ddrees art

My art work and thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘drawing’

Identity Images

Posted by ddrees on January 10, 2011

took a course in semiology in 2002 at U of Baltimore for my Doctor of Communication Design work.

Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of cultural sign processes (semiosis), analogy, metaphor, signification and communication, signs and symbols.

Richard Stanley, principal of Swisstrix who studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule Basel with Wolfgang Weingart, taught the course. Richard was quite fond of Hoffman and Hoffman’s graphic design ideas and has remained his friend throughout the years. Through this contact, I am but two degrees of separation from the Swiss Style. I like being aware of these connections, reflections in the net of gems. Many of my Skidmore professors from way back when, Robert Reed, Arnold Bittleman, Arthur Anderson, Victor Ligouri and others were directly connected to Josef Albers. I remember the day that Bob Reed and Arnold Bittleman had Alber’s newly published folio of Homage to the Square silk-screens in hand and were showing them to our class. Later I met many other Alber’s students, like Norman Carlberg at MICA. So there I was two degrees of separation from the Bauhaus version of color theory, which I have enthusiastically passed along to a multitude of CCBC art students. I discover that Weingart was also attached to Yale so the net of gems image continues to work.

One of our projects at UB was to develop sincere identity images. The two you see here are my results. Perhaps due to my many years on the planet yielding many interests or my older brain finding it difficult to hone things down to a single essence, my icons of self remained fairly divergent. They also reveal a lot to me if not to anyone else. They are somewhat of a psychoanalytic exercise.

D Drees ID 1 ©2002

D Drees ID 1 ©2002

D Drees ID 2 ©2002

D Drees ID 2 ©2002

Because I make images with an array of traditional media, plus digital media I do not think of myself as a painter or printmaker but as an Iconographer. Unfortunately that word does not mean to most people what it means to me. My take on it has more to do with art history and semiotics and less to do with graphic user interface icons that many think of, or paintings of holy figures in byzantine style. My icons include representations, likenesses, symbols, and signs.

So my sincere identity images incorporate some visual ideas that I have developed over many years including;

  • Spectrums embedded in an array of natural creatures like the ring of butterflies;
  • Aspects of fractals, like marbling passages;
  • The physicality of pictures as opposed to the abstraction of words;
  • Delight at the variety of creation as expressed in Pied Beauty by Hopkins;
  • The hand of higher power from which all ideas and talents flow;
  • Layers or dimensions of reality that we float through constantly;
  • Relationship of words to pictures, (allowing the troubling word iconographer to be present.)
  • Pens, brushes hands palettes keyboards, all very trite images standing for artists, I allow because they are what affords the transition from mental/internal to physical/external, hackneyed or not. (In our class we also discussed where to draw the line between hackneyed, obscure and simply understandable; what we do to make sure something is being sent out and received.)
  • My image of myself as the fairy godmother or good witch improves on a very early image of my aged self as the crone 1968-1969. The crone can be transformed into the good fairy.
©d drees 1969-3 The Information, oil

©d drees 1969-3 The Information, oil

©D Drees 1969-4   Revelation, oil

©D Drees 1969-4 Revelation, oil

©D Drees 1969-12  24x18 pen&ink

©D Drees 1969-12 24x18 pen&ink

Our primary readings in Richard’s class were from Arthur Berger’s Seeing is Believing.

Later I would incorporate these and other readings into my CGVC246 course, Graphic Design for Communication. My other reading suggestions for that course:

  • Hot-Wiring Your Creative Process; Curt Cloninger;
  • Semiotics for Beginners; Daniel Chandler;  http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/S4B/semiotic.html; free semiotics tutorial
  • Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art,
  • Hillman Curtis, MTIV; Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer,
  • Jim Kraus, Idea Index,
  • Rick Poyner, No More rules; Graphic Design and Postmodernism,

If an artist ever wants to clarify his/her messages, these sorts of studies are essential.

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Winky Dink and You

Posted by ddrees on August 20, 2008

Winky Dink and You screen

Winky Dink and You screen

I 14remember when Winky Dink started being broadcast on TV in1953. My sister Jane and I got a screen kit and joined the fan club right away. The screen was a piece of transparent but greenish flexible, erasable plastic about a sixteenth of an inch thick that would be placed over the TV screen so you could draw on it with crayons. Winky Dink would then have you follow dot-to-dot instructions to complete drawings or decipher secret messages. We loved it. They sold millions of fifty cent kits by mail, but then there were thee cent stamps. My Dad became characteristically angered because he feared we would get radiation from being so near the TV. Perhaps he was right. He was always very cautious on our behalf. I started checking to see if I was glowing in the dark.

Winky dink golden book

Winky dink golden book

You can buy a Winky Dink video now after it disappeared for years. Except for my sister, no one I know has any recollection of it. It was the first interactive screen show and I think we kind of knew it was rich but when it ended nothing like it followed for decades. Anyway, none-other than Stan Vanderbeek was working on the Winky Dink show. “Vanderbeek began his career in the 1950s making independent art film while learning animation techniques and working painting scenery and set designs for the American TV show, Winky Dink and YouWho knew he would later be a colleague in our academic enterprise?

Winky Dink crayon set

Winky Dink crayon set

For many creatives of a certain age, the notion of interactivity was very attractive but needed to be supported by an entire industry. You could not do it alone. Whereas, you could paint and draw alone. I guess you still need the backdrop of the computer and software industry to do anything like that alone, but at least, if you have the time and money, you can learn Flash or whatever and make interactive stuff. You can be a one person band. It is a huge change.

In those days, my hometown had one good TV station and static on others, even though Daddy climbed the roof to put up an antenna. Most all the kids watched the same thing because they had the same good channel. You could count on your coevals to have the same TV experiences you did. We took it for granted that the same pieces of info would be referenced. It was pretty much controlled input with music too. Radio stations played a small repertoire of tunes and we now know that payola was being practiced. The incredible variety of music available now puts an entirely different perspective on creativity in the culture.

I think we got the TV when I was six. Before that I would go to watch TV at Dickey Roberts house and I would have met him in kindergarten at Egbert Bagg School. (I always wanted to know who Egbert Bagg was, and here through Google my wish is granted.)  Dickie, who looked like Winky Dink, and I were best buddies but he moved by the end of first grade. I started getting a complex about losing people around then. Dickie’s TV had a tiny round screen. Our first set was a twelve incher. Like me, my family was too frugal to be early adopters. I am still waiting for the cell phone, hand held gadget thing to sort itself out before I get in that habit. I have gotten along without one for sixty-two years and it somewhat bothers me that young people have instantaneously been so stuck on them. I get the impression that they are afraid to do anything alone.

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sun moon stars rain

Posted by ddrees on August 17, 2008

When I was in Freshman English at Skidmore in 1963 we were asked to analyze e e cummings “anyone lived in a pretty how town”. Everyone, even the worst reprobate Union College boys, thought e e cummings was the coolest. In my class, girls who had gone to the High School of Music and Art seemed to be able to talk in secret language to the teacher, Donald Tritschler, who I think was in his first year of teaching. I did not know what he was talking about or asking us to talk about. I was in a cold sweat in that class. I felt that we had not been prepared at Utica Free Academy to trust our own ideas or instincts when reading, so things were sucked in and held in abeyance till someone with authority would steer us towards what to think. I really loved the stuff we read and thought a great deal about it but I was expecting that coming from the provinces to this golden place would allow me to be filled with the external wisdom that they had and I did not. So I was tongue-tied. It took me till junior year to work this out when Arnold Bittleman, my late great drawing teacher, said in a lecture that when he went to college he expected to be able to be filled with external wisdom but then found out that it came from inside. I do not know the source of this Bittleman Self Portrait. I grabbed it off the internet years ago.


Self Portrait   © Arnold Bittleman

Self Portrait © Arnold Bittleman

But  I got through Freshman year through the kindness of my teacher’s hearts and it took me the next three years to get my grades up to an average that would let me in graduate school.

Unbeknownst to Donald Tritschler, the poem has resonated in my imagery. It may be a little abstruse crossing from verbal to visual but it works for me. The art teachers at Skidmore never managed to indoctrinate me into thinking that having literary elements in one’s art was anathema. That was part of that era that I am glad is forgotten. Who is Clement Greenberg? No link for him in my blog. See Tom Wolfe instead.

Here is the poem.

by e e cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town

(with up so floating many bells down)

spring summer autumn winter

he sang his didn’t he danced his did


women and men(both little and small)

cared for anyone not at all

they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same

sun moon stars rain


children guessed(but only a few

and down they forgot as up they grew

autumn winter spring summer)

that noone loved him more by more


when by now and tree by leaf

she laughed his joy she cried his grief

bird by snow and stir by still

anyone’s any was all to her


someones married their everyones

laughed their cryings and did their dance

(sleep wake hope and then)they

said their nevers they slept their dream


stars rain sun moon

(and only the snow can begin to explain

how children are apt to forget to remember

with up so floating many bells down)


one day anyone died i guess

(and noone stooped to kiss his face)

busy folk buried them side by side

little by little and was by was


all by all and deep by deep

and more by more they dream their sleep

noone and anyone earth by april

wish by spirit and if by yes.


women and men(both dong and ding)

summer autumn winter spring

reaped their sowing and went their came

sun moon stars rain


From Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage. Used with the permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation. Copyright © 1923, 1931, 1935, 1940, 1951, 1959, 1963, 1968, 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust. Copyright © 1976, 1978, 1979 by George James Firmage.

Lines from this poem wash across my brain often. Below are some of my artworks that I see as having a kinship to it.


Mimicking the Sun ©Dedree Drees 1978 watercolor

Mimicking the Sun ©Dedree Drees 1978 watercolor

Sun Flare © Dedree Drees 1996  digital

Sun Flare © Dedree Drees 1996 digital

Landscape - pink ©dedree drees 1995

Pink Landscape ©1995 Dedree Drees digital

Why wait any longer for the world to begin © Dedree Drees 1969, etching

Why wait any longer for the world to begin © Dedree Drees 1969, etching

Above named from a Bob Dylan song lyric

Dreamer ©1980 dedree drees watercolor

Dreamer ©1980 dedree drees watercolor

Waves of Flowers tiles   BWI airport garage

Waves of Flowers tiles BWI airport garage

Newton to Blake Landscape ©1979 Dedree Drees watercolor

Newton to Blake Landscape ©1979 Dedree Drees watercolor

The multiple sky idea is just an appreciation of all the light shows we get to watch, no two alike and in every color you can imagine. I believe there are plenty of Flickr groups on the subject.  You know ‘”the world is so full of a number of things, that I think we should all be as happy as Kings”.

Mirabile Visu © dedree drees 1980  watercolor

Mirabile Visu © dedree drees 1980 watercolor

Skies ©1980 dedree drees watercolor

Skies ©1980 dedree drees watercolor

Skies ©1980 dedree drees pastel

Skies ©1980 dedree drees pastel

There is a nice old German song about the good moon Guter Mond du gehst so stille with awareness of people from all times and places connecting by seeing the same old moon.

Ryder Moon ©1981 dedree drees watercolor

Ryder Moon ©1981 dedree drees watercolor

Ryder Moon ©1981 dedree drees watercolor

Ryder Moon ©1981 dedree drees watercolor

OCD helps your art in many ways. It took me a while to pick out the exact watercolor pigments to bleed as I wanted them to for Ryder Moons. Here is Albert Pinkham Ryder.

Albert Pinkham Ryder   Moonlight

Albert Pinkham Ryder Moonlight

Dover Beach ©1987 dedree drees watercolor and marbling

Dover Beach ©1987 dedree drees watercolor and marbling

This named for Mathew Arnold Poem –Dover Beach. Being literary again

Beach Montage  ©1996 dedree drees digital

Sometimes I can not get wordpress to show the captions- do not know why. The image above is from 1996 and is a digital version of Dover Beach.

God Bless Baltimore ©1982 watercolor

God Bless Baltimore ©1982 watercolor

Sheep May Safely Graze  © Dedree Drees handcolored etching

Sheep May Safely Graze © Dedree Drees handcolored etching

Above named for Bach Cantata- “Schafe können sicher weiden”. You can play that at my funeral

Klein blue sky ©1996 dedree drees digital

Klein blue sky ©1996 dedree drees digital

International Klein Blue is a color Yves Klein painted on many things. I saw his show in the Jewish museum in 1967 or 1968. He had died young in 1962. Unbelievably I find a Wikipedia link here to IKB. The world is so full of a number of things…

Klein Blue sky ©1996 Dedree Drees digital

Klein Blue sky ©1996 Dedree Drees digital

Yellow stars ©1996 dedree drees digital

Yellow stars ©1996 dedree drees digital

Fooling around with colorways on the computer – sure is fun. I mean it!

Cumberland Fall ©1989 dedree drees watercolor and marbling

Cumberland Fall ©1989 dedree drees watercolor and marbling

The above was from a photo taken on a rainy day as we drove to Pittsburgh for my father-in-laws funeral. So it is rainy,sad,cyclic, eternal.

Lightening scape ©1995 dedree drees digital

This is 1995 Lightening scape, digital, from the same photo as Cumberland Fall.

The Rain Beats the Rain  ©1979 Dedree Drees watercolor

The Rain Beats the Rain ©1979 Dedree Drees watercolor

The title is from an haiku but I do not remember where I first saw it. This is the best link I found though it is not the same translation.

Leaves falling
Lie on one another
The rain beats the rain

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