Sunday, September 18, 2011


This "vinescape" or landscape with grapevines could be from any vineyard in Virginia, and it is in fact from the Corcoran Vineyards near Waterford, as I identified it in the ink-only posting a day or so ago. I would have liked it to be from the vineyard I visited on "Wine Saturday" yesterday, Narmada Winery, but I failed to produce my wine artwork there as I will explain in a bit. After today's tasting Narmada goes to the top level of my Virginia wine appreciation list because I loved their wines. They excel in the "off-dry" or slightly sweet wines because they want to match the wine with spicy Indian food. But there are some excellent dry offerings as well, especially the red blends. And they've got some enchanting sweet dessert wines too. So that's the wine blog part of the By-Product today. (I don't think "Wine By-Products" sounds too good.) And now for a little Rant.

iPAD RANT. I took my 21st century marvel gadget to Narmada and did a fairly good sketch of their beautiful view using the "Autodesk Studio Pro" app. I saved it multiple times and thought it was securely placed in the "Gallery" section. Then while attempting to make another drawing, I somehow DELETED this sketch. With no warning. (This is not necessarily due to wine consumption, as this has happened to me more than once, with no drinking involved.) All I can figure is that while trying to save the second drawing, I overwrote the first one. But I had no clue that I was doing this and the machine certainly wasn't helpful. Usually if I am in danger of overwriting something, the program says, "Replace older version?" Nothing like that here. At which point I wanted to pitch the iPad into Narmada's lovely reflecting pond. I didn't, but I am not gonna give this insolent device a chance at a winery drawing again. I won't be able to get back to Narmada for quite some time, and when I do, I will take my colored pencils and sketchbook, as I have done all along. Traditional media win!

I am having a lot of trouble learning to use the iPad and its apps. The reason is that none of these things comes with any clear instructions. There might be a single screen of explanations but really nothing relevant to the artistic user. One music app offered online instructions but they were written in such garbled Japanese-translated English that it wasn't worth reading it. I guess I am supposed to already know what these cryptic icons mean, like little crosses or triangles or zigzags or double-pages or whatever. Maybe they come from using an iPhone, which iDon't have. I downloaded the "Kindle" app for the iPad but I can't get it to show me any books, either for sale or any other use, even though the Device is connected to the Net by Wi Fi. Is there something I am missing here? Am I just too old for this? I have not heard of any other folks having trouble learning how to use the iPad, so what's wrong with me? Maybe one or two of my readers could be forthcoming here. Wait, that's ALL my readers, that is, my artist friend Tristan and someone named "Mike," who could be one of dozens of Mikes that I know but is probably my Canadian composer colleague. As always, I await enlightenment.

"Vinescape" is ink, watercolor, and watercolor pencils on Fabriano paper, 12" x 9", September 2011.


Mike said...

First, I'd like to mention how much I love this piece. The colour and detail is fantastic!

Regarding your ipad, I think pitching it into a pond is a good choice. I am a lover of computers and technology in general, and have been for my entire life. I'm all for advancement and new tech, however when something drastically new comes into view, I always regard it with trepidation. The reason being: It never quite works as well as it should, or it doesn't operates how you would expect it.

Apple's products are by far the most polished when it comes to introducing new technologies to the world, but the problem is that developers sometimes try to push the tech a little too far. At the same time, the simplicity and "dumbing-down" of these products take away control from the user that are available on standard computers. Very frustrating. If I want to do something my way, I should have that option.

At the end of the day, Apple's products are toys, not tools, and should be treated as such. As the tech progresses, my thoughts on this might change. Actually, this is very likely.

Don't get me started on the lack of user manuals for software (especially games). It seems the best way to learn new software is to poke and prod it, see what things do... Or read user forums.

I commend you for embracing new technologies. But if I were you, I'd stick with traditional pencil and paper.

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. And yes, "Mike" is Altus from Canada. ;)

Rae Trigg said...

I have to agree about Apple's products - they really are dumbed down and are not particularly intuitive, either. Android isn't really any better, so as far as I am concerned, no idiot-phone will ever replace a real computer. As for the Kindle app, Jim & I used Stanza on the iPhone & were relatively happy with it. It is obvious with that app how to access books, including free ones. Jim also recommends Barnes & Noble's app for e-books rather than Amazon's Kindle. Hope the above is at least somewhat helpful.

Anonymous said...

Try going to to find a free or low-cost book for your iPad and download it from their site. It should show up on your selected device.