21 February 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 7/52 - Open Your Heart(s)

After my abstract interpretation of the theme last week, I went for a more literal one this week.

My intention was to find chocolate hearts with a soft centre and break the middle so that the runny centre was visible - an 'open heart'. I thought with it being Valentine's Day soon that there would be loads of these chocolate hearts about but I searched for ages before finding some small ones, but without the pink runny centre. I tried smashing and cutting the chocolates but all my inital shots of this look messy and ugly. I played about for ages but couldn't make it work so I was just about to totally abandon the idea when I happened to take a photo of the chocolate carnage I'd caused by unwrapping and smashing loads of hearts. This shot looked quite good with the bright red wrapping and the pile of hearts, so I set it up on white paper in my light tent and started snapping again!

This shot has just been altered slightly but increasing the colour saturation so the red looks really bright, decreasing the colour temperature so the chocolate didn't look too yellow, and cropping it to improve the composition.
Many photos later I am satisfied with this one!

Even the 365 Scientist got in on the act this week:

And yes, it was torture unwrapping all those chocolates and trying not to eat them!

20 February 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 211 - 214

Day 211

We went for an afternoon stroll today to the local nature reserve, and the 365 Scientist enjoyed watching the ducks on the pond.

Day 212
The 365 Scientist was very tired tonight so he made his own way up the stairs to bed! 

Day 213

Back on his energy saving kick, the 365 Scientist pointed out that the temperature in the house was a bit high so we were wasting precious energy. I did turn it down a bit but I don't want to get too cold.

Day 214

The 365 Scientist helped me out today with my photoshoot for the MCP Project 52. The theme was words and we chose to demonstrate the phrase 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me'.

19 February 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 207 - 210

Day 207

I caught the 365 Scientist with his hand in the been money jar this evening - I hope he has a good excuse.

Day 208

My new food waste recycling bin arrived today and the 365 Scientist made sure he investigated the food waste caddy from every angle!

Day 209

The 365 Scientist took his own photo today and here is his self portrait! Not the greatest photo but he doesn't have very long arms I guess!

Day 210

'Stars Wars IV - A New Hope' was on televsion today and the 365 Scientist watched it with our very own R2-D2 (the best character by far!).

18 February 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 203 - 206

Day 203

The 365 Scientist fancied himself a bit of a rockstar today and entertained us with his guitar playing. He isn't half bad actually.

Day 204

Introducing....the 365 Scientist and the Monkeys! These little guys joined in on the act today playing the tambourine and maracas - the 365 Scientist is still the front man though.

Day 205
The 365 Scientist just finished reading War Horse for our book group. He thoroughly recommends it, and it made a change for him to be reading a fictional book rather than his usual bedtime reading of scientific textbooks!

Day 206

After noticing a slight rip in the seam of his lab coat, the 365 Scientist decided to sew it back up himself. He only had to ask and I would've done it for him.

17 February 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 199 - 202

Day 199

Today something I've been waiting for arrived in a very big box indeed, and the 365 Scientist struggled to move in inside for me. He did a fab job!

Day 200

I think it's my fault as I've been trying to eat healthily and exercise more the last few weeks, but the 365 Scientist has been getting paranoid that he is fat. Yes I know he's just being silly, but I let him weigh himself to try to prove he isn't overweight.

Day 201

So, it looks like the weigh-in yesterday didn't help and the 365 Scientist is concerned that 170g is too heavy, so he took off his lab coat to see if he could lose some of that weight. 140g - much better he said!

Day 202

After finding out yesterday that he isn't overweight after all, the 365 Scientist thought that he could have 2 dinners tonight - cheeky!

16 February 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 195 - 198

Day 195

The 365 Scientist just hanging out with Chocolate the Moose who has pride of place on my lounge wall.

Day 196

My free NPower electricity monitor arrived today and the 365 Scientist was so excited! You get to see just how much electricity you're using, and he had great fun switching things on and off all afternoon to see how much power they use - I think he's planning on drawing up graphs and everything!

Day 197

The 365 Scientist helped me make my anatomical heart plush today for the 'Plush Team has Heart" charity fundraiser. Well done us!

Day 198

The 365 Scientist and I finished a plush heart today for the Etsy Plush Team charity fundraiser, 'Plush Team has Heart'. It had to be anatomically correct of course!

Get Your Paint On - Week 2

In week 2 we had to choose an artist we like and incorporate an aspect of their art in our own painting. At first I struggled to think of an artist, but after a bit of research online I found a few and narorwed it down to Cy Twombly.

I chose him because his painting is so different from any I have done, but I do like the abstract and experimental style.

My first attempt is based on the Autumn painting from his Four Seasons. I used autumn colours and a range of techniques to apply the paint. I definitely had fun with this one! I especially liked the scratching of the paint and splattering. I tried to do some drips and running paint but I couldn't get that to work.

I added the ink-drawn girl afterwards because I wanted to add my own style to it - I hope you think it's worked. Here is a photo of it before, when I just felt it was missing something:  
I did always intend to add an ink drawing to it, but felt very nervous about doing it when it came to it in case it looked completely wrong and I messed it all up!

My second attempt was a summer version of the painting. It has been pointed out that this one looks like an underwater scene - that wasn't my intention, but now it has been pointed out, that's what it looks like the most! I tried to use summery, beachy colours and add a splash of yellow to represent sunshine.

I'm really enjoying the course so far and can't wait for the next assignment! Receiving feedback is really boosting my confidence, and I'm loving seeing everyone else's work too!

15 February 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 191 - 194

Day 191

The 365 Scientist has been trying to eat healthily since the new year, and now he thinks it's about time he did more exercise too. He's decided to try out the 30 day shred DVD of mine. He's in for a shock - it's very very tough!

Day 192

I came home today to find the 365 Scientist in a bit of bother. He'd been doing that exercise DVD he found yesterday and seems to have injured his leg and completely worn himself out. Maybe exercise in moderation from now on!

Day 193

The 365 Scientist helped me out in the laboratory today by loading the mini centrifuge. He had such a great day!

Day 194
You'd have thought after the exercise DVD fiasco the other day, that the 365 Scientist would've shied away from any form of physical exertion, but I found him waiting for me in my gym bag this evening!

14 February 2011

Get Your Paint On - Week 1

So, one of the many courses and projects I am taking part in at the moment is Get Your Paint On, run by Mati and Lisa. The assignment for week 1 was to create a painting inspired by the Gee's Bend quilters of Alabama. The main aim was to get used to the paint and techniques.

My first, and mini, attempt was a canvas in shades of blue – my favourite colour, and I thought I could display it in my bedroom afterwards.  

Painted in shades of blue acrylic paint.

After my first mini attempt, I got the idea to make my grid squares look like a landscape. I tried to make this look like a coastal scene - with the sand at the bottom, the blue-green sea in the middle and the blue sky at the top! I hope I've achieved that.

My original intention was to add a large silver rectangle and then draw a young girl in it with a black fineliner (I draw a similar girl figure in a lot of my art). However, when I was halfway through I thought that I'd probably leave it as it is when I'd finished painting these squares, and I think I will leave it like this now.

The 365 Scientist - Days 187 - 190

Day 187

I had a delivery today of my new replacement Rocketdog boots (I've worn out 2 pairs of the same boots already!) and the 365 Scientist helped me unpack them. He even got this cool free sticker.

Day 188

My Dyson vacuum cleaner isn't working properly so the 365 Scientist had a look at it for me. No answers yet but he's taken it apart. I hope he can put it back together!

Day 189

So, the fiddling about with my Dyson vacuum cleaner yesterday was fruitless, but the 365 Scientist thought it would be a good idea to wash out the filter to improve suction - good thinking! Let's hope it works.

Day 190

After spending the last 2 days trying to fix my Dyson, the big moment came as the 365 Scientist switched it back on. And did it work properly again? No. Oh dear, guess we'll have to call in the professionals.

13 February 2011

The 365 Scientist - Days 183 - 186

Day 183

Whoop whoop, it's the 365 Scientist's halfway point today! Day 182.5!! He celebrated with a glass of wine and a big piece of chocolate cake. I gave him a little present too - a BlackBerry phone, just like he wanted! OK, it might actually be a replica toy version, but he's happy enough! Everyone he knows lives in the same house anyway so he doesn't really need a proper working phone!

Day 184

The 365 Scientist had some fun today sliding down the bannister!

Day 185

The 365 Scientist getting undressed for his bath. He was a bit reluctant to get wet so I just left him to it. He said he had a wash but I'm not so sure he ventured into the water at all!

Day 186

The 365 Scientist discovered that something had been digging in one of the pots in the garden, so he set about investigating!

10 February 2011

MCP Project 52 Week 6/52 - Words

'Sticks and stones...
...may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.'

I went for a slightly alternative approach to this theme! I had so many ideas for 'words' but wasn't able to find the things I needed to photograph. 
  1. The first idea that immediately came to mind was to photograph words from road signs and shop signs and then make a collage of them to spell out a phrase. I had a few possibilities – ‘beware the power’ (as in the power of words!), ‘choose yours carefully’ or ‘actions speak louder’. I searched everywhere to find these individual words on signs but had hardly any luck so had to think again. 
  2. I stumbled across some graffiti when out searching for the sign words, and that became my back-up plan. I managed to make a fairly good image for this (see reject photo 2), but wasn’t entirely happy.
  3. Another back-up plan was to take a macro shot of a page from Hamlet – some of my favourite words. I’d seen that other participants had already photographed pages from books so I didn’t want to copy them really.
  4. When brainstorming phrases to do with words I remembered ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me’. It isn’t the greatest phrase in the world but I thought it might make a good abstract photo for the theme! After drawing a blank in my garden, I asked my mum to collect the sticks and stones from hers, and I arranged them on my pink brick patio for a little bit of colour.
I took lots of photos as usual but the chosen close up seemed to work best. I altered the image on Picnik by adding some boost to the colours and then added a slight cross-process effect.

Reject 1

Once I added some saturation to the colours and then a little boost to them on Picnik, I really noticed the green moss on the sticks and the pink bricks. I just wasn’t convinced about the whole image, but when I tried to crop it, it didn’t have the same appeal. I’m sure I could have played about with it more, but decided to use the close-up instead.

Reject 2

What really drew me to this graffiti was that it was written in a bright blue paint on a pure white plain wall. I enhanced this colour contrast with the boost function on Picnik. I also like the way it fits with the 'words' theme, even though it isn't strictly a word. I nearly chose this image for my weekly photo but I thought I might find a better graffiti image to fit another theme later in the year!

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