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8-30-2011 Last day of the quarter

The quarter is almost over. This is the last day. Only two of my students are here, but the room is full. The Pharmacy program shares our building, and sometimes uses our lab for taking tests. They are all here, in their green scrubs, taking an online test in Angel. My students are either done with their final projects, in which case they don’t need to be here on this last day, or they are coming in later.

The Pharmacy students are different than our students. They seem so much more serious, but that is probably because they are going to be handling medicine, which is far different than pixels. We get the creative types, and we like it that way.

Both my kids got into medicine, and I watched them study. They worked super hard to get into their field. And now they have good jobs, but I don’t know how much fun they are having, or, I should say, artistic fun. Media is a better fit for someone who is creative, I think. As compared to the medical field, I mean. I could be wrong though. Maybe coming up with medical treatments is very creative.

But it can’t be creative in an artistic expression kind of way, like media can. James S. drew this figure in my Illustrator 1 class. He got a lot of satisfaction out of that drawing. And it is a skill that has some value in the marketplace. Not everyone can draw like that, no matter how long they practice. It requires a bit of a gift to see light as well as James saw it. The ability to see light and shadow is the cornerstone of visual art.

One of my students (James S.) drew this in Illustrator
One of my students (James S.) drew this in Illustrator

I need to buckle down on my grading but for some reason I’m avoiding it. Grading is like a snowball rolling down hill. The longer I avoid it the more time it has to snowball up on me.

I also need to update my curriculum for next quarter. I’m going to drop pop up windows in favor of an animated jQuery slideshow. Pop up windows are old school, very confusing for the students, and more trouble than they are worth.

Both pop-up windows and the jQuery slide show use pre-built JavaScript, but jQuery uses less of it, so I think the students will find it easier to process.

I’m looking forward to vacation. I’m going to do some climbing and some painting. I enjoy this teaching job, and helping the students who want to learn is awesome work, but it’s nice to have these breaks between quarters.

If and when I ever retire from teaching, my backup plan is to be a full-time landscape painter. It may just be a pipe dream…but I’ve always been a dreamer.

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Blast from the past: 3-15-1998

Life of a press operator

Today I got fired. (3-15-1998)

I was just starting to enjoy my new day shift job. I had been cutting paper for about 2 weeks. A paper cutter in a print shop is the person who takes the paper from the paper truck, un-boxes it and trims it down to the size that is needed by the press operator. He also trims the paper down to the finished size (ie: a business card) after the paper has been printed by the press operator. Continue reading Blast from the past: 3-15-1998

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Sunday, 8-28-2011

Sue, Lisa and I hiked up to Comet Falls at Mt. Rainier yesterday. I’d never painted a waterfall before, and I knew it would be ugly. I set up my easel while they hiked on up the trail to Van Trump park.

Surprisingly, I was able to create something sort of pretty, though I’m very unsure about it. It’s almost abstract. I kept trying to make it tight and accurate, but the shadows in the deep canyon kept changing under the rotating sun, and don’t even get me started on the waterfall. Those veils of water were dropping at 40 miles an hour. I could freeze them in my mind, but trying to extract the subtle shading of color from the gossamer veils of falling water was a trial.

And the rock surrounding the waterfall was horrible. It was all fractured and curving with pine tree poking out in random locations. I was ready to tear up the painting, but decided to get super loose and start throwing color at it. I mean, what did I have to lose?

I felt good about getting anything recognizable. It was a fun day out with the family, and great practice for me.

Comet Falls at Mt. Rainier
Comet Falls at Mt. Rainier

And here is the previous Saturdays painting when Sue and I hiked up into the snow on Skyline Ridge at Mt. Rainier

Painted from the Skyline trail at Mt. Rainier
Painted from the Skyline trail at Mt. Rainier
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8-26-2011

I’ve watched about 15 instructional videos from www.lynda.com on wordpress now and I’m starting to get a fuzzy grasp of wordpress.

It appears to be an online web page builder, that brings in, by default, the ability for my visitors to make comments. This has been one of my main complaints about my old school online journal, which I’ve kept since 1997.

My journal was not interactive, so my readers…all 3 of them :-), could not make comments, and it could not be seen on the internet, because it was locked down with password only access.

I’m coming up on some cool videos that will tell me how to host this wordpress blog on my own domain. I see this as a useful tool for our students. I’ve had several students figure wordpress out on their own, so any knowledge I can gather about it’s functionality will be all to the good.

Me painting the mountain
Me painting the mountain
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8-25-2011

This is my first web page on word press. I’ve had my own website since 1997, but have never had an interactive one. I’m still learning which buttons to press. My plan is to make this a publicly accessible blog, since my current blog/journal is password protected. The reasons behind that are long and convoluted, but this new blog will be public, interactive, and searchable.

I created this self portrait by taking a photo of myself (thanks John!) and manipulating it in Photoshop for 10 hours using this book: http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Photoshop-CS4-Illustration-Techniques/dp/024052134X Derek Lea is the first person I’ve found who explains high end photoshop artwork. Truly an amazingly talented digital artist.

Self_Portrait_Photoshop
Self Portrait in Photoshop