the first paragraph to work with the prior rearranging

9) Spell check

Perfection takes a very long time. On the other hand, this only took about 20 minutes. I might be okay.

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I’ve changed my name

It seemed fitting to change the name of my blog. After all, the class is over, grades are posted, and most of the class bloggers have fled to other obsessions. For myself, obsessions have taken the form of things like, writing a song for my children to the tune of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.  I have revised this song as each child joined our family; and I tried to sing it while they were still of nursing age. Following is my favorite part:

Then on every Christmas Eve,

The family came to eat,

Everybody brought a dish,

And then they wished

that there was more.

But what about poor (insert name)

She hasn’t even had a bite,

She’ll have the same as mommy,

She knows it will be processed right. (I was nursing, of course.)

Basically, my obsessions have to do with children. My idea of art is crayon scribbles on the wall… at waist level… which means you have to bend over awkwardly, or get on your hands and knees to scrub it off. (Semi gloss paint allows you to do this without destroying the surface.)

This brings me to the second reason for changing the name of the blog. I’m not a normal graphic designer. I don’t do the things most designers do. I have so much to learn in the ways of art that it’s like I woke up one morning in a desert and decided that I wanted to sort the sand into colors and textures, in the dark, with gloves on. Therefore, “My Design Class” has become “My Design Clash”.

Wish me luck.

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Post Class Post

I have decided to continue this blog at least for a while. I have so much to learn and this is a great way to log my progress. My goals are simple: continue my subscription to and learn as much as I can from the tutorials; and explore more artists.

I discovered a wonderful site for artists. Artists Registry  This site helps artist promote their work. One way is through cross-linking. Each artist offers a short description of their art and includes the link to their website, if they have one. This directory includes an image of each artist along with their name. It is easy to scroll through the artwork to see what catches your eye. I wonder who will catch my eye first.

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New Version of “My Turn”

After hours of searching for my sketch up file to no avail, I finally decided to redo it. Mostly because I am proud of what I did and was very disappointed in the quality of the avi post. So, here it is again, mostly the same as before. I did change the bushes I used. I liked the previous ones better, but they were very complex and my poor old computer got bogged down again trying to move them and re-size them etc. The new ones serve their purpose. Enjoy the show.

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Check out my new page about Andrea Zittel. I have included a sketch-up drawing on that page.

Speaking of Sketch-up.  I found this program easier to use than some of them we have used. My computer, on the other hand, has issues. How slow can a computer go? So slow I forgot what I was waiting for. Making minor adjustments in placement was impossible. At one point I gave up and started over.

On the bright side, I liked the layout of my scene a lot better than the first one. On the dark side, I lost the file. After exporting to the avi format I watched the animation. It cycled through the scenes too fast and the resolution was terrible. Perhaps that is why we were instructed to make sure it was an skp file. I went back to my file to try again. Well, I tried to go back to my file. It was gone, auto saves and all. I searched the ENTIRE computer for it. I was amazed at how many versions I had of my first ridiculous attempt. I deleted those so I wouldn’t have to keep finding them.  Of course, at 2 a.m., trying to open my avi file in sketch up seemed like a good ideal. Sketch up didn’t think so. I eventually found a short cut that I am certain pointed to the correct file because it said that the file had been moved or changed and the short cut no longer worked. I didn’t have the courage to delete it. Fortunately we submitted walk-through photos so everyone can see that the images are really in focus.

So here is the story: My Turn. Nicholas saw his Oliver and Clare playing with an aircraft carrier and planes.  They had a jet that he wanted so he tried to take it. Failing, he pouted before thinking of a new idea. He offered to swap a Lego plane for the jet. Oliver wouldn’t make the trade, but Clare seemed to like it. Next, Nicholas approached his older brother, Phillip, and offered to pay him to help get the jet. Phillip took the aircraft carrier and ran off with Oliver right behind him. Nicholas went over, picked up the jet, and celebrated his victory.

Check out the photos before viewing the animation so you will know what is going on.

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Here is the animation. Don’t blink.

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Analysis of “Life…”

I started this video with the idea of including footage of a school of fish and a flock of birds. The movements they make together are beautiful and similar. From there I began thinking about the beauty of babies, and my life video idea was born.

I used the cut tool to divide the fish footage into two pieces, and inserted the pre-born images next to each of them. The birds and the “flying” baby went next. The second bird clip follows the pattern of the fish clips, but with the twist of the hunters. This symbolizes the act of abortion. The two clips from the women show two perspectives on the issue. Next we see the fisherman, expecting him to kill the fish. Instead, he releases it. Finally, we see the baby in the tub.

I used dissolve transitions in some places. After the “flying” baby I faded to black as an allusion to the darkness about to come. I had to cut the hunter footage and reverse the order to get the flock before the rifle shot. I overlapped the audio to aid the transition to the clip of the first woman. I couldn’t fade into the next clip, because there was no footage after the first and before the second clip. Without a transition, the change was too abrupt. I finally left a small space between the clips, so it appears to fade to black. I sped the fisherman video up, because it was too long, but I needed to show him catching and releasing. I added the word “life” to the fisherman, and then “shared” when he released the fish. In my mind, the title is really “Life… Shared”, but we can’t know that until the end. I faded to white for the credits. This symbolizes the promise of good things to come.

As for the music, I used a piece titled “Ode to Birdie”, with permission from the artist. This was easy to do, as the artist is my cousin. Perhaps I’ll include a blog about him in the future. I played the music from the beginning, just to the gun shots. I re-introduce it as the fisherman released the fish. Rather than have silence during the fishing footage, I added the sound of an orchestra tuning up to transition back to “Ode to Birdie”.

One unexpected challenge I ran into, was that the audio got out of sync in the first clip of the woman speaking. I learned that by un-linking the audio from the video, I could realign the two. Next I readjusted the ends so they were even and re-linked them.….mp4

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Sand Art

Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist and winner of an “America’s Got Talent” style show. Her talent? Sand art. But this is sand art like I have never seen before. She “paints” with sand and her images are stunning.

Kseniya ‘s performance for the show is a series of images set to music titled the Great Patriotic War . Swift confident motions shape the sand-strewn screen into a landscape. Soon she adds a woman, close to the viewer. Now She takes some sand in her hand and “draws” the features of the face. She knows just how much sand to let fall from her hand to create the effect she wants. I watched in amazement when she wiped away incredible artwork as quickly as she had created it, only to produce another, just as wondrous.

I thought I would summarize the story of her life, but it is filled with family, art, knowledge. To summarize it would not give it the justice it deserves. You can read about her life here:

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