Along the Daily Trail

I’ve not been keeping up with #western106 much other than a couple of artonthecouch posts.

But I have done the odd Daily Create. I am noting them here as some sort of record before they are lost in twitter.

The 4th February:

Create an Oregon Trail Game Screen for DS106


A quick google for the Oregon Trail found a pile of bitmap art. Seemed like a nyan cat riff might be appropriate. Downloaded the gif, opened in fireworks and chopped away.

5th February:  Create some stop motion using Vine

I’ve not got a vine account so just make a 6 second stop motion video. Snapped some photos with my iPhone (sitting on a lego mount), stitched together with the 5secondApp and exported as a video. I had to speed it up a bit to get 6 seconds, here is a 17 second version.


7th February  Add to the Code of the Cowpoke

A one line response:

8th February  5 Years Since Dr Oblivion Disappeared: Craft an Western…


The idea of Cowboy G-Men is a a wee bit mind boggling. This is a really badly edited file. Quick & dirty. I did run a quick fliter over the cover to try and match the Doctor’s face, but didn’t spend enough time on it to do a good job.

11th February  Treasure of the Hills

We were to draw a map. Remembering the ‘lights out for the territories’ above I remembered that the map is not the territory. So my tweet went:  this mondrian is not the territory


Which lead to a nice bit of twitter banter.

and so on…

12th February  Extra Terrestrial Visitors from the Far Frontier?


Was a no brainer, back to FireWorks for a quick edit. The cow head was found on Flickr with a no known copyright restrictions filter.

Yesterday:  Caption Remington


I was trying to hint to other folk that they should license their DS106 content to make it review and remix friendly.

The stream for the daily create has been pretty active and it is great to see all of the different responses. I am not sure I’ll get to doing much more on #western106 but I am certainly enjoying the odd 15 minutes on the daily create. Thanks to Alan (and Mariana) for the continual work on organising the fun.


Lazy Art on the Couch

I did manage a couple of daily creates this week but my hold on the ds106 stream is pretty tenuous. Given the public commitment to Art on the Couch last week both here an on The DS106 Good Spell I clicked the random button a few time this morning until I got my first visual image. This is it:
Daily Create 2 – Susan V. Laws

Again I can’t see any license on the image so you will have to head over to the link to see it.

1. What stands out the most when you first see it?
The Rotated S

2. Explain the reason you notice the thing you mention in number 1.
It is quite an organic line, it immediately reminded me of a river on a map.

3. As you keep looking, what else seems important?
The background colour and grid.

4. Why does the thing you mention in number 3 seem important.
This reinforces the idea of a map for me. Although the scale would be off it it was a map unless the river was very broad.

5. How has contrast been used?
The nature of the assignment, creation of a cattle brand leads to a very strong contrast indeed. There is also a contrast between the curves of the s and the straight lines of the L. The L becomes imposed on the S perhaps.

6. What leads your eye around from place to place?
The lines. There is not much else to follow. The longer I look at it the more I feel the tension between the straight and the curves.

7. What tells you about the style used by this artist?
The lines are very strong the occasional kinks are surprising.

8. What seems to be hiding in this composition and why?
When I first saw the image I was immediately reminded of something, but could not quite put my finger on it. I search on google for similar images unsurprisingly brought up mostly typographical ones.


This then brought to mind occult symbols:


a group of pentacles from the Hebrew manuscript (BL Oriental 14759, fol. 35a) By Anonymous – [1], Public Domain,

And the language of hobos and tramps:


Hobo signs Karen Apricot CC BY

Both of these types of image are secret languages, they give hints of something behind, just out of touch. Is this a map of a secret language.

9. Imagine the feelings and meanings this artwork represents?

A brand has quite negative connotations. Here a painful reminder of ownership. In other contexts a marketing tool. Here the L seems to cut across and stamp the more natural S.
In a western context we are aware of the history of the west, a series of impositions on the natural environment. We have the idea of the ‘original’ Native Americans working with the land as ‘part of the natural landscape’. This was followed by ranching which was then fenced in by farmers.
I know this is a pretty sketchy overview gleaned from various poorly remembered western movies I watched as a child, the short story Shane that was one of my favourites aged 10 and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee a few years later.

10. What other titles could you give this artwork?
Cutting Across, Imposition or Squaring the river, Yin and Yang go West.

11. What other things interest you about this artwork?
I am guessing that this was made on a phone. I didn’t do this daily create, but assumed that most folk would use fonts. I am presuming that this was made on a phone, with an app that straightens drawings out a bit.

Late Create

I was planning to do this one, but didn’t get round to it, mine would have been the double-J. Perhaps like this:


Thanks to Susan for providing me with an hour or two’s musings. And to Mariana for gathering and suggesting the questions.

#DS106 Flickr Daily Creates Pummelvision style

I’ve been playing around with downloading groups of flickr photos and making very quick videos from them. Just blogged some of the process over on my main blog. Being a wee obsessive about this sort of stuff, I’ve created a script that will download all my photos with a particular tag, say dailycreate, and string them together into a movie.

You need to have the commandline ffmpeg application installed and have created a flickr app so that you have an api key. You need to know your flickr id too.

This works for me, copy the code below, replace the bold bits and paste into the terminal. Probably best to run this in a folder. Depending on how many photos you have it cold take a while.
FILELIST=$(curl '' | sed -ne 's/.*\(http[^"]*\).*/\1/p');echo $FILELIST;for i in $FILELIST ; do curl -O $i ; done;a=1;for i in *.jpg; do
new=$(printf "%04d.jpg" "$a") #04 pad to length of 4
mv -- "$i" "$new"
let a=a+1
done;sips --resampleHeight 768 *.jpg;sips --padToHeightWidth 786 1024 *.jpg;ffmpeg -f image2 -i %04d.jpg -c:v libx264 -pix_fmt yuv420p firstmov.mp4;ffmpeg -i firstmov.mp4 -filter:v "setpts=4.0*PTS" flickr-dailycreate.mp4

This wee bit:

ffmpeg -i flickr-dailycreate.mp4 -i backgroundloop.mp3 -map 0 -map 1 -codec copy -codec:a aac -strict experimental -b:a 192k -shortest flickr-dailycreate-audio.mp4

would add some audio if there is a backgroundloop.mp3 in the same folder.

A Week of Creates

It has been a while since I gave the The Daily Create much attention. When I started having a longish train commute I though I do more of this, but the British Rail free wifi blocks flickr and I lost the habit.

I do look in on the home page and see tweets and last Tuesday I saw Write a Smart Alec Haiku, I always liked Haiku and similar short forms for teaching and at least some of my pleasure in the daily create is being a smart Alec. So: Concise

Given extra time,
Instead of this wee haiku:
a one word poem

I hope that my smart Alec reference was clear enough.

The next day, I glanced at my phone in the office and saw: Make us an experimental water photo, unconcerned for the need for stated need for focus, time and consideration I glanced out of the window:
Cloud Dock

Cloud Dock | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

At this point I am feeling as if I starting a roll, but forgot all about tdc until late on Thursday night where the challenge was: Make a baby or something else. This seemed far to much bother for bedtime, but I raided my daughter’s old bedroom for a soft toy and Ductapeasaur roamed the couch.


Given longer I would have tried to make a kale forest, but when I started chopping I was in danger of waking my wife so went to bed.

On Friday I was on holiday and planning a bit of a walk, Make a sound Map looked ideal. The instructions are great, Creative activities: sound maps. Sensory Trust. and tucked away for future reference.

Lack of cardboard near at hand made the decision to rely on my memory. Having the ideas in mind made my whole walk much more about sound than usual. A bright breezy day. Although I did lie down in a dampish patch for five minutes with my eyes closed it was pretty quiet.

The map represents a different five minutes walking the path beside the loch. I missed the sound of the mountain bike that sped by, making me jump out of my skin, from the drawing. I also forgot all about it when I got home and ended up submitting on saturday morning.

Sound map

Sound map | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

The Sound map was the most interesting of the week, it affected my whole morning walk by focusing my mind on sound.

Safe Havens

Everyone has a safe haven where they go to be alone and clear their mind. Take pictures of yours and make a collage.

This is a walk I’ve gone on a few times over the last couple of years. I’ve yet to meet another walker on the route.

Alt Oss & Loch Oss

Alt Oss & Loch Oss | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

We have so much to take in that we forget to look in, puzzled me enough to tweet Mariana: but by the time she had explained I’d finished, using Photoshop Touch on the iPad.


Not sure how interesting that was but photoshop touch makes this sort of thing a snip.

A geek magnetic poem, please? rounded off the week nicely. This reminded me of playing with flash around 10 years ago, making toys for kids. I added a background of my mac colour classic which I dug out from flickr.


It feels pretty good to be back on the daily create, a wee bit of commenting and looking at other folks productions helped me enjoy the week even more.

Practising Reflection

Fearless Reflection
Fearless Reflection by Sandy Brown Jensen

I thought I’d have a wee go at Mariana’s Art on the Couch process.

Mariana is carrying out the project to learn about critiquing art, and:

Critique is often most instructive for the person offering it. In looking at other people’s work, and formulating your opinion of it, you’re learning a great deal.

Mariana is committing to do one per week, I think I might try one a month, so this is November’s.

Anyway here goes, following Mariana’s questions.

1. What stands out the most when you first see it?
My eye is drawn first to the central figure. The first thing that stands out is is the watercolour effect and overall warm colours.

2. Explain the reason you notice the thing you mention in number 1.
The unexpected blur on a mirror is disconcerting or makes me think. I expect sharpness from a mirror. The gaze of the figure seems to be going past my left shoulder.

3. As you keep looking, what else seems important?
I go next to the brown vertical on the left.

My eye then roams around the other objects on the wall surrounding the mirror finishing on the chair.

4. Why does the thing you mention in number 3 seem important.
This vertical gives the image depth, along with the chair back. They give me the feeling that I am looking across the room diagonally to the mirror.

5. How has contrast been used?
The figure in the mirror and the mirror frame push the figure inside the mirror, this pulls me into the frame and to the figure eyes.

6. What leads your eye around from place to place?
The green, white & red curtains, then the brown right left hand vertical, some sort of hanging brown object on the top left wall give great depth, the mirror frame more giving a feeling of looking in on the figure who is looking out.

The face mask on the right of the mirror seems to be floating off the wall. I wonder if it’s eyes are closed.

7. What tells you about the style used by this artist?
The water colour effect brings a dreamy informality to the picture. A romantic view.

8. What seems to be hiding in this composition and why?
Is the figure being slightly reserved, not meeting the viewer’s eyes?

For all her casualness her gaze is serious.

9. Imagine the feelings and meanings this artwork represents?
Although the figure looks pensive the colours are relaxed, calm and contemplative.

10. What other titles could you give this artwork?
Deep in quiet thought.

11. What other things interest you about this artwork?
I wonder about the note, or sheet of paper at the bottom left of the mirror. What is on it, sheet music? Is it jammed by the chair.