Reference images

I’ve been working on some reference photos making an overlay in Premiere of scenery timelapses and video footage. I want to use these as a rough reference for painting and drawing so that when I mix and overlay different visual representations and media, they will match up.

The angles and focal lengths are slightly out when overlaying, but that’s part of the process of how visual representation can be distorted whether by technology, media or through creative choice. How we perceive, see and then represent visually is subjective and subject to change or choice.

One of the evenings that we were at the little beach at Port Charlotte there was a lady there playing the flute on the rocks (on the other side of the pier) as the sun went down. It was very ethereal and I felt she must be surely playing along to the sound of the tide. It reminds me that expression through mixed media is about more than just the visual sense.

Using iPad in Photoshop

This is a really quick sketch in Photoshop using the iPad and Apple Pencil as a dual screen and graphics tablet, drawing directly onto the iPad screen. I want to be able to draw on top of images or video, combining digital & traditional media using layers. I was just checking that Duet Display could link with PC and MacBook.


Creative Taxonomy – concepts & ideas

One of the areas I want to explore is looking at the differences and similarities between digital and traditional media or looking at where they can converge and cross over well. I’d like to link this into theory and Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. It’s something I come back to in more depth, but just now I’m looking at my own practice and planning in how I can integrate digital and traditional media and outcomes. To do that I need to optimise my planning, materials and hardware, workflow and workspace.

When teaching in school we are teaching digital natives. The kids in S1 were born around 2005. The iPhone came out in 2007, so it’s now been a decade of smart phones. These kids don’t know life without this sort of technology and they wander around with a computer in their pocket or often in their hands. Yet for the most part, we are insisting they don’t use their phones in class due to distraction. There is social etiquette that can be taught including children’s ability to moderate their own digital lives – whether that be what they share about themselves, what they spend their time on or how they communicate with others, both online and offline. We can (at times) be too quick to shut pupils down and see their affinity with their phones (and social media) as a negative thing.

There is a contradiction in education with regards to phones and ICT. Computer systems in Scottish schools are fairly badly set up. Just getting kids to go through a file path and save a file is arduous, particularly at S1-S3 stage. Younger children will probably have more of an advantage here as they are more likely to be exposed to ICT at primary level. Secondary pupils don’t have any space to save and they don’t have access to up to date creative applications. Accessibility is an issue and that’s partly down to economics. There’s not only a social focus on traditional mediums of communication, but a systematic and economic bias towards those with access to creative technology. By the same token, there is a lot that can be done with a pencil and piece of paper.

I took my iPad and Apple Pencil into school for a portraiture lesson as in ProCreate you can play through a drawing speeded up. It was a good way to show an example and had just been a quick sketch from imagination. It was interesting to see pupils reflect that they couldn’t draw on paper, but that they would be able to on the iPad. It’s almost like they are coming at smartphone and tablet technology from the opposite angle. Pupils are digital savvy with smart phones, not particularly savvy with computer ICT and the debate runs about smart phones, social media and txt speak damaging literacy, productivity and the ability to self-moderate. One of my Art Teacher colleagues made this point, about how frustrating both the ICT systems and pupils’ shortfall in ICT knowledge is.

What I’m getting at is the contradiction between technology as a creative tool and technology as a barrier. How digital media can often be seen to contradict traditional media in negative ways, when there should be so much to positively utilise in an objective and beneficial way.

What if instead of a focus on educational or digital taxonomy, we consider and build on a creative taxonomy like Frank Williams’ 1969 ‘Models for encouraging creativity in the classroom by integrating cognitive-affective behaviors’. One that transcends media type, technology levels and to a certain degree subjects, but with an inclusive focus on differentiation?

Williams’ Taxonomy

A taxonomy of creativity combining cognitive and affective thinking.

Cognitive – Intellective

Fluency – Fluent Thinking

Brainstorm, generate lots of ideas, associate, list …
Can you think of MANY ideas and answers?

Flexibility – Fluid Thinking

Classify, rearrange, reorganise, manipulate, categorise, group …
Can you think of ALTERNATIVE ideas and applications?

Originality – Original Thinking

Invent, make up, change, write, develop, form, compose, create …
Can you come up with NEW ideas and processes?

Elaboration – Elaborate Thinking

Compare, attribute, organise, deconstruct …
Can you IMPROVE an idea, process or object?

Affective – Feeling

Risk Taking – Courage

Predict, suggest, experiment, explore, defend, hypothesise …
Are you CONFIDENT to deal with the unknown or uncertain?

Complexity – Challenge

Design, restructure, evaluate, examine, explain, model, justify, improve …
Are you logical in creating structure and order from a problem?

Curiosity – Willingness

Wonder, discover, question, seek, investigate, research, ponder …
Are you INTERESTED in what could be done?

Imagination – Intuition

Imagine, create, day dream, pretend, visualise, fantasise, empathise …
Are you DREAMING of better possibilities, beyond the limits of the practical?

Process led art

Slow days in school as last few days before Christmas holidays, so planning reading and production.

Looking into using blog more as a digital sketchbook and that relates to Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy and ‘Using blogs as a tool to facilitate students’ reflection’. Considering discrepency between ‘digital natives’ and the slow implementation of digital solutions in education.


Krishnaiyer, S.S., Mushahar, R., Hanani, R. and Ahmad, N., 2012. Using Blogs As A Tool To Facilitate Students’ Reflection. GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies12(3).

Step by step exemplars (that I keep fairly private)

– Sketches in oil pastel, pastel or water based paint

– Final outcomes in oil stick & oil paint

– Sketch the above out to conceptualise it properly

Similar for video & timelapse. Exemplify the process. Pick a location, go for it then use editing phase as process led.

Too many words in planning & not enough practical investigation, but get a balance of both where they benefit each other.

Track & take advantage of the flurries of creative activity or where work & mood is more subdued.

Look at other videos on Vimeo etc from MEd Artist Teacher.

Organise work space at home and in school so it feels more accessible for working in.

Look at process led approaches to the different mediums I want to use:

– Video

– Animation

– Timelapse

– Sketching in pastel & pen

– Painting in oil bar and paint

– Digitally in ProCreate – potentially working on top of timelapse stills or video or importing hardcopy work by photograph or scanning

– Exploring 3D drawing with Occulus Rift – Quill & VR Sculpt