Task Avoidance: Artist Trading Cards

I am trying to sketch a visualization of William Blake’s Inn nearly every day, but what that means is that I’ve been staring at a collection of raw materials on my drafting table every day, and today I was forced—forced, I tell you—to create an Artist Trading Card [ATC].

Here’s the main idea, from a post I wrote several years ago.  (tl;dr: 2-½ x 3-½ cards, decorated and labeled, then traded or given away.)

I doodled with some a couple of years ago:

These were labeled as Destructive Series; there were more, but I’ve given them away.  The concept for these was to splash out some kind of Abortive Attempt onto the card, then “destroy” the image by blanking part of it out with glued-on paper.  (The third one turned out so nicely that I didn’t destroy it.)

Today I started a series called Indeterminate Objects:

So, a great way to waste a half hour while avoiding work on Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy—or greatest way to waste a half hour while avoiding work on Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy?

Prelude 6, stab 5, et al.

I didn’t have email because my provider had migrated my account over to the new server, and his email telling me about all that got caught up on the transfer and didn’t go out until it went to the new server. Oops. All is well now, however.

I worked on Prelude 6 again last night, struggling with the harmonization of the tone-row. I didn’t like the middle, where the notes wander without real purpose and so the harmonies have to be rather forceful to get you to follow along. I believe I have that fixed now. Tonight I will work on the ending, which I think is necessary because I need a boffo finish, as we used to say in vaudeville, and I don’t want to leave it to chance.

In other news, I got the next set of Artist Trading Cards mailed off, finally. Terry had sent me his last week, and I had just lazed about before sending them off again. I’ll reveal the next artist in a couple of days. No word from Craig, who got the other set.

I have a couple of composition competition deadlines coming up next week. I had one last week, but upon close examination it turned out that “Blake Leads a Walk on the Milky Way” was too big for the criteria, and the “Allegro Gracioso” from the symphony was actually too short. Feh. I guess I should go through all the upcoming competitions with a similar fine-toothed comb so I can go ahead and get them off my schedule.

ATCs, et al.

Terry returned his Artist Trading Cards earlier in the week. I’ll have those out to the next artist on Monday.

In other news, I started tweaking Prelude (no fugue) No. 5 this morning. There was one measure, m.17, that bugged me. I know why: the harmonies/chords were slack. And I know why: it was one of those points to which I had taken a crowbar earlier, and those chords were an exact repeat of the earlier thread. I had inverted them, but that just weakened them. I considered un-inverting them and doubling them in the left hand, which would have made life a lot more interesting for the pianist, but after listening to the basic structure I decided it just needed new harmonies.

However, after tweaking and tweaking and tweaking, I found that I could best solve the problem by removing the measure altogether. I’m now claiming that the problem was structural, not harmonic.

More work is required.

The return of the ATC

The first victim artist has returned his Artist Trading Cards. The game is afoot.

Kevin was the first to get his back to me. Mike is being all creative and important and reviewed in major websites out on the other coast, so he’s not gotten around to his yet.

Normally, I think, I’m not going to post everyone’s. If I did, then the next person to receive them wouldn’t get the nice surprise , assuming, as I do, of course, that all the victims artists are regular readers of this blog. It also occurs to me that it might be nice to have something out of the reach of the ubiquitous web. But just this once, I’ll show you what Kevin sent me:

The second is from a series Kevin took in the labyrinth one night. He should probably post those on the Lichtenbergian site or even on Flickr or something, because they are very very nice.

Anyway, according to the rules, I will now send one of these along to the next victim artist (OK, I’ll stop doing that now) along with one of mine, probably one of the “R is for Reproduction” series. Watch your mailbox.

In other news, those who follow the career of the curse on my music will be amused , and I daresay impressed , by this. I think I’ve mentioned that my friend Stephen Czarkowski has asked me to write a cello sonata for his use in a series of concerts across the embassy circuit in D.C. He shared that it might get reviewed by the Washington Times, since apparently they really like him for some reason right now. Great, I thought, reviews by the crazy newspaper. I needn’t have worried. I’m a little concerned about our relations on Embassy Row, however.

Summer Countdown: Day 32

Lichtenbergian goals

I checked the range of the former viola part in its new habitat of third violin (in Waltz: Allegro gracioso). Fortunately, there’s a tool that does that for you, not only identifying notes that are out range of the selected instrument but offering to move each one up an octave (or to wherever else you like). It took no time at all.

Upon repeated listening, I think I can actually strip out a great deal of the piano’s doubling of the viola part. That doesn’t leave the piano with a lot to do, but what it does is critical. And I think the bass drum part can be assumed by the timpani altogether. The tempo as I have it set now may be a little too fast as well. Ah well, it all has to reach performance first anyway.

I emailed Wallace Galbraith with the link to the AFO page here, and explained more of what I had in mind for each one. Then I went on to Facebook and posted a link to yesterday’s post and invited everyone to come vote on their favorite. So far, it’s pretty much an even split between Rondo and Waltz, with Resignation coming in third. I am a bit surprised at how popular Rondo is, given its completely fragmentary status.

Lichtenbergian distractions

As predicted, the Artist Trading Card project is a complete time sink. I love it. I created four cards and all the packaging that goes with the mailing back and forth. To me, part of the fun of the project is the total look and feel I’ve come up with; I’ve turned it into a “thing.” You’ll see what I mean when your chance arrives in the mail. I could just use plain #10 envelopes, after all, but where’s the fun in that?

Speaking of which, I mailed off two ATC packages yesterday. I’ll announce tomorrow who’s getting them.

At the moment, my cards are tending toward dadaistic collage, although I may inject a figural study in there every now and then. I’m afraid the first four are not very well thought out. I was excited to get them out the door and so made them in a rush of energy if not creativity. Sorry guys. I’m doing better on this next set.