Cezanne and the rotten fruit

My art teacher once told me that Cezanne painted the same scene so long his apples rotted but he kept painting anyway. Like a normal student, I didn’t question it. Until today! This piece says he liked fruit because people move. I learned something! #tdc2557


My daughter and I painted a still life together over the break. Undoubtedly we were in keeping with Cezanne’s still life tradition although I didn’t think about it at the time.

I found another interesting article called Everything You Need to Know About Cezanne’s Fruit. http://www.dailyartmagazine.com/all-we-know-about-cezannes-fruits/




New Year’s Still Life 2019

My daughter has been asking me to paint with her. I finally made some time for painting over the New Year’s holiday. We set up a still life of objects we found from around the house. We put an ordinary desk lamp above it for lighting. Here is a photo of the items we found.

My daughter is working with acrylic paints and I have been using watercolors.

First, I suggested we make sketches as a warmup activity. Here is my sketch.

Then I painted a first draft painting. Here is my first draft.

I did two more iterations of the same still life arrangement. Each time I zoomed in the focus of my attention a little more. Here is my second painting


‘See how my strokes are bolder and more confident this time? I left out some of the details.

Finally, here is my third painting. I was interrupted in the middle of making this one. It is a lot more free than the first two.

Today’s Daily Create calls for making a composition using the Rule of Thirds. I typically have this rule in the back of my mind whenever I am making drawings or photographs although it varies on how closely I adhere to it.

Out of the three paintings, I think still life number two most closely follows the rule of thirds.


Portrait Format Videos

Over Thanksgiving, I got into a big kerfuffle with my kids and younger family members about the “wrongness” of shooting video in portrait format on smartphones. “Well, it is meant to be watched on the phone,” they argued. To which I replied that there are generally more interesting things to look at to the left and right of subjects of video than above and below. With portrait videos, we see lots of floors, ceilings, sky, backs of people’s heads at concerts, and so forth. But if you shoot a landscape video at a concert, a football game, a family gathering, you can see more of what is going on, rather than these static, uninteresting things.

Today I am looking at students’ final projects. The assignment is one that I borrowed from a book I read somewhere but the book’s title is long forgotten. The assignment is simply called, “Impress Me” and is open to interpretation on how to go about the task of impressing the course professor. (See the details of the assignment I gave at the end of this post.) One student decided to submit a video editing project of the various concerts they attended during the past year.

Unfortunately, my industrious student did not get the memo about my stance on portrait-oriented videos. The entire thing was filmed and edited in portrait form! Oh, my eyes! Ok, it isn’t that bad, but I really do struggle with this new paradigm of video making. To me it ranks right up there with our tendency to abbreviate and “leetspeak” everything. I’m looking at you Mtn Dew!

I find it really interesting that old-fashioned cameras, point and shoot, SLRs or even video camcorders came with a built-in landscape orientation but few people using these old school cameras ever bothered to rotate their point and shoot camera 90 degrees to take a portrait style photograph. Now we have portrait oriented phones and few folks bother to rotate their phone 90 degrees to record a landscape style video. It is just fascinating. To me, it is one indicator that separates a novice from someone with some expertise.

So just for future reference, try using portrait form to shoot a portrait photograph or to paint a portrait, but use landscape form to record most of the videos you ever want a grateful audience to view at some point.

Now about that assignment…


Impress Me Assignment

Use the next two weeks to complete an impressive project that showcases your new media skills. The work should reflect the fact that it is a final project developed over multiple weeks.

Option 1) Using your digital media skills I want you to “Impress Me.”

  • This is an open-ended assignment that is actually impressive and is the culmination of a semester’s worth of digital media work.
  • Be certain you know your audience (the professor) and that what you propose to do that will impress this audience. (Hint: I seriously won’t be impressed if you try to knock this out the day before it is due.)
  • How will you know? Do some research. Ask some questions. It is ill-advised to attempt this option while flying blind.
  • Create a reflective summary post of your work discussing your design process and related decision making and submit to this assignment.
  • Invite others to view your work on Social Media using the #digme256 and #ds106 tags.

Option 2) This is also an “Impress Me” assignment, but with more structure

  • Imagine a fictional, knock-off brand based upon a real brand in the food industry. This was done in the film ‘Coming To America’ starring Eddie Murphy, with McDowell’s instead of McDonald’s. You many  not use McDowells or any parody of McDonalds. I’m just showing you this as an example of a knock-off brand.McDowell's Restaurant
    • Design a logo for this new “knock off” company. It should be sufficiently original to qualify as your own work. It should be sufficiently similar to a real company logo that it would undoubtedly result in a lawsuit should anyone be foolish enough to try to start up such a company and use this logo.
    • Create a series of five animated GIFs that your knock off company would use in a social media campaign. For inspiration, refer to the Denny’s blog.
    • Release your series of GIFs over time, at least an hour or two apart, if not over the course of several days.
    • Create a reflective summary post of your work discussing your design process and related decision making and submit to this assignment.

K-State Open House circa 2005

I found an unexpected video clip recently. This is of K-State professors Troy & Kathy Brockway’s kids at the open house on the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus sometime around 2005 or so. The older girls are working on a Betty Edwards drawing activity, and the youngest Brockway is just being cute. We also can see a glimpse of Professor Troy Harding talking with someone in the hallway.

Marysville Kansas in 1986 – The Lost Tape

My friends Kurt Conradt, Dan Balaun and myself made this video in Marysville in the summer of 1986. I thought the VHS tape had been accidentally recorded over, but there is only one small section where that happened. Most of what we recorded has survived moves to four different homes in Kansas. My dad is getting ready to move again but this time I’m sure the tape would not have been moved again to the new house. I’m glad I was able to save it and share it on YouTube.

Emily Learns to Write

Digging into the old video footage this week and found this gem of my daughter Emily when she was about three and a half years old. She was just learning to write her name, and she wrote it on walls all over the house. She was a little chatterbox back then.


Whew, That’s a Relief!

Loosening the belt This week I was getting frustrated with my internet speed. I’ve been capturing a bunch of home videos I have recorded over the years, including many hours of footage I recorded during Operation Desert Storm.

I have been trying to upload my videos to YouTube and it was taking for-e-ver!

So I finally broke down and called up my ISP Twin Valley and inquired about the slower and slower speeds. I mean I realize that we have more than quadrupled the number of devices that are using our broadband connection and that the nature of the Internet has completely changed since I first signed up for high-speed Internet well over a decade ago, but my trusty 15Mbps down/1Mbps up connection has always served me well in the past!

As it turns out, my 15/1 plan is no longer even offered, and I’ve although I have had chances to upgrade in the past, being ever an el cheapo I cling to it like a baby to a pacifier. Desperate not to waste my entire Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday breaks tying up a computer for the whole time waiting for dreadfully slow video uploads to complete, I bit the bullet and ordered the upgrade. It’s actually only a few bucks more a month, but now we are getting a 100Mbps plan. I tested it and got about 50Mbps down and up, which seems about right because the bandwidth is shared for download & upload streams.

It feels like I’ve let the belt of our household internet pants out by two or three notches!