Posted by: mew | August 24, 2009

Doodling in a New World…

Some time ago, F. gave me a little device where you can write on a screen with a stylus and it shows up on your computer screen.  He wanted to help me take my art and doodlings into the digital era.  The only problem?  I’m a total Luddite.  I distrust all technology.  I’m one of those weirdos who think most of it turns out to have consequences way worse than the benefits bestowed upon us — if not literally all of it.

You can imagine how weird it is that I love a man who is currently getting a Ph.D. in Physics, who thinks science is beautiful and wonderful and inspiring.  We had some very heated discussions when we first started to date.  According to him, if it were up to people like me we’d all still be living in caves — albeit well-decorated ones where good food was served sans utensils and afterwards everyone sat in a circle singing and telling stories.  (Does that sound bad??  I ask you….)  According to me, if people like him had their way, we’d all be extinct because of ecosystem collapse, and the planet would be a dead lump of grey, trashed rock, spinning through space at the exact coordinates they’d calculated so long ago.  (Wait a second… that sounds vaguely familiar.)

I first got a cell phone two years ago because my father decided to give me one, prepaid, “for emergencies,” I’m sure thinking I would end up adopting the oh-so-new technology.  I do not turn it on except, you guessed it, in emergencies.  No one can reach me on it.  I do not know the number of it by heart, so I could not even tell you how to call me on it.  I prefer it that way, and not for some noble reason like cell phone towers being possibly implicated in killing off my beloved honeybees.  It creeps me out to think of someone able to reach me anytime, anywhere, interrupting my thought process or my conversation, barging in mid-paragraph or mid-brushstroke, causing me to potentially swallow this bite of mind-bendingly good bruschetta before I’m done experiencing it to the fullest.

Ugh!  Doesn’t that sound horrible?

I also don’t want to walk around sounding like I’m talking to myself in the grocery store or looking like a sci-fi poster from the 1960’s, with that weird shiny device tucked around my ear, so it appears I’m being remote-controlled.  No, thanks.

But I’ve been gradually converted to the internet.  (And I do mean gradually, with some backsliding.  Two summers ago, I still had dial-up, and this New Year’s Day, as a belated Christmas present to myself, I quit reading e-mail for three whole months.  Free as a bird!)  And I do have friends and loved ones who play little games on their phones, and I’ve been known to mindlessly play a boggle lookalike to avoid facing my work.  (Sigh.)

So that is why I am recommending a visit to jacksonpollock.org, where you can pretend to be the famous painter for a little while.  It’s way better than tetris, gets the creative juices flowing, and is a great way to doodle if you’re stuck for an idea with your hand attached to a mouse.  Also, I don’t think it’s nearly as addictive as some of those games they’ve programmed into the cell phones and laptops.  You jam for a while, enjoy yourself, see some cool color combos and splash patterns – I personally like the minimalist style – and then go back to whatever you were doing before, refreshed by a little childlike paint-spatter play.

Also, I think it qualifies as an artist-brain activity, for those of you familiar with Julia Cameron’s ideas about that. Not too many of those associated with sitting in front of a screen; are there?  We could use more, frankly.  (And if you know of others, please let me know!)

Give it a whirl.  In case it’s not obvious when you get to the site, just click your mouse and drag it to activate the virtual paint.  Every time you click, you get a new color from your palette.  And if you press the space bar, you start with a fresh blank canvas.

Just remember, it’s modern technology, so be careful!  Side effects are likely unknown at this point….

There be dragons...

There be dragons...

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