Sunday, January 3, 2016



noun  gen·er·os·i·ty   \ˌje-nə-ˈrä-sə-tē, -ˈräs-tē\
: the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish : the quality of being generous; especially : willingness to give money and other valuable things to others.


I want to answer a few questions that have come up, and apologize again for the 'technical difficulties' of the first few days of the challenge.  Hopefully we'll all be on the same page from here on out and all of our computer/tech demons will evacuate!
First, I'd like to re-state the purpose of the challenge and give a few tips for how to approach it.  Keep in mind that it is daily exercise that will help you develop new habits and encourage you to experiment, seeing things in a new, abstract way. 
Abstraction is difficult for most people, (including me!)  Our instinct as humans is to name and categorize all things in order to better understand them, and then represent them using familiar symbols.  In these exercises, I am giving you a word that cannot be easily depicted with familiar symbols. The definition of the word will satisfy our human need to use other words to describe it.  The next step is to dive in and decide how it can be described by using a visual language.  For example:
Today's word is GENEROSITY.: the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish : the quality of being generous; especially : willingness to give money and other valuable things to others.
The word's definition gives me some things to work with...Of course it's my first instinct to think about kindness, money, lack of greed, and peaceful, amicable giving.  Maybe even joyful giving?  My mind wanders to things that are opposite, words like miserly, stingy, etc. Then, I begin to ask myself "What 'things' do I value that would show generosity if I freely gave them away? How do I decide what is valuable enough? You know, crazy questions like that.  Bear with me...

To fully understand GENEROSITY, I have to break the definition down to the tiny parts I can relate to on a personal level. 

The next step is to consider the challenge: Using only black powdered glass and whatever tools I can come up with, how can I convey the depth of the meaning of GENEROSITY to someone who has never known the word? Without actually drawing something familiar?  
 Everyone's interpretation will be different, (and this is where the fun truly lies!) You can say so much by using only shapes, contrast, line, pattern, texture, etc.  To me, representing something I find valuable would likely look heavy and dark.   I might show that by using thick layers of black or dark shapes.  The act of  'being willing to give away something valuable to me' might be characterized with flowing lines holding up the 'heavy valuable' shape to be taken by any random person (shown again through line, shape, contrast, pattern, etc.) Your vision of how something valuable would look will likely be completely and entirely different from mine, as would your interpretation of the word GENEROSITY.

Abstract nouns are words that can't be identified using the 5 senses, and each day you'll get a new one!
 Your job is to use black powdered glass in a way that describes to your viewers what you believe GENEROSITY looks like, smells like, feels like, tastes like, and sounds like.

I hope this helps those of you who are struggling... It's something that takes exercise for sure!  I purposely did not post my sgraffito drawing for today because I want all of you to take a new, fresh look at the challenge without a pre-conceived notion of what your entries should look like.  (I'm sure that by now you realize your entry should not look like an open palm holding a square gift box with a ribbon on top, handed down by a silhouette of a smiling face, right?)
I'll post photos down the road!

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