Saturday, January 15, 2022

Back to school!

It's hard to believe, but this is my very last semester at ACAD. As you might remember, I have been at it a looooong time. There's a lot of barriers to being a mature student and fortunately some of those barriers came down in the last couple of years with flexible online working and learning.

The first week of classes is always so super easy, but this semester is going to be a little confusing because I have the same teacher for two classes and a lot of my classmates are the same across all three classes. My first assignments are a studio proposal for each class. If I pick a series of projects, it should be easy to keep them straight, LOL!

Here are the questions:
  • Summarize the work you intend to produce this term. Include your topic(s) and the processes/techniques you intend to explore.
  • PROJECT 1/2/3/4 - Describe this project including its concept, scale, budget, materials and tools required.
  • How will the work you are proposing challenge you and move your creative practice forward?
  • List at least two texts or books that relate to your topic (not including technical "how to" books.)
When in doubt, chart it out! I'll need this to keep me on track. Two of the three studio proposals have been sent in so far.
Chart it out!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Pantone's 2022 Colour of the Year

Well, I must say, I can definitely get behind Very Peri!

Saturday, November 6, 2021

FINA450 - The Birds

LOL, this weekend's movie for Monday's class is a breeze--Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 movie The Birds. I watched it as a child but don't remember much. I may have gotten bored and switched the channel too. It is very loosely based on Daphne du Maurier's book which is more about the Cold War compared to the movie. The movie still makes a great case for the supernatural and eeriness created by something that isn't there. It's never overtly said (except by one panicked citizen) why the birds are there, but one can surmise it has to do with Melanie Daniels' arrival to Bodega Bay. Dun-dun-dun!

The movie is very slow paced and silent, which would have created a lot of tension. I wasn't feeling that tension, but I bet in a dark theatre full of people it would have. A modern version would have a blizzards of birds and brooding power meows. I'm surprised it hasn't been remade.

My birds were piqued by the opening scene, but unruffled otherwise btw.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

FINA450 - Under the Skin

Watching movies for homework is usually fun, except when it’s not fun!

Our weekly reading selection came from The Weird and the Eerie by Mark Fisher and focused on a book, Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing, and a movie, Under the Skin, directed by Jonathan Glazer.

I downloaded Surfacing as an audiobook and haven’t finished listening to it yet, but I thought a movie would be a nice way to wrap up my weekend. Hehehe...well, not this movie! Under the Skin stars Scarlett Johannsson as an alien who roams Scotland, preying on men. There are a lot of interesting binaries in the movie such as pleasure/pain, known/unknown, civilization/wilderness, alien/human, physical/mental etc., in addition to the gender reverse of predator/prey. This would be a very different movie if it starred a male alien killer.

Visually, the film is very dark, mostly taking place at night. Audibly, there is very little dialogue and the Scottish accents are hard to decipher. There’s also a droning background track. The whole movie is designed to be unsettling and I get that. I’m usually okay with horror movies (and this one is rated R) and what not, but I didn’t like feeling unsettled and noped out of the movie after 39 minutes. It took me a few hours to feel right again afterwards!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Back to School!

I'm officially back to school, so I may become behind on entries and catching up on blogs. I'll do my best!

On Monday mornings I have a fourth year class full of students from different programs. There were four topics to choose from and I chose Seeing Beyond Known and Unknown. The title alone had a lot of appeal for me. The first few classes are online as ACAD hasn't sorted out rapid COVID testing. As Alberta's COVID numbers go in the toilet again, I don't mind doing the online thing again. After 20 years at this degree, the most important thing for me now is being able to walk across the stage in May.

One of our first projects is to assembled a portfolio of current work. The teacher also gave us a short video to watch. This might be the class where I say "Back in my day, Twin Peaks made today's weird TV shows possible..." :-D

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Catching Up! ACAD310 Rehearsal

Just in time for #throwbackthursday, here's one of my projects from ACAD310. This was a Monday class, so in some ways it was good to get it out of the way for the rest of the week and other days it was like, this is too early on a Monday morning :-D

The theme of this assignment was rehearsal. As creative people, and really anyone, it takes many hours of training and rehearsal to perfect your craft, hobby or sport. A lot of that work is unpaid, invisible and often lost to mistakes. Would you believe that I have been working on a shawl pattern for years? Sometimes the idea you envision just won't be made or it's not the right time.

Here's the current in-progress picture on the knitting loom:
Knitting on knitting loom But, long before I started that, I made woven samples because I thought I would be weaving a shawl. I loved the yarn, James C. Brett Marble Chunky. You can see from the samples that different effects are reached by beating hard and beating gently. I mounted the samples to canvas to elevate them. Samples often just sit around, dusty and forgotten, but this way they can be viewed and appreciated.
Mounted woven sample I also tried incorporating weaving patterns in knitting, but the colour changes were unwieldy!
Close-up of knitting using a weaving pattern The shawl is half-finished and what was taken off the knitting loom makes a cozy lap blanket. Some day the picture in my head will match the output of my hands!
Original idea

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Catching Up! ENGL400

I can't believe last semester was months ago...but taking three classes while working full-time was a handful. It's also hard to delay life for eight months. Here are some notes from my English 400 class. It's the last liberal studies class that I will ever take at ACAD/AU Arts. The theme of the class was "Our You My Mother?". We read short stories and selections from a psychology book every week. Our main text was In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondatjee. I'm not a big Ondatjee fan--I like his poetry best--but I find his novels just plod on.

The final exam was really fun. The exam sounded simple--a seven sentence micro essay in MLA format on a surprise mystery question. Y'all want to know what the mystery question was?

No one knew either, even the instructor, until he brought out a child's game called Play With Your Food. A flick of the spinner and it landed on the Mixed Vegetables category. Another spin revealed the number 11. He thumbed through the cards.

The eleventh card in the stack was "It is a snow day. What do you want to do the most?"

I laughed! It was hilarious. Here I was prepared for all sorts of brainy, high-brown questions and chance had made a mockery of those plans :-D

I had some fun with it though. Every sentence started with a letter from SNOW DAY and I used every grammatical trick I knew to make every sentence count.

We also had fun clips to watch--thank goodness for education in the age of YouTube! As diarists and bloggers, we never know if anyone reading out there and this clip hits home.

Another cool thing about the class was the instructor used children's books to explain complex concepts and show how narrative can be reduced to simple steps. It may sound childish (heh!) but it actually isn't. One piece of free advice I give out frequently is grab a kid's book if you don't understand something. The text is clear, easy to read and there's plenty of pictures. In the Skin of a Lion refers to the epic tale of Gilgamesh and we looked at a children's version of that. Since I can't share the book, here's a video that clearly explains it.

I received an A+ in the class, by the way--the perfect way to end the semester!