Sunday!

The School of Art: Learn How to Make Great Art with 40 Simple Lessons is a simple little book that offers more or less what it says on the title. (Personally, I found it far more useful on how to look at and then appreciate Great Art than how to make it… but I am lazy.)

In it, we meet the Professor of Ideas, the Professor of Form, the Professor of Senses, the Professor of Making, and the Professor of The Planet. By their powers combined, they will be teaching Art Theory and the book is surprisingly engaging and, for me, exceptionally educational.

The first handful of lessons are things that you probably have down already. How to make a straight line. How to make a curved line. Making shapes. Culminating in the old-fashioned “how do you draw a 3-D cube using only 2-D lines” lesson. From there, lessons on tone and shading that can make a drawing of a circle look like a drawing of a sphere.

And then colors. Concepts begin with the color wheel and move through stuff like tint and complimentary colors and contrasting colors. They go through some simple optical illusions that include how you can make one color look like two different ones by using different backgrounds and the same trick in reverse: two different colors to look similar by using different backgrounds.

And then things *REALLY* start taking off (it’s around here that I started saying “Hey… I didn’t know that…”). They get into concepts like Composition and how Composition relies on perspective and proportion and positive/negative space and symmetry and balance how you can use these concepts to draw peoples eyes to and away from various things. Each lesson builds on previous lessons. How can you use alignment to bring order to composition. How can you then use repetition in your alignment to give the illusion of movement?

And then, from there, they tie everything together. How can you think visually? How can you take your thinking visually to use what you’ve learned about art to tell a story? How can you use it to catch people’s eye and persuade them to look? Perhaps even to change their mind about something?

This is a simple book with simple lessons that build on each other that will have your kids haranguing you to go down the aisle in the store with all the art supplies in it (and then, eventually, to the craft store).

On the surface, it’s a kids’ book. But I learned a lot from it too. You should check it out.

So… what are you reading and/or watching?


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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14 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. I was in Portland for a deposition and picked up five books from Powell’s City of Books on two trips.

    Of those five, I’m currently reading Andrew Marr’s history of post-WWII Britain. I’ve also been reading The Long Weekend by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge.

    Last night, I did something first for older age, I skipped a concert. The band I wanted to see was not set to come on to at least 10 and I was tired from the last few weeks of work and stayed in. I’ve seen this band three times before so it is no big deal in the long run but it feels disappointing. Especially because Saturday was spent at work appeasing a self-righteous opposing counsel whom made a big deal over nothing. The kind of stuff that makes litigation miserable for the lawyers.

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      • I am just starting to read him outside the Father Brown stuff. I am not a Catholic (though I had a grandmother who was very) but I am finding much that has aged quite well lately. But then again, I tend to be partial to the fiction of the Edwardian and interwar period.

        I will admit to reading it due to stumbling across it, as is my way.

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        • No, , I never had… thanks; I’m rather impressed, that’s really pretty good… I thought this paragraph very nearly perfect:

          There is a certain strain of thinker who insists on being more naturalist than Nature. They will say with great certainty that since Thor does not exist, Mr. Tesla must not exist either, and that the stories of Asclepius disprove Pasteur. This is quite backwards: it is reasonable to argue that the Wright Brothers will never fly because Da Vinci couldn’t; it is madness to say they will never fly because Daedalus could. As well demand that we must deny Queen Victoria lest we accept Queen Mab, or doubt Jack London lest we admit Jack Frost. Nature has never been especially interested in looking naturalistic, and it ignores these people entirely and does exactly what it wants.

          …and the conclusion also very Chestertonian in spirit.

          When one says that there shall certainly never be thinking-machines, because they remind him too much of God, let that man open his eyes until he is reminded of God by a plumber, or a symphony, or a dreary Sunday afternoon. Let him see God everywhere he looks, and then ask himself whether the world is truly built so that grand things can never come to pass. Mr. Butler’s thinking-machines will come to pass not because they are extraordinary, but precisely because they are ordinary, in a world where extraordinary things are the only constant of everyday life.

          I’m reminded of my Classicist friend who told me that for his PhD he regularly had to translate modern text into the Latin of Cicero, Virgil, and other lesser lights. It struck me personally as torture… but it seems there’s a natural longing for it. Until someone invents a thinking-machine that translates text into other languages in the style of Cicero, Virgil and other lesser lights. Then comment sections will never be the same.

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          • P.S. I should qualify that while he might marvel at thinking-machines… I’m also quite certain he would bemoan the abuse of thinking-machines. So, I’d place this fictional piece in, say, 1948 rather than 2018. Looking forward at the prospect of what might be possible rather than backwards at what has become.

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  2. It’s Father’s day weekend so no reading but the annual watching of the U.S.Open and the golf argument …er…dicussion between my hubby and father-in-law….oh and König Ludwig Weissbier among others

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  3. The Pseudoscience Wars by Michael Grodin. It’s about science and pseudoscience, Popper’s demarcation problem, and Immanuel “Worlds in Collision” Velikovsky.

    Also The Road Less Traveled, except it always makes me tired and want to sleep.

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  4. Proving something something about trends and fads vs. changes in tradition, my little town got itself its first Brewpub… so we went there. The beer was quite good; the space was adequate for an obviously small town budget; and the food was fine. The food, unlike the beer which was clean and focused, fell into my most hated restaurant trap: making lots of different (too many) and overly complicated foods barely average rather than a few simple foods very well. I hate that.

    Then we walked down a surprisingly busy main street to the local theater to see Ocean’s 8.

    We’ll probably yell at each other about that sometime in the near future, so I’ll hold back. My average Joe review was that it was fine. But I think they committed some cardinal sins in a Heist Movie (purely qua Heist movie, and not having anything at all to do with the sex of the characters) that fall squarely on the shoulders of the writers – who appear to be hired guns not related to the original Oceans trilogy. The Heist, the characters, the dialogue, the witty repartee, the running gags… all of those things are either flawed, off kilter, B-grade or non-existent.

    The concept? Pretty good actually; the execution? Sub par.

    Likely there will be an Ocean’s 9 in which hopefully Anne Hathaway is given room to fix the classic Heist dynamic so that we don’t get another grim “true-crime” vibe.

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      • Aha, “fine” in this case is faint praise… it was fine… nothing notable, but not a disaster.

        Surveying the menu, they went too far abroad and the food they returned was fine… adequate… with prejudice against for needlessly complicating their menu and under-performing on foods they don’t quite understand… so just barely.

        Maybe hard to explain my idiosyncratic restaurant preferences… but next time you’re in the Shenandoah Valley I’ll take you there and I think you’ll see what I mean. Unless maybe they improve… it was their first week after all.

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  5. Catching up on my Scalped graphic novels. I like the series–one of my summer projects is catching up my reading. (Okay, I won’t catch up, but I’ll do some serious reading.)

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