Sunday, February 26, 2012

Image-a-day 2012: daily digital nanoscapes

Now that the distraction-turned-direction has become folded into my image-a-day commitment, I find myself making small watercolors paintings with an eye toward how they might looked multiplied and flipped horizontally and vertically, in addition to what might I might make happen to their colors under the flying finger of Photoshop.

What else? Each of these designs could be cut and painted tiles, quilt tops, or stained glass. Some could be effective needlepoint designs, although the diagonals might be tricky. Not for me, thank you. I have abandoned the idea of glass and tile because of the safety equipment requirement, and I have made just one pieced quilt which left me in awe of every quilt artist on earth. I  painted some nanoscapes-inspired needlepoint canvas which was challenging and not as much fun as I thought it should have been. Thus, I am left to paint, which I do every single day.

What happened to the pinterest posting?  I had been posting daily to pinterest, but when I read this post, I cancelled the account. Having been reassured by two people who are wise in the ways of these things, I requested another pinterest account, and the image-a-day images will go back up as soon as I am re-activated.

When can I buy these images? Watch for an announcement in mid-March.

Images from this week:

Tropical Tile

Blue Dots
Wild tiles

Raleigh Blue 2
Pink Tile

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

nanoscapes: defining other visions

The true, actual, and legally registered corporate name for nanoscapes is "nanoscapes & other visions, llc." Having taken tiny watercolor painted nanoscapes postcards to a new world with Photoshop, I have a better sense of what "other visions" means.

Each image created out of a 300 dpi scanned painted post card. I am committed to this 2012 Image-a-Day project and to posting these images to Facebook and to pinterest. What else will they become? Stay tuned.

Blue Dot

Green Glaze



Purple Roller Coaster

Blue Tiles

Dancing Ribbon

Monday, February 20, 2012

Image-a-day: a new digital nanoscapes' direction

What started as a distraction has become a new direction for digital nanoscapes, and they are part of my 2012 Image-a-Day project.
Blue Tiles

Nanoscapes began as post-card sized paintings because "tiny" was my comfort zone. When a pal said "I love your work, but I can't hang a post card behind my sofa," I took the hint and made larger paintings. My new comfort zone became 22x33 inches.

The return of small nanoscapes
The original "Net"
But the small paintings and post cards came back, because I love to experiment, I must paint every day, and their size makes them convenient for a traveler.

Through my consulting business, Pass the Baton, I often speak at law schools around the country. Two years ago, I would carry a 12x16 Arches Hot Press watercolor block and a six pallets with 100+ colors. No more. I take three or four tubes of watercolors, a post card block, a 6H pencil, a ruler, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener. Everything goes through security and the whole kit may weigh one pound.

Painting in hotel rooms
With the best lighting in many hotel rooms in the bathroom, I never hesitate to ask for better light for painting. Kind concierge staff members have delivered new light bulbs and, sometimes, multiple lamps to make my rooms workable for a painter. The collateral benefit comfortable bed-time reading. All too often, bedside table lamps give off barely enough light to barely see the alarm clock.

How are these digital nanoscapes made?
I scan a small painting and then experiment the wonderful toys in Photoshop adjusting color and hue, saturation and more. The magic in these new digital nanoscapes comes from horizontal and vertical flipping which, as you will see, makes a combination with a center, giving new life and more energy than the original.


 This painting, originally titled "The Net," is now the image of mosaic tile work that I would do if it didn't require safety equipment for tile cutting. When I turned 60, I decided that I should avoid all activity requiring either safety equipment or liability waivers. No skydiving, no bungee jumping, and no glass work.  

Just painting.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Public Policy: an inspired nanoscape

Public Policy
When I look at other artists' work and try to understand their explanations, I always wonder: What came first, the art or the inspiration? Were you inspired by a deep thought or a tall tree? Was it a color? A new brush? Are you trying to change the world or are you trying to make a tiny bit of it look better? Do you intend to create a contemplative space or are you trying to engage or enrage?

While I often start with colors or shapes, with "Public Policy" I began with a story. Not my story, but a long and complicated story. I have a friend who is a social sciences public policy researcher, and prominently on her plate is a project about the problems of aging and how it will affect the county that she serves.

Aging? Really. People get old, get sick, and they die. If they are lucky, their kids don't start World War III by fighting over their stuff. What could be so complicated about that? I listened to her stories about the challenges she and her colleagues have just outlined for her county's leadership, and was struck by how everything links with everything else. Count (some of ) the ways: 

Boomers will not retire in a tsunami: they are a slow-moving iceberg with a short front and a gigantic back end. My friend used this as an organizing principle for her presentation to her county's leadership. Knowing that the largest group of Boomers is as young as 46, gives everyone time to consider the issues around aging and to begin to plan. Time to get started!

Public Revenues and Taxes: Older people spend less, so sales tax revenue goes down. They earn less, so income tax revenue declines. Their property taxes generally stay level, notwithstanding the decline in property values. Government entities need to plan for a revised revenue stream.

In-Home Services: Boomers will probably want to "age in place," which means staying in their homes as long as possible. In-home medical services and personal care attendants will be needed by the thousands. Who will train them? Who will pay them? Who will supervise and monitor the care? Prosecutors report a startling increase in elder abuse by care-givers. This really matters.

Hospital Care: Optimistically assuming that you can pay for your healthcare either with public or private insurance, who will be there to speak for you when you are incoherent either from a specific medical condition or from dementia? Your children may be thousands of miles away, or you may have no children. A "Patient Advocate," a new health care job which links the patient, the family (if there is one), and the medical team will be an excellent resource. Where will these people come from? Who will train and certify them? Who or what will pay them?

Transportation (cars): As people age, their transportation needs and their ability to drive safely changes. How will you get to the doctor if you no longer drive? Who will do your grocery shopping? How will you be able to engage with friends and neighbors if you are housebound? Critically in Minnesota, how will you get the driveway shoveled out so that someone (not you, perhaps) can get to your car?

Transportation (public): If you have lived in a distant suburb all of your life, you have insulated yourself from public transportation. When you are reasonably mobile but can no longer drive, the fact that there is limited or no bus service to your neighborhood may rankle. Who are you going to look to for a solution to your new transportation problem?

Public Health & Safety: How do you plan for epidemics, pandemics, and evacuation when a significant portion of the population is not individually mobile?

Environment: Older people take a lot of medication which goes into the waste stream. When older people become incontinent, they use adult diapers. Most of the Baby Boomers were born before disposable diapers became the norm. They will have access to adult diapers, and these larger diapers will make a huge contribution to the waste stream.

Education: Just as important as providing for an aging population is the critical need to assure that the youngest citizens are getting appropriate and useful education. We no longer run one-room school houses where students were lucky if they each had a pencil and a tiny chalkboard. Education is a complicated and expensive operation with its own teaching, staffing, training, transportation, environmental, and public safety concerns. It is not a one-time expense.

Managing expectations for the next generations. Compared with Boomers and Millenials, there are realtively few Gen-Xers, but the Xers are waiting (often not patiently) for the Boomers to leave the stage. But with lagging-edge Boomers as young as 46, the generation shift may be a long time coming. Keeping eager Xers and Millennials engaged with their work will be a challenge.

This is just part of the growing list of policies relating to the issues and challenges of aging. The links between and among these problems inspired "Public Policy."