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honoria in ciberspazio

gallery + reflections

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Art Show in January
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I'm going to have an art show in January with an opening on the 16th.  It will be the first show of the new Spellerberg Projects space in Lockhart.  I am excited.  I told Henry and he said the he'd been to the Dollie Cole estate sale in Lockhart some years ago and bought some of her very high end society clothes and there was a wrap that I should wear to the opening.  I will go see Henry and learn more about the garment since it should probably be featured in our publicity due to high local interest in Ms. Cole and her closet.

Keanu Reeves and Brian Cranston
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Last night we went to our favorite bar, the Tigress.  While we were sitting at the bar watching the movie I am Cuba, a man came up to Knut and said, "Hi Bryan".  Knut said that he wasn't Bryan.  The man said "I thought you were a friend of mine, Bryan Cranston."  We said, "Who?"  He said, "Bryan Cranston, look him up."  Then excused himself for interrupting us and went back to his table.  Of course, we did know who Brian Cranston is but we didn't expect for Knut to be taken for him. So we looked up recent photos of Bryan Cranston and sure enough in some of the photos there is a resemblance to the way Knut looks now and how the non-Breaking Bad Cranston looks with a beard.  So then we looked again at the guy who is a friend of Bryan Cranston and we recognized him as Keanu Reeves.  Later the bartender said he'd bought us a drink.  After our drink Knut went over to his table and thanked him for the drink and our interruptor introduced himself as Carlos and his lady table companion as a director and a thesbian.  What a fun evening.

Today's Beautiful Question!
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This morning I opened up my mail to this student question.


Hi Doc, Lately I’ve been wondering if I have been practicing my art skills in the right way. I’ve been gesture drawing most every day and I try to sketch stuff out whenever I have an idea, but I guess I haven’t worked on a more complex project lately. The most recent thing I’ve done is a quick study on drawing the foot. I was just wondering if you knew some more ways that I could practice. I’m also wondering if you can tell me how I can see if I’m practicing bad habits. I would just like  some of your advice! If you know of any other teachers I could ask about this, let me know. Thanks!


Hi S,
Asking for critique is a PERFECT way to get better.  You can ask me anytime and other teachers who draw in digital tools - I'd ask Luke and Dax.   Also ask Bill.
You can also form a community of critique with other students who want to improve.
I'd also send drawings to Christian Gallego who came to our school to talk.  Follow his inspirational work at
I would also copy anatomy a lot, which is what Christian recommended when he spoke to our school in the Lecture Series. Also there is a culture of critique for drawings on Deviant art.
Sandbox is every Friday from 5-6 pm this term.  Feel free to drop in.

Every drawing teaches us something new.  Drawing every day builds up your drawing skills.  Rather than thinking of the "right" way think of the many ways in which you can create accurate or evocative drawings. Stepping back and viewing your drawing through a critical eye builds your observation and critical thinking skills as you move your drawing toward completion.  And each drawing experience lays the groundwork for a more confident next drawing.

Once you finish a drawing, or even as you are drawing, step back every few minutes away and look at these components:
Establish early in the drawing
- Proportions
- Shape relationships, Shape of overall figure and shape of individual parts
- Size relationships for foreshortening
These can be established with loose scumbled line or with soft value and changed often as the drawing develops.

Develop when you have proportions and shape blocked in:
- Value relationships - shading and chiaroscuro
- Edges - relationship between leading edge and the rest, using the eraser as a drawing tool to move and form edges, throwing in dark background to emphasize a light edge

- Detail using line and finer point drawing tools
- Use line strategically with confidence  after you have already established all of the above
- Adjust value relationships for final feeling of depth in the drawing

Stepping back from your drawing early and often is an old fine art tradition that many digital drawers loose.  One reason artists use easels is to easily move back from the work in progress.  With digital tools you can make the whole image a small percentage every so often to see it as a whole.  Pinching interfaces are great because you can pinch in and expand out in your view.
Another tip which is easy in digital tools is to flip the drawing to mirror image every so often.  Fine artists often use a mirror to check their work.  Seeing the mirror image brings out problems with proportion, shape relationships, and value.

Another tip is to work on a mid-tone background rather than white.  We see the real world with background tones so it is more natural for the artist to bring lighter and darker values to an already toned environment.  In addition to value, use color because it is also more the way we see the world.

If I'm not happy with a drawing or several drawings I always switch medium.  Drawing with the same medium can be frustrating if you are trying to achieve a look that is more easily achieved in another medium.
Check our Ryan Woodward's book on Conte.  He's a professional animator in love with Conte.  You can get a box of conte in the school store and use it crisp for lively gestures like Ryan or smudged to achieve muscly chiaroscuro like Burne Hogarth.

Keep drawing every day!
Honoria Starbuck, Ph.D.
Teaching Artist
Interdisciplinary Drawing +
Design Fundamentals
Art Institute of Austin

Day in the Life: Teacher's morning
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photo by Patrick Wong

Request From Student:
Hello Professor Starbuck,
My name is A, and I am an Interior Design (set & entertainment) major, in your Wednesday 1pm Design Fundamentals course.
In my PSYCH2301 course, we are working on a dissertation in regards to issues within our focused industry. I find the book, 'Why Architecture Matters' I'm studying quite interesting, especially when I read one of Goldbergers' concepts concerning architecture not being art. If you haven't read the book, that's fine. Then just disregard that information. :) However, the assignment for week two in my psychology course was to construct topics to discuss in my paper, and I presented "Architecture, is it Art?" as one of the three. When my professor was reading my suggestions for approval, she paused to call me to her desk and said: " I don't understand how you would argue that architecture isn't art? Architecture is considered art." and I explained how I've recently encountoured engaging arguments (one being my highly accredited, intro to interior design professor) as to why that wouldn't be true.

Though I am supposed to remain nuetral in my deliberation, I'm conducting research to gain authentic, and qualified views from both sides of the spectrum. So, if you don't mind... Could you explain why you would argue that Architecture would/or wouldn't be considered art, supporting or aside from what Goldberger states in his book?
Thank You,

My Response:

"When we talk about how architecture matters, it is important to understand that the way in which it matters—beyond, of course, the obvious fact of shelter—is the same way in which any kind of art matters: it makes life better."
- Paul Goldberger

Hi A,
I have not read the Goldberger book, but I did read a speech that he gave to promote the book. In the speech he makes many arguments that architecture does function as art in our society. Goldberger makes the point that like great art, he mentions Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and Michelangelo’s David, "great buildings ... have expanded our sense of human possibility".

Much architecture serves a utilitarian function such as mass-produced houses in suburban neighborhoods.  Art is also mass produced and fills those functional dwellings in the form of posters and prints.  Architects make functional buildings that are not art, artists make decorative designs that are not "fine art" objects.
I believe Goldberger, who is an architecture critic, made a number of arguments in his talk about the book that placed architecture in the realm of art especially when he reflects on his role as a critic.   He says,  "the greatest joy of architecture is in the discovery of its ability to be art."

I live in a one-of-a-kind house built with an aesthetically-driven architect.  Our house has some problems that non-art houses might have, but it also has a presence and space that is creative and inspirational.  Working with our architect was an aesthetic experience involving steps much like decisions that go into making art.  Functional units had to be included in our home, but the end results is far beyond just plumbing, walls, and rooms.  Our house has been featured in Modern Architecture magazines as an example of uniques modern creative design.

So I hope this helps you with your paper.

Here is my Goldberger reference and photos of my house.
Goldberger, Paul
Why Architecture Matters
Cleveland Museum of Art
September 15th, 2010


Wong, Patrick.
the texas cantilever by universal joint
(In these photos our house was staged by an interior designer and much of the featured furniture is not ours.)

Honoria Starbuck, Ph.D.

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Grids are standardized managerial tools.
We depend on the grids of calendars and the grids of our building designs.

Living off the grid and thinking outside of the box symbolize rebellion.

For artists, grids form a glue for design.

I manipulate grids to explore color and value relationships.
I tinker with grids to jumpstart compositions.
Grids help me analyze a scene on a beach or in West Texas.
Grids serve to parse a place into units of aesthetic excitement.

I just love these grids for their own aesthetic properties.

Haiku Link
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the most famous haiku of all, Bashō's "Old Pond" haiku:

old pond

a frog jumps into

the sound of water

translated by Jane Reichhold

An Introduction to Advanced Haiku by Ashley Copes

Cell Phone Policy
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Cell Phone Policy and Partners

To achieve our drawing class competencies we form an interconnected learning community.  Recent research indicates that multitasking with cell phones causes less empathy amongst peers and less effective learning.

It is key to your success for everyone to agree on a cell phone policy. The policy should promote meaningful drawing insights. You do not want spontaneous interruptions, either by your cell phone use, or by the use of cell phones by others.  To avoid these interruptions you will create, manage, and abide by your class cell phone policy.

Your policy will be monitored by a 5-member peer group, not the teacher.

Here are policies for cell phone that have been considered by previous classes.

1.     No Cell Phones during class at all.  Check your phones only during breaks.
2.     Stop class every X number of minutes to check cell phones.
3.     When one person pulls out their phone the whole class stops and checks their phone.
4.     Other -- Create your own policy here:

Your policy’s rules:

Violators: What happens to violators of the policy? 
Examples: Points lost, warning tickets, leave room, warnings first then phone removed

Monitors:  Select 5 class members who will enforce the cell phone policy. 

No warning: If your policy does not work penalty points are deducted from everyone’s grade.

Music:  Please share your music choices with the group by selecting non-invasive music, preferably instrumental, to add to our playlist to play during drawing periods.

Partners: You will have a different partner each class.  You and your changing partners will build communication skills and professional vocabulary as you expand your drawing skills.

New Color Chapter Video
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Luanne and I just posted our new video on the color chapter. It's illustrated with Paper53 for our design fundamental course.

Screen Capture Video
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Creating Screen Recordings with QuickTime Player ...

  1. To create a new screen recording with QuickTime Player:

    1. Launch QuickTime Player and choose File, New Screen Recording (the keyboard shortcut is Control, Command, N).

    2. Press the Record button.

    3. A screen with additional instructions will appear. ...

    4. When you're finished, click on Stop Recording on the Menu Bar.

    NOTE:  The stop button is hard to find! Look in the top right corner row of icons near the wireless connection and dropbox icons. There will be a stop recording DOT.  Really hard to see if you don't know where to look.


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