Shutterthyme's Blog

December 11, 2009

Happy Winter Break!

Filed under: 3-D Design, Introduction to Digital Art and Design — Mia @ 7:52 pm

Snow Cone

Fall semester is over for me and now I have time to connect with friends and prepare for the holiday’s family gathering. I appreciate my class instructors, Matt Jenkins and Dawn McFadden—all they have shared and the patience to review “one more time!” The semester’s experiences have strengthened my art foundation and witnessing my classmates’ creative processes has opened my eyes to new options in personal expression. Thank you, all, and happy winter break!

November 1, 2009

YouTube Video Project

Filed under: Introduction to Digital Art and Design — Mia @ 10:18 am


With YouTube source videos, my class project is a compilation of titles, cross fades, reverse insert screen, and a center shift in Final Cut Pro. There are also four audio tracks: birds chirping, horse gallop, neigh, and tap guitar selection with harmonics.

I’ve had an interest in paper sculpture for decades. The research videos that I selected are cut paper stop-frame animations…and one flip book.

October 16, 2009

The Gestalt of “Bling!”

Filed under: Introduction to Digital Art and Design — Mia @ 2:35 am
Gestalt of Bling as "iBling"

Gestalt of Bling as "iBling"


Each of nine 8″ x 10″ images includes the word, “Bling.”  Each was created with Internet images to convey the Gestalt idea that the whole is more than the sum of its parts.  I selected the theme, “iBling.” Images of iPods (shuffle and nano), iPhones, iMacs, and Apple logos were used in the 3 x 3 panel composition.

Design elements and principles were considered for each of nine images but integrating individual panels into a single composition presented challenges I did not expect.  Should I concentrate the hue intensity in one corner?  Should there be starbursts on the bottom of the composition, too?  Does the white background help isolate one panel from the rest in support of Gestalt theory?   I addressed a long list of questions in positioning the panels for the final presentation.

I used a variety of techniques to meet the project criteria.  The Gestalt principle of similarity is prominent in my project.  One iMac screen is the anomaly in a field of nineteen other similar gold laptop computers.  In the middle left panel, the diamond shuffle is the anomaly among three other similar iPods.

To make certain the text, “Bling,” was in each image, the iPod shuffle “OFF” text was replaced with” iBling.”  Blurring, adjusting layer transparency, rotating, and transforming to create perspective helped blend the new text into the original images. Complementary and analogous color schemes were used in the shuffle panels.

Portions of the Apple logo were removed in three of the panels; viewers, using the Gestalt principle of closure, mentally fill in the missing parts to see the complete apple and its leaf.  The same kinds of gaps were left with missing letters on the top center and bottom right iPhone panels.  The jumbled words section of eChalk‘s Web site illustrates how the brain fills in missing gaps.

On the bottom center red nano screen, four iPods are layered within one another to create depth, interest, and to, again, illustrate the Gestalt principle of similarity.  After using an invert adjustment layer to create a simulated negative, I chose Photoshop’s difference blending with 10% red and 50% cyan sub-layers to create the color scheme for Sir Elton John’s portrait.  The portrait is far from Andy Warhol’s work but the image manipulation idea came from Warhol’s Marilyn prints.  Elton John’s negative, with its unrealistic coloring, is still recognized as the iconic vocalist who seems to fit in a world of bling!

The completed project was installed on an 8′ x 12′ hallway bulletin board in the Art Building. With two Introduction to Digital Art and Design classes represented, the hallway was Blingin’!

Installing Bling

Installing Bling

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

“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.

August 26, 2009

Fractal Focus

Filed under: Introduction to Digital Art and Design — Mia @ 11:41 pm
Fractal Focus

Fractal Focus


Our first class assignment was to “make art using software that is not typically used for creating artwork”—no Photoshop or Painter for us!

An ethereal, space-like image was my goal. I experimented with some online fractal programs that were fun but rather basic, so I opted to find images through a Google search. With background digital art that suggests a black hole, Sandy C. Katos’s three fractal images give the piece repetition, rhythm, color, and value to create a sense of unity.

I formatted the PowerPoint slide background with a 65° linear gradient in two colors, then set the color slider at 50% and the transparency to 0%. The black hole image was moved backward and set at 65% transparency so the black to gray gradient would show in the finished work. Three selected fractal images were adjusted for brightness and contrast, cropped, sized, rotated, and layered to create a sense of depth.  The transparencies were set at 20%, 50%, and 90% for the three images.  There’s a very faint image, with its 90% transparency setting, in the bottom right corner that fades too much into the distance.  Since PowerPoint is limited in its photo editing options, I had to choose between the hard edge of an image and a disappearing fractal; I chose the latter.

I like the overall affect of the final artwork but I’d like to give it a try in Photoshop, with the selection of forty newly collected “space objects.”  It was fun exploring, a site for free open source software, and learning about “Chaoscope” fractals.  If you have never heard of a fractal, this linked math site gives a pretty clear explanation of what one is.

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