Diane Stavola Blog

Archive for November, 2007

Nintendo – The Demise

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

Well, having served gallantly and fearlessly, the Nintendo did finally succumb.  I could not get the thing back together.  So on a crisp autumn day, Nintendo was carried to its next to final resting spot in our trash bin. On a positive note, it no longer is gathering dust in my attic!

Here is the final tribute collage I created with some of the photos I took.  There are also pictures I drew (can you tell which? LOL) and some of the pictures were altered in Paint Shop Pro.  nintendo-composite-3-a.jpg

I couldn’t figure out how to do the collage in Paint Shop so I moved the pictures into Corel Draw and made the collage.  Then I took a picture of it and reloaded that back into Paint Shop and cropped and resized for the blog.

Learning new software programs takes an awful lot of time, but eventually, I expect to be able to do this in a faster method.

The Nintendo Capers

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

For my latest venture into sketch books I have had to take something apart and draw some of those parts.  My inclination would be to go with flowers, but since I want to really stretch myself (not that drawing flowers isn’t a stretch – any kind of drawing is a stretch for me!) I decided to go with something mechanical.  I even had the nerve to go down to my husband’s workshop to see if he had anything worth demolishing.  In the end, I came to my senses and did a 180.

In the attic, I found lots of stuff that my son has left behind.  Most of it is useless, but he can’t part with it (I wonder where he got that from!!!!LOL). Any way, I found an old Nintendo.  I don’t think those things are around any more.  Let’s hope not!  I’m not sure I am ever going to get this thing back together. I do plan to get the top and bottom reattached to each other so that it appears from the outside that all is well.  Extra parts and screws will be scattered so that they are never found again!  And I will deny any knowledge of why the dang thing doesn’t work. 

I suspect that it already doesn’t work.  Inside, on the motherboard, I found a copyright notice of 1987.  Somehow I think they have made some upgrades to this thing since then!

With the holidays coming and all the birthdays we’ve had in the past two months, I haven’t been good about drawing.  I have been doing my activities for this course, but I have severely neglected my own drawing.  And it showed when I picked up my pencils. It took quite a while for my hand to loosen up and my brain to engage.

Note to self: DRAW EVERY DAY

nintendo-black-and-white-spring-activity-4.jpgThis is my first drawing.  Not great, but it does give the impression of a spring. I thought the circles and curves would be a good warm up for the more complicated pictures.

Next I did the screw head in black and white pencil and another version in Cretacolor Aquastics.  They are watersoluble oil pastels. I drew on the dry page and then added water with a 3/4″ filbert.   It made the colors quite a bit lighter when I added the water.  To get the darker colors, I drew over the picture again while it was still damp.  The sticks give a less crayony effect that way.  On dry paper they look as though you are drawing with crayons.  Then I used a mildly damp brush to remove that crayon look, but tried to prevent the wash out of color.nintendoscrew-head-bw-and-oil-pastel-activity-4.jpg  

nintendo-screw-head.jpgThese are the drawings and the original photo from which they were taken.  Not bad.  I don’t draw for the sake of having pictures I can frame so these are perfectly adequate.

Last night I did my last drawing.  It is more complicated, but I felt ready since I had done the warm-up drawings.                                                                  

  The top is the photo I took of the top interior of the Nintendo casing. The bottom in the pencil drawing. I found the subject boring, boring, boring. But, it did work to stretch me.                                                          nintendo-photo-and-black-and-white-drawing-activity-4.jpg

The angles are off, but again, I am pleased that I at least got the effects of 3-D and shading.  I really do need to practice more!

I also altered the photo of the screw  in Paint Shop Pro.  As long as I have had the program, you would think that I would know more about it.  Usually, I just do some minor tweaking of my photos, so I am not very proficient.

nintendo-screw-head-activity-4.jpgThe little I did do with this picture was a real eye-opener.  I am going to have to take the computer course when I finish with the sketchbooks.

nintendo-composite-3.jpgI have no idea what I did to get these effects. I just played.  I do have a tendency to do things and not keep track of what I am doing. I just know that I played with the colors and then made copies and pasted them into a new page.

Well, I’d better get back to putting the Nintendo back together. And I’d better get those screwdrivers back to the workshop before my husband finds out they’re missing.

Sketchbook pages with Monoprints

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

My small Moleskine watercolor sketchbook is rapidly beoming full. And it is almost impossible to close because of the attachements of painted papers. 

This week I have added several monoprints to my collection.  I think these are more successful than the ones I did last week.

monoprint-on-embossed-pearlized-paper.jpgI used some pearlized embossed paper that I found in the scrapbooking section at Michael’s.  I put the paint on my glass and drew some cross-hatch lines for this print.

I still have some trouble determining how much paint to use for a successful print. Sometimes it is too much, sometimes too little.  I am used to doing prints that require only the paint for a design with no drawing into the paint.  For those larger quantities of paint are perfectly suitable.

So Where Does the GR Take Us?

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Now that I understand the Golden Rectangle (to a degree), I have been playing with my photos in several different software programs. I definitely want to do a quilt using the layout from the previous post. So I imported several pictures into EQ6.  There I created line drawings and resized the pictures and colored them in several different color layouts. (okay, okay, hundreds of different color layouts, but it is easy to do with the click of a button!!! So why not?) gr2.jpg

I will only include two here. golden-rectangle-3.jpgWhen I settle on the final colors, I think this will be a gorgeous quilt.   The design on the building is Art Deco, but combined in this manner, it is almost like a Persian rug. 

And this is just the beginning of my ideas.  I have two beading programs that I have put some of the design elements into and have played with them also. But that is for another day!

New Necklaces and Earrings for the Artisans Center

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

I have been working all week to get enough jewelry together to replenish my now depleted stock at the Artisans Center.  And today I got my photos done and up in my Jewelry gallery on my website. 

I am currently only represented by the Artisans Center of Virginia, Waynesboro, VA.  I have so much going on that I just don’t have time to supply more than one gallery.  As my work becomes more complex for teaching, I have to create simpler less expensive designs for sale in the center. I try to keep those prices more reasonable for faster turnover.

Whether complex or simple, I love every piece I make.  That way if it doesn’t sell, I can always incorporate it into my own collection.  As of now, that hasn’t happened.  If I want a piece of jewelry, I have to make it for myself separate from what I do for galleries. Most everything I make sells eventually. 

Because I have started to use a lot of 24 kt gold and vermeil, even the simpler pieces are more expensive. I try to keep the costs down as much as possible but expensive components create expensive jewelry.

Here are some of the new pieces I put into the gallery:


 This one on the left is Gemstone Fan.  A real favorite.  I have been working in gold so much that the change to blues and purples was such a relief.  I wish I could keep this one.  goldenstrand.jpgOn the right is Golden Strand.  It is much simpler and more along the lines of classic.

This last one isn’t on my site yet.  It is a donation for the Artisan Center’s fund raiser in January. This is also a favorite. It is done with Sterling Silver and Lampwork beads. Also a nice change of pace.lavendarhaze.jpg

The Crap Shoot Verified

Monday, November 5th, 2007

A recent quilt which received accolades when shown at a national venue, then received not so great reviews at a local venue,  went on to receive a second place ribbon for Contemporary Art Quilts at a third venue. The crap shoot continues, and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.

The Golden Rectangle

Monday, November 5th, 2007

I promised I would discuss the Golden Rectangle. It is a fascinating concept for which I initially had very little interest.  Afterall, not all art is based on this concept.  It is not a principle of design. Whether an artist uses it or not is arbitrary. It has a long history, but that doesn’t guarantee that its use will always produce a wonderful design. It is a tool, and as such, it is up to the artist to determine its appropriateness in any work.

Having said that, I have spent a great deal of time reading about it and studying it and trying to understand the whole concept.  You must realize that I am not a math person, and this is definitely a math type idea. I hate math. I can’t do multiplication tables past 2x’s. I need to use my fingers to add even small numbers. It’s just not me.

Somehow this mathematical construct or principle or whatever you want to call it has really caught my imagination. So much so, that I plan to create an entire design class based on it and intend to create several works that fit into it and fully utilize all it has to offer.

For the ancient Greeks beauty was wholly defined by whether or not a design was meticulously accurate in certain proportions.

The proportion of particular interest was the Golden Mean or Ratio.  Architecture, sculpture, pottery, art, science, philosophy, and mathematics were all subject to this ideal.

During the 16th Century, the Golden Mean became known as The Divine Proportion, following its rediscovery by Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan friar.   While not every artist since the 16th Century has based his work on this particular proportion, it has remained a valuable tool for both artists and architects to the present day. So what exactly is this Golden Mean? 

The Pythagoreans of ancient Greece are credited with describing a mathematical pattern that occurs so frequently in nature as to be considered of divine origin.  This Golden Mean divides or bisects a line by dividing the length of the line by the number Phi or 1.618. The resulting division of the line is expressed algebraically as follows: AC:AB=CB:AC  (Beaird, “Grid Theory,” pg 1) It is the basis for the construction of the Golden Rectangle.  It is within this rectangle that the artist creates his work.

According to the Golden Mean, when the Width is multiplied by Phi it gives us the Length of the rectangle.  W x 1.618 = L.  When the Length is divided by Phi it gives us the Width of the rectangle. L ÷ 1.618 = W. 

One method for sectioning the Golden Rectangle is to divide every line of the Golden Rectangle using the Golden Mean and draw lines to connect the divisions.  The result is a Golden Rectangle divided into 9 smaller rectangles. (Kent, 1995, pg 33)  This is very much akin to the modern concept of the Rule of Thirds in which the chosen rectangle (not necessarily Golden) is divided into thirds in both directions.  Areas of emphasis are then placed in the vicinity of the intersections. (Davis, “Divine Proportion”, pg 2)  It is Divine Proportion simplified.  

For greater accuracy in determining points for the placement of important details, the nine rectangles can be further divided by drawing a series of diagonals from and through points of division.  golden-rectangle5.jpgFor the artist, the concept of the Golden Mean and subsequent Golden Rectangle provide a tools for establishing pleasing proportions and balance in his work. 

 Clear as mud? That’s how I felt when I first started studying about it. After a few months, it began to make sense. It may be something you might pursue in the future, but for now,  it is how I determined the final size of the composition for step three, and how I decided to make the divisions seen in the previous blog entry.

If you have questions, or would like more info, I have quite a few references besides the three below and would be glad to help you out – if I can.  So feel free to contact me.

Jason Beaird, “Grid Theory,” The Principles of Beautiful Web Design (2007)
<http://www.sitepoint.com/article/principles-beautiful-web-design/3.htm> Accessed 6-3-2007
Robert Davis, “Divine Proportion,” Journey from Concept to Creation (May 2007)
Accessed 6-3-2007

Kent, Sarah
Composition, Dorling Kindersley, London: 1995

Master Craftsman Step Three-Corel Draw

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

It is going to be difficult to limit myself in the number of designs for this step. The more I play with the pictures I took, the more ideas I have, and I want to do them all! I suspect I see a series in my future.

Using the photos I had taken, I put them into Corel Draw, EQ6, Paint Shop Pro, and AutoBead. Playing in each of these programs has yielded me a huge number of variations and permutations.  I could probably spend the next few months just altering the pictures and creating different designs. I’d never get anything else done.

The final project for step three must be executed in a Golden Rectangle. As part of the design process, the work must be designed with three versions, each showing different areas of emphasis.

To start, I put the pictures into Paint Shop Pro. There I cropped and edited the pictures until I was satisfied with them. Then I moved them into Corel Draw and combined them into what I consider a very nice design. golden-rectangle.jpg

Once I got all of the pictures together, I resized the entire piece so that it was in the dimensions of the Golden Rectangle. Easy enough to do. I’ll go more in depth into the whys and wherefores of the GR another day.

Because this step involves development of areas of emphasis, I divided the whole using two commonly accepted methods.golden-rectangle2.jpg

The one seen here on the right is known as the Rule of Thirds. By dividing the rectangle into thirds, using the Golden Mean or Ratio, I created a grid like the one that is overlaid on the photo.  Where the lines intersect are good areas for focal points.

They happen to be toward the center of the design. This very much corresponds to the manner in which we see. Visually, while our field of vision might be fairly large, we tend to focus on a limited area within the center of the visual field. Test this on yourself. When you are looking at TV, where do you focus? And where is most of the action occurring? When you are driving, where is your attention?

The Rule of Thirds is a much simplified version of the Golden Rectangle and Divine Proportion, but it works in creating designs.

golden-rectangle3.jpgThe design to the right has also been divided in accordance with the properties of the Golden Rectangle. However, as you can see, there are many more divisions and intersections.  It is a more refined and detailed method of division, and it creates more possible areas of emphasis.

Using the intersections, I can find the best places to locate areas of emphasis. It will also make it easier for me to do the three required variations of emphasis. The grid is in essence a road map for me.

It is a fascinating concept, and I am thinking of developing a design class based on the Golden Rectangle.

Design Class

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

I suppose that it was inevitable that with working on my Master Craftsman in Design and taking Creative Sketchbooks that I would get the urge to teach a design class. I just have to use the knowledge I am getting with others as well as using it in my work.  I am loving design. I can that it is a life long study!

I have a basic outline for one class: Design from Inspiration to Implementation.  It is a four day workshop geared toward both ANG and EGA.

Most of the class material has been written also and now I am working through the samples and teaching pieces.  I plan to have it ready by early 2008.

Then I have another idea for a design class based on the Golden Rectangle.

It’s a Crap Shoot!

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

I think that should become my mantra!  I am constantly amazed at how my work is received both by judges and teachers.  If I put a piece out there enough, I usually get both extremely positive and extremely negative feedback on that same piece.  Regardless of their training or expertise, I never find anything near consistent in the evaluations I get.  That is why I say it is a crap shoot! How can a piece be wonderful and win 5 awards and then be so awful as to demonstrate that I have no idea what I am doing? Tell me how this is possible!

So, I have come to the conclusion that I do know what I am doing.  People may like my work or not.  What is important is the work.  I just can’t worry about what anyone else thinks. I just have to do the work.

I do believe that critiques are valuable, but I have received some of the most inane critiques. Things that just don’t make any sense and indicate to me that the judge doesn’t know what he is talking about.  Or that he doesn’t understand the medium I am using or something.

Not everything I do is good. That’s not the point! I know that I have lots and lots of growing and improving to do!  But please, make sense when you critique the work. I need constructive insights! And from some of the things I have read, I don’t think most judges base their evaluations on principles of design.  I hear way too much personal opinion!

I will continue to enter shows and competitions, but my mind set is very different than when I started out on this journey. The bottom line for me is the work itself.  I don’t just want to do it, I need to do it. And in the process, I strive for growth and improvement. I want to be the best that I can be at any given time. And have fun in the process!

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