Saturday, February 28, 2009

Digital "Natives" vs. Digital "Immigrants"

Okay. Be forewarned. This is a rant. I may offend some people.
Feel free to exit if you are offended.

As many of you know, I have been taking graduate classes up the wazoo so that I can finish my master's degree by June. I generally enjoy the classes. I am currently taking a class that meets on weekends. I spent all day (8:00 - 5:30) in class. The final meeting is tomorrow.

My issue is my "texting" classmates. I have problems with people who feel the need to text constantly. Why?

I have to deal with this shit in high school. Teenagers feel the uncontrollable need to text constantly! We used to be able to confiscate cell phones. We are no longer authorized to do that. The administrators do not support us because they are tired of dealing with kids. The truth is they are tired of dealing with the parents of these darling cherubs. The parents seem to think that their children need to be within a button's reach if an emergency should occur. Parents actually text their kids in school for fuck's sake!

Now I am in a graduate level class for teachers. At least one third of the class members have their cell phones on their desk, or in their pocket, or in their purse. These people are all teachers and they are fucking texting during the class! The professor has never said a thing.

So today Neetzy was annoyed as hell and decided to be confrontational (in a nice way). One particular student, a young woman around the age of 24-25 was texting almost constantly. I says, "I notice you text a lot".
She says. "Oh I HAVE to. My sister is going to Texas tomorrow and we have a lot of stuff to do.
WTF?? I'm thinking wait one half hour to call your sister.
I respond "Don't you find that annoying when your students do that?"
Her response. "Oh no. I'm a digital native. We do that. You are digital immigrants. You have to get used to the way we operate."
I suppressed the urge to smack her. I also suppressed the urge to lecture her on rude, idiotic behavior. After all, she was a graduate of one of our area's finest Christian institutions that pride themselves on teaching "family and Christian values".
I realize I am old enough to be her mother.
So I am a "digital immigrant" . I wasn't raised with a computer on my lap or a cell phone attached to my ear (or fingers). I didn't learn to use them in school. I had to learn on my own.
I'm thinking I want to rename these digital natives. I can think of a few less flattering fucks? digital dipshitz? I'm fishing for suggestions...anyone?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Post Number 50

I was hoping to share something monumental for my fiftieth post, but I don't have anything monumental to blog about. I do not have any new paintings. I have a bunch of works in progress, but nothing quite ready to share. So I am inviting you along on one of our
Sunday morning walks. I took the digital camera along one fine, fall Sunday. (It seems so long ago). This fence borders the horse farm on the other side of the "woods". The hill you see in the background is the top of "Skytop Trail". There are some rather large homes up on that hill that overlook the entire valley.
In our little patch of woods, you will see some wonderful shagbark hickory trees. These are among the hardest woods of the forest. Our natural local forest is classified as oak and hickory because these are the dominant and most valuable trees. We have a lot of black walnut, cherry and red maple as well.

A glimpse of the husband, waiting for me to catch up! He is 6'2". (I have these little hobbit legs you know). Fiona and Freja are probably chasing after deer.

The sun is peeking through the leaves. In late fall, yellows dominate. The hickories and aspens are in full glory. Our autumn is slow. The dogwoods start turning in September, followed by the maples and cherries in October. The oaks, hickories and aspens seem to take their time. Peak color is late October/early November. I'm snapping photos, trying to capture the fleeting color. Perhaps I'll find something I can use in a painting.
If I were a purist, I would paint only on location. I do every chance I get. I think I would be a purist if I had the time. I sometimes feel guilty for using photos as reference.
I like to use the photos as points of departure. I look at the picture. I copy some information, but I try more to incorporate that feeling of the woods. That certain quality of light is momentary. Cameras can capture that quickly. I hope I can convey that in my paintings.
Some folks ask me why I always paint trees. I am a little obsessed with them. They fascinate me. I feel a connection to them.
I played in the woods for hours and hours when I was little. Now, walking in the woods is therapeutic and calming. I'm glad you came along.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Experiments in Abstraction

I've decided to share some of these non-objective, abstract paintings that I've been creating in my "Absolute Abstraction" class. The first one is a "collage" start. I primed a large sheet of Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor paper with gloss medium. I then glued down bits and pieces of papers. To this I added acrylic paint, inks and gesso. The instructor told me not to do anything else to it. What do you think?
The second painting, also on Strathmore Aquarius. After priming with medium, I made a line grid, using watercolor crayons. I then wiped away some lines here and there, added a few and came up with an altered design. I added a few colors with pourable acrylics and watercolor crayons.
There is no proper top and bottom so I've added an "upside down" view. Let me know what you like the best. Please note this is very "flat" at the moment. I would like to build up some sort of impasto. I may even use these as starts for oil paintings.

The next one is an "ink" start. I wet the paper, dripped Dr. P.H. Marten's ink and placed waxed paper and plastic wrap over the ink. I lifted the wrap at the last class. Again, this is a "start". I will look to develop it into something.

I started a few more by adding textural gels and modeling paste to yupo paper. I then poured some acrylic color over the texture. I really liked the effect. I thought I uploaded the photo, but I guess I missed that one. Oh well, I'll have something to post later in the week!
I would appreciate your thoughts. I am starting to enjoy the adventure.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

All "Starts" No Finish.

I'll be back soon. I just overloaded myself as usual. I'm taking that abstraction class (Wednesdays) and that graduate brain-based learning class (Saturdays). I have a ton of homework. My abstract paintings are just "starts" at this point. I am doing weird things like altered "grids", collage and acrylic "starts", ink with waxed paper "starts". All starts, no finishes.

The class is interesting. I'm totally "out of my element", out of my comfort zone. Okay, I really "suck" at this. I'm used to being one of the "better" students in the studio. I am taking this class at the local art association and I feel like a total newb.

Ah well. Tis good to "stretch" our boundaries they say. We grow through stretching, trying new things, taking creative risks. Maybe this will prevent Altzheimers?

In the meantime, Fiona and Freja say "hello".