Monday, January 31, 2011

Still Working out the Kinks

So I know I promised a comic for Mondays but that may be more difficult than I anticipated.  I will try to have a comic posted tomorrow night however. I don't have much to say today, even though it feels like there's a lot going on right now.  I'm really set on developing my thesis exhibition. I think I can finish advance general physics before spring break.  I'm all set to stay on top of my other classes. And I'm even continuing Japanese practice. So good stuff. Here are some photos which might become paintings:
The trail of lampposts might be a way of guiding the
 viewer from painting to painting in the final assembly.

I like the shadow the post casts on itself.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Moving Along

I finished a painting today!  This will soon become less of an event and more of a ritual.  Based on my thesis plans I will have ten weeks to do about twenty paintings.  I expect ten of them to be on the small side; so it's not actually too bad, but that still means two paintings a week.  Also, I'm still messing with the mock up I made for my hanging arrangement. I expect the small paintings to break up the pages and lead the viewers eye from one "page" to the next.  This will be partly affected by the color scheme (which itself should create a composition in each page) of the paintings which make up the "pages" .  It somewhat difficult to know plan the overall composition when I don't know what the paintings that make up the panels will look like yet.
The Green is what I think will be landscape and the gold is still life

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Unicyle Guy

I like being the unicycle guy.  I hadn't ridden in months because my unicycle had been making a really annoying squeak.  This past week I started riding it again because I missed it.  I also wanted to get some riding in before the opportunity would be lost thanks to all the snow we've been getting.  The way the weather's been I may not be able to ride for perhaps another week, but it's been nice.  I'd also forgotten what it was like having random strangers call out to me to tell me I'm awesome.  I don't want an inflated ego, but that kind of thing can help keep you in a good mood, especially if you're worried about classes and such.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thesis Proposal

I'm excited for the thesis exhibition.  I lucked out and got placed in the second group; which means I get three more weeks to prepare than the first group.  I'm going to need it.  This will be the most paintings I've managed to make in an single semester. Below is a draft of my thesis proposal.

I will be making a series of paintings assembled into three rectangles. The individual paintings will be of varying sizes but the entire assembly will construct a three rectangle 78 inches  by 125 inches aligned vertically. Each rectangle will consist of about twelve paintings of varying sizes. The paintings will be a series of glass still life and night landscapes.  The rectangles are meant to resemble a page. I conceive this overall image as a comic of sorts. A story can be told with each painting acting as a panel. I do not intend there to be an explicit narrative. The comic will be an exploration of light, refracting, reflecting and diffusing. I paint as part of an exploration of the natural world. I wish to bring to surface the peculiarity of every day occurrences and scenes. 
My current areas of focus is glass and landscape as a means of playing with light. When I paint I am not merely re-crafting reality as it is, but reality as I perceive it and as I see fit. The exploration of glass and light does not yield objective results but rather one possible interpretation of the world. I personally find a great deal of mystery in every day occurrences. This is in part because I know that no one truly understands the underlying mechanisms which produce daily life. Vision is a complicated process. When light hits glass it interacts with the particles that make up the glass. The light bounces back and forth between the particles, being absorbed and released. On the visible level this results in the path the light seeming to bend. When it finally reaches my eyes it is focused onto cells which have evolved to stop sending signals to my brain should they bit hit by certain wavelengths. These certain wavelengths are of course determined by the microscopic structure of these cells and their ability to absorb light is done is created by the same mechanism of the glass. When these cells stop signaling my brain my brain is given a lot of information. The wavelengths are translated into colors. The intensity is translated into brightness. This forms an image. This image is processed into things I recognize or things I don’t recognize. All of these processes are transmitted by the same mechanism as the light through the glass. Of course this is a simplification. One cannot say what truly happens during any of these interactions. One can only see the results. One cannot be sure if the particles one is referring to are “real” or if they’re just useful tools for guessing what will happen on an observable level. No one truly understands how or why anything we see can be seen or perceived. And everyone perceives things in a different manner. 
My thesis project intends to focus on the act of perception.  Night landscapes offer a sense of the ephemeral not found in daytime landscapes.  At night a point of light may be a surprising point of interest rather than an a commonplace expectation. The play of light among shadows will make the connection between the interior space of the glass and the outside world. 
I believe I can make my study of light apparent by arranging my paintings into a large comic. The works will be arranged so that the composition does not have to be “read” in a traditional manner. I expect the final arrangement of pages to be about 22 ft. wide. Because it will not be possible for someone to view every panel on the “page” from the same angle the shapes of the panels and the objects within them must guide the viewer to different parts of the comic. I intend to overwhelm the viewer with the light.
Everyday objects will be presented on an unnatural scale alongside landscapes and the light play between them will be magnified bringing attention to the beauty and mystery which can be found in something as simple as a glass of water and as everyday as a streetlamp.

Mock up. (The blue line is average viewing height 58") 

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Yeah! This is a post! It counts! I'm sorry. I have a headache. Here's a distraction.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Best Laid Plans of yada yada... It Was Cold!

So instead of painting for many hours today as per my original plans.  I pretty much spent today reading.  I started the day with an exquisitely awful piece of fiction, Atlanta Nights. It was written as a hoax to prove that PublishAmerica would print anything.  It features such great lines as "wept a sorrowing floodlike of tears; "I’ll go sees he now,” he stormed, and stormed out of the room"; and "Fortunately, fast and efficient Emergency Medical Services, based on a program founded by Lyndon Baines Johnson the 36th President of the United States helped y'all survive an otherwise, deadly crash," Isadore chuckled. And that's just the beginning! Chapters 4 and 17 are word for word the same. There are two Chapter 12's. Chapter 21 is missing. Chapter 34 was written by a computer programmed to pick up word patterns in the previous chapters. Characters also randomly change gender without explanation. The text can be found here.

A few chapters into that I realized if I'm not going to work I should probably read something worthwhile. The rest of the day was spent on Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. It's a fictional historical account of early 19th century England from the perspective some one writing from someone within the same century as the events described.  Everything is as it would be during the Napoleonic Wars except that several hundred years ago magic was well practiced in England and now it no longer is.  No longer practiced that is until the appearance of Mr. Norrell (and later Jonathan Strange).  The book is complete with footnotes referencing an elaborate history of magic and the biographies of the characters themselves. It's a good choice.  Unlike this.

...Back to the snow. I just wanted to commend Rutgers facilities. They were shoveling the walk every few hours to make up for the schools unwillingness to close; Though it did cancel classes past 4:30pm. And the sidewalk plows were running all day. So thank you for making it more pleasant for me the few times I was outside today.
I've always thought it'd be fun to drive one of those things. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Renewal, Revival, Restarting, Retcetera

So at this point it's pretty clear that I've failed to post for thirty days straight.  However! I have not given up! From today I will be restarting my attempt, and with an extra challenge.  I will post once a day for thirty days and Monday's post (or Sunday's) will be a comic. It is also likely that certain days will have specific topics. Tuesday and Thursday will likely be art related. I'll be in the studio 4-5 days a week this semester so there will also be plenty of painting updates as well. (Today I was called away from my studio in the middle of mixing paint so no painting update today.)
Here's a waterbear for your trouble.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The First Day of Spring (i.e. The Frozen Waste)

The "Cold, Wet & Dreary" semester doesn't have quite the same charm as "Spring". That's probably why they call it the spring semester (plus "winter" is already taken and winter 2.0 would be tacky).

Despite spending half the day walking through slush and icy puddles in shoes which are more and more beginning to resemble slippers things went rather well. Some back story: I did poorly in one of my classes this past summer.  The class is only offered in the summer.  So to make it up would require me to stay for one more summer session.  That's not going to happen.  The instructor from the summer is teaching another class this semester and the instructor and my dean said it'd be ok if I used that class to make up my grade.  Initially  that class was full but it opened up today and I registered. So all's well there.  Getting into that class allowed me to drop another, which opened up my schedule for a class I wanted to take.  I can now go to the early section on Thursdays. I would have had to drop the class otherwise because I have a club obligation Thursday night and the class is really only serving as an ego boost.

The second half of the day was spent with gloves, an extra coat, and BOOTS!  And it ended with juggle dinner, when only a few hours before I thought I'd be eating alone.
I'll have some original art up tomorrow, I swear!
 For now enjoy the fruits of Google

Monday, January 17, 2011

So It Begins.

The tenth and final semester.  I don't have much to say...  Hopefully it'll all end on a high note. I don't know what picture to put up for that.  This will do.
I have no idea who this man is.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

36 Is Far Too Many

I've recently started using Ubuntu (10.10) .  It's neat.  It has many of the features I like about both Windows and Macs and the things I don't like are changeable.  One feature I'm a fan of is having multiple workspaces.  As I'm using Ubuntu on my netbook it's nice not having a bunch of windows cluttering the tiny screen.  In an attempt to demonstrate my love of workspaces to a friend I increased the number of workspace columns to 16.  At some point during this escalation the preferences window changed and instead of selecting number of rows and columns I needed to select number of rows and number of workspaces.  Workspaces went up to 36.  Overall this was a bad plan.  My application dock (Docky) began coloring  an 8th of my screen black and the borders of all my windows went missing (You know the part with the close window button.  I also lost the ability to change the number of workspaces, though I could change the number of rows.  Whether or not an application would launch was also now up to the computer's whim. After some searching (rebooting, searching, using alternate log in, not being able to connect to the internet, going back to my main log in, and more searching) I found the way to manually change the number of workspaces using the terminal.

gconftool-2 --type=int --set /apps/metacity/general/num_workspaces #
(where # is the number of workspaces desired)

That solved most of the issues but under appearance the visual effects were now set to none and all attempts to change it back to normal caused the window to temporarily freeze. After more searching I found the solution to be reinstalling the package that was supposed to handle that.

sudo synaptic
(and then marking "compiz" for reinstall)

Then just for kicks removed the shut down menu from the top panel and couldn't figure out how to get it back so I looked up how to reset the default panels.

gconftool --recursive-unset /apps/panel && killall gnome-panel

...Anyway, I still like Ubuntu*.

*I've had stranger problems on Windows: like having the start menu disappear.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Not as productive (painting) as I should be...

Painting is coming along but I'm still hitting road blocks. I think it has to do with all the other stuff I need to / feel like doing. Like inking!
Even if the lines are in the wrong place ink just looks cool
PS. I'll make up for missing yesterday's post later

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wet, Messy, Carcinogenic, Fun!

Ah... Painting. I think I've finally figured out why it's been so hard to get myself into the studio.  I've written about this before. It's just no fun painting when you know exactly what it's going to look like.  Given enough time and expended energy I can make anything look however I want.  It ceases to be exciting! I can't toil away making paintings. Toiling is no fun. Toil.
But I feel I have found a solution! I know I can rework any parts of a painting I don't like. So why not just do it all faster? If it doesn't work out on the first layer I mix another and I won't have wasted time on unnecessary precision.  It's exciting and I don't always know if I'm going to do it right so it's challenging.  Plus it gets me great textures and that satisfying wet into wet look.
Honestly I had already found that this worked on smaller paintings.  I could do them quickly on not worry about it.  Taking it to a larger scale was intimidating. But I've found that part of the reason it was intimidating was because it just didn't seem to work.  There just wasn't enough paint to be spread that quickly over a large surface and I couldn't force myself to just start globbing half tubes of paint onto the canvas. The first two hours I painted today went by slowly and carefully. I had to stop after two hours. I was getting tired. I forced myself to at least paint a little bit more before wrapping up. Not long after I started again I realized I didn't need a lot of paint to paint quickly (and opaquely).  I mixed 1 part linseed oil with 3 parts mineral spirits and the colors glided on. The next two hours went by quickly and I only stopped so I wouldn't be stuck hungry in the studio too late and have to travel back home with it being colder outside than it already was.
...So anyway I think I can look forward to painting again.
Current Incarnation

One of the more useful fruits of procrastination I  finally have a convenient way to hold my brushes without becoming Wolverine. Made from a shallow card board box, the edge was caught on the door of the cabinet.  The brushes were then stabbed into it until snug.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

...The Little Things (continued)

Well that last post was a bit rushed. Which is in part due to this website:
Neat Silky Pictures.

Also while I was cleaning my brushes today I had a great idea for my thesis project. A professor of mine, Paul Bruner, told me once not to make pictures with two focal points.  Having two points creates one line, one choice.  Your eye must move from point A to point B.  The event of looking becomes a dizzying headache (At this point I'm extrapolating 'cuz I don't remember exactly how he said everything.).  When comparing two things one will be compelled to contrast them against each other.  However, with three things similarities between two will emerge in contrast with differences with the third.  There are now three lines to be drawn between points A, B, and C.  And from any point one may choose to travel in one of two directions, not one of one.  This freedom is necessary for balance and interest.  In any case this thought has made me decided to add a third wall (page) to my thesis plans.  What exactly that wall is, I will not say yet.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Little Things...

...That stop you from doing the things you were supposed to do.  However I managed to do a bunch of them anyway!
Like painting!

still in progress

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pattern Established!

Well it seems I lost track of time and nearly didn't post today! I was afraid I had fallen out of routine on only the second day. Which is really more like the first day because there must be some pattern established before it can truly be called a routine.  However as there is not much time to write anything particularly substantial by the end of the day I will draw something random and post that.
ah... finger painting with the touch pad

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Stuff To Do and Stuff To Be Done...

I need to write more. I go through cycles of having a lot of things to write and not wanting a giant post with everything I'm thinking about, and having no idea what to say. So what I'm going to do. Is remove the choice from the matter. For the next month I'm going to write a post a day.  I'll be writing about various things I've been meaning to for a while (teaching, painting ideas, maybe I'll draw some comics) and if I run out of ideas I might just keep clicking this for ideas.

I want to draw this comic.