Monthly Archives: June 2012

Mission Impossible III1/2: Design Protocol

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Mission Impossible III1/2: Design Protocol

Project #4 Objective: Create an interesting and/or provocative narrative or linear story using a photographed sequence whereby meaning is effectively conveyed.  The final sequence should include 12 – 15 original images that are visually interesting and relate formally to one another.

 

 

 

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This project was a little bit too much fun!  Once we got past the paparazzi while we were ‘on location’ at Great Falls National Park (McLean, VA), Cappuccino was able to get into character to give us the shots we needed.  I’m not sure, but this assignment may have inspired a family project for the summer!  There could be more adventures in his future…

The Narrative:

“Most would think it is a charmed life I lead.  Hugs, tea parties, wardrobe changes… They are all a part of a day in the life of your average bear.  But that’s just it.  I was an average bear living an ordinary life.  I knew I was made for more.  There was a world beyond these walls that beckoned to me.  I had seen it in the movies when the children buried their faces into my fur — the excitement, the intrigue, the danger!  It was all right there, waiting for me to explore.  The time was now… GERONIMO!!!”

Finding the blue sports car in the driveway made Cappuccino smile as he climbed behind the wheel.  “Barbie always has my back,” he thought.  The car puttered, warming up for the drive.  As he finally began to accelerate, he could hear Barbie’s voice from the garage, “Dream big, live large, Cap!!!”  With that, he hit the gas and headed toward adventure!

The journey was a long one, but there were so many new sounds and sights that Cappuccino could barely take it all in.  He needed some peace and quiet, a place to ponder where this path should lead.  Suddenly, the trees parted and gave way to the most spectacular rock formations he had ever seen in all his two stuffed years!  This was the place!  He jumped out of the car, changed into the clothes that Barbie had packed for him, and headed for the woods.  “Now THIS is the life!” he thought as the memory of his bedroom seemed like just a flicker in his past.  He felt like a new bear!  He was on top of the world!

While he reveled in the view of the waterfalls, he caught a glimpse of a small black capsule emerging from the ground.  He cautiously approached as it opened to reveal a pair of sunglasses. Placing them over his eyes immediately triggered the digital download through the lenses, and then the voice began to speak…

Good afternoon, Mr. Cappuccino.  Your mission should you choose to accept it, involves successful completion of the accelerated CAT 111-875 session.  Should you be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions.  And Mr. Cappuccino, welcome to the I.M. Force.  This message will self destruct in 5 seconds…

“A mission!!!”  This was fantastic!  He ran back to the car to find a map to his next destination… The Vault!

Cappuccino read all of this clues carefully and followed each instruction.  Once the key to the Syllabus and the Software were retrieved, he was ready to proceed.  Vector graphic illustrations flowed from his paws ~ it was like poetry!  Premiere Pro proved to be just as engaging… this was fascinating!  Who knew there was so much available to anyone who had the desire to learn!

A week later, the results of his mission were transmitted.  He beamed as he reviewed his grades.  This was truly life altering for such a small bear, and he just couldn’t stop there!…

* * * * * * * DELETED SCENES * * * * * * *

As in all great works, there must be edits.  We were allowed 12 – 15 photographs, so here were some of the shots that were cut from the final slideshow…

Blog-a-licious

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Project #1 Objective: Create a blog to share things you are learning and researching that relate to visual art (film, animation, graphic design, painting, photography, etc.). The goal of this assignment is to gain an understanding of the internet and web design.

Here I am, winding down at the end of the summer semester.  My Project 1 parameters have almost been met, and the whole exercise has become somewhat addictive.  This blog has been a great tool for keeping track of research that I make mental note of along the way and sharing my progress as a student.  But admittedly, I find myself getting more excited about the traffic to the site by the day.  It started out with my online classmates, then trickled to family and friends… until international flags started lighting up on the Stats map!  Then my whole family was hooked, from which stemmed the realization, “We must conquer the world!” (in your best Dr. Evil voice)

While I am fairly certain where the Canadian hits originated (…a shout out to my cousin, Sandra, & sister-in-law, Tanya! Thanks for being the first to bridge the international gateway! 🙂 …), I’m not sure what drew visitors from the UK, Brazil & Germany. Regardless of the reason, my son has now determined that we must gain recognition in Madagascar.  You can imagine where the interest was born.  Here is a hint:

Da-da-dada-dada-da-da-Circus
Da-da-dada-dada-da-da-Afro
Circus-Afro-Circus-Afro
Polka-dot, Polka-dot, Polka-dot… MOVE IT!!!

Yeah, what can I say, we love the movies.  Anyway, I can see the value in continuing to ‘journal’ about this academic road I travel.  This will help me to maintain focus, to keep trudging toward my goals – my ultimate “Fitztopia” – and with hope in my heart, may even inspire a few other moms to open their minds to their own possibilities.  So with my bright pink Jansport on my back, and a constant stream of java in my cup, I am unstoppable…

                       I am one mom…

                                 returning to college…

                                                with a magnificent dream of creative proportions…

Here I go!!!

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Keri Smith’s Survival Kit

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This is one of my most favorite findings on the web that I happened upon a few months ago… “The Artist’s Survival Kit” by Keri Smith.  Aside from working as a successful freelance illustrator, she has a great sense of humor that emanates through her whimsical work.  As artists, so many of us have our dreary, dark days where we pummel ourselves with doubt and self pity.  For those of you who don’t know what that is like… well…you’re my hero, and this may not be a source of relief.  But for the rest of us who live in the land of imperfection and creative experimentation, take a moment to visit her site ~ You won’t be sorry!                Click… print… then prosper! 

Glen Keane & the Disney Pixar Cast of Animators

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What are these?!
“Little Mermaid” animation by Glen Keane.

Where do I even begin?… I am a devout Disney animation fan, and Glen Keane was one of the talented illustrators who worked at Disney Animation Studios for 38 years.  He brought characters to life in Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, PocahontasTarzan, and most recently in one our favorites, Tangled.  We have Keane (among others) to thank for his contribution to the evolution of animation over the last few decades.  He announced his departure from Disney in March 2012 in pursuit of further animated exploration, so I am eager to see where his talents may take us in days ahead.

Heading over to my “Web Candy” page will take you to the link for Disney Animation Studios where you can learn more about the amazing work going on in ground-breaking technological advances to animation.  This brings me to the next project that I am on the edge of my seat to see… BRAVE!  Pixar developed their own software to bring a whole new meaning to textures in the animation of hair, fur, clothing and water.  Just watching the trailers brings a lump to my throat!  A few months ago, while visiting Disney World on our familymoon, we spent a day at Hollywood Studios.  Much to my delight, the current exhibit included props and photographs that inspired some of the sketches of characters in the movie.  It was AWESOME!!!  Six days and counting!!!…

****** UPDATE ******

All thumbs up on the animation!  I was mesmerized, and that was just the 2-D version!!!  As a protective parent, I was somewhat disappointed by some of the graphic nature of scenes that were embarrassing with some bare bums to a few of our children, along with a few references that hopefully went over most of their heads.  We had 7 kids in tow that day, ranging in ages from 4 to 11.  Shame on me for not considering the PG rating…  However, if Shrek-type movies don’t bother you or your children, you should have no worries about this one… a delightful storyline nonetheless.

James Turrell

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“Alpha Tunnel to the East Portal” by James Turrell at the Roden Crater. (Click on the photograph for details about this amazing project.)

When I think about an artist of light, the first person that would most obviously come to anyone’s mind is the late Thomas Kinkade.  I have always loved how he truly encompassed the beauty of richly lit landscapes and structures in his paintings that were always so clearly ‘Kincaid’.  James Turrell on the other hand, uses the palette of natural light which he visually encapsulates through his design of minimalistic architecture.  His ongoing project that has been underway since 1974, the “Roden Crater” is his magnum opus.  This structure, complete with an elliptical ‘Skyspace’ is located in the San Francisco Volcanic Field near the Arizona Painted Desert, and it reminds me of a sort of modern day Stonehenge in the works.  From within its walls, one can more discernibly experience the movement of the earth in relation to the moon, the sun and rare celestial events.  The changing horizon of each day and night promises a varied exhibition hour by hour, day by day.

Expected to open in 2011, it remains under construction as anticipation builds by natural wonder enthusiasts everywhere.  I had never heard of James Turrell prior to this course, but I now find myself rallying for the opening of this astounding site to visitors by the time we hope to take our family on a cross country tour.  This is definitely one for the Bucket List!!!

The Beauty at Brookside

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“Jaws” by Seth Goldstein and Paula Stone (2009) created with oriental bittersweet vines (Celastrus orbiculatus).

School is out!!!  Time for fun, excessive playing of video games, popsicles, suntan lotion, and above all… field trips!!!  One place I have never visited, and always wanted to explore with my kids was Brookside Gardens in Montgomery County.  I knew this place by reputation alone and had heard about the butterfly garden that they maintained.  With summer fever alive in our house, a sunny and breezy day in the forecast and the need to get out of the house for a new perspective, we packed up the family van & set off for adventure!

Upon our arrival I could sense the excitement building as we made our way through the jam-packed parking lot.  We parked and unloaded in a way resembling the clown car at the circus and finally began to take it all in… It was beautiful!  On our way to the Conservatory entrance, we passed a series of unusual vine sculptures created by repurposing a non-native, invasive vine from a local parkland.  According to its plaque, these vines would have otherwise smothered and strangled other plants.  This in turn, would have seriously hampered the regeneration of the woodlands necessary to support wildlife. The sculpture was very appropriately named, “Jaws”.

The grounds were so peaceful, even with all of the visitors… and the landscaping was absolutely  stunning!  I could see why this was a haven for photographers!  But by far, the highlight of the day was the “Wings of Fancy” exhibit.  I have visited butterfly

gardens before, but this was such a different experience with the infectious enthusiasm and wonderment of the children.  Gorgeous butterflies fluttered wildly all around us!  They landed on our hats, our shoulders… it seemed like the brighter the color of our clothing, the more they were attracted to us as if we were giant flowers filled with nectar.  Our favorites were these gloriously huge Blue Morpho butterflies from Mexico… They were so vividly hued, and they were everywhere!!!

We had a wonderful day!  Breathtaking gardens, a nice exhibit of paintings in the Visitor Center, a whimsical children’s garden complete with a lovely little treehouse… all came together for an enchanting afternoon.  I highly recommend a visit, just be sure you get a bite to eat before you arrive.  There are no picnicking areas on the grounds, and you will want to be there for a while!

It was the Best of Times, it was the Worst of Times…

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Project #2 Objective: Complete a set of drawn studies of a simplified object using traditional drawing tools followed by vector production tools. Create a final study of 3 abstracted views of your object on a single page or composition.

Project 2, Part B… okay, this is where it gets good!  This is what I came to do!  My first crack at Illustrator, or any vector graphics program for that matter.  My closest interaction with this type of software, was back in the day when I was singing with a band, and we decided to put out a CD. That was my first fun with logo design, and I got to be the backseat driver for the graphic designer we hired to ‘pretty up’ the insert and get it printer ready. I’m sure he loved it ~ “hmm, that’s a nice idea, but, um – no… okay, slide that over there… no, more purple and make it gradient… oOoh, and marbly!… hey, what does that do?”… yeah, good times…

I diligently watched the tutorials, getting more and more excited about the possibilities.  Ideas were flowing out of my head on how it could be incorporated as an invaluable, production multiplying, time saving tool!  I couldn’t wait to download the application!!!… All set up, I started with what seemed to be the easiest image to trace, placed it on the artboard, cut the opacity so I wouldn’t confuse the new black traced lines with the original image, locked the layer and opened a new layer to get started.  Hmmm… where do I start?  Elliptical tool, line tool, pen tool… *!@#!!!… CMD+Z, CMD+Z, CMD+Z… okay, we’ll go back to that later… fill… polygon tool… pen tool… anchor points… handle… Why isn’t this working???… This doesn’t make sense!!!  Maaaarrrrk (that’s my husband)… look at what this crazy thing is doing, have you ever seen anything so ridiculous? (rant, rant, rant)… I mean, you would think for the actual price of this software it would be functional!  (he sits down, click, click, click)  “Is that what you were trying to select?”  Okay, psh… well, YOU didn’t watch the tutorials, so they must have confused me somehow from the obvious common sensical approach you just mustered there, whatever… okay, fine, I can do this… I CAN’T DO THIS!!!  What was I thinking?… Going back to school… and don’t even get me started on how to make a living as an artist!… Suddenly, I imagine Tom Hanks in a baseball cap yelling, “There’s no crying in Illustrator!!!”  No time for tears, project is due tomorrow… push through the pain…  After, a few more hours & just past pumpkin time, I collapsed into bed feeling completely defeated from my first and most simplified image.

I did not get a lot of sleep.  In fact, I tossed and turned most of the night.  The next morning, and for some unexplained reason, the image of Richard Simmon’s face danced around in my mind, while he beamed, “Come on, Honey!!!  Hop out of bed and get this day started!!!”  I moaned.  Then something snapped and a determination swept over me to figure this out.  I got dressed, dropped the kids off at school, poured my coffee (THAT”S a given!), grabbed a CD of Celine Dion to have at the ready… yeah, the FRENCH Album…  Okay, let’s DO this!!!

It wasn’t pretty at first, but time was of the essence, and I needed to get creative to get the effects I wanted.  I’m not proud of it, but I became one with the blob brush and the warp tool.  I still manipulated the paths and formed a few compound shapes, but I focused on cleaning up the lines and maintaining the integrity of the original images.

Save… Attach… POST… done!