Does an artistic education ever end?

I started my college education majoring in architecture. This made perfect sense, really. I’d been spending hours upon hours, of my own accord, after school and during the summers drafting floor plans for houses since the sixth or seventh grade. While my friends went to parties or played ball (granted, I loved to play football or tennis or ride bikes with them too), I was often in my room, at my desk, putting to paper some sort of ingenious home design.

After two years pursuing architecture formally, I ended up changing majors for tangential reasons — reasons not related to my love for architecture, which had only grown. I switched to fine art, largely because it seemed like a logical step at that point in time (as much as college students are able to deduce such a thing).

I started studying graphic design, since it was the practical course within the fine arts degree and since my father, like many others before him, asked regularly how I was going to make a living in life. However, the graphic design professors at my university were positively awful teachers. One fell asleep in the middle of class on multiple occasions while beaming Wolfenstein onto the screen in front of the class, another had a fetish for magenta (among other things, reportedly) and a third took an independent study approach to teaching and our class only met about four times during the course of a semester. Needless to say I didn’t feel as though I was going to learn all that much more from them in the upper level classes.
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Learning to play tug with the dog

Apparently I can’t upload this directly to Facebook, so I guess I’ll post it here! An animated gif of my son learning to play tug with the dog, and the dog learning to play tug with the baby.


Tax incentives and the arts

While I’m not convinced tax credits (or deductions or inclusions or . . . ) are a good thing to begin with, this is very interesting:

” [In Canada] parents get a tax credit for money spent exposing their children to arts, recreation, or culture . . .”

[Preceded by] “A couple of years ago, I compiled a list of my favorite books for a friend. I went through all the books I’d read for the past five years, and pulled out the ones I most loved.

I was shocked to realize about one-third of them were from Canadian authors. One-third. Not of the books I read, mind you, but of the books I loved.”

Via Stone Soup

Intentional Observation: Pointy stripes

Pallet bark

Twelfth day of Christmas

Reposting one of my favorite photographs. I don’t do this with my own work very often, but something about the colors and composition of this photograph are always fascinating to me.


Ninth day of Christmas

Announcement to shepherds

TITLE: 天使向牧人傳佈嘉訊 (The Angels Spreads the Good News to the Shepherds)
ARTIST: 華效先 (Hua Xiaoxian, Luke Hua Hsiao-hsien)
INSCRIPTION(S): 路加華效先敬繪於一九四八年初夏 (Luke Hua Xiaoxian painted [this] in early Summer 1948)
MEDIUM: Chinese watercolor on silk; mounted as hanging scroll
DESCRIPTION: Two shepherds wait in the snow with their sheep while the angel Gabriel announces the birth of Jesus.
DIMENSIONS: (Painting [Mounting]) 53×47.5 cm [65.5x123 cm]


Eighth day of Christmas

Nihonga: Practice with metal leaf

Metal leaf with nihonga, white. Done with the materials I still have around. Taken from sketches of clouds made from an airplane last December. Very eager to go deeper with this medium.

Nihonga on Hold: Childlike wonder

While my wife was pregnant I began thinking, again, about imagination. How it seems like we lose it as adults, how it seems to come so naturally to children. Subsequently I started looking for photos that seemed to convey childlike wonder and sketched from them. Last week I tore them out of my sketchbook and added some pastel color and metal leaf to them.

I’m not sure the metal leaf was the best choice here, but when you’re just messing around in the few spare minutes available to you these are the choices a person makes.

Nihonga on Hold: Baby sketches

I’m craving-craving-craving the supplies and knowledge to be capturing the prairie and its spring and summer storms with nihonga. However, I don’t have money for supplies or time to practice now that our son is arrived.

So I’ve been doing whatever I can creatively, in between diaper changes, hanging diapers out to dry, burping, cleaning etc etc. That means sketches. I started with graphite on watercolor paper — what I had around — and colored the sketches in with broken pastels that had been laying on the nursery floor with part of a broken, slate shingle for us to scrawl notes on during the first couple weeks of newborn-induced super fatigue. I’m actually kind of happy with the results.

Applied some copper leaf to the orange ones as well.


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