Dice design

Leaving Something to Chance Might Open the Door to New Possibilities

IMPORTANT MESSAGE — I have moved this blog to a self-hosted site and this will be the last post at this url. The new address is simply www.mylatestart.com. If you signed up to follow mylatestart, first of all, thank you! I don’t know if you will automatically get an email notification from the new site. This post is also on the new site, so if you get two email notifications, it’s automatic. It would help me a lot if you could send me a quick email to let me know — diane@dianeatwood.com. Thanks, Diane

It’s not easy to let go sometimes. To leave something to chance and see what happens. That’s what we learned to do in our 2D design class while working on three separate projects.

First project
We had to pick out two black and white images of different sizes and arrange them on a piece of bristol board. We could incorporate black poster paper as well.

The pictures I chose were of my daughter Stephanie and her fiancé Keegan. My nephew Chris took the picture of them jumping for joy this past summer at Two Lights State Park. The smaller picture is of the engagement ring Keegan made for Stephanie out of wood and a tiny rock. Pretty darn clever and romantic, too. Last Easter, he filled hollow eggs with treats and hid them in and around the house. The one he hid in the garden contained the ring. When she opened it, he got down on bended knee and proposed. Very sweet.

I love the images and plan to frame them for real as a gift. As for my layout, it’s pretty straightforward.

steph-and-keegan-cropped

Second project
The second time around we had to work in groups. I always get a bit anxious when I’m told I have to be part of a group. Being at least 40 years older than all of the other students might add to that anxiety, but fortunately, age — theirs or mine — hasn’t been an issue.

Everyone in the class had to draw an 8″ x 10″ grid divided into one-inch squares on a piece of bristol board and we had to use black and white images to create a design. Each group had to determine a method of chance for placing the images on the grids. My group, which also included Amelia and Ryan, decided we could each pick out our own black and white images, but we had to cut them into small, medium and large pieces.  We tossed everything into a hat and pulled them out one at a time.

Picking pictures out of a hat
Amelia picking a picture from the hat.

We spun around with our eyes shut and picked a spot on each other’s grids where an individual image would go. We then chose a scrap of paper marked E, N, W, or S from an envelope to determine the image’s orientation.

Ryan working on design
Ryan working on his design
Amelia working on design
Amelia working on her design

We had quite a discussion figuring out our group’s rules. I enjoyed it a lot and found myself opening up to ideas I might never consider. For example,  Amelia suggested we fill the entire 8″ x 10″ space with one image and draw a grid over the image. My first reaction was “HUH?” I thought about it and began to warm up to the idea. In the end, we did a coin toss. I’m the one who had to add the background image. Here’s what I chose.

Black and white image for grid design

The project was fun, but also frustrating because we had absolutely no choice in where we could put our images. We got varying results.

Ryan with design
Ryan
Amelia and her design
Amelia
Chance 2D project
Diane

Third project
We could take what we had learned and do whatever we wanted — grid or no grid, chance or total control. We still had to use black and white images.  I decided I needed some control, but not total. I drew a faint grid on bristol board, which I taped to a piece of black paper, which I taped to the large piece of board. I chose my images carefully, based not on their subjects, but their patterns. Everything else I left to chance.

I picked each image from a paper bag and dropped a small roundish pine cone on the grid to decide where the image would go. THE MOST FUN I had was deciding the direction by using a compass app on my phone. I closed my eyes and turned around several times in both directions and when I stopped, wherever the compass was pointing is where the image went. Not just north, south, east or west, but 132 degrees SW or  52 degrees NE. I was really excited about the final design.

Chance design 3

Leaving it to chance was a good experience
I don’t consider myself a control freak, but I usually prefer to be in control. Does that make sense? I worried quite a bit about how I should position the pictures of Stephanie and Keegan and the ring. I think the end result conveys the joy I wanted it to, but I’m not too impressed with the layout. On the second project I worried about working with my group. Everything turned out fine and I got a taste of letting go of control. With the last assignment I worried about nothing. ZERO. It was pure enjoyment, from start to finish. I figured out my process  and created my grid, which satisfied my need for some measure of control and left the rest up to chance.  Letting go can be so freeing and delicious. We should all probably do it more often.

 IMPORTANT MESSAGE — I have moved this blog to a self-hosted site and this will be the last post at this url. The new address is simply www.mylatestart.com. If you signed up to follow mylatestart, first of all, thank you! I don’t know if you will automatically get an email notification from the new site. This post is also on the new site, so if you get two email notifications, it’s automatic. It would help me a lot if you could send me a quick email to let me know — diane@dianeatwood.com. Thanks, Diane

Signature design. Original squares

Soul Nurturing

Cranky. That’s how I’ve felt this past week. My immune system was working overtime trying to fight off a cold. The deadlines for a couple of freelance writing projects had arrived. I made a commitment to volunteer at a wonderful and worthy weekend event when I really needed to be working at the computer. I had homework.

Fortunately, I love, love, love doing my homework. This week it has been my saving grace.

Continue reading Soul Nurturing

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First Week of Art School

I sat in the middle of a sea of young people, most not out of their twenties, some not even into them yet. I knew it would be like that, so I was fine and besides, they were all friendly faces.

My first class was 2D Design. We’ll meet twice a week for 2 1/2 hours — five hours total, plus an additional four hours a week for homework. Yikes!

Continue reading First Week of Art School

Drawing from Lucy class

Going Back to College to Get an Art Degree

My moment of enlightenment came during a painting class I took several years ago through the Continuing Studies program at Maine College of Art (MECA). It was called Painting for the True Blue Beginner and was taught by artist Patsea Cobb. Our assignment was to find a picture of a painting we liked and try to copy it. I chose Man in a Room by Paul Cezanne. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but just kept trying to paint what I saw. Patsea had warmed us up with several demos on how to prepare your canvas, lay out the palatte, hold a paint brush … I’ll never forget the moment my view shifted, literally and figuratively. I was working on the man’s pants and tried to copy a shape on one of the legs. I stepped back as Patsea had encouraged us to do and there it was — a wrinkle in the pants. I was astonished and from that moment on, I have been trying to make my own marks. Continue reading Going Back to College to Get an Art Degree