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!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

TBT--Festival of Quilts

TBT! I really miss seeing all the lovely quilts and hangings on display at Heritage Park--fingers crossed I can go back in 2022. While many arts organizations have found new audience by going virtual, and it's great, nothing beats seeing quilts wafting in the wind and being able to see them up close.

Quilts hang from the Wainwright Hotel during Festival of Quilts, Heritage Park

Thursday, June 17, 2021

TBT--Niagara Falls Water Lily

How I spent my summer vacation--with nowhere else to go, I managed to get a lot of biz stuff done in a week, including queuing up some blog posts. Check back monthly for a Throwback Thursday feature!

Today's feature harkens back to June 2010 when I visited Souther Ontario for the first time. Mom and I stayed in London for a week while I went to a conference and visited Niagara Falls and Niagara-On-The-Lake on one of the free days.

We couldn't fly all that way without seeing Niagara Falls! It was so overcast, even for June, but that didn't stop the natural beauty of these water lilies from showing through the gloom.

Monday, June 7, 2021

The Ringed Giant Sci-Fi Anthology

Hi friends, it's been a while! It's been almost two months since the last semester ended, but, when you defer life for eight months, there's a lot of catching up to do!

About this time last year I was so hyped to participate in the 2nd Annual Zombie Pirate Publishing Writing Week. 168 hours, 101 participants, 15k words! It was an absolute creative marathon that I would love to do again!

Although my story made the long list and the short list, it didn't make the final list. Aw! However, you can buy the anthology, The Ringed Giant as an eBook or paperback through Amazon. Enjoy eight novelette length science fiction stories for one great price!

The Ringed Giant

Sunday, April 11, 2021

In the Homestretch!

Ah student life! The end of a semester always seems so far away until all your final projects and exams are due ;-D

Here's what this week is looking like for me:

April 11th:

ACAD310 - finish homework and write artist statement
PPRL304 - photograph candy and work on presentation

April 12th:

ACAD310 - crit day
ENGL400 - download final exam outline and prep
PPRL304 - work on presentation

April 13-15th

ENGL400 - final exam prep
PPRL304 - keep working on presentation

April 16th

ENGL400 - write final exam
PPRL304 - email in presentation, lawyer guest speaker

April 19th

ACAD310 - crit day, submit final reading response

DONE!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

ACAD310 - Spotlight on Jack Whitten

I'm always happy to share my art education with you, the reader. One of the advantages of taking so long with my degree is that there's no shortage of new ideas to learn about. The artistic canon has also grown and become more diverse over the years. There are many artists who were contemporaries of famous artists, but, for whatever reason, did not receive as much attention. American artist Jack Whitten (1939-2018) is spotlighted in this video below that we have to watch for next Monday's ACAD310 class.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

PPRL304 - Guest Speaker Mandy Stobo

In yesterday's entrepreneurship class we had a guest artist, Mandy Stobo, who found her way into the art world via Bad Portraits on Twitter. Mandy moves, and never really stops moving! Nowadays she experiments with VR and augumented reality. Here's a couple videos about her!



Sunday, February 7, 2021

ACAD310 - Timeless

I can't believe the first week of February is over. I'm taking two lecture classes and one studio class this semester at Alberta University of the Arts, formerly ACAD. Here's my first project, a non-functional clock called Timeless.

It's also hard to believe that I have been working from home for almost a year. The meaning of time has vastly changed, hence why the clock doesn't have any traditional markers of time passing. The orange and navy blue faces move. The clock measures 12x24", is wrapped in scrap fabric and cardstock and all the faces were actually cut by hand instead of a digital die cutter. You'll see something different depending on height and time of day with the foil faces.

My studio class is ACAD310, but what really makes it interesting is that broad topics unite a broad selection of disciplines. Students work in their chosen medium based around a suggestion. The topic for the first assignment revolved (heh) around time, cycles, and the future. I jumped at this and made a clock that lacks the traditional markers of time passing. I took a lot of in progress pictures and you'll be amazed that this was the final product. Stay tuned for those.

Timeless

Monday, January 4, 2021

New for the New Year!

Happy new year! I already have one goal accomplished. After years (and almost 200 sales) of my tea cup cutting file package, you can now licence them for commercial use instead of just personal use. Creative Market does all the legwork.

I never knew that this would be a bestseller. I photographed a tea cup from my collection and then the photos sat unedited for some time until...2015? 2016? Whenever Etsy enabled automatic digital downloads anyway. Then it took me forever to list it on CM because preview images had to be designed. No cookie cutter clip art here, anyway.

Licence SVG tea cup bundle on Creative Market