Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Radial Symmetry: Night Vale Style

I finally got around to listening to the podcast Welcome to Night Vale... and I fell in love instantly!  

Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast done up like a radio broadcast from a fictional city where the paranormal is commonplace.  It's super hilarious and cute.  I can't get enough of it, and its dashing and sexy-sounding narrator, Cecil Gershwin Palmer--voiced by Cecil Baldwin.  

(Artwork by Viara (on Tumblr))

So, I decided I wanted to try another version of the radial symmetry project I did with the kids in art class last month.  But this time, I used Night Vale (and it's rival city, Desert Bluffs) for my muse.

For the last project, the art teacher was kind enough to give me the special, fancy paper the kids were using.  But for this one, I had to settle for simple cardstock.  This means it's neither as big--nor as fancy--as the previous project.  Also, I used color pencils instead of paint because I didn't trust my painting skills to get the details right.

First, I created a square on the cardstock, measuring 8.5 inches down the long side and cutting that off--giving me a prefect 8.5x8.5 inch square.  From there, I marked each side at the 4.25 inch mark, and connected the lines vertically and horizontally.  Then, I connected the corners to the center.  Super easy!  Since I didn't have a compass for making it a perfect circle, I settled for connecting the wedges with a straight line.


Then I made my templates.  I created a Night Vale inspired wedge from the podcast's logo:



And I created another wedge inspired by Desert Bluffs (which has its own logo from a bonus episode... 19B "The Sandstorm").



I copied the templates onto the paper (using this method), in an alternating pattern.


Then I picked my color scheme.  Night Vale is all in shades of purple, and Desert Bluffs in shades of yellow.  The yellows didn't look too good, so I went with oranges--which also added to the symmetry of the piece, as orange and purple are complimentary colors!


I colored them in with only three shades apiece.




I absolutely love this, and I can't wait to find some way to frame it on my wall!

On a side note, Pockets and I are planning on cosplaying as Cecil and his double, Kevin--from Desert Bluffs--for the Phoenix Comicon in May.  More on that story as it develops.

And as always.  Good night, Night Vale.  Good night.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Raidal Symmetry Painting

I LOVE working at an elementary school!  It's the best job in the world!  Not only are my kids super sweet, but I get to go with them to all their specials classes ("specials" is how our districts terms classes like art, band, P.E., etc.).  I always have so much fun learning new notes in band, learning new songs in music, and learning new crafts in art!

Plus, our art teacher this year is amazing!  She recognizes me as another art lover.  So, when the sixth graders began a project on radial symmetry, she gave me the necessary supplies to make my own!  It was a really neat project, and can be easily duplicated at home.

Materials needed:
12x12 inch paper (fancy painting paper works best, but any paper will get the job done)
A pencil
Various acrylic paints
Paint brush

Step 1: Design your painting

The teacher handed out sheets of paper with pie slices, 1/8 of a picture.  At home, I drew a couple ideas down--including a Wheel of Time one I'd like to do sometime soon.


I wound up doing the more abstract one, because I wanted it to be simple.

Step 2: Cut out the slice


Step 3: Color the back


This will let you easily trace the pattern onto the paper.

Step 4: Set up your paper

With your 12x12 inch paper, mark the six inch distance on all four sides.  With a ruler, connect the marks up and down, and left to right.  Then connect right-top corner to left-bottom corner, and left-top corner to right-bottom corner.  This will give you nice, even eight-slice pie.

Step 5: Trace

With your cut out paper, place it inside one of the outlined slices.


Trace over the lines, which will trace the graphite on the back onto the paper on the bottom.  Repeat in all eight slices.  I also traced the curve at the bottom to finish off the circle.


Step 6: Decide on your colors

For the kids' assignment, they had specific color guidelines to follow.  Naturally, as adults, we aren't hampered by that same constraint.  One of the perks of being a grown-up.  :P

Their requirements were to use two or three colors only, and they had to be all: primary colors, secondary colors, analogous colors, or complimentary colors.  They were allowed to alternate the colors, or the arrangement of colors in each slice, as long as it kept its radial symmetry.

I followed these guidelines a bit.  I chose three colors (analogous colors), but only used two in each slice.  I used red and purple in the even slices, and purple and blue in the odd.

Step 7: Paint

I put my blue and red paint on a plate and started my project.  I didn't have any purple at the time, so I just did those two colors first.


I used a thin brush, so I could make my lines as nice and neat as possible.



I did try mixing the red and blue together to get purple, but the color turned out really ugly.  I had to run out to the store to get actual violet paint.



And you're done!

One thing I realized is that I suck at painting.  It turned out really streaky.  I have very little experience with that medium, and I hope to get better at it soon!  But it was a fun project.  And I would love to try it again.  If I do a WoT related one, I'd use all the colors of the Ajahs (including Black).  *LOL*


Baking Polvorones

I work at an elementary school with 4th-6th grade autistic children.  The sixth graders are currently doing country reports, where they pick a country and research it.  For extra credit, they were able to dress up in that country's native garb, or bring in some food from that country.

One of my boys is having a hard time a home--with deaths in the family, surgery for his mother, chronic illness for him--so to help out, I volunteered to make the treats to bring in for his presentation.  His country was the Philippines, so I decided to make polvorones.

I found a recipe from Pinterest, and it was pretty easy to do!

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups powdered skim milk
2 cups white sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened but not melted

First, put the flour into a skillet over medium heat.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring constantly, to brown the flour.


This was the trickiest part.  At first, the flour didn't change colors, so I was concerned.  But eventually, it took on a light brown color.  The smell was a bit strong--though not unpleasant.


The left is the browned flour.  The right is normal flour.

Next, put the flour in a mixing bowl and let it cool slightly.  Then, add the sugar and powdered milk.  Mix together.


Next, add in the butter.  Mix together with your fingers.  It will produce a very loose, grainy dough.


Apparently, this is normal, as the desserts are called "buttery, fragile and literally melt-in-your-mouth powdered candies."

Next, you need to compress the dough into shapes.  The recipe calls for a specific mold, but I just used mini muffin tins.


I used a spoon to shovel the dough inside, and then compressed it (like when you measure out flour into a cup).

Refrigerate for at least two hours.  Then, remove from the mold.


These turned out very, very tasty, BUT the consistency was so grainy!  It was a bit off-putting because it felt like a bunch of sand in my mouth.  I explained this to the kids before they ate, suggesting they take little bites.  Of course, the sixth grade boys saw this as a challenge and nearly half of them shoved the whole cookie into their mouths at once.  *sigh*  Either way, most of the kids enjoyed this treat.  I would definitely make them again, but probably add a bit more liquid (butter was the ONLY liquid in the recipe), to give it a more dough-like consistency.  And the polvorones were better tasting when chilled, so I kept them refrigerated until we passed them out.