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Alpha, Icons, & Always Learning

April 26, 2011

When people ask what sort of art I do, I usually say something about whatever makes a mess, stuff that seeps and stains and gets under the fingernails.  I do, in fact, have a studio full of paints, dyes, resists, crayons, pens, charcoal, pencils, pastels, decoupage and papier-mâché goo.  Much of it is neglected; a few thing are unopened.  The first stroke and the inevitable cleaning up intimidate me, hold me back.

But this, words and ideas and language, is also my art.  There is amazing and motivating and inspiring art to be found, careful words laid out on special backgrounds, combining visceral beauty and emotional thought, all to be hung up out there, where you take it in and carry it along and then breathe it back out again.

Except I hate my handwriting and don’t trust my brushwork.  However, there isn’t really any reason to bother.  With my trusty scanner, anything can be that perfect background, even something messy I’ve made myself.  There are untold fonts available to become exactly what I want to say.  Sure, I am so far behind the curve on digital art that I will never catch up, but I can do my art and express what I need to without being on the bleeding edge, or even close.  There are on-line photo editing sites that are easier than PhotoShop, Gimp, or Seashore (great programs, but not intuitive to me, so learning one is a longer-term project) and fun, if not terribly sophisticated.  So I have dipped my toe into digital art.  One surprise has been that it is so easy to give away.  A PDF doesn’t need to be packed and shipped, damaged in transit and replaced.  I really hate re-doing, rewriting (yeah, I know),  ripping seams, all that jazz.  It requires no space, so it’s not the burden of a huge canvas or an awkward sculpture or artwear you wouldn’t be caught dead in.  Then I can have the piece printed and delivered in whatever fashion ~on whatever object~ the recipient requests… or not at all.  Digital picture frames are amazing for displaying and rotating vast quantities of art when the walls are full.

A series for mindfulness throughout the year

Then I got on a roll.  It is possible to change desktop icons… to anything you want, if you can find it or make it.  Make it?!  Yes!  Just yesterday, I learned how.  Again, beginner efforts, but they make me happy.  Check out my desktop:

That is Kiwi’s face, her foot, Kiwi Charging, and sweet ChutneyWordsworth, also my installation piece from the bedroom window.  How cool is that?  It took learning about transparency, Alpha Channel, and .png.  And now I know a little bit, which is a dangerous thing.  I want to do more, to do it better, and to share it.

This piece is an encouragement to a certain PhD student who has just begun writing her thesis.  Frankly, it’s an inside joke based on a Jamaican toll-taker on the Florida turnpike and my BFF making the drive down from Orlando.  The Jamaican’s brother was a state trooper.  Anyway, it cracked her up and I love that.

Perfectly personal & printed on things she wanted ~ how awesome is that?

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