Tag Archives: design

In the Beginning…

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Cotton application of ink onto newsprint
was the method of shading used in this studio art project.

Now that I have finally made it to the end of this summer semester, it is time to return to my domestic responsibilities in full force.  Our garage is still stacked high with boxes from our recent move and my [somewhat] freshly painted studio is buried in the basement by bins filled with supplies begging to be organized.  Do you ever find yourself vowing to purge stored forgotten treasures only to become entranced by volumes of unboxed memories?  Well, as I meandered through this maze of sketch pads and easels, I came across my cardboard, poorly duct taped college art portfolio from a time that predates vector graphics – at least before they were commercialized to the general public.  Yes, I realize that maps my post secondary education on a timeline, but it also serves as a disclaimer for coloring outside of the lines in these projects… in the spirit of ‘We just didn’t know any better’… That was the season when “Def Leppard” played in the Ratskellar, Dana Carvey & Mike Myers were dabombdiggity on “Saturday Night Live” and cell phones looked more like walkie talkies… Good times, good times… So just for the fun of it, I thought I would post a few of my earlier projects that I unearthed in the process of declutterization… okay, who am I kidding… this is just a great excuse to get out of that mess downstairs!  Enjoy!…

An early ink graphic designed for my studio art class at the university.

This design was created with cut Canson paper.

The visual transformation of a sketch into an abstracted non-objective rendering.

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Reflections of Olafur Eliasson

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As a child, I always marveled at the colors and designs that could be contrived by the simple rotation of a kaleidoscope.  Olafur Eliasson brings all that childhood wonderment of color spectra into the adult cognition through his works.  His studio has been in operation since 1995 in Berlin, Germany, however, his exhibits have traveled worldwide.  His manipulation of light through prisms, reflective and refractive surfaces is combined with elaborate geometric constructs creating visually scintillating effects.  Visitors are captivated by the play of light through his exhibits which seem to generate their own unique experience depending on the perception of each individual at any given moment or position.  One such exhibit that ran in 2008 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York can still be viewed online by clicking the museum link.

Beyond his innovative style of art, I am equally impressed by his attention to the needs of under privileged communities.  His efforts as a philanthropist have channeled his talent and resources to create a product called “Little Sun.” Five hours of natural sunlight charges this safe portable lantern to provide five hours of light that would otherwise be unavailable.  We so frequently take for granted our use of electricity until we are temporarily forced to endure without it during storms and other sources of power outages.  Heaven help our family when we lose power for one day… and you would think the apocalypse was nearing if BGE tarried beyond the 36 hour margin!  Yet this is a lifestyle to so many countries that we can easily forget about in our daily to’s-and-fro’s.  I remember once hearing about the conditions in a Haitian village where children were not able to get effective time in the classroom because the school did not have adequate light, even during the daytime hours.  Then in the evenings they were only able to access a limited and rationed supply of electricity in one centralized building.  Communities such as these would be so grateful to have something so simple yet so functional in their homes.  Learning about this project, brought new meaning to a quote I heard in an earlier interview by Eliasson when he stated,

“I would like to make sense of the world by sensing the world.”

“Your Spiral View” by Olafur Eliasson (2002)

A Festival Frolic in Annapolis

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Phew!  In desperate need of a break from Google Sketchup tutorials, I am sharing a fun find here in downtown Annapolis.  This weekend, my oldest daughter & I spent a special ‘Mommy & Me’ day at the “First Sunday Arts Festival.”  Even with the heat, it was a nice post derecho diversion.  Speaking of which, our prayers go out to those of you who are still dealing with the aftermath of power outages and damage!  With the intense and rather unseasonal temperatures in our region, it’s not a time that you want to be without A/C!  What a crazy & unexpected mess!!!

KeyLime Designs by Mollie Dennis
(click here to learn more about this artist)

So in spite of the recent tribulations, the crowd and the vendors seemed to be in good spirits, the music was lively and the breeze was just right…  I wanted to share a few pictures of some of our favorite vendors of the day.  Probably one I liked the most was a table of beautiful children’s artwork by KeyLime Designs.  Artist, Mollie Dennis has a degree in Art Education and has focused her talents on these charming and cheerfully colored collages.

Decorative pieces by Art Sea
(click here to find out more about her seaside decor)

Another table we enjoyed was covered with inventive creations by Art Sea… and who wouldn’t love the name! 🙂  Her specialty was a collection of lovely sailboats she crafted from driftwood and grommeted decorator fabrics.  What a great idea for repurposing natural materials into something, oh, so very Chesapeake Chic!

There were clothing vendors, jewelry, housewares, whimsical garden ornamentals, natural soaps… everything you can imagine, and some gorgeous fine art displays.  It was a textile paradise!

And then there was the food!  My feeling is that it’s just not a festival until you have a taste of the town.  Living in Maryland for around 12 years now, you get used to the usual crab claims of the locals and frankly, I was up for something a little different. As we turned the corner of West Street and found another row of tables down Calvert, we were drawn to a tent bearing the sign, “Mad Flava Catering.”  The grill was flaming, the aroma of Caribbean jerked chicken was wafting and my mouth was watering!  One taste, and we knew this was the real deal!  The chef, Andre Sherwood, is Jamaican born and bottles this amazing sauce.  I bought 3 jars, got home and cooked up a batch of chicken for my — and I don’t use this term lightly — highly flavor-critical family.  It was a unanimously HUGE hit, which, for our 4 kids is practically unattainable… many of you parents out there know my pain!  So 12 thumbs up here, Chef Andre!!!  We will be back for more soon, I’m sure!!!

Click here to visit his website & find out more about Chef Andre’s awesome food!


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!

Talk about Textures!

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So here we go… it’s my first college course in (cough, cough) FIVE years!  Better late than never, as they say… I am thrilled to be back in the virtual classroom studying the fundamentals of Digital Design! This is my debut as a blogger, and it will be my first time working in Photoshop, Illustrator and Premier Pro.  Just in this week of class, I am experiencing new revelations in design concepts through our discussion of Wassily Kandinsky’s “Composition VII”, and I love to see how one artist’s vision can provoke such varying impressions of his work.

Yesterday, I ventured out on a field trip to celebrate 100 artists who were honored by the Maryland State Arts Council.  The reception was held in Baltimore at the American Visionary Art Museum.  I have passed this building on the way to other museums and always wondered what dwelled within, so this was a terrific opportunity!  While  I was only able to survey the works within the walls of the Jim Rouse Visionary Center, I peeked into the main building which started my planning for a day trip with my kids once the school year ends.  I am posting some of the pictures I took last night for your viewing pleasure.  They are just too much fun to keep to myself!  This is my Fitztopia…  Enjoy!!!

Andrew Logan’s “Cosmic Galaxy Egg” (click on the photo to learn more about this artist’s work)

Richard Windley’s “Arkopter”

Peter Markey’s “Natural Wave Machine” in the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre (click here to see more examples of his creations)