Servo Calibration is Overrated

Working with my husband, Bill, we calibrated the servos yesterday. What a chore! The artwork looks the same, except that now the disks lie flush with the board when they’re not turning.

Calibration involves carefully unscrewing the servo coupler so that the disk moves freely. One person has to hold the servo side of the coupler while the other person tapes the disk shut on the back side. Then you tighten the coupler back up, remove the tape, hold your breath, and see how it works. Most servos took three tries to get it right, and there are ten of them so that’s about thirty calibrations. It took five hours. I’m glad our relationship is strong–it’s like hanging wallpaper. Not something you want to do with just anyone.

Advanced Prep
My painting has motion sensors that cause the servos to move. It’s programmed to randomly pick the servo (disk) that will move next. If we tried to do the calibration using this programming, we both would have lost our minds in no time, as there would be no way of knowing when the servo we were working on would move next. For this reason, I made a device that allowed me to control which servo was activated by pushing one of ten buttons. There’s also an OFF button, so it has eleven buttons in total. Here’s what it looks like:

Servo Buttons for Calibration

The buttons are behind the orange wires in the foreground (on the white breadboard). The colorful wad of wires on the left goes to the servos.  I think it’s quite lovely!


Final Stretch

The painting is almost finished. I painted the edges of the disks today.

WIP1 3-13-19WIP2 3-13-19

WIP3 3-13-19

The Painting Moves!

I’m hooking the painting up to the controls in my studio at AMF so it now has moving parts. I have more work to do on the wiring so not all disks are moving yet, but I like what I see so far. I came up with a way to make the movement more graceful. Slowing down the movement reduced the noise a bit and eliminated the jitter caused by hard stops.

During today’s critique, I would like feedback on the painting, which is still in progress, and suggestions for what the back sides of the disks should look like.

Photo Feb 13, 10 53 12 AM
Scale: The large disk (top) is 10 inches in diameter and the smaller disk is 8 inches.


Slosh and Burn

My thesis piece is a painting with moving parts. The painting is in progress. The first step involved sloshing alcohol inks on the board and lighting it on fire. Here’s what that looks like.


The fire creates texture and unexpected color shifts, i.e. chaos.

First Critique of 2019

I made a lot of progress over break, completing most of the wiring and code for my physical-digital installation. I love the colorful wires.

The boards for the painting are cut and primed so I’ll be painting soon. I enjoy working with technology, but I’m looking forward to doing the painting.

Sound and lighting are part of my piece. I’ll be looking for feedback on sound and lighting during critique today.

first critique 2019


I attended the 57th Carnegie International exhibit on Friday. Here are a few highlights from my visit.

Before you enter the building, you are greeted by an untitled piece by El Anatsui, which was made from discarded printing plates. You can watch a video of the installation here:

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Untitled by El Anatsui
Prince of Swords by Nicole Eisenman
Prince of Swords by Nicole Eisenman–I was rewarded by looking up at the 2nd floor sculptures. 
Upturnedhouse by Phyllida Barlow
Untitled: upturnedhouse by Phyllida Barlow–A very disorienting but fun piece.
Lockheed Lounge by Marc Newson
Lockheed Lounge by Marc Newson
Kandor 20 by Mike Kelly
Kandor 20 by Mike Kelly–There’s a video projected on the left and static/mechanical sounds, giving the piece an unsettling feeling. Even with the natural light from the window, the room had an unnatural, red glow. 
Guerrilla Girls
Posters by Guerilla Girls
Polor Bear Exhibit
So I wandered into the natural science section and looked directly down at an interesting article on polar bears. When I glanced up, I was nose to nose with this guy! 

Color Tests

The shape of my piece has changed. It doesn’t want to be a rectangle.

I’m also doing some color tests–trying different combinations.


Baby Steps

My thesis piece has moving parts, so I’m working with an Arduino. I’m excited that I am able to control the yellow LED light on it! When I changed the code to make the light blink faster and the light actually started blinking faster, my heart started beating faster!

I found a guy who explains the hardware as you would to a child. That’s what I need where hardware is concerned.


First Fall Critique

I was going to show the work I completed over the summer (images below), but all 8 pieces are in shows!

The Orchid and The Nettle
Undiscovered Dimensions
The Freedom of Chaos
Random(Order, Chaos)
Let’s Pretend We Don’t Exist
Subatomic Flash Mob
Labour of Love

Full disclosure: Two pieces were “finished” prior to this summer, but the more I looked at them the more I felt like I needed to continue working on them.

Instead of showing mixed media paintings, I will present my thesis concept. I am currently designing an installation piece that incorporates mixed media painting with moving parts. The theme is The Butterfly Effect.

The mock below shows what I have in mind. The circles will be disks that flip to reveal the same image with opposite colors.

Thesis Mock1
Thesis Mock