Friday, May 13, 2011

DIY lighting stage for photo and painting setups

Here is a simple way to put up a very flexible portable stage you can use with inexpensive clamp lights.
Ordinary PVC plumbing pipe, shower rings, clothes pins, rubber crutch tips, clamp lights and white Foam Core are the basic components of this setup.   The only tools needed are a hacksaw and a miter box (optional).

I have opted out of using PVC cement as I can easily disassemble it for storage... You can however glue some of the sub-sections permanently that will store flat along with the background boards of Foam Core.
Foam Core is available in craft stores in  medium gray and black as well  so you can quickly set up the sides and back for different backgrounds.  Various colored papers in rolls or sheets can add to the mix.  By rigging up simple colored filters using colored CD cases or clear cases with stage gels set over homemade stage lights you have a variety of effects at your command.  Add an inexpensive white translucent shower curtain cut to fit the sides, top and front and you have a very practical light box for photographing small items with soft, even light.

Simple clothes-pin and shower curtain ring makes a quick release for the backgrounds.

This simple set up is inexpensive and quick to assemble - use your creative juices to add to the mix..
See you in the next blog. GL

Monday, May 9, 2011

Drawing makes you smart? If you can do this you can draw!

There has been a lot of buzz regarding the evaporating ability to write longhand (cursive)...big mistake!
The eye-hand coordination that it  develops is the entryway to many many skill sets.  Its practice focuses the mind - no distractions - your brain will form new connections that will be permanent.   All of the movements within the execution of longhand are the same as you need in learning to draw...
Another way to see it is the reverse... If you can do this you can draw - you just need to put together a new and refined way to understand what you are looking at and translate to line..(the drawing).
Above is a sample of a simple cursive alphabet but you will find dozens more with a search.  First and foremost it is fast.... Your ideas will come fast - your hand should be able to keep up.
Your body has amazing skill that is already built in and ready to go ---- you just don't know it yet and have not assembled all the soldiers and aligned them to focus on the one job.. to draw.

Every semester with a novice class I demonstrate a simple example of  how sensitive your perceptions can be.
I had them close their eyes and tell me which of two paper samples I placed one at a time between their thumb and forefinger was thicker or thinner.  They never made a mistake...all could discriminate between .003 of an inch ( three one hundred thousandth of an inch..) Pretty remarkable - the thickness of one sheet of printing paper...Are there two pages of a book...or one page? We have all been there just didn't know how good those little fleshy puffy things on the end of our wrist were..Wait, there's more...

You also know more than you think you do...

      Story..You are waiting on a corner for a friend who now is about a half hour late... you are getting anxious.  They are supposed to be walking from the west section of the city... You still are looking at the crowd from both west and east just in case.. finally see them - two blocks away.. You recognize their walk and shape....Now, what does this tell you?  It tells you that all you need is the shape and gesture to recognize something as details of face or clothing ... just shape and gesture...this will lead us into painting - a brush stroke or two with the right shape will suggest it all. 
See you all in the nest post..GL

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Inexpensive DIY light box - Laptop style for storyboards and animation

Here is a simple homemade light box made form a 11 x 14 clear plastic picture frame.
Cut a pair of sides to fit from 3/4 plywood and paint them white. You will need a bottom cut to fit from hardboard also painted white.  A small  lamp available in home stores is useful to move around under your drawing or expanded to two lamps  fixed to the sides for a more permanent job.