Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Break

I should have posted this a few days ago.

The transitional math class that I was taking is over. (Don't ask, it's a long, boring story.) I got a 97.91% (kept making stupid mistakes or I would have done better).

When classes resume on January 11th, I will be taking MTH100 Elementary Algebra and PH123 Principles of Digital Photography in Winter Session I. Yep, you read that right. I will be taking a photography class. Finally.

Until then, remember to keep Christ in Christ-mas and have a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CSS 3D Meninas

Román Cortés has created a pseudo-3D/parallax version of Diego Velázquez' Las Meninas. A co-worker found it and shared the link with me.

CSS 3D Meninas

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Google Wave Invites

If anyone wants one, I have 25 Google Wave invitations to hand out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Inspired by Jeffrey Friedl

I have been following Jeffrey Friedl's work for years. I knew him first for his book, "Mastering Regular Expressions". Now I follow his blog to see his photos of Japan and get updates on his Lightroom plug-ins.

As I mentioned in my last post, I went for a walk today and took some photos along the way. I saw some trees and leaves that made me think of Jeffrey's recents posts. They are not as picturesque as Kyoto or Otsu but here they are.

Autumn Colors

DSC_8990

DSC_8993

Arigatō!

Inspired by Paul Butzi

I have been following Paul Butzi's blog, Musings on Photography for a while now. I went for a walk today and took some photos along the way. I saw some leaves that made me think of Paul.

DSC_8965

DSC_8991

DSC_8996

Thank you!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black Friday

Black Friday

We went to Kohl's Black Friday sale in search for a new steam cleaner as our old one finally gave out on us. We arrived at 3:48 am. The doors opened at 4. By 4:10 I had found the steam cleaner, hauled it to the front and was waiting in line to check out. Meanwhile Mary had also been looking for it and happened upon this gorgeous black and green dress. She bought it for Melody so of course we had to have her try it on.



Special Treatment

Be sure that you click the images to see them full-sized because it really makes a difference!

Friday, November 13, 2009

"A Scenic World" has no unread items.



"A Scenic World" has no unread items.

Sub-title: "The Zen of RSS Feeds"

A co-worker's initial thought when seeing this on my monitor was that someone was trying to make a statement. My reply was that it is very zen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week 6 Final Project and Artist's Statement

Mom, I hope this blesses and inspires you to continue doing great things.
- Matt


What follows is my artist's statement and the final project.


My mother has been drawing for years. She creates images of people, trees, flowers, birds, etc but also deeply spiritual pieces that really speak to your soul if you are a Christian. A while back I prompted her to expand her horizons; I asked her to move past her monochromatic works done in pencil, charcoal and ink into color. Ever since I completed FND110 Drawing, where I worked entirely with pencil and charcoal, she has been asking me to draw something in color.

For this assignment, I wanted to create a work that would be pleasing to her as well as show some of what I have learned in this class: using variations in hue, saturation and value to imply depth and transparency as appropriate; and choosing a color scheme that results in a pleasant viewing experience through harmony of color while limiting vibration. I chose to work on a religious theme using easily recognizable symbols: a bible, an empty cross and a fiery dove in flight.

During the thumbnail phase, I created for designs that symbolized Christianity: "The Word of God," a bible illuminated from the top-right by divine light; "The Empty Cross," an empty cross, light from above, atop a small hill; "The Inspired Word of God," a bible inside a ray of light coming from a fiery dove at the top-right of the frame; and "The Holy Spirit Descends," a fiery dove flies down inside a shaft of light. This was my first real project using Adobe Photoshop for drawing. A better choice would have been to use Adobe Illustrator but I do know it as well as I do Photoshop and time was running out. I learned how to use the pen tool more effectively along the way. In the end, I surprised myself with what I was able to produce in such a limited amount of time.

While working up the color harmony studies, I started with what I felt was the strongest thumbnail: "The Inspired Work of God." I chose to study monochromatic, complementary, split complementary and analogous harmonies. Monochromatic is probably the hardest harmony to work with for a design such as this one because it just screams out for multiple colors. In the end, I went with a nice orange hue. In the complementary study, I wanted a color duo that would work well for the light as well as the surrounding areas. I decided upon yellow and blue which I think works out well. The split-complementary harmony was a little easier because I already knew that I wanted a nice shade of red for the fiery aura around the dove shape, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. I had already seen how well the blue and yellow combination worked in the complementary study so I went with red, yellow and a different hue of blue. When I got to the analogous harmony, I knew that I wanted to work with warm colors: reds, oranges, and yellows. I put the colors in place and it looked nice. Then I got to looking at it a little more. I felt that I could do better, so I went to work again using the same palette but altered the shades a bit.

For the final project, I decided to ignore the suggestion that the split-complementary harmony would work better and stayed with the warm colors of my second analogous study. The analogous harmony provided more freedom to choose hues that express a spiritual passion that simply was not present in the other color studies. I started with a brand new file that was quite a bit larger. I drew everything over resulting in much smoother rays of light. I added a glow effect to the fiery dove which introduced some new tints. I redesigned the bible as well and shifted the yellow light over top of it resulting in faux gilded edges. There is no noticable vibration but the light appears transparent.

The design is a complete success. The eye is immediately drawn to the dove and then it shoots down the shaft of light to the golden bible. The light and dark areas are balanced and the contrast is gradual. The dove and bible introduce a bit of variety. The composition and layout is extremely pleasing. I feel that I was able to accomplish the stated goals and more; I have attained unity... The viewer is left feeling that this piece is complete.

Week 6 Final Project
"The Inspired Word of God"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Week 5 Assignment 3: Final Project – Color Studies

My "Week 5" posts are dedicated to my mother. She is a student of the arts who has inspired me to reach for my dreams while striving to do the will of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, through listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


From our thumbnails, we had to pick one design and produce at least four color studies using different color harmonies. I chose to use the bottom left thumbnail, "The Inspired Word of God", for my color studies. I then decided upon studies using monochromatic, complementary, split-complementary and analogous color harmonies.

Monochromatic is probably the hardest harmony to work with for a design such as this one because it just screams out for multiple colors. In the end, I went with a nice orange hue.

Week 5 Assignment 2: Final Project - Color Studies - Monochromatic

In the complementary study, I wanted a color duo that would work well for the light as well as the surrounding areas. I decided upon yellow and blue which I think works out well.

Week 5 Assignment 2: Final Project - Color Studies - Complementary

The split-complementary harmony was a little easier because I already knew that I wanted a nice shade of red for the fiery aura around the dove shape, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. I had already seen how well the blue and yellow combination worked in the complementary study so I went with red, yellow and a different hue of blue.

Week 5 Assignment 2: Final Project - Color Studies - Split-complementary

When I got to the analogous harmony, I knew that I wanted to work with warm colors: reds, oranges, and yellows. I put the colors in place and it looked nice.

Week 5 Assignment 2: Final Project - Color Studies - Analogous

Then I got to looking at it a little more. I felt that I could do better, so I went to work again using the same palette but altered the shades a bit.

Week 5 Assignment 2: Final Project - Color Studies - Analogous 2

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Week 5 Assignment 2: Final Project – Design Thumbnails

My "Week 5" posts are dedicated to my mother. She is a student of the arts who has inspired me to reach for my dreams while striving to do the will of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, through listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


From our proposal we had to come up with four design thumbnails using only black, white and shades of gray. This was my first real project using Adobe Photoshop for drawing. A better choice would have been to use Adobe Illustrator but I do know it as well as I do Photoshop and time was running out.

I ended up surprising myself with what I was able to produce in such a limited amount of time.

Week 5 Assignment 2: Final Project - Design Thumbnails

Top Left: The Word of God
Top Right: The Empty Cross
Bottom Left: The Inspired Word of God
Bottom Right: The Holy Spirit Descends

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week 5 Assignment 1: Final Project – Proposal

My "Week 5" posts are dedicated to my mother. She is a student of the arts who has inspired me to reach for my dreams while striving to do the will of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, through listening to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

My mom draws a bit and I prompted her to branch out from monochromatic works done in pencil, charcoal and ink into color. She creates images of people, trees, flowers, birds, etc but also deeply spiritual pieces that really speak to your soul if you are a Christian. Ever since I completed FND110 Drawing, where I worked entirely with pencil and charcoal, she has been asking me to draw something in color.

I would like to create a work that would be pleasing to her as well as show some of what I have learned in this class: using variations in hue, saturation and value to imply depth and transparency as appropriate; and choosing a color scheme that results in a pleasant viewing experience through harmony of color while limiting vibration. The theme will be religious symbols. I will execute the theme by using using three different religious symbols: a bible, an empty cross and a dove in flight.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Color Theory Wrapping Up

Color Theory has been a class with which I have had a love/hate relationship.

Love: I have really enjoyed the color exercises and projects.

Hate: I have never liked critiquing the work of others especially when I know that I know next to nothing about the subject matter. Also, I still find myself tripping over the language and terminology every step of the way because color is such a hard thing to explain verbally.

Today is the last day of week 5 which means that we have half a week of class left and only our final project. I will be posting the week 5 work soon but in the mean time here is a dump of the exercises and projects along the way.

Hue Study
Week 1: Hue Study


Value Study
Week 1: Value Study


Saturation Study
Week 1: Saturation Study


Week 3 Assignment 2: Color Exercise
Week 3 Assignment 2: Color Exercise


Week 3 Assignment 3: Color Exercise 2
Week 3 Assignment 3: Color Exercise 2


Week 4 Assignment 2: Color Exercise
Week 4 Assignment 2: Color Exercise


Week 4 Assignment 3: Color Project - Transparency First Draft
Week 4 Assignment 3: Color Project - Transparency First Draft


Week 4 Assignment 3: Color Project - Transparency Second Draft
Week 4 Assignment 3: Color Project - Transparency Second Draft


Week 4 Assignment 3: Color Project - Transparency Final
Week 4 Assignment 3: Color Project - Transparency Final


Week 4 Assignment 3: Color Project - Depth
Week 4 Assignment 3: Color Project - Depth


Week 4 Assignment 3: Color Project - Vibration
Week 4 Assignment 3: Color Project - Vibration


Sorry about that last one but if I had warned you, it might not have had the same effect. :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division

As some of you know, I attend classes through the Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division (AIPOD) which is sometimes simply referred to as the Art Institute Online (AIO). I have received a few questions since I started blogging about the school so I thought that I would go ahead and write up an entry that summarizes those discussions.

1. Does the online campus match up to a typical brick and mortar school? Do they show the same level of professionalism?

The professors come from all over the country and typically teach at a ground-based university as well. FND110 Drawing was a very rewarding class and the teacher was a pleasure to work with. ART1020 History of Art in Early Civilization was very challenging and the instructor really cared about the students learning the material. (I have actually kept in touch with her. She thinks that I should pursue a Master of Fine Arts once I have earned my Bachelor of Science in Photography.)

All of the professors and administrators have been professional and extremely helpful. Due to the accelerated format, it is quite common to read four to six chapters a week and the assignments can each take up to 8 hours with the research. My only experience previously was community college but this is much more intense.

My academic advisor calls or sends me email periodically to check on my progress. She also sends me email congratulating me on my good grades which really helps the self-esteem.

There is also a student run group on Flickr: AIO Photography.

2. I will be taking online classes in photography through the Art Institute. I am wondering if you have had any issues using your G.I. Bill? What did Uncle Sam pay for? Just classes or are tools (e.g. film, camera, etc.) included?

Veterans/Active Duty members, if you have not yet filled out your application for eligibility, you should do so now! The F.A.Q. claims "six to eight weeks" but that is not always true. I applied with the Veteran's Administration at the end of April. The Buffalo regional office handles all claims from AIPOD/AIO and they downloaded my application on May 5th. After three or four calls spread out over the past three months, I finally received my Certificate of Eligibility on October 26th. That's five months and three weeks if you do not have a calendar handy.

Your benefits will depend on which chapter of the G.I. Bill applies to you. I fall under Chapter 30 Active Duty and that will reimburse me only for tuition. Be sure to look at the VA's Benefit Comparison Chart.

I have yet to receive my first payment. According to the VA, they are extremely backlogged right now so the turn-around time on payments is pretty slow.

Update: When I arrived home last night, the check was waiting for me. That last phone call, where I asked for an inquiry to be opened, must have done the trick.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quote for the day

"Art is all about visual stimulation; both color and composition have to work together in order to captivate the audience."
- Matthew Musgrove

Yep, I said it. I was writing a critique for my Color Theory class and out popped this little gem, almost. Before posting it here I made a minor change from what I wrote yesterday; that semicolon was originally the conjunction 'and'.

Now if only I would heed my own advice...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Week 1 Assignment 3 Color Exercise First Draft

This is my first draft of the color scales. I chose orange because no one else had done it yet. I created an Excel spreadsheet where I calculated the various values of saturation and brightness to use. I then plugged those into the color picker and stored the new color as a swatch. Along the way I taught myself how to use some of the advanced features of the color picker in Adobe Photoshop.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"The Happy Accidents of the Swing"

WARNING: This post could be construed as vulgar or at the very least provocative. Do not read any further if you might be offended.


I really enjoy the risque "intrigue" paintings from the Rococo period. So it was not a hard choice to make when I chose Jean-Honoré Fragonard's "The Happy Accidents of the Swing" (Les Hasards Heureux de l'Escarpolette), which he painted in 1766, as the subject for an art history assignment. I learned much about 18th century symbolism along the way. Bear with me as I bare all of the dirty little secrets.



Ah! The scene is a tranquil park full of trees, bushes and flowers in bloom. Just look at the details that Fragonard put into this lovely scene: the flower petals, the leaves, the trellis and fountain in the far distance.

In the background we see a statue of two cupids riding a dolphin which symbolizes "the impatient surge of love" much like Ovid described in Metamorphoses. [1]

In the foreground we see a pretty, young woman being pushed in a swing by an older man, possibly a bishop.

The painting was possibly commissioned by a member of the clery which might explain the appearance of the older gentleman. Baron de Saint-Julien, Receiver General for the French Clergy, owned the original painting until his death in 1788. [2] At one point he was considered to have been the patron.

Unbeknown to the gentleman, the young woman's lover is hiding in the rose bushes in front of and below her. The cupid statue to the left is holding a finger over his mouth as if saying "your secret is safe with me!"

Her lover is in the perfect position for a private show. He can see her milky thighs and pink garter belt. The implied back and forth motion of the swing elicits imagery of sexual intercourse. With each swing, she spreads her legs a little wider apart.

At this point, the 18th century women would have been blushing and the men would have been quite, *ahem*, interested.


Her lover gasps as his heart skips a beat. He can hardly believe his eyes. She has opened her legs to the point where he can see past her "frothy dress of cream and juicy pink" [1] and chemise, all the way to her hidden pink rose: her vulva!

In the 18th century, the only undergarment worn by anyone was a chemise; yes, even the men wore them back then. I had to include the quoted description of the dress because it sounds so similar to the description of female genitalia, which I almost expounded.

The young lover is holding his left arm erect and holding his hat in his hand.

At this point the men would have taken their hats off and would be holding them in front of their groin!
Fragonard could not show the young man with an erection as that would have been vulgar, so he did the next best thing. The hat could further reinforce the penile imagery but I believe that it represented a condom, or English redingote [3], because such contraceptive measures have been used since the Egyptian era. [4]

She opens her legs wider and wider with each arc. Her lover thrusts towards her.

Be careful son or you will prick your -- self on a thorn.


She reaches the climax -- of the arc. She extends her leg in ecstasy and she lets out a little sigh as her shoe is released from her beautiful foot.

The shoe is the female counterpart of the hat. A bare foot and a flying shoe in French paintings of the period symbolized lost virginity just like the more common symbol of a broken pitcher.
[1]

Bonus: If you have not done so yet, open this link in a new tab or window. Above the lover and to the right of the base of the cupid statue is what appears to be a couple embracing and engaged in a long kiss.

1. "Fragonard's The Happy Accidents of the Swing." ART at the SUNY Oneonta. State University of New York, College at Oneonta, Web. 4 Oct 2009. <http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/arth200/gender/fragonard_swing.html>.
2. Labedzki, Annette "His Most Famous Painting (The Swing) - Jean-Honore Fragonard." His Most Famous Painting (The Swing) - Jean-Honore Fragonard. 9 Aug. 2009. EzineArticles.com. 4 Oct 2009 <http://ezinearticles.com/?His-Most-Famous-Painting-(The-Swing)---Jean-Honore-Fragonard&id=2732109>.
3. Guyotjeannin, C. "[The history of the contraceptive sheath][Contracept Fertil Sex]." MEDLINE (1984): n. pag. Web. 4 Oct 2009. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12313178>.
4. "History of Sex Timeline." Durex. SSL International PLC, Web. 4 Oct 2009. <http://www.durex.com/en-US/AboutDurex/The%20History%20of%20Sex/pages/HistoryOfSex.aspx>.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Insect Art

The setup is simple.

Setup Shot

  1. Wait until dark.
  2. Turn on a hot light pointed up.
  3. Take long exposure pictures of the insects that fly above the light.
  4. Tweak the images so that they do not look so boring.

Spark
Spark


Untitled
Untitled


Campfire
Campfire


Insect Art set on Flickr

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'm a photographer, not a terrorist

Why do I get hassled just because I'm carrying a camera with a large lens?

I see those looks you give me as I pass.

I hear your whispers on the wind.

Do I intimidate or scare you?

This is a camera, not a weapon.

I am a photographer, not a terrorist.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sunday Evening Dinner

On Saturday I decided that I wanted to cook. I picked out two recipes that not only sounded good but that would also harmonize well: Baked Chicken with Apple Stuffing from AllRecipes.com and Rachael Ray's Brussels Sprouts with Bacon from the Food Network. Mary and I went shopping and picked up everything that I would need as well as the normal grocery list. We ended up getting done too late so it got pushed to Sunday.

Last night I was the chef de cuisine and Melody was my sous-chef. She helped me out a bit in the kitchen chopping things up, battering the chicken and what have you. I remembered to get out my camera after we were a few minutes into the recipes.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
The recipe called for boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Chicken Coating
Milk and egg dips

Italian Bread Crumbs
Italian bread crumbs

Breaded Chicken Breasts
Melody prepared and worked the coating line, dipping the breasts into the milk, egg and bread crumbs.

Chopped Peeled Apple
I cored two red delicious apples, peeled one and chopped them both. Unfortunately I did not get pictures of the one with the peel left on.

Apple Stuffing
I prepared the stuffing using apple juice instead of water and added in the skin-on chopped apples.

Panned Apple Stuffing
I put it in a baking pan.

Panned Apple Stuffing with More Apples
I topped it with the peeled apple pieces.

Chopped Onion
I decided to slightly alter the recipe for increased flavor by chopping up a quarter onion.

Panned Apple Stuffing with Onion
I placed the onion on top of the stuffing.

Chicken and Apple Stuffing Ready to Bake
Then I added the breaded chicken breasts and this is ready to go into a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Brussels Sprouts
I cleaned (and sliced the larger) brussels sprouts.

Raw Bacon
I put three pieces of bacon in the pan to cook on medium heat.

Cooking Bacon
Just look at it sizzle. I really like this pan.

EVOO
We needed one tablespoon of EVOO.

Green Onion
I did not have any shallot so I used a green onion instead.

Chopped Green Onion
I chopped it up a bit.

Fried Bacon
The bacon is done and just look at how crispy it is!

Sauteing Green Onion
I put the one tablespoon of EVOO in with the bacon grease and gave it a turn or two before putting the green onion in. I let it saute for a few minutes.

Brussels Sprouts Coated
Next, I put the brussels sprouts in and tossed them about until the grease coated them evenly.

Chicken Broth
I measured one cup of chicken broth.

Brussels Sprouts in Broth
I added the broth to the pan.

Pepper Mill
What dish is complete without some freshly ground black pepper?

Chopped Bacon
Melody chopped the bacon.

Simmering
I covered the pan and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. I made another alteration to the dish here, I fried up four more slices of bacon and added the grease to the pan towards the end making sure that everything was nicely stirred up.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
I put it in a bowl and sprinkled some of our bacon bits on it.

Baked Chicken with Apple Stuffing
When the chicken was finished baking, the breading was very moist due to the instructions saying to cover with foil for the entire cooking time. I removed the foil and put it under the boiler for a few minutes to dry and slightly brown the breading.

Baked Chicken with Apple Stuffing and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Here is my plate. Doesn't that look delicious?

The chicken was very moist and picked up some of the apple and onion flavor. The stuffing was simply awesome. The brussels sprouts tasted great but I think that I might have let them simmer more than the ten minutes the recipe called for because they were a bit on the soft side.

I give both dishes five stars and we will be having both of them again!