Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ultimate How To Guide to Avoid Being Pranked on April Fools Day—Ten Creative Ways!

Uh Oh! Did you think this article was going to be helpful? Guess again!

Lesson number 1: Nowhere, and I mean nowhere is safe… do not trust anyone, even me.

Lesson No. 2: Repeat No 1.




Lesson No 3: Do not believe any headlines or blog article titles you read today (no one famous has died!)—Just finish reading this article, share it on Facebook or Twitter, and then turn off your computer, phone or tablet! I mean it, just turn them off and have an unplugged/device free day… it’s safer!




Lesson No 4: To emphasize Lesson No. 3, there will NOT be 10 creative ways to avoid being pranked today in this blog post!

Lesson No. 5: On this day, one day out of the year, your loved ones are the enemy. They are out to get you, do not be caught off guard! In fact, it’s better if you are not near them at all, but if you can’t help it, be watchful at all times!


Lesson No. 6: Do not put the sugar in your coffee without testing it for salt, do not use the spray nozzle in your sink without checking for tape, and DO NOT keep any shaving cream, honey, maple or chocolate syrup in the house! THROW THAT “STUFF” OUT! The last thing you want is to wake up with a sticky face full of “X.”
I could tell you horror stories from my childhood, but there is no time, they are coming for you…



Lesson No. 7: Be wary of closed doors, because they may have water buckets suspended above them! You just get dressed for work and BAM – soaking wet! 



Lesson No. 8: Did I say trust no one? I meant it! Your co-workers have been waiting since this past Secret Santa to get back at your for the re-gift that you gave them after they gave you a $30 gift card for coffee! If you see them smirk in your direction… Beware!

Lesson No. 9: Stay frosty my friends and with a little luck we will all make it to the other side! As always, have a fantastic and creative day of practical joke circumvention!

                              Happy April Fools Day!

—Charles

Senior Chair of the Committee for April Fool’s Day Prank Detection, Avoidance, and General Safety.  

P.S. Want to prank someone else? Share this article on social media! 

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Autumn Leaves. How to Paint an Abstract + Painting Videos!


Autumn Leaves. Acrylic on Textured Canvas, 12 x 24 in. 
Abstracted Landscape, Artist Charles Wolf. 
Impulsive Artistry © 2016. All Rights Reserved. 


Hello everyone, I hope that you are having a great week so far!

Back again today to share with you one my latest abstract artworks that I created using a somewhat unusual approach, for me at least, employing an unconventional painting tool as well.

What is really wonderful about painting is that you never know where you might end up next in your personal creative process. Sometimes it is fun to shake things up, throwing traditional techniques out the window, and to be bold in the painting process itself.

This work is titled “Autumn Leaves” and features a layering of vivid, bright colors one on top of the next—a cacophony of individual clashes between the blotches that ultimately work in concert to create a unified whole. The lines add structure and orient the viewer’s perspective, forming order from the smeared, abstracted chaos.


Timelapse Painting Video for Autumn Leaves


Autumn Leaves, Timelapse Painting Video (only 4 minutes long)! Artist Charles Wolf. Impulsive Artistry Blog Productions. Impulsive Artistry © 2016. All Rights Reserved. 


Full-Length Painting Video with Commentary for Autumn Leaves


Autumn Leaves, Full-Length Painting Video (only 10 min. long)! Artist Charles Wolf. Impulsive Artistry Blog Productions. Impulsive Artistry © 2016. All Rights Reserved. 


How did I create this work?

The idea for this painting began in my local craft store when I was purchasing supplies for the week. There was a good sale on these wonderful 12 x 24 inch canvases, so I purchased four of them. While it might seem more intuitive to orient the canvas as a panoramic, I was immediately drawn to this portrait position. I also bought a new acrylic color: “Cadmium Orange Hue,” a featured color in this work. I knew that I wanted to paint a new abstract at the time, and the bright orange seemed the perfect choice to me!  

A fellow artist and friend of mine from YouTube, Dave Usher, suggested I try preparing my canvases with (PVA) Tacky Glue for increased texture (he does this with his acrylic landscapes). I tried it with this painting and found that it yielded a wonderful result.

Here is the glue that I used on Amazon:



To create this textured canvas yourself, lay the canvas down on a flat surface and place several large globs of the glue onto it, adding more glue as needed. Spread it out with an inexpensive paint brush that you don’t mind ruining, and use a hairdryer on high/hot heat to dry the glue quickly. Keep working the glue with your brush creating lots of ridges and movement while you dry. This takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. Let the canvas set for 10-20 minutes after and you should be ready to paint!  


Closeup!

Below are several close-up photos where you can see the thickness of the paint, aided by the glue underneath:










New Painting Implement/Playing with Paint

I mentioned at the start that I used an unconventional tool to create this painting. I made a large palette knife, using a giant metal spatula, which I purchased from a local dollar store. To make this knife, I broke off the handle of the spatula, and then straightened out the wide, flat end.

I applied the paint right from the tube onto the canvas without mixing it at all on my palette. Taking the spatula, I began smearing it outwards in large blocks of color. I started with the Mars Black and the Cadmium Yellow Med., followed by Cadmium Orange Hue, and finally the Alizarin Crimson to bring the whole thing together!

Please be aware that this style does use a lot of paint, so perhaps choose a less expensive brand of acrylics if you decide to produce a similar piece. I recommend the “Liquitex Basics” brand – a good mid-level product that has a great look, without breaking the bank. Here is a link to it on Amazon (to choose the colors you want use the drop-down menu):


  
The actual painting process took about 15 minutes, but it was an artistically stimulating challenge to create an interesting composition with nothing but a pseudo-palette knife and paint. I used the edge of the spatula to cut through the layers of paint back to the dried glue, indicating the tree trunks and limbs, or perhaps stems of the individual leaves—depending on how you look at this piece. 


Impulsive Artistry Etsy Shop





Autumn Leaves. Acrylic on Textured Canvas, 12 x 24 in. 
Abstracted Landscape, Artist Charles Wolf. 
Impulsive Artistry © 2016. All Rights Reserved. 


Every artwork that is featured on my blog is for sale. Consider supporting my art by purchasing this bold abstract at the Impulsive Artistry Etsy Shop! All of my paintings can be purchased there, link below:

Etsy Shop Main Page Link



Can anyone use this painting technique?

Well yes! Is this technique hard to do? Not mechanically, but it may be challenging to create a balanced and interesting composition. The most difficult part of painting this way is to not overwork the colors. If you mess with them for too long, you will create mud and loose the vibrancy of the individual colors. I tried very hard not to ruin the center of each splotch of color by only allowing the edges to comingle together. It can be tricky to know when you are finished with this sort of painting, but I went with my gut of when it felt done to me!     

Final Thoughts

Even if you have never painted before, give this method a try! It is a lot of fun to play around with the paint this way, it is relatively simple as painting goes, and can create a very attractive piece of art that will work well as home or office d├ęcor!

Thank you for viewing my artwork today! I hope that you find the art you see here on Impulsive Artistry to be inspiring, and that you will be more creative in your own life! As always, may you have a fantastic artistic day, and we will be back with more artwork soon!

—Charles


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Monday, March 28, 2016

Guest Artist Feature: Julia R., Photographer

Why I Take Photos:

Since I was eight, I have always been interested in phones, how things work, and of course: cameras and photography. When I was twelve, we visited our cousins. My older cousin was already into photography, and I got to see all the cool photos she was taking and the camera she told me she was saving her money to purchase. I have to say that she was the one who encouraged me the most in this area. She’s older than I am, as I mentioned, so I look up to her a lot (that’s also how I got into drawing more).

Since then, I am always seeking and love finding new and different ways to make my photos more interesting and attractive. I find joy in taking photos, mostly because I am so fascinated with God’s creation and how He made each thing with such detail.

Here is a collection of images just to give you an idea of what enjoy photographing and spend most of my time doing:

—Julia R. 

(Click on any of the images below to see an enlarged view)

Rain

My family and I have been traveling a lot by car right now—in the sun, snow, and here as you can see, in the rain. 



Photo by Julia R. "Rain." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved. 




Photo by Julia R. "American Flag." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved. 






Photo by Julia R. "Leafless Tree." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved. 



Snowfall

I took these photos at my cousin's house.



Photo by Julia R. "Dark Trees." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved. 





Photo by Julia R. "Dark Trees with Snowfall." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved.  



Dogs

Meet Molly, she is a playful puppy at three, and her soft-coated older brother Jake! 


Photo by Julia R. "Beautiful Eyes, Meet Molly." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved.  




Photo by Julia R. "Meet Jake." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved.  





Photo by Julia R. "Watchful Jake." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved.  




Sunlight and Apples

  I ended up eating this beautiful apple after the photoshoot! :  ) 




Photo by Julia R. "Jake and the Apple." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved.  







Photo by Julia R. "Sunlight." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved.  






Photo by Julia R. "Apple in the Grass." 
Aim, Focus, Capture © 2016. All Rights Reserved. 


Julia R. is an emerging young photographer and blogger. She lives in Uruguay, but is currently driving through the United States with her family.  


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A big thank you to Julia R. for agreeing to to be featured on this blog and taking these beautiful photos for this blog post here on Impulsive Artistry. To my readers, please check out more of Julia's lovely work on her blog: Aim, Focus, Capture, link below. I will also include links to a few of my favorite photo sets from her blog as well. 

—Charles




Editor's favorite photo sets: 






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Friday, March 25, 2016

Fundamental Topics in Music: Day 2


Welcome back to Impulsive Artistry! Today, we are continuing our second article series in preparation for learning to write your own music! This article covers the following topics: Rhythm, Beat Groupings, and Basic Note Values. We will be referring back to topics covered in Day 1 of this series, so be sure to go back and read that now if you haven’t already, here is the link:


If you are still reading this then you must have read last week’s post! For those of you who would like to learn “How to Read Music,” here is the link to the first day of that five-part article series.


Let’s keep going!
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I’ve Got Rhythm

Now that you have had some practice at clapping to a beat, we will replace the claps with notes! Every note in music that appears on the staff will sound in relation to the underlying beat, regardless of tempo (speed of the beat). Most notes will occur on the beat, happing at the same moment as the pulse, but sometimes notes will appear in-between the beats (not at the same time as the beat), we will come back to this idea later.


What is Rhythm?

Rhythm is the combination of notes with different durations in relation to the beat.
To put another way, the term Note Value means how long each note sounds before moving to the next note (as always, in relation to the beat [pulse]), and rhythm is a group of Note Values. These values can be all the same or different lengths to make up a rhythm.

Remember, the beat is always constant, but the notes can change in length (how many pulses that they will sound for over the beat).



Here is an analogy that I sometimes use when I teach piano lessons. Think about cake, there are many different kinds of cakes: chocolate, vanilla, lemon, red velvet etc. The cake itself, the inside part – not the frosting, is like the beat. Even though there are different kinds of cake, different tempos of the beat, it’s always cake, and a good cake, like a steady beat, will be very consistent and equally proportioned.

Now the frosting is like the rhythm in music. The frosting can have various designs, styles, and decorations depending on the celebration at hand; similarly, the rhythmic values (note values) of the notes on the staff can vary a lot—some notes are very short sounding, other are sustained for very long time! In the same way that the frosting is held up by the cake, the beat underlies the rhythm and supports it as well! 

Let’s start with the notes that occur on the beat (in sync with it, just like your clapping from Day 1!).
_______________________________________________

Note Values in Common Time: Grouping the Beat

We are going to assume for a moment that we are using the most common grouping of the beats. Yes, we can segment the beat into various groupings, but here we will use a grouping of 4 (we will expand on this idea in the section on Time Signatures).



To better understand this idea of grouping the beat, turn the metronome back on; here is a link to that free metronome site if you do not have one at home that we used in Day 1.


Set the metronome to 80 BPM. Count out loud with the metronome saying “1, 2, 3, 4 … 1, 2, 3, 4 … 1, 2, 3, 4 …” and so on, with the pulse. Just like your clapping in Day 1, one clap per beat, here we are saying one number per beat. We are now naming the beats: beat called 1, beat called 2, beat called 3, and beat called 4. After you say all four numbers with the pulse, you repeat immediately on the following pulse back at 1.

Here is a short melody that I wrote out to use a reference:


On the staff, the vertical lines (called bar lines) mark the beat groupings, forming measures. Each measure contains four beats in the melodic example above, and are found between the bar lines.   

_______________________________________________

Learning Basic Note Values in Common Time!

Common Time just means that we are using a beat grouping of four, I will touch on this idea later, but for now, let’s move on to learning some basic note values. 

Here is a Quarter Note, see image below, and a quarter note duration will sound for one pulse. When you were clapping with the metronome on Day 1, you were clapping a quarter note value with the beat—one note per click! Try saying the beat names and clapping at the same time, one clap per beat. You are now clapping quarter notes!  

Each note above is a Quarter Note (8 quarter notes in the example)! 

A Half Note sounds for two pulses: it will begin on the beat and then will continue to sound over the following pulse. To hear this, try clapping with the metronome again. This time, you want to clap on the first beat, and then wait as the following click sounds (don’t clap here), then repeat!


Each note above is a Half Note (4 half notes in the example)!  

An even better way to learn half notes is to sing any note saying “Laaaaaaa…” Just like above, start singing on the first beat, and then keep singing the pitch over the following beat. You can repeat on the next pulse!

Sing on beat called 1, continue to hold the note on beat called 2, and then repeat on beats called 3 and 4.  

Not quite getting it? Listen to this audio example and maybe this will make more sense, here are four half notes in a row:






Hear how the note starts on the beat, but holds (continues to sound) on the following pulse?

The last note value (duration) that I will cover in today’s article is a Whole Note. As you may have guessed, a Whole Note sounds for four beats. This type of note starts on the pulse and sustains for the following three pulses after.



A Whole Note sounds on beat called 1, and then continues to sound over beats called 2, 3, and 4.

Here is an audio example of whole notes: 



Shorthand

Musicians will use a short-hand way of speaking and refer to “beat called 1” as “beat 1.” They call “beat called two” as “beat two,” etc. Don’t get confused though, “beat 1” is the name of that beat. A half note sounds for 2 pulses (beats), but can start on any named beat.

For example, a half note will sound for two pulses regardless of the name of the beat.  A half note can be played on beat called 3, “beat 3,” and will hold on beat called 4, “beat 4.” The half note still only sounds for two pulses altogether, beat 4 is the name of that beat: beat called 4, not the number of beats: 4 pulses. Make sure you understand this difference! :  )

___________________________________________

Putting it all together!

Here is that simple melody that I used above again. Try to clap or sing this example (if you sing it, don’t worry about singing the right notes, just focus on the rhythm).   


Take a look at the different note values, turn on the metronome, and give it a try!

How did it go? Were you clapping/singing at the same time as the beat? Did you hold your notes long enough (not clapping on the beats where the note holds)? No speeding up while you clap/sing, keep it steady! 
___________________________________________ 

We will stop here for today. I will be back next week with Day 3 of this series, and will cover some more note values, and introduce the topic of time signatures!

Take your time with today’s material. Make sure that you understand it, and can clap the rhythms before moving on next week! If you have any questions or would like me to explain anything further, please comment below and I will get back to you ASAP! 

Thank you so much for reading this article, I hope that you found it to be engaging and informative! I have been really enjoying writing these posts on the basic fundamentals of music—an area of the arts that is ripe for creative endeavors!

Have a wonderful weekend, and we will be back with new Guest Artist Feature on Monday!

—Charles

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