Creative Storytelling

My online course, Creativity: Music to My Ears, through NovoEd and Stanford has had some really fun assignments. To my surprise, the course is already almost over. For the past two weeks we’ve been working on a two-part assignment. The first part was to identify a problem and come up with 100 ideas for how music can solve it. The second part was to combine a few of those solutions into a story.

My problem was how to keep the deer from eating everything in the garden. My solutions included playing loud music (of course), holding concerts to raise money to implement a population control program, and hanging instruments around the yard to scare the deer off.

For the final story part of the project, I had a flash of inspiration in the form of a comic strip. I am not a comic strip artist by any means, but it was the form this story was meant to take. So here is my result:


Reflective Essay

So my Coursera class on the history of art is just about over. I really enjoyed it and learned much more than art history. I think the assignments were the most helpful in bringing enlightenment to my own work, not because of the artwork created, but because of the evaluations and the evaluating process. Feedback is always welcome (when it’s constructive), but I learned that giving feedback can be just as helpful. The final assignment of the course was to write a reflective essay on just that. Here is mine:

The very first required assignment of this course opened my eyes to the need for me to question what I’m doing in my creative work and why I make the choices I make.

The first required assignment had to do with objects and the frame of presentation. I sit near a large bay window when at my computer, and it is divided into 15 squares, or “frames.” I had a flash of inspiration that somehow it might be interesting to include one of those frames in my picture, because it would work as three frames: a frame for the submission, a frame for the objects I put there , and a frame for the yard behind it. I have to admit, I didn’t really think much beyond that. I decided to include my hand holding one of the objects and make it a sort of symbolic self-portrait, but honestly, my choices were not that carefully considered.

When I gave feedback on the assignment, I enjoyed seeing the different ideas submitted, and I really liked looking at them carefully enough to ask questions or to verbalize what I noticed first and what I noticed only after further consideration. The part of the feedback where I had to describe exactly what I saw, though, that seemed kind of pointless… until I read how others described what I had submitted.

Reading the descriptions was a little bit like seeing a photograph of a scene you took and noticing all the extra stuff you didn’t mean to get, or realizing that something unintended was the focus rather than what you’d been trying to capture. So I discovered how helpful that feedback was after all.

Then the questions, the things people noticed (or didn’t)… well, that gave me a much clearer idea of my intention, or in this case, the lack of intention. Why did I put those items together as I did? What did I want the audience to see? What was the point?!

Which now takes me to our first sketchbook assignment: What is art to me, as it should be? and what is it to others? I believe that after this course, I am clearer in my own mind about maybe what art should be –what my art should be. First and foremost, it should matter. It should have a point. It should be considered enough to where everything is intentional. When I sit down to make art, I should have at least a starting idea of what this exploration is. As I am writing this, I am running through my mind of things I’ve made in the past. Was it as unintentional as I fear it was? Perhaps not. But perhaps the more meaningful work did have rather more intention. I am not sure yet. This is a question I am going to ponder further.

Back to sound design

I thrive on having a variety of media to explore. Am I just so diverse or is it because I can’t focus? Don’t answer that! Anyway, the bonus assignment for the Creativity class I’m taking online was to submit a soundscape along with a sound mind map. I made the mind map and it’s okay, but the soundscape was fun. Unfortunately, they only have the option to submit it as video –and I could do video with it, but I would prefer to just submit the audio. And to submit an audio file as a video-less video is lame in my opinion, so I didn’t submit it at all. (Although I did suggest they accept a Soundcloud link since they accept YouTube and other links.) ANYWAY, all this is to say, I would like to share my sound file with you. It is of one of my favorite places to walk with my dog.

Life Album

So I’m taking another MOOC about creativity through NovoEd. The first assignment is to make an album cover, with title, for your life and the bonus assignment is to come up with a playlist as well. (Limited to 10 songs! Ack!)
Anyway, thought I’d share it here:
On The Road to Find Out (Cat Stevens)

Songs from the Wood (Jethro Tull)

Don’t Be Shy (Cat Stevens)

I Am A Rock (Simon & Garfunkel)

​Buckets of Rain (Bob Dylan)

Pick Myself Up (Peter Tosh)

​Thank You Help Me (Beth Lodge-Rigal)

Walking & Falling (Laurie Anderson)

Lull (Andrew Byrd)

Mighty Fine Blues (Eels)

Inspiration, at last!

The object assignment that I wrote about last time is due in 5 hours and last night I was still struggling for an original idea. Finally this morning while writing in my journal, I looked at my pen and wondered how I might transform it. And voilá –a workable answer:

install_handle use_handle return_to_pen

I was done making the “drawer” by 8am. Not bad! I don’t really need a box/drawer, but perhaps I’ll cover it in paper and give it as a gift to someone.

Wrong assignment, but it was fun anyway

I am currently participating in another MOOC through Coursera –this time an art history course– which I’m enjoying very much. The nice thing is that there are always two options on the assignments, visual or written, or you can do both. I have been sticking with the visual.

The assignment this week is to take an object, turn into something else, and then turn it back into itself again. The directions said the object doesn’t necessarily have to be destroyed, but could possibly just change orientation or context. Well, being in a rush to get the assignment and then get off of the computer so that someone else could use it, I latched on to that destruction idea and I did the following project:

Boot_1 Boot_2 Boot_3 Boot_4 Boot_5 Boot_6 Boot_7 Boot_8


I just discovered, upon rereading the instructions of the assignment more carefully, that I have not fulfilled the assignment at all. I did not turn the object into something else. On the other hand, I had a lot of fun doing what I did. Now I get to consider another object and what I might do with it.