"Hindsight is always twenty-twenty. " Billy Wilder
"Hindsight is an exact science. " Guy Bellamy

31 May 2010

Flip Book

Friday’s stop motion video class brought back memories of the early days of the Internet.  Very small file sizes were a must because of s-l-o-w download speeds (dial-up 14-28 kbs) and unreliable connections. Graphic files had to be miniscule and anything above 20kb were considered large! 

Animated GIF files became all the rage, and clever designers could create funny stuff only a few kb large. Less clever ones produced annoying flashing or blinking text giving animated GIF files a bad name, in fact so bad that “blogspot” will not even display them! (I have tried.)

30 May 2010

Low Light Photography

I enjoyed the night-time photo excursion to Dandenong. Being part of a group proved synergistic – more eyes to see photo opportunities.
Getting the right exposure to create the desired mood was tricky. Tried to use a torch as a fill light, but the results were mixed. More time and a patient model will be required to perfect the technique!  Here are a few of the evening’s results:

Images  © PeteM2010
(Most of the images uploaded on this blog are 600 - 700px wide. Just click on any of the images to see the larger version.)  

26 May 2010

The Samurai

I was in full flight in Photoshop working on the Urban Legend masterpiece when my otherwise trusty mouse decided to split ranks and hid the cursor in the top left corner of the screen. All attempts at getting the wayward rodent to work again proved fruitless. To date we have had a good working relationship, but maybe wireless mice are more prone to such sudden delinquent behaviour than those on a lead.

To just stop working without any warning is not the attitude expected from a mouse that has been carefully looked after from day one. No shirking on my part; fresh high quality NiMH batteries have been supplied at the slightest hint of needs. No cheapskate ‘no brand batteries’ for this mouse.

Being a devotee of Sun Tzu’s Art of War, I knew that prompt action was required before other parts of the computer followed the dissident’s unacceptable conduct. The Stanley knife was quickly retrieved and like a lightning bolt, the blade was expertly placed bang in the middle of the scroll wheel.

Death was instant – a final bright red flash from the laser diode and then nothing.  The rest of the computer obviously took note and continued to behave, giving me a sense of elation and accomplishment.

Pity Sun Tzu does not discuss how to deal with the collateral damage, as since then, I have had a hell of a job explaining to all and sundry the sudden appearance of a deep gash in the dining table.

Image photographed in Japan 2009 by PeteM2010

23 May 2010

Peer review

Image© PeteM2010

Friday’s critique of our work-to-date was both humbling and inspiring. Seeing the artistic ability and amazing results produced by many of my fellow students was both uplifting and stimulating. What astounding progress in just a few months!

To be asked to review the work of colleagues was quite a challenge – a bit like the blind leading the blind. However, the ensuing, and at times lively discussions were helpful and honest. I believe we all benefited from the frank exchanges!

It’s been said that the road to success is paved with failure – sure, but my road seems to have more than its fair share of potholes. But maybe, with a bit of luck – my potholes may be in demand one day. I just have to keep at it!

17 May 2010

Nature imitating Science

Image © PeteM2010         (Click on the image for a larger version)

Took this picture at Simpsons Gap, West MacDonell Ranges NT in the late afternoon. The blue reed and the reflections of the red rocks and trees in the ripples of the water were captivating. Slight adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw – and hey presto, I had an unusual and pleasing image.

But, as David (our teacher) astutely pointed out – the picture merely looks like it has had a few simple PhotoShop filters applied. Bugger, I should have taken this image 20 years ago, before the science of pixel bending had been invented! 

10 May 2010


The Asian fishmonger called it “Fresh reef fish” and being a colourful specimen, it looked like a suitable choice for the fish project.  However, on the way home in the car, an unexpectedly pungent smell became increasingly noticeable. “Fresh” is obviously a relative term, or was the fishmonger in this case referring to a “French reef fish” and not “Fresh reef fish”. Language pitfalls abound! 

A pencil drawing seemed a good start for the project, but after about half an hour, the odour became overpowering. As the dog had already left the “studio” in disgust, it was obviously time for the fish to be put in the cooler. However, it didn’t take long before I was summoned by my muse and told in no uncertain terms to remove the offending and offensive item from the fridge.

A project was at stake, what now? As an emergency solution, I decided to use the neighbour’s beer fridge as a temporary fish squat until a better home based accommodation could be negotiated.  As the neighbour is away on holidays, I felt confident his slabs of beer would not mind the temporary company of a small but smelly fish. 

I intend to cook the fish at the first available opportunity. Hopefully that will temper the disagreeable pong! Stay tuned.

08 May 2010


The “gallery” already has some interesting finished works on display. It is fascinating to see how similarly yet differently each of us has approached the brief and the final painting process. The benefits of working together in a harmonious class environment are showing through.

Image© PeteM2010
We may not be quite ready for submitting works for the Archibald prize yet, but who knows!

06 May 2010

Speed humps

To do a life drawing in just two minutes was an unparalleled challenge. It easily takes that time just to focus on the subject and organise paper and charcoal, left alone do any drawing! Don’t forget, I am still struggling with the basic concept of drawing simple pottery. The human form had until Tuesday not even entered my drawing vocabulary.

However, after a few test runs, plenty of encouragement, a splendid model, and fifteen minutes of deep concentration, a life drawing of sorts was produced. This is the result of my efforts at recording the reclined female shape:  

Image © PeteM2010