Shutterthyme's Blog

September 26, 2009

Sculpting with Wire, Plaster, Clay, and Metal

Filed under: 3-D Design — Mia @ 2:00 am
Fabric Sculpture Maquette

Fabric Sculpture Maquette

Posterized Maquette

Posterized Maquette

This is the fourth idea for my fabric sculpture project. The clay was formed around a wire armature to create an abstraction of an inverted wine goblet and an egg-shaped place card holder. My hope was to create a mobius strip in the clay maquette. I didn’t quite reach my goal but I like the organic shapes with their contrasting curvilinear edges. After taping the maquette, I can prepare a pattern for a 20″ fabric sculpture.

"Broken Dreams" Plaster Sculpture

"Broken Dreams" Plaster Sculpture

"Broken Dreams

"Broken Dreams"

I’m still cleaning plaster dust from my home workspace! “Broken Dreams” is an abstraction of a sinking sailboat. I had moved to Florida to live on a Hunter-33 sailboat but have since chosen to live closer to my grandson.

Aerial and his Water Lily

Aerial's a Vegetarian

Dragonfly Eyes

Dragonfly Eyes

Water Lily Maquette

A dragonfly wouldn’t be my first choice in sculpting models, but creating a wire insect was our assignment. “Aerial” was constructed from 14, 16, 18, 20, and 22 gauge copper wire. Spiral, coil, and cold connection techniques were used to create a two-part structure. The back wings provide a stand upon which the rest of the sculpture rests.

Copper, brass, and nickel sheet metal were hammered, cut, sanded and riveted to make Aerial’s water lily.

September 13, 2009

Digital Technologies: Tool or Medium?

Filed under: Introduction to Digital Art and Design — Mia @ 7:23 pm


What is the difference between using digital technologies as a tool versus as a medium?

Brownie Hawkeye Camera

Brownie Hawkeye Camera

I take photographs every week; in the summer, I have a camera with me everyday.  While I started with my older brother’s Brownie Hawkeye camera, now I use a digital camera to capture an image on a CCD that is, then, saved on an SD (Secure Digital) memory card.  The downloaded images are sized; adjusted for contrast, brightness, and color; then saved with Photoshop software. The albums of saved images are archived on a backup drive before the SD memory card is emptied for the next shooting opportunity.  When I enter my matted and framed photos into art shows, they are placed in the photography category and are judged by that category’s criteria.  Digital technologies are used as tools for my photography; the finished artwork is still a photograph and I consider myself to be a photographer.  Digital Art lists the categories of artwork that use digital technologies as a tool:

  • Digital imaging:  photography and print
  • Sculpture

I believe that painting from a digital model is another category that is also discussed in our text.

Digital technologies aren’t only tools for artists (painters, sculptors, printers, etc.) who create with other media; sometimes, the digital technology is the artist’s medium.  While working on a research paper about Jenny Holzer, I recently learned that she began her art career as a painter but found her voice in her art installations of typographical projections—in her truisms.  The moving digital projections fill the sky and cover building faces; they transform famous outdoor structures into nighttime sculptures.  A 2005 restoration of the Guggenheim’s Frank Lloyd Wright building culminated in 2008, with the unveiling of the newly restored façade and a site-specific light projection by Jenny Holzer entitled For the Guggenheim. The artist’s own political messages and translated poetry of Nobel prize-winning Polish poet, Wislawa Szymborska, comprised the text that was exhibited each Friday at sunset.  The large-scale projected texts suffused the exterior with a play of light and changing language, transforming it into an environment for observation, gathering, and discussion.  The computer interface, timed lighting changes, and projected truisms are among the digital media that Jenny Holzer used in her Guggenheim creative expression.  The exhibit closed at the end of 2008.

Digital technologies are used as the media for several categories of art.  Christiane Paul lists those categories:

  • Installation
  • Film, video, and animation
  • Internet art and nomadic networks
  • Software art
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality
  • Sound and music

Artworks that use digital technologies as their medium are as varied as artists’ conceptions and the availability of current technology.  Combinations of technologies may be used in the same artwork, as when animation and Internet are combined in the same digital installation.  And sometimes, the boundaries between technologies, such as virtual and augmented realities, are blurred.

Whether I use Photoshop to manipulate camera images or the internet to create a montage of pixels, digital technologies are used for both.  In the case of photographic manipulation, digital technology is a tool; in the case of an Internet montage, digital technology is the medium for artistic expression.  Below is an example of my using the digital technologies of camera and software to create a 2007 self-portrait—after a fall outside the Denver Art Museum.

2007 Self-Portrait

2007 Self-Portrait

September 7, 2009

Denver Zoo Reflections

Filed under: Photo Blog — Mia @ 11:01 pm
Sea Lion Reflections

Sea Lion Reflections

Polar Bear


Sea Lion

Sea Lion Ripples

Snow Leopard Family

Snow Leopard Family

My friend, Karin Berglund, and I enjoy photographing zoo animals together.  Karin, whom I met when I worked for LASP, volunteers for the Denver Zoo, the Wild Animal Sanctuary, and the Humane Society.  She is definitely a cat lover and still shoots with film.  I have included one of Karin’s snow leopard photographs.  It’s amazing to me that she shot through the fence and, with her camera film speed and aprerture settings, eliminated the foreground interference.

The polar bear photo, “Ecstasy,” was selected for the 2009–2010 annual Metrosphere publication.

“Everyone’s Work is Equally Important” (A Jenny Holzer Truism)

Filed under: Introduction to Digital Art and Design — Mia @ 7:43 am


The assignment is to write a research paper on a primary theme that runs through a selected artist’s work.  I chose Jenny Holzer who is less than a year older than I am.  It is amazing to study her process and to witness her evolution as an artist.  The central theme of Jenny Holzer’s art is her text:

Jenny Holzer:  Language as Art



Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer

 Ralph Ueltzhoeffer’s Text Portrait of Jenny Holzer

Ralph Ueltzhoeffer’s Text Portrait of Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer

Jenny Holzer

Xenon for Paris

"Xenon" for Paris 2001

"Xenon" for Berlin 2001

"Xenon" for Florence 1996

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1990

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 1990


Document from "Detained"

"Protect, Protect" 2009

"Survival: Savor Kindness Because Cruelty is Always Possible Later" 2003

What’s in an Advertisement?

Filed under: Introduction to Digital Art and Design — Mia @ 7:08 am
Sony a900 Danish Ad

Sony A900 Danish Ad


A 2008 advertisement from a Danish photography magazine caught my eye for several reasons.  First of all, my interest in photography peaked my curiosity about SONY’s flagship 24.6 MP camera.  The SONY A900 DSLR made its 2008 debut and sells (without a lens) for around $2700.

The beautiful bubble sculpture was the second thing I noticed in the ad.  Does the large bubble hide the fact that the camera body comes without its lens or is the bubble a visual metaphor for a fisheye lens that one may purchase?  The subtle rainbow palette of color is a contrast to the sophisticated black background and camera body.  Rhythm and repetition of the bubbles’ shape, color, value,  and volume, along with their black background, create unity in the Danish ad.  The outline of the lens sphere that is highlighted with hues of lightwave interference patterns gives the eye a place to rest—gives the observer time to notice the camera details—time to see the brand name.

The last feature of the magazine advertisement that captured my attention was the flow of type.  I don’t need to read Danish text in order to see that all of the type is white except for the camera’s alpha symbol and that the only bold word in all capital characters is “SONY.”  The camera features are typographically understated except for the phrase, “Det nye α900″…the new alpha 900.

Visually, a path of bubbles leads the viewer’s eye to the lens and then to the focal point, the brand name pinnacle.  The outer contours of the camera body are rectilinear and more geometric than organic; that’s a sharp contrast to the calmer spherical foreground shapes.  On the left side of the advertisement, the camera body has a texture that is rougher than that of the smooth bubbles. The only color on the camera is the red alpha symbol and a metering light reflection that has a similar red hue.  The background provides the negative space that balances the ad.

The photographer seems to have captured a moment in time.  Our experience tells us that the bubbles, in an instant, may thin and burst.  A mood of expectation and excitement is conveyed—even in the understated calmness of the classic black sophistication.  My opinion is that the Danish camera advertisement is thoughtfully constructed; it is beautiful and, with it’s subject, imagery, typography, demonstration of design principles, and incorporation of design elements, conveys a clear message to the viewer, “Buy SONY; try the new α900!”

As an after thought, if you would like to know why the bubbles have color, there’s an explanation at

Visual Cliché

Filed under: Introduction to Digital Art and Design — Mia @ 6:22 am

Water Droplet

ASSIGNMENT 6:  part 2

Webster’s online dictionary defines cliché as:

1 : a trite phrase or expression; also : the idea expressed by it
2 : a hackneyed theme, characterization, or situation
3 : something (as a menu item) that has become overly familiar or commonplace

Nearly twenty years ago when I used a stock photo, similar to this one, as the foundation for a “Quiet Inspirations” logo, the image was beautiful and fresh. I still think the image is beautiful but it is now common and overused.  When an image makes it into the PowerPoint backgrounds for the Microsoft Office’s everyday use, I consider it “hackneyed.”  The image of a water droplet splash, with it’s concentric circular ripples that reach beyond the focal point, is my example of of a visual cliché.

Visual Metaphor

Filed under: Introduction to Digital Art and Design — Mia @ 6:11 am
Music Has No Boundaries

The Beatles

ASSIGNMENT 6:  part 1

Gitam BBDO Ad Agency from Tel-Aviv created the artwork that exemplifies visual metaphor for me.  The pose of the Beatles may be familiar and, perhaps, cliché.  It certainly resembles the 1965 Rubber Soul record album cover but, upon closer inspection, the image is also a thoughtful metaphor for “Music has no boundaries,” the slogan for RAM FM (Peace Radio), a Palestinian and Israeli radio station.  RAM FM officially closed down August 7, 2008 with the final song being “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon.

According to Webster’s online dictionary, a metaphor is:

1 : a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money);broadly : figurative language — compare simile

The travel stamps that comprise the Beatles’ image allude to limitless travel—freedom to pass through geographic and cultural boundaries—something that peace could bring.

September 2, 2009

Digital Art Impacts Western Culture

Filed under: Introduction to Digital Art and Design — Mia @ 5:41 pm


“The Playing For Change Foundation (PFCF) is dedicated to connecting the world through music by providing resources (including, but not limited to facilities, supplies, and educational programs) to musicians and their communities around the world.”

The YouTube video of “Stand By Me” exemplifies, what I consider to be, the greatest impact that digital art has on our Western culture.  Whether the expression is in 2-D (photography, print, and digital canvas creations) or considered 3-D (computer modeling and animation) the outcome is the same as for the “Stand By Me” project.  The world is shrinking and individuals are crossing cultural boundaries.  Those of us in the Western world who have neither traveled nor experienced the subtleties of other nations can benefit from digital art or, as it is also called, new media.

Satellite Arts illustrated a similar co-operative effort when Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz created their 1977, three-location, interactive, satellite dance performance.  There was certainly no internet access then, so artists’ integrated NASA’s satellite feed time delays into their dance routines—routines that were performed in three different worldwide geographical areas to the same music.  With the advent of high speed and wireless internet, modern digital art can scream past (and in some cases, secretly beneath) cultural boundaries.

Zocalo Nomadic Museum, Mexico City

Zocalo Nomadic Museum, Mexico City

Elaborate art installations may include digital components.  Digital art is often a collaborative effort between the artist and a team of technical experts.  Programmers, engineers, scientists, and designers cross bounds of their disciplines, as well as, boundaries of their countries to create a final work of art.  Gregory Colbert’s Ashes and Snow has been visited by over ten million people on four continents.  The installation includes digital art components and is showcased on the Ashes and Snow Web site.  Gregory Colbert’s traveling art installation takes the form of a nomadic museum and is built anew with each engagement.

Digital art is time-based and, often, interactive.  The rapid evolution of computer software and hardware threatens the stability of the art, over time.  Operating systems, screen resolutions, and browser upgrades complicate sharing older artworks.  The problem of establishing archival standards has united governments, institutions, private corporations, and international organizations in ground-breaking initiatives that are aimed at preserving digital art for future generations.  Cross-cultural dialogue is required for the standardization of archival emulators and  software migration methods.  In the case of Ashes and Snow, Rolex purchased Gregory Colbert’s artwork; it was then, with his profits, that Gregory took the show on the road.  The next stop is in Brazil.

Gregory Colbert

Gregory Colbert

Whether it is in understanding other cultures by viewing their digital art or from working cooperatively to create a world message of “peace”—whether elaborate installations enlist international teams or the initiative of saving digital art reaches across continents and through traditional bounds—our Western culture has definitely been impacted by the new media, digital art.

Martin Waugh’s Liquid Sculpture

Filed under: Musings — Mia @ 4:15 am
Martin Waugh's "Moonlight Surprise" Liquid Sculpture

Martin Waugh's "Moonlight Surprise"

In the early 90s, I created a company logo for “Quiet Inspirations” that incorporated a water droplet splash.  Martin Waugh‘s fantastic high-resolution photographs capture liquid—in motion—with high-speed photography.  I didn’t see images like this one, in the 90s!  “Moonlight Surprise” is among my favorites.

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