Feb 27, 2011

A Schwarm of Eschers

A puddle of penguins.
An elequant of elephants.
A schwarm of Eschers?
Sometimes I think I am nuts.

Thanks to Linda Hensely, who posted an Escher work on her blog on Feb 18th. One with a fish. You can see my version second last image here. Thanks for looking :) Hope your day is grande!

Feb 19, 2011

Mitadrawingbelladrawingcesdrawingnuts: Layers

You know Ces? Ces is an artist brilliant. Very kind and generous, Ces sends her work around the world, both on the net and in real life. I am a recipient of her kindness.
If you know Ces you know Ces has a predilection for nuts- acorns in this case.
And so Ces being good friends with Bella, asked Bella to draw her, Ces, drawing nuts.
And thence threw down the challenge to Mita.
And at some other time, so the rumour goes, threw down the challenge that someone draw them all doing what they do do so well.

So here is "Mitadrawingbelladrawingcesdrawingnuts."
Layer upon layer.

Of course I didn't read the intsructions properly so I will have to do it again :)
All the images bar the top one are pretty big if you clicken them.
Thank you for looking.

Feb 15, 2011

The Last Ball of Red Wool - Revisited.

I once wrote a very bad book called The Last Animator.

The book was about a chap (our hero) who was locked in a cell with a fellow named Newton. Newton had this habit of banging his head against the cell bars incessantly - and when I say incessantly I mean incessantly.

 Day in, day out. Minute after minute, hour after hour. Incessantly he banged his head. Adfinitum. Circum maximus nauseum, bigtimeus.

Eventually our hero, whose one heroic quality was that he could make wonderous fantasical animations with his mind, was driven mad by the constant 'boink, boink, boinking' of Newton's skull against the iron bars.

It was a sad book. A bit like 'War and Peace' meets 'Dr Zeus'. 

Sad or not, I'm sure it might have been a best seller had any of the fifty six publishers I sent it too been intelligent enough to have to published. It was a cutting edge novel that would have sent people to the shrinks in droves. The novel would have boosted the  global economy like a ripe progesterone inflated hen sitting on a small New Zealand geyser - and we would not have had the stockmarket crashes of 1987, 1991 and 2006.

But all jokes aside, writing  that book for me was either cauterizing, cathartic or cathetizing - depending on your viewpoint.

But one thing the book was most defintely not - was a 'coif'.

Now 'coif' is an interesting word.

"Coif' may sound familiar because it sounds like "coiffer' - like in hairdresser - partic. usage:  "to be coiffed" per example: "I was coiffed nicely at the ball by Roger de Vanderbongl".

As you can see it's sort of French, and oddly enough is the thing that circa 1066 the Norman's put on their heads before doing their 'thing' at the Battle of Hastings. Consequently it was usually made of chain mail. Along with their hauberk and chausses, the coif was 'de rigger' in medieval combat.

But how does that fit in with my novel?

Well it fits in in all three ways!

Obviously a coif in itself, being a prophylactic device ( prophylactic def:  acting to defend against or prevent something)  was a type of anti-cauterising object - in that it negated the need to be cauterised because if you were lucky you didn't get any head cuts.

Also in it's way it was cathartic, because it helped heal old emotional wounds, expecially if you were the Duke William  of Normandy whose feelings had been hurt by the nasty English who didn't want to give him their throne.

As for 'catheterizing"? (def: to introduce a catheter into a body cavity.) For that we must turn to the English side. So in King Harold's (the English King's) case, you can say he was cathetrized orbitally with a Norman arrow. The Normans were the 'catheterizes", King Harold was the 'catheteree" and, finally, the arrow was the 'cathetererer". And in a way Harold was also cauterized.

Consequently, it all fits together. Catheter, cauterise and catharsis - especially if you know anything about the Battle of Hastings.

 If you know nothing about it, well you probably think I am raving on.

Now, while we are on the subject, another thing a 'coif' is not is a 'sweater."

So, though the Illustration Friday prompt this week is "Sweater' and though these dwarves appear to be knitting sweaters, they should in fact be disqualified because they are merely knitting 'coifs".

I guess the caption is something like:

"It was a bad night, the night of the fifteenth, when Gerald Drawblehood, Captain of the Dwarven Knitting Association (Men's Division) announced to his half brother Cedric, that they were down to their last ball of red wool."

Thank you for looking. I will come visiting tomorrow promise. As soon as I have seen my shrink. :_

Happy Tuesday. Err I mean Wednesday. And I apologise to all those people who have visited to see this post already, to find it vanished. :(

Oh and check this site out! http://martavicente-dibujos-pinturas-objetos.blogspot.com/

Which I found through Don Roberto's blog.

Feb 14, 2011

The Martyrdom of Saint Valentine (May all Your Cards Be Hand Made Ones)

According to the twelfth century Belarusian Book of Martyrology (known to acolytes as the Кніга пакутнікаў) hidden in the vaults of the Medieval History Department of Cambridge there have been an amazing number of  Martyrs who have gone by the name of St. Valentine.
To be exact, history records a whopping twenty four Saint Valentine Martyrs. And oddly enough, The Book of Martyrs records that the big common denominator of all these martyrs (apart from them all being dead) is that they all met their maker (passed on, dropped off, keeled over, kicked the bucket, cashed in, bit the dust, gave up their ghosts, croaked, bought the farm, turned  up their toes) on or around the 14th of February.
Hence we have St Valentine's day on that day.
Yet this number of deaths of people with the same name over the centuries on the same day is surely not  a coincidence. And if it is no coincidence, what exactly does this suggest?

Though the ill mannered amongst us might suggest that it indicates that the Medieval Catholic Church was too free with its Sainthoods and somehow managed to actually make money from them (I wonder how), it suggests to me something else entirely.

Now in the old Roman times if your name was either Julius or Ceaser (or even prince) then the Ides of March might have been your Bete Noir - (means 'black beast' - I always thought it meant your 'black French hat').

But in Medieval times if your name was Valentine, or even sounded like it (Ballantyne, Mallentyne or just plain old Tyne) then it would suggest to me that the Ides of February were a good time for either:

1) making sure your life insurance was alll paid up or,
2) staying locked  inside a house that was neither in a flood zone, a fire zone, had no internal      sharp objects, nor a manservant or butler with an Italian surname like Medici or Borgia.
3) dying as a martyr
Now if you were foolhardy and decided on option 3) "Death by Martyrdom",  the ways to go for a Valentine were many and varied.

Historically you had a choice of either a good old fashioned stabbing (2), beheading (5), intesterizing (dont' ask what it means - 4), drawing and quartering (1), crucifixion (1) or, most popular of all, stoning (7).

There was also the choice of 'not known' (chosen by four Valentines) if you were quiet and shy and would rather keep the manner of your death private.

So what's this have to do with these illustrations?

Good question.

These illustrations actually illustrate a little witch who has cast a spell on her 'mate.'
The mate, whose retinas' critical flicker fusion frequencies (see previous blog  post for details on this) are in fine form has just become aware that all is not right in the forest. He has suddenly decided that you can't trust cupids.

The next image is a sliver of a card I made this year.
Thanks for looking :) Have a great and wonderous Valentine's day and may all your cards be hand made ones.

PS: clicking for big enlarges the pics.

Feb 6, 2011

Fairies and Dwarves and Cheese Breathing Monsters

Well  as soon as I read this weeks Illustration Friday prompt "Reversal", my mind (of course)  immediately jumped to the concept of Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency.

And I can understand that most people probably thought of the same thing - so if I visit a dozen other blogs and find that most artists have illustrated Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency for their IF topic - then I won't be in the  least offended - dissapointed, but not offended.

Of course I, like most people,  jumped on the concept of CFFF (the standard abbreviation for Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency) to illustrate "Reversal" because CFFF is one of the adaptations that humans have developed to help us survive in the wild.

More specifically, CFFF not only helps us catch things like rabbits and worms - it stops us being eaten.

But how does it do that? (You see, even though I don't have a spell checker and can't type for chips, I try to end each paragraph with a question to encourage you to keep reading).

To be honest, now we are halfway into this post, I should also admit  that  CFFF does not only stop you getting eaten - you can also use it as a conversation filler. Just like I am now.

You see, CFFF, like lots of other seemingly boring concepts, has more than one use.

For example: in the middle of your next dinner party when there is one of those embaressing lulls in the conversation where every one suddenly stops talking at the same time, and then stares vacuously into the billowing convection current depths of their Salmon Soup waiting for someone else to take up the metaphorical conversational ball .... well with the concept of  Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency firmly under your belt, that person who takes up the ball can be you.

No questions asked.

So it doesn't matter which one of your dinner guests has been discovered having an affair with another dinner guest's wife, daughter, mother-in-law etc, you'll soon have them transfixed with spondules of giggleing joyful gaggling laughter once you introduce them to the miraculous concept of CFFF.

But why is CFFF so interesting, and how, exactly, does it stop you getting eaten?

CFFF  is all about the human eye, which is why it's so important for artists, hunters and human beings in general. (Next week I'll give you Mach bands and the concept of temporal and spatial summation to jolly your guests with.)

 So if your mind has already started to wander, it's now time to pay attention.

You see, in the human eye there are basically two types of photoreceptors - rods and cones.  Though rods are great for vison in low light, you can't see colour with them and they have lower resolution than the cones.

Cones are great for detail. You use the cones of your eye in the centre of your  vision so you can read, watch television, or spy on your neighbours' teenage pot smoking children.

On the other hand you use the rods for your periphereal vision.

And that's where CFFF comes in.

Basically Critical Flicker Fusion Frequency is (from Wiki) : "the frequency at which an intermittent light stimulus appears to be completely steady to the observer. Flicker fusion threshold is related to persistence of vision."

So....  have you ever noticed that a flourescent light will flicker in the corner of your eye and drive you nuts? Or the same with old fashioned Televisions?

But when you look at it directly, there is no flicker at all?

Well that's because of the CFFF! How exciting is that eh?

Well, it even gets better.

The reason you see the flicker in the corner of your eye and not in the centre is because the CFFF in your peripheral vision is lower than your central vision. That means you need a higher frame rate (flicker rate) for the light to be seen as non flickering in your peripheral vision.

So although the rods in this area are low resolution, they make up for this by being able to see movement much better than the central of your vision. They will pick up a quick movement in your side vison because of their higher CFFF (or was it their lower CFFF?).

Now isn't that wonderful? Can you picture in your minds eye your otherwise moribund dinner  guests wriggling with excitement over their lime sorbets as you regail them with this titbit of data!

But wait. There's more!

So why is a higher peripheral CFFF a handy thing?

Well, basically it means that you can see a small movement out of the corner of your eye.

That means  CFFF helps you see small edible animals (worms, rabbits, guinea pigs, dragon flies) when they are not directly in front of you.
But the other thing was with this wonderfully interesting and endlessly fascinating visual phenomena, is that, with CFFF human's can also pick up, in their peripheral vision, the rapid movement of mean things with sharp long teeth - mean things like lions, tigers, wooly mammoths and 'no name' brand monsters.

And that brings us directly to the IF prompt.

Reversal - in that, in the time you have been reading this post, the hunters in my images, have become the hunted.

Obviously they need to train up their CFFF a little more.

Did you know that Hercules Poirot is on at 8.30 PM Sunday Nights here in Oz?
He'll be on in another twelve minutes.
Which is a bummer.
Because I still had to tell you about the Blue Fairy, how she also fits into this week's theme.

Oh well. Maybe I can work the Blue Fairy in with Mach Bands, and Temporal and Spatial Summation - the subject of next week's potentially rivetting and award winning post..... :)

Please click the images for BIG.

As always my apologies for raving on. I just needed some text to separate the images. Otherwise they look too crowded.

(Don't forget to have that dinner party next Saturday night. Invite lots of boring people so you can practice all the new techniques you learnt here today.)