Inspiration, Museums, and Computer Lessons

Here in Fort Worth we are very fortunate to have some really great museums. One that I hope to visit soon is the Amon Carter Museum, which, locally, we usually think of as the museum of Western art. The Carter has an extensive collection of Remington and Russell paintings and sculptures. In addition, they have over 45,000 photographs in their collection. Right now, they have an exhibition of Ansel Adams.

Oak Tree, Snowstorm, Yosemite Valley, California
May 29, 2010–November 7, 2010
Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light

This exhibition of forty landmark and lesser-known works by the renowned artist-photographer is drawn from the Carter’s holdings and a private collection.

So, with these kinds of collections, it is always kind of surprising to me when the offerings are somewhat different. Currently, an abstract exhibition has just opened:I love going to museum exhibits, even an exhibit of works that I don’t particularly like. Besides being good for the soul, art frequently inspires me with ideas and/or color combinations.

Joe H. Herrera (1923–2001) 
Untitled, 1951 
Oil on canvas
Jonson Gallery Collection, University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque, NM

You can see the painting referenced above here. It reminds me of lessons that I used to do with my elementary students in computer class. Using a simple drawing program (Paint in Windows), draw a rectangle, the vertical and horizontal lines.


Then use the drawing tools to form ovals, circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, and freeform shapes. This was good exercise for the kids in mouse skills and using some keyboard techniques, like getting a perfect square or circle by holding down the shift key while drawing. The same with lines—straight lines are obtained by holding down the shift key while drawing.

imageNow, for the most fun of the whole thing! Use the paintbucket to “paint” all of the shapes. The example below is not finished, but you get the idea. And sometimes, a good idea comes out of doing mindless exercises like this. You can isolate a part of the whole or use the whole design. This lesson also taught the kids about the curved lines which, if too curved, let the paint leak into places where it’s not supposed to go. That’s another reason for drawing the large rectangle and letting the vertical and horizontal lines extend past the boundaries of the rectangle. Lessons that were hard-earned by some students! Another lesson about using Edit>>Undo. The colors available in Paint are basic, although you can add others.



Simplified (or not) designs similar to the above can certainly be woven on the Mirrix loom, or any other loom. Look at some of Claudia’s tapestries on the Mirrix Pinterest page or the blog, and you get the idea. They have since redone their website, so warning–many of the links on Pinterest are dead links. You can enjoy the pictures, though!

Today I am going to start on text on my last rectangle-like square. Hopefully I will have some pics tomorrow, but I have to admit, the 4th of July has interfered with my schedule, so if not tomorrow, then Wednesday.



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