Saturday, 29 November 2008

Assignment 1 continued

I really lost heart after scanning the last lot of 2D and 3D items, I don't think they have inspired me to "combine" them into a final image.

I had a rather silly interaction with the course tutor and I felt I had really lost the plot. This sort of underlines my feeling about the course in general. It is put forward as a module equivalent to college however, being a graduate, I feel this has nothing to do with what my previous experience of university was; admittedly 40 years ago but, I work in an academic establishment and I don't think this has any points of resemblance to what I understand as a college experience. This is much more like my further qualification but even then there was some interaction at the academic level with fellow students and others. Why am I feeling so Bolshie? Maybe it is because I am a student again! Bolshie is good?!

I have started on a completely new tack. I think this is much more exciting but am not sure if it fulfills the brief. It does include some 2D and 3D stuff so it may do. Anyway I am now in a selection process to determine which of the images will be submitted and which will be the final image.

The process involves sandwiching acetates, objects and lenses; this gives rise to refraction and rainbows occur. This is quite a difficult effect to control successfully, but it visually pleasing

Inspiration for this could be Storm Thorgerson's Pink Floyd album covers? Anyway I could be submitting these. My problem is that it is really difficult to keep the dust off the acetates as there is so much static created on the scanner, so they are not quite as "clean" as I would have liked.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Continuing with First Assignment

I found the books recommended for this course on Amazon and ordered them; the first one arrived, British Art Since 1900: by Frances Spalding: Thames and Hudson (1987). Skimming it quickly I think Chapter 9: Pop, Op and New Generation Sculpture will be very relevant to this course, and I have received a few more but one book is still outstanding. The Hockney looks amazing I did see some of the series on television when it was broadcast and found it fascinating.

3D Elements

The next element of the Task 1 in Assignment 1 is to make a scan of 3D items. I chose things to scan that were around me in the first instance and then chose things that interest me and have an influence in everyday life. I had investigated things to do with grooming. This may seem obvious to us in Western civilisation but would be considered luxuries in some societies. What I became interested in was the illusion of containment of objects within receptacles, particularly in these scans of shells. This is a view of the "upsidedown" world that is the scanner. It is amazing how convincing this illusion is; it defies the reality of the "rightwayup" world we actually live in. Another aspect that was interesting was the background. I touched on this in the 2D element when looking at cards. Quite subtle differences can have quite a major effect on the mood. I think this is clearly illustrated in the slide show. The background was changed but the composition remained the same in the last four scans, but the effect on the final images is quite striking. Also the orientation has a huge effect; I changed the orientation after the first scan so that the three final scans with different backgrounds were the other way up.

The next set of 3D items I scanned in was on a wool and knitting theme. some of these were a lot more successful than others. I like the wool in the box, again the "containment" of the objects appeals to me. I don't think the other scans were very successful. The pieces of knitting and the gridded balls of wool are quite boring and the random balls (not in a box) have nothing to recommend them either.

I have lost my way a bit; I thought I was doing OK but I feel I have hit a bit of a wall, which is a bit of a shame so early in the course. I have had a few ideas for the final image but I think they may be a bit difficult to pull off. Although I have scanned in lots of stuff I feel as if I need to start over. I have been looking at words and opposites and am trying to work something out in imagery, but maybe I need to stick to something a bit easier to tackle for my first assignment, just get it out. To quote one of my bosses "better to do a job badly than not to do it at all." Anyway the word that triggered my train of thought was transparency. There are many connotations to this word which are most pertinent to this course.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Starting the First Assignment

I started to work toward the first assignment at the weekend as I felt I had probably worked out how to use the scanner well enough to embark on this. I began by thinking of lists of things that were personal to me including my interests and hobbies and things that have influenced my life.

2D Elements

The first thing that I decided to scan was playing cards. Cards have been a constant and ongoing interest. I am not a gambler but I've always played cards with my family and friends. My grandmother taught me to play rummy when I was about 4 or 5. As an only child playing patience was something I could do on my own and entertain myself for hours. Bridge became very important to me at university, and now I play Kalooki with my mother and aunt. I used different packs of cards to create images to scan and then I realised that the white background was not helping the image so I found something that resembled the traditional green baize of a card table to place behind the cards on the scanning bed; which I think is a great improvement. There are other ways to portray cards which I have not yet explored, but if I choose to use them in the final image I may decide to explore this further.

My next topic of interest is travel. We recently went to New York and I collected various pieces of travel memorabilia. I've been creating a book combining my photos and travel diary but have not yet completed this; however, I wanted to include some of the non-photographic bits and pieces in the book and this seems to be a way of incorporating some of these items in an interesting way. What I like about these scans is the colour. This is probably a happy accident but I did choose the items to scan and left some out too. I have lots of material from different holidays collected over many years, these could be incorporated into a final image.

Gardening has been another of my life-long interests and I have had an allotment for about 17 years indeed this is the subject of another blog. Seeds represent this interest and I have collections of seeds and seed packets. The choice of which packets to scan and how to arrange them was important. The random arrangement included a mixture of flowers and vegetables; the more regular arrangements were either of flowers or of vegetables. 3D has crept into the fourth scan as I included the seeds as well as the seed packet. There are many 3D items that could be included in the gardening theme and I could easily combine these into a 2D/3D composition.

I could scan other 2D images from my list of topics and may choose to work them up if they are to be included in the final image. The real problem is deciding on the subject matter for the final image and how to combine 2D and 3D images successfully. My problem is more knowing were to stop investigating and when to start making the final image. I could go on and on scanning things and each of these topics could be developed. The 3D scans I've made will be the subject of my next blog.

I would appreciate any input if anyone is reading this. Thanks

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Project 4

I've been working at this for a couple of weeks now and am now onto the 4th project module which involves 3D scanning. This has been more challenging as the results are less predictable.
From mix +

I had a bag full of threads and textiles that I had acquired from the embroiderers Guild course that I attended this year. They were just "thrown" onto the scanning bed and the bits of fabric placed randomly on top. For the first scan I switched off the light in the room and for the second I left the light on. When I compared the results there was very little difference so for convenience I left the light on for the all other versions of Random Threads.
From mix +
From mix +

The next set of objects were chosen at random from a selection I had around the computer; which is situated in the office / ironing room and general junk storage area in our house, and from the kitchen. A box was used to enclose the objects but the inside of the box was white - not black.
From mix +

I lined the box with a dark towel in the next scan. This gives a much warmer feel overall, although largely similar in content to the last one.
From mix +

Onions feature in the next images. These are home-grown and therefore important to me. Scanning them in the box lined with non woven fabric was one way I chose to scan them. Although this was not technically very well executed, I like the illusion that the onions are actually laying in the box, when the are not at all. The box is merely there, in this case to stop them rolling off the scanner. The box was lined in non-woven fabric. The problem with onions is that the onion skins leave a lot of debris on the scanner and can spoil the illusion. For this reason great care needs to be taken to keep the glass free from any dirt,
From mix +

Saturday, 1 November 2008

OCA Digital Arts 1 Week One

I received my material this week and have read through the first module. I am still a bit overwhelmed that I have done this and I am not quite sure what I am doing yet. I have some ideas about the assignment but am not sure how you go about submitting anything and I don't quite know what to write on my profile yet. No doubt I'll feel a bit better and less nervous about things in the fullness of time.

Today I have looked at the first project in getting started and wasn't quite sure if I was fulfilling the brief or not but I expect it is just about getting used to the methodology before starting on the assignment at the end of the first module.

These were my first attempts at project 1

For this project I chose material from gardening magazines, from a newspaper and a calendar with wonderful coloured pictures. I juxtaposed images in various ways and cropped the images in the scanner's preview pane. There were reasons other than the aesthetic that I chose the particular elements scanned in each composite. Gardening is one of my passions so I wished to convey this alongside another passion for cooking. The calendar composite was mainly a response to colour; however, the calendar's theme was travel and I love visiting new places even though I have not done much lately; so this was more an expression of a my dreams and aspirations. One of the gardening collages seemed to depict a landscape with mountains and trees combining two of my ideas for this project. The pictures from newspapers again reflect two themes my science background and my my love of food; the fish was operated on for hernia and survived! I have reached an age when a great many friends and relatives have had serious illnesses and the image of this fish seemed to symbolise my feeling of hope. I believe that good food is essential for healthy living and this is why I grow a great deal of the food we eat at home.

These were my first attempts at project 3

Again I have used some of the ideas from project 1 and these are likely to be recurring themes. I have used some of the same elements in these scanned images using some of my own art work and combining them with other objects. Both pieces of art work used were mixed media, one represents reflections in a pool and the other was an abstract of a bird the tear-drop shapes representing wings. Each of these was combined with different objects some of which had been used in project 1, the Easter Island heads and some of the garden magazine images, but others were new elements; a notebook was included in one image to represent a travel journal or sketch book; a handwritten recipe, a doily to put on a plate of food.

I'll need to do more to both of these projects before I feel confident that I have fully understood what I need to do. But I think I have grasped the basic idea

I do feel a bit in the dark about feedback on how I am doing on the projects leading up to the assignment; indeed if there is any up to that point.