Receiving My Bronze Level Art Award

An account of how I gained an Arts Award (Bronze Level).

INTRODUCTION

Today was the day I and three other people picked up Arts Awards (Bronze Level) from Trinity College, London, for work done at Musical Keys sessions in King’s Lynn run for autistic people. 

THE WORK

There were four elements to the work that had to be done to earn this award:

  1. Creating music during the sessions.
  2. Demonstrating knowledge and understanding of how to create that music and being able to share with the group what one was doing.
  3. Providing a record of an arts related event that one had attended.
  4. Providing some information about one particular artist from whom you have taken inspiration.

I am now going to give you access to each of these four areas.

CREATING THE MUSIC/ SHARING HOW THIS IS DONE

My creative work was done using Scratch and Reaper on the computers. I do not have this work available to share at present, but here is a link to an old post which describes the process.

This one shows Scratch:

Here are some extra pictures set into a word document:

Photos from MK

A RECORD OF AN ARTS EVENT

I interpreted this a trifle loosely so that I could use something for which I not only had a record but for which mine was the only photographic record – the time when Number 2 Hampton Court, Nelson Street, King’s Lynn was turned into an exhibition for Heritage Open Day. 

This is what the document I submitted looks like:

2 Hampton Court

MY CHOSEN ARTIST

I selected Maurits Cornelis Escher as my featured artist. Before producing my own offering about him, including three sample pictures I give you a variation on one of his pictures from Anna, titled “Never Ending Blogger

Never ending blogger

Maurits Cornelis Escher has been a favourite artist of mine for a very long time. His mathematical pictures and impossible constructions particularly appeal to me because I enjoy mathematics, and unpicking optical illusions myself.

https://www.mcescher.com/about/biography/

Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) is one of the world’s most famous graphic artists. His art is enjoyed by millions of people all over the world, as can be seen on the many web sites on the internet.

He is most famous for his so-called impossible constructions, such as Ascending and Descending, Relativity, his Transformation Prints, such as Metamorphosis I, Metamorphosis II and Metamorphosis III, Sky & Water I or Reptiles.

But he also made some wonderful, more realistic work during the time he lived and traveled in Italy.

Castrovalva for example, where one already can see Escher’s fascination for high and low, close by and far away. The lithograph Atrani, a small town on the Amalfi Coast was made in 1931, but comes back for example, in his masterpiece Metamorphosis I and II.

M.C. Escher, during his lifetime, made 448 lithographs, woodcuts and wood engravings and over 2000 drawings and sketches. Like some of his famous predecessors, – Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer and Holbein-, M.C. Escher was left-handed.

Apart from being a graphic artist, M.C. Escher illustrated books, designed tapestries, postage stamps and murals. He was born in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, as the fourth and youngest son of a civil engineer. After 5 years the family moved to Arnhem where Escher spent most of his youth. After failing his high school exams, Maurits ultimately was enrolled in the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem.

Here are the three pictures I selected to show along with this:

Relativity
“Relativity”, a personal favourite
Monks Large
“The Monks”
Waterfall Large
“The Waterfall”

TODAY’S PRESENTATION

I had been worried that my health might prevent me from being present to collect my certificate, but fortunately I improved sufficiently to be discharged from hospital AND a care plan was put in place ready for said discharge, and in the event, although I found the experience quite tiring I was able to attend and collect my certificate in person. Here are some photos from today:

P1210682
Me with my certificate, with Oliver from Musical Keys next to me (the black beanie covers the most visible effect of the intensive chemo)
P1210684
A group shot
P1210685
A close-up of the certificate.

 

Looking Ahead

Accounts of a very important and successful meeting yesterday morning and of a personally very satisfying moment also from yesterday when it was cinfirmed that I have got anm Arts Award (Bronze level).

INTRODUCTION

This post deals with two things that both happened yesterday, one of huge significance, the other less so but very personally satisfying. 

A VERY SUCCESSFUL MEETING WITH REBECCA FROM TAPPING HOUSE

I had arranged to see Rebecca yesterday morning for a follow-up meeting after our first very successful meet-up a little earlier. This meeting went magnificently, with Rebecca making a number excellent and logical suggestions for ways to help me. I have agreed in principle to meet with either an Occupational Therapist or a Physio to talk about ways to improve my physical fitness. She also suggested that I might be interested in courses they run at Tapping House where I would have the opportunity to meet others who have had similiar experiences to my own, which also sounds a very interesting possibility. 

Knowing that I need help and support to get through this difficult time in my life I am minded to consider any options that seem sensible, as all of the above do. I finished yesterday’s session feeling much better about life in general for the knowledge that such potentially useful help and support is being made available.

Whatever happens from here on, Tapping House have already proven to be worth their weight in gold, and I am very grateful for everything they are doing for me.

AN ARTS AWARD

One of the last things I did before illness took over my life completely was to submit a portfolio at Musical Keys for an Arts Award (Bronze Level). It has now been confirmed that I did enough to earn to said award (equivalent apparently to a grade D at GCSE), which I am delighted by. In addition to the specific Musical Keys stuff I had to produce something about seeing art in the flesh, and I had chosen something where the only photographic record of the occasion was my own, so this award means, albeit at a low level, official recogniton for my photography. I also had to produce something about an individual artist who had inspired me, and I opted for Maurits Cornelis Escher, for whom there is an official website from which I cribbed (and of course admitted to doing so).

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some pictures to end this little post:

p1210650
This globe is on display at my aunt’s house
p1210653
A cricket themed tea towel being displayed as an ornament in my kitchen.

Musical Keys and Birds

A brief account of Musical Keys and some bird pictures.

INTRODUCTION

Saturday was a music day, and I have plenty of pictures to share from recent days.

MUSICAL KEYS – THE KORG

These sessions are organised for the benefit of autistic people, so before I get into the meat of this section here is stimtheline’s magnificent Autistic Bill of Rights:

Autistic Bill of Rights.pub

The Korg is a very sophisticated machine (for classical music enthusiasts it looks a 21st century version of a clavichord, but it does so much more). I will let the photographs tell the story (I got most of these by playing with my left hand while using the camera with my right FYI):

Korg IKorg IIKorg IIIKorg IVKorg VKorg VIKorg VIIKorg VIIIKorg IXKorg X

BIRDS OF ALL SIZES

We start with the largest bird to be a regular feature of life in Britain – the mute swan:

MSXMSXIMSXIIMSXIIIMSXIVMSXVMSXVIMSXVIIMSXIXMSXXMSXXI

Next we come to a much smaller species, which I have not previously captured on camera, a little wader called a turnstone (I seem to recall that a few years back The Lynn News had a columnist who used Turnstone as a nom de plume):

Turnstone ITurnstone II

Further along the Great Ouse and on the side of the river were a few specimens of a larger bird that is not a regular sight in these parts – the greylag goose:

Greylag geese

We end with a couple of cormorant shots:

Cormorant CSwimming cormorant

 

 

Musical Keys and a Meme

An account of my Musical Keys session on Saturday and a meme that I created.

INTRODUCTION

Saturday was a Musical Keys day in King’s Lynn. This post shows you what I did during that session.

RETURN TO REAPER

Those who read my post about the session on January 6th will recall that in that session I was on a keyboard, which when you add Christmas in to the equation meant six weeks since I had used Reaper, so I was particularly pleased to get back to using Reaper. Once I had re-acquainted myself with what I had already done I moved on and created another major piece. I will met some photographs of my Reaper screens tell the rest of the tale:

Reaper 1
The first five pictures are from the first half of the session.

Reaper 2Reaper 3Reaper 4Reaper 5

Big piece 1
These last five shots deal with my new big piece.

big piece 2Big piece 3big piece 4big piece 5

THE MEME

A number of recent posts on this site have been about or have touched on the themed of “autism acceptance months” (here, here and here). During the weekend I created an #autismacceptancemonths meme for sharing on social media which has had some success, and for the benefit of those of my readers not on social media I reproduce it below:

Meme

 

Ashes Composite XI

My composite Ashes XI with reasoning and justification. Also some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

A common feature of final days of series is the selection of a composite XI based on performances in said series. This is my effort for the current Ashes series. I am going to name my team in batting order first and then explain/amplify/justify these selections.

THE TEAM

My team in batting order (England player names in dark blue, Aus in green):

  1. Alastair Cook
  2. David Warner
  3. Dawid Malan
  4. Steven Smith (Captain)
  5. Shaun Marsh
  6. Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)
  7. Mitchell Marsh
  8. Mitchell Starc
  9. Pat Cummins
  10. Nathan Lyon
  11. Jimmy Anderson

MY REASONING

The openers need no justification – the only major contribution from an opener not named Warner in the series was Cook’s monumental innings at the MCG. Number three is a thorny one. James Vince has demonstrated clearly that he does not belong there, and his huge score here at the SCG notwithstanding I remain skeptical about Usman Khawaja, hence my decision to promote England’s leading run scorer in the series to a position he occupies for his county. Number four, and with it the captaincy was the easiest selection of the whole lot. Shaun Marsh has not put a foot wrong since being called up to replace the inadequate Handscomb at number 5, and I regarded him as a must pick. Jonny Bairstow and Tim Paine have both had good series with the gloves, but I have opted for Bairstow as definitely the superior batsman. Mitchell Marsh has had a magnificent series, and was an absolute shoe-in at number 7, especially as Moeen Ali has had a terrible series – he has batted poorly in every match and his bowling average reads like a Bradman batting average. Of the specialist bowlers I have picked those at number 8,9 and 10 in the batting order are absolute stand outs. Number 11 was tricky, since Anderson with virtually no support has had a good series, and the better supported Hazlewood as also had a fine series. Accepting that even were it possible vivisection is not permissible (though ‘Anderwood’ is only one letter removed from a former test great!) I have opted for Anderson as I rate his the greater achievement. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Looking at the makeup of the team (and accepting that Hazlewood for Anderson and Khawaja for Malan would both be valid changes), Australian picks predominate in both batting and bowling, though it is especially the bowling, which in my team comes out at 4-1 (including all-rounder Mitchell Marsh) to Australia and is reality more like 4.3-0.7 (rating my selection of Anderson over Hazlewood as a 70:30 pick) which has split the sides. England have collected barely more than half of the 100 wickets that were available to them at the start of the series, whereas Australia assuming that they take the six England wickets that remain in this match will have managed 90, failing to take 20 opposition wickets only on the MCG pitch. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

I always like to include a few photographs in my blog posts, so I end with these recently taken pictures:

FW
The first five pictures were taken while walking to the Scout Hut on Beulah Street for Musical Keys yesterday.

FW2FW3MHIMHII

PW1
These last four pictures were taken in Fakenham on Thursday.

PW2PW3LBB

 

Autism and Music

An account of the first Musical Keys session of the new year and some autism related links.

INTRODUCTION

This post comprises two elements – one an account of the first Musical Keys session of 2018 and the other sharing some excellent recent stuff about autism. Because it is an autism themed post I am using #RedInstead text (scarlet for headings and links, maroon for body text). 

MUSICAL KEYS

Musical Keys is an activity run for autistic people who enjoy music. Generally speaking it is run fortnightly, with a session for youngsters between 3PM and 3:45PM and a session for older participants from 4PM to 5PM. I had initially been expecting to renew my acquaintance with Reaper (a computer program for composing music – see here for more details) but circumstances dictated otherwise, and I actually ended up on a…

KEYBOARD

This machine can function as a wide range of instruments/voices and in a wide range of styles, and I explored a lot of the instruments in the course of the time I spent on it.

Keyboard

John, one of the two people who run these sessions, showed me how to play chords as opposed to single notes, and I experimented with playing varying numbers of notes simultaneously, and using the whole range of the keyboard. 

I created a few chords where the notes played could also form words, such as face/cafe, cabbage etc. I enjoyed making the acquaintance of this keyboard and learning something of its capacities.

Chord
These notes could form the word ‘cabbage’ (there being 2 as, 2 bs, 1c, 1e and 1g. Kirsten Murray, who helps John to run the sessions, took this picture with my camera.
Face
Here you can see the notes – I played this with my left hand, while photographing with my right.
Screen
A close up the central screen.
Voice
The screen with more of its surrounds, including detail about the ‘voice’ settings.

AUTISM RELATED LINKS

This section starts with a post from Rhi that I regard as being the last word on “mild autism”, published under the title “Autscriptic: Mild Autism“. 

My next piece comes from the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, written by Shannon Des Roches Rosa of squidalicious.com under the self-explanatory title “Eleven Ways You Can Make Your Autistic Child’s Life Easier

The next two pieces in this section are both from the blog “Autism is my Superpower

TO SIRI REVISITED

I have linked to a number of reviews of Judith Newman’s book “To Siri With Love”, although since I have not read the book I can offer no direct comment about it, and here are a few more pieces about that book:

AN ANTI-AUTISTIC HATE GROUP
MASQUERADING AS AN AUTISM CHARITY

The organisation who are the subject of this little section go by the name of Autism Speaks, who you will also see referred to as Autism $peaks, Auti$m $peak$ and A$ in various places. 

  1. From care.com comes this story, whose title “Autism Mother Sues Autism Speaks For Disability Discrimination” gives you more than a hint of the truth about this vile organisation.
  2. The website ownshrink.com has a piece titled “Autism Speaks: Torturing autistics for profit” which is as damning an indictment of an organisation that claims to be an autism charity as you could find anywhere.

 

Computer Aided Composing

An account of my recent doings at Musical Keys with a photographic interlude.

INTRODUCTION

A few sessions back at Musical Keys, an event run for autistic people that I am a regular attender of, I switched from using Scratch to using a different package called Reaper. This Saturday just gone I reached a point at which I feel that my work on Reaper is now worth talking about. Also I have some good pictures that I can slip in as part of the back story.

SCRATCH AND REAPER

Scratch enables one to play notes on various musical instruments and also has some saved sound loops for variation. Effectively therefore Scratch enables one to play music and sounds but not really to create anything beyond the framework within which to do so. Reaper is both less and more – less in that it has no versions of musical instruments, more in that is really all about combining different recorded sounds into a larger whole, and therefore has much more of a creative element to it. 

BEFORE SATURDAY’S SESSION

I had spent one session assessing the available sound segments, working out which ones I liked and which of those combined well together, and a second session combining shorter segments into longer ones by putting together segments that would or could naturally flow together, but at the start of Saturday what I actually had was a set of useful components that I could start to think about assembling into proper length pieces…

INTERLUDE –  WALK TO THE SCOUT HUT

I had decided to lengthen my walk to the venue by taking in a stretch of the Great Ouse before rejoining the regular walking route to Gaywood by way of Seven Sisters and the Vancouver Garden, and a quick sampling of the air outside my flat convinced me of the need to don an extra jumper – it was cold, as some of the photos will make very plain. I had also allowed myself time for a visit to Gaywood library, since I would naturally pass very close to it. It may have been cold, but the birds were out in force, especially near the Great Ouse.

lapwings and a gulllapwings and gullsFlying lapwingswimming birdBlackbirdsBlackbird

Leaving the river by way of Hardings Pits I headed for the South Gate and thence Seven Sisters and the parkland areas…

framed magpieKL signSouthgatestarlingsthree birds

Among other things the walk through the parkland provided me with absolute proof of how cold it was – gulls walking on water. 

Gull walking on waterGull walking on water 2Gull walking on water 3rooksBlackbird II

DECEMBER 9TH AT MUSICAL KEYS

John, who usually supervises the sessions was not feeling well, so having driven the equipment over he spent the afternoon sat in his car, while his assistant Kirsten took charge of the sessions. 

Once I had opened up Reaper, checked and adjusted the speaker volume (at least 99% of the time it is set too loud for me and I have to reduce it, often considerably – on this occasion it had been set to 70% of full volume and I reduced that to 35%) it was time to put my plan of exploring options for combining various elements to make a larger whole into practice. Before moving on here is a photo I took at the end of the session.

Reaper

The piece that I called Organ and Strings was one of three background sounds that I used in the bigger pieces, the others being the drum and brass backgrounds. “Ensemble” and “Composite” as those names suggest were medium sized components, while “Horizontal” and “All in” were the two large scale components that I combined to make the final full size pieces. The two big pieces (12 and 16 minutes long respectively) were comprised of “Horizontal”-“All-in”‘-“Horizontal” and “Horizontal”-“All-in”-“Horizontal”-“All-in” respectively. By the time I had listened to the 16 minute piece at the end it was pretty much the end of the session. The next session is on January 6th and I shall work out some way to build on what I have already created.