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Assignment: Color

This semester, I’m taking a photography class. It’s one that’s required for all art majors.  I took it this semester because over the summer, I had a class with some photography majors, and they told me that UVU was switching the Photography I from a film class to a digital class. I wanted to take film photography, because I knew I could borrow Dad’s fancy film camera, but my little digital camera probably wouldn’t work for the class. The course catalogue for this semester listed Photography I as a film class, but on the first day I learned that the switch had already happened.

Drama ensued. I can’t afford a new camera, and doing research on the dSLR camera‘s I could afford I discovered that they shot in a lower resolution than the camera I already have.  So I hunkered down with the instruction manual, and the syllabus, and discovered that my Canon Powershot SX100is would probably work–I emailed my instructor and she agreed, though she was concerned when she actually saw the little thing.

Anyway, my class is on Saturday.  Which I actually think works, because it gives me the rest of the week to do the assignments. It’s hard going to school six days a week, but I’ll get though.

The assignment for this week was color–simply to take two colorful photos that would work well together.  Of course, no photographer worth her salt would stop at just two, so here are my favorites:

I was trying to get a good contrast between the red of the blanket, the yellow and blue of the dog bed, and Lulu's white fur. It never really worked that way. I think this looks like Lulu's eavesdropping on the downstairs neighbors.

I LOVE this picture, I just couldn't find something to pair it with. Sure, it would have worked with the last picture, but I wanted two different subjects. Max was being even less cooperative that Lu was about the whole photography thing.

This is a basket Mom has. It's woven into a diamond pattern, alternating the red and green. I took other pictures where the pattern was more clear, but I liked this one the best.

These next two I almost turned in–in fact, I had turned them in, but we had a break before we got to my review, so I changed my mind, and substituted another pair.  I think they’re well done, but they’re not my aesthetic, and I didn’t want to put them in my portfolio at the end of class.

So the whole "something delicate juxtaposed with something hard and rusty" is absolutely not my aesthetic. Still, I'm a little obsessed with this old horse trailer (the blue thing) that lives behind my complex. This was taken during the golden hour in the morning, and I love how the sunflowers are glowing.

this truckbed-turned-trailer lives next to the horse trailer in the last picture. This picture was taken half a dozen times before I managed to get there in the golden hour in the evening. While I think pictures of rusty metal are so overdone, I love the lines in this picture, and the glow of the trailer.

So, fall's here. Or almost here. Or something. I couldn't find any leaves that had changed color all the way--not that I looked very hard--so I settled for my parent's honey locust tree, where the leaves were just starting to change.


"Color" kinda turned into "lighting" for me. And I had a lot of fun playing with the shutter speed on my camera. This was taken by setting a 6" shutter speed (while the car was not moving, naturally. This was dangerous enough, and I tried to be smart-ish about it) then propped up on my dashboard while I was driving an empty stretch of road. I like how the yellow roadsign and the yellow stripe in the road come together. I kinda wished I was following someone, so I could get red tail-lights, but I think just the yellow, black and white work together.

So you know how I said that "color" kinda turned into "light" for me? Yeah. This is one of the pictures that I ended up turning in. I was mesmerized by the way the blue screen reflected on the desk with the computer. I'm really happy with how this turned out.

Last week, we looked at some abstract photographs, and I was intrigued by the notion, so I attempted some myself. This is a vase, a drinking glass and some ribbon stacked inside of each other--and the other photograph I turned in. It's blurry, but that was by choice--I wanted the focus to be on the colors, not any of the objects actually used. My instructor was worried about my camera after seeing this picture, until I showed her some of the others that I took this week.

So as far as color goes, I think I did well. Next week, we’re talking about composition, and taking a photography field trip around campus


Yesterday, I waxed…emo about the end of the semester and the various changes it brings. I guess maybe I should offer proof that I do indeed know that change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and the value of growing and stretching.

Case in point: This semester, I’ve been taking a watercolor class, which ended yesterday, part of what brought out my inner whiner. But this class–well, on the first day, when our instructor told us what we’d be doing as one of our last assignments–namely a portrait–I was skeptical and a little frightened.   I’d tried watercolor before, but I wasn’t that great at it. Of course, I was trying to teach myself, and had low-quality paints.  I also knew that my drawing skills weren’t that great–a potential problem for an arts major–even if my emphasis is graphic design.

ANYWAY: here’s the point. And a bit of showing off.  This is the first thing that I painted in class, back in January:

This was my first graded assignment:

These had the same reference photo. Notice, among other things, that I completely lost a snow bank in the color image.

This was my portrait, and very easily the best thing that I painted for this class:

for the record, this is a girl, not a boy. In fact, it’s me. This was painted from a photograph my dad took when I was 4 or 5. The weird lines at the top are a result of my scanner.

I’m not happy with the left eye, but still.  Four months.  That’s what it took for me to get from the random artichoke and tree-symbols to a fairly decent portrait.

It would have been easy to be half-assed in this class, and not progress beyond artichokes and tree symbols, but I worked hard, and I kind of can’t believe the results.  I know I’m a long way from opening up an Etsy shop, let alone quitting school to paint full-time.  It makes me wonder then, what can I accomplish in the next four months?  Four years? Four decades?  If I sit around and resist change, I’ll never know.


Ever since I lost my job, I’ve been mourning the loss of access to the Adobe Creativity Suite.  Frankly, Adobe CS is an essential tool for the modern graphic designer, and I’ve been keenly aware of the months that that particular tool has been growing rusty for me.

Somehow, going online and downloading a freeware version never crossed my mind,

Stuff like this is apparently genetic.

My sister and her husband have gotten a court date to finalize E’s adoption.  This means that they’ll be able to take him to the temple and be sealed as a family for time and all eternity–the church likes to make sure things are all nice and legal before proceeding with such things.

Sis was talking to the Bro-in-Law on the phone, and a question that they needed to ask me was brought up.  After Sis finished talking to her husband, she forgot what she needed to ask me, (and who she needed to call) so she called Mom.

Ten minutes into a conversation with our mother, Sis remembered what the question is and who she was supposed to call.  When Mom called me later, she knew about this, so I guess Sis shared her blond moment.

The question was if I would be willing to design announcments for E’s adoption, sealing and baby blessing.  I said that I would, but I didn’t have the right software.  Sis suggested going on line and downloading freeware…

I’m a little embarrassed that I hadn’t thought of Inkscape before.  I’ve been playing with it for several hours now, and think I’ve gotten the hang of most of it–of course, it’s just different enough from Illustrator to be annoying.

I’ve got three announcement mock-ups made, and an idea for a fourth–I considered posting them here, but Sis reads this blog, and I want to show them to her in person.

So, all of a sudden having access to a vector-based art program is allowing me more freedom in designing a header, so the theme has changed.  I anticipate this to be the last theme change for a while, but expect a rotating headers.  I should really learn CSS so I can personalize the blog even more, but, one thing at a time, here.

Requisite mention of St. Patrick’s Day.

I don’t know if the headache I’ve been fighting all day has officially progressed to a migraine, or is just a bad sinus headache.  The pressure behind my eyes make me think sinuses, but the dizziness, nausea and sensitivity to light is making me think migraine.  All I know is I feel like crap.

I got an awesome picture of it, though.

So today, went to a St. Patrick’s day luncheon with some friends.  Well, my sister’s friends.  I took TONS of pictures of other people’s kids, and ate food that had been dyed green–it looked disgusting, tasted delicious.  The sheriff’s office had a helicopter flying around the neighborhood much to the delight of the little boys at the party (and my sister), and the local news sites aren’t telling us why.

Anyway, owing to the fact that I’m feeling so terrible, and I really need to get back into the habit of blogging every day, this post is dedicated to the way I coped for the few days I was sans computer.

First, I tried to blog.  It didn’t work:

For those of you who can’t read my handwriting (And those of you who can must work for doctors or something), it reads:

Blogging Sans Computer, pt 1:

  1. Sans is a great word, it doesn’t get used nearly enough.  Sans sans sans.
  2. There are MEN looking at me!  When did this start happening, or have I always been too blind to notice?
  3. I have a lot to be greatful [sic] for:
    • my wonderful family and extended family
    • Terry Prachett books. Although I don’t know if I can handle a Rincewind book without demons/running away
    • chores that I’ve put off forever that only take a few minutes.
    • birdsong on the morning walk
  4. A little dog (or two) cuddled on the lap is a great way to stay warm on a chilly afternoon, even if they don’t like it when you balance a book on top of them
  5. I love it when books don’t turn out like you expect–they turn out better.  I need to learn how to do that.
  6. I suck at growing things from seeds.
  7. I may no longer have a computer, but my printer/scanner/copier will still work as a copier.  Sweet!

Like I mentioned yesterday, I pulled out my watercolor pencils for the first time in way to long.  Before scrolling down too far, remember, I’m a better artist on the computer then with a pencil and paper, and mostly, I was just trying to remember how to use the darn things, and wanted to see if they would work on sketch paper.

I actually really like how this one turned out. Kinda dreamy and swirly, with a random bit of blue, though it got me thinking that I needed to practice/figure out how to blend colors.

So I got this:

with random flecks because I was trying the advice on the back of the tin to get flecks of color.

And this: experimenting with different ways to put pigment down on the paper:

I also wanted to see what would happen if I used up a whole page, and the result is a crappy desert landscape:

The scanner ate all of the blue sky, and a good deal of the detail, but it wasn’t that great to begin with.  The point is, I spent an afternoon drawing/painting when I hadn’t done that in a long time.

I also wanted to experiment with human flesh tone, but I couldn’t draw a figure well enough to use.  I did get this that I quite liked:

but I couldn’t figure out what to do with her hands.

I also spent quite a lot of time writing, and I’ve already got the story that I began in the computer, and am working on it almost as diligently as I should.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with what I accomplished creativity wise.  Being without a computer opened a gate, anyway, and hopefully, I’ll keep going on this path.

Right now, though, I just want to go lay down for a bit.

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