Harmonize, Educate, Create!

Painting Creations

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Hello, fellow bloggers and readers.

Today I thought I’d share one of my favorite things to do, paint!  Because of schoolwork, it tends to be only a summertime or break time hobby for me, but is none-the-less something that I believe everyone can learn to do (especially during the age of technology where practically every imaginable resource is online).

One important thing about painting – that applies to any art – it is not necessarily about the final product, but enjoying the process it takes to get there.  Below I will share my process to approaching a new painting.

  1. Brainstorming – Think of a subject matter, color scheme, content, or emotion that you would like artwork to display, e.g., still life, floral, landscape, surrealism, music, sad, blue-scale, animals, etc. What purpose do you want it to serve? E.g., cheerful, wall decor, room accent, holiday piece, portrait, etc.  Who are you painting it for?  Once you have some ideas, look at some artwork online to further get inspiration.  Here’s a short list of some artist’s whose work I enjoy: Lachri, Leonid Afremov, Larry Preston, Zlatko Music
  2. Planning:  Once you’re done brainstorming and you begin to have a clearer idea of what you want to paint, sketch it out on paper.  It doesn’t have to be pretty or especially detailed, it just has to give you an idea of what it will look like.  You may also wish to do a digital rendition of your idea by merging existing images together on photoshop.  Here’s an example of what I mean when I say digital renditioning via Lachri’s artist vlog.
  3. Transfering: Now you have your idea, but you need to transfer it onto the canvas, (after priming it of course!).  There are a few ways to do this.  You can try to eyeball it, i.e., free hand it.  You can use a projector to trace it onto the canvas. You can use wax tracing paper, or you can print and cut your own stencils using Exacto-knives.  My prefered method is the projector.
  4. You’ve brainstormed, planned, previewed, and transferred.  Now it is time paint! – Well, under-paint.  Underpainting is when you choose a single color and use its value scale to establish the light and dark areas of your painting to create depth.  I do not recommend this for all paintings, it is up to you.  I prefer to do this when I am trying to accomplish a more realistic look.  Recommended colors are greyscale, burnt sienna, and green scale, but you may use any color you wish.
  5. After the underpainting, if you’ve chosen to do so, paint to please your minds eye!  Add color, detail, and whatever you see fit.  Most of all, enjoy yourself!

Slide in and See Us! Iowa Trombones

tromboneThe Iowa Trombones is a one day event where trombonists from across Iowa come together to read a lot of trombone ensemble music, and perform some of the music that evening with the Waterloo Municipal Band.  Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and rehearsals start at 9.  There will be an hour break for luch and rehearsals will resume around 4pm.  The Waterloo Band concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and we will likely play 4 selections on our own and a few with the band.
Join us in Davis Hall, at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa to hear some great repertoire and meet trombonists from all across the state.

*Registration for the day is five dollars and a parking pass will also be five dollars.

Text-less, Not Context-less: Playing an Instrumental Role to Decipher the Language of Music

Can textless music effectively serve a political aim?

Textless music or instrumental music most certainly can serve a political aim. Words are not the only vehicle for communication.  Our phonological input processes pitch, duration, emphasis, volume, tone, articulation, and inflection; all of which are present in instrumental music.  Our understanding of language, and especially musical language, is based on associations.  For instance, consider the word “hot.”  Immediately your mind should begin drawing connections; oven, fire, ouch, don’t touch, burn, etc.  On its own, the word is but a collection of sounds.  It is the associations that give it meaning.  This function is paralleled in music. Continue reading “Text-less, Not Context-less: Playing an Instrumental Role to Decipher the Language of Music”

Questioning Constructed Social Associations

JimCrow to JayZ

“Men are not merely timesless embodied actors, but rather, are biologically, historically, and experientially embodied actors who are socially constructed over time and reconstructed at different historical moments.” – Miles White[1]

Continue reading “Questioning Constructed Social Associations”

Iowa Summer Concerts

Summer 2015 Concert Series
Summer 2015 Concert Series
Des Moines Metro Concert Band: Music Under the Stars
Des Moines Metro Concert Band: Music Under the Stars
Marimba Festival
Marimba Festival


Ankeny Community Band
Ankeny Community Band

Reflection Pond

reflection pond
By Erica Skuta, senior accounting and management major (2014)


Articles tagged with ‘reflection pond’ will feature a reflection on some of the lessons I’ve learned and the experiences I have gained at Drake.  

I’ve officially finished my first year at Drake University.  I’ve learned a lot since the fall and it is almost unbelievable the difference I can see in myself from when I first arrived on campus to now.  I also know that I still have much to learn and I look forward to continue that learning; not for just my three remaining years, but for the rest of my life.

Recently I was asked by my old ETS coordinator to write a bit about my first year experience to hopefully answer some of the gnawing questions and concerns of prospective college students.  I thought I would share that response below. Continue reading “Reflection Pond”

Death Fugue

Alex Ross: The Rest is NoiseMeister

Alexander Ross’ chapter titled Death Fugue is the most painful thing that I have ever had to read.  I had known that Hitler had a special appreciation for the arts, however I was not fully aware of the means he used to employ them for his cause.    Hitler fully recognized the power of music for political gains and utilized it to his advantage in the most disturbing ways imaginable; Continue reading “Death Fugue”

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