Because he said Kenojauk

Tuesday, June 16, 2015 11:26 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
The noun that Aiden gave me was Kenojauk. I had absolutely no idea who, what, or where Kenojauk was.

Turns out, Aiden was learning about Inuit art in school, and they had been reading about Kenojauk. Kenojauk Ashevak is an renowned artist who's work I had never heard of, but once I started looking into her work and her style, I was captivated.

Usually, I don't have much interest in art from First Nations as I find they are often nothing more than variations on a theme (yes that is a broad generalisation). Kenojauk, however, has a completely different style to what I am use to when it comes to First Nation's art.

The closest I can come to, when trying to explain it would be First Nations meets Australian Aboriginal art. She seems to like the style of using stipple rather than solid colours or lines but she uses more muted colours than you would find in Aboriginal art. She also uses a lot of whitespace in her pieces, whereas Aboriginal art seems to use concentric circles or geometric shapes to surround the main focus so that it fills the whole canvas.

If you're into seeing some fantastic pieces, I encourage you to check out her work.

Here is the piece I created for Aiden.

An homage to Kenojauk

Because she said Disneyland

11:10 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
As I talked about in yesterday's post, I had asked my niece and nephew to provide me with a noun, and I was going to create a little cartoon for them based on their suggestion. Then, I would take that cartoon and make a postcard to mail to them, because who doesn't like getting mail!

Alianna gave me the word: Disneyland.

The easy route would have been to draw her a cartoon with one of the many Disney princesses. There are oodles of them after all. But because I am drawing the cartoons with Night Terriers (my dogs) as a theme, I thought it might be more fun to create a cartoon based on what my dogs would do if they met Disney dogs.

Night Terriers go to Disneyland

Postcards from the Edge

Monday, June 15, 2015 22:05 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
I'm have recently embarked on something a little different as a creative experiment.

My sister has two fantastic children that I'm just crazy about. They are intelligent, funny, and engaging and just a wonder to behold. In the past ,Alianna and Aiden, have sent me videos of themselves asking questions about science topics. So, being the science minded person that I am, they managed to endear themselves to me even more than they already were. In response to their questions, I created a couple of YouTube videos using some characters I drew of myself and bit of audio background. You can check out the one I made for Alianna here, and Aiden's is here.

For my newest creative project, I have asked each of them to provide me with (in this case) a noun. Using that single word, I am going to produce a little digital artwork for each of them. Then I will have it printed at a photo centre, because they can produce better quality than I could on a cheap colour printer. Then, I'll laminate the photo onto another piece of cardstock, which I have printed as the back of a postcard. So in essence, I'm creating an on-demand postcard based on their suggestion. Hmmm...You might have thought I should have led off with that sentence. Anyway. in addition to illustrating something based off their single word suggestion, they will also have an overarching theme to include the characters from my Night Terrier cartoons. I'm calling the project: Because She/He said... and each postcard will have that sentence on it; followed by the word provided to me.

I have already completed the first two postcards, and will post them on the blog tomorrow with a bit of an explanation of what I have drawn, and why I chose to create that particular piece.

I'm hoping that this project will continue on longer than just a couple of postcards as I am hoping to get two things out of this:

  1. Some inspiration to continue drawing and being creative
  2. Form a stronger bond with a couple kids who I am very fond of.
Hopefully this becomes a regular thing, and I hope you like them, and I hope my niece and nephew like them too. I mean, who doesn't like getting postcards?

Back of postcard

The Power of Habit

Saturday, March 14, 2015 17:53 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and BusinessThe Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I started out reading this book with a lot of optimism. The author had began by talking about the science behind habit. Granted it was a bit of dumbed down version of science, but it was grounded in science none-the-less.

The following chapters took less of a researched base approach, and more of a story-telling approach to explaining habit; which other readers had admonished him for, but I thought it worked in the first couple of chapters. Then he went off the science and evidence formula and just dove into what seemed to be his own pet theories. This started with the Alcoholics Anonymous chapter.

I had two problems with this chapter; the first being that AA has a horrible and largely unpublicised record of reforming alcoholics, so using AA as an example of using good habit to reforming bad habit seemed doomed from the start. The second problem I had with this section is that the author pretty much admits that the research on AA is spotty at best, but he still decides to bend and twist his theory in order to relay what he believes to be a good story. Speaking of bending a twisting, there were also a couple of REALLY tortured analogies he used later on to discuss habit.

One of the chapters he does this in was about the civil rights movements where he tries to shoe-horn social ties and peer pressure into the habit definition. But the worst example of this bending and twisting to make it fit his idea is the sleep-walking/night terrors section. In this chapter, he claims that a clinical disorder is basically a habit. At which point in the book, I just sort of tuned out.

The appendix at the end gave some good examples of using habit to reform habit, which kind of brought the book back for me. In the end, I would have like to see more science in this book, a little less analogy, and a lot less conflation of habit with every thing a human does.

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