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Archive for the ‘Visual Art’ Category

App-etisers for May

I’m excited to share some apps that are new, or just discovered.  I will highlight which features are transformational in the way we (students, teachers, and everyone else) can aid in personal music or art education, whether at school, home, or on the go.

Touch Notation Free – iOS

Touch Notation Free on the App Store Firefox, Today at 12.52.15 PM.png


The fine app (Kawai Musical Instruments Manufacturing Co., Ltd.) has the fastest ‘on the go’ notation entry I’ve ever used – I’ve tried many.  Regardless, finger or Apple Pencil, a few minutes of using, and an exquisite piano sample sound plays your music.  I’m still testing the free version with limitations – try this out!  Full version, with further in-app purchases is about $12 US.

Vanido – Your personal singing coach – FREE

Vanido - Your personal singing coach on the App Store Firefox, Today at 1.06.15 PM.png


Vanido (Himanshu Singh) takes you through progressive, traditional, vocal exercises (chest voice, foundation, head voice, agility) with piano support.  Where this app flies is its visual of your voice as a sound wave-like line that signifies your accuracy to the target pitch.  For hesitant singers, this gives a much needed visual goal to strive for.  It has a basic, colourful display, game-like qualities, and must be used with earphones with built-in microphone.  See if this app supports your independent learning to become a better singer.

Art Break – FREE
Art Break. Draw, Relax and Get Things Done on the App Store Firefox, Today at 1.29.02 PM.png

Art Break: Draw, Relax and Get Things Done (Tarasov Mobile) gives you a unique set of tools (brushes) that motivate an exploration of your love (or lack of) for drawing on a tablet (available at Google Play) with or without a stylus.  Students love the brushes that augment your line as you draw – ribbon, shaded, fur, web.  If you remember the popular Spirograph set years ago and the excitement that it caused, the next set of brushes bring a new level of amazement for users of all ages.  Mirror ribbon, symmetry ribbon, and symmetry fur are worth a look.  There are in-app purchases to upgrade to Premium version and remove Art Break watermark from your drawings and the addition of more brushes for Premium users in next updates.

This photo is from a student’s first use of the app over 10 minutes.



Apple Pencil: a Mediator

Apple says:

When using iPad Pro, there may be moments when you want even greater precision. So we painstakingly designed Apple Pencil to expand on the versatility of Multi-Touch. And while the technology inside is unlike anything we’ve ever engineered, picking up Apple Pencil for the first time feels instantly familiar. It lets you make any number of effects, right down to a single pixel, giving you more creative freedom than ever before.



Over the past week, I’ve been using the Apple Pencil with a variety of apps to see how my finger vs. Pencil experience has been changed, after 7 years using an iPad.  (I’ve used two other stylus in the past 3 years).  The pencil acts as a mediator between my thoughts and the iPad.  Whether music notation, writing notes, drawing, or within games, Apple Pencil has transformed my intimacy and expressiveness with the art of creation, once again, as most of its technology has.

Recommendation: buy a case for your iPad Pro (9.7″) that includes a protective cradle for your Apple Pencil – check out Speck case: StyleFolio Pencil model.  You’ll never have to wonder where you put your Apple Pencil!

Apps test: (There are too many to show here.)

Music notation

Notion newest.png

Notion for iPad

Symphony Pro App - newest.jpeg

Symphony Pro

I’ve waited more than 30 years to be able to write music on a device with accuracy, ease, and in an environment that provides authentic music instruments, notation, and sharing.  Thank you, Apple, Notion and Symphony Pro! 


Penultimate on the App Store Firefox, Today at 9.36.45 AM.png


MyScript Nebo – Note Taking for Apple Pencil on the App Store Firefox, Today at 9.38.30 AM.png

 MyScript Nebo -converts written text to print



Tayasui Sketches

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Drawing Desk


Pigment: Adult Coloring Book

Are you using the Apple Pencil?  Share your experiences!  What apps would you recommend?

In the Director’s Chair

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Apple’s line up of Mac Apps and its Pro AppsOfficial Apple Support Firefox, Today at 11.35.36 AM.png

Keep up-to-date with the apps that can help you achieve your artistic goals!  Many of these products have an accompanying iPhone or iPad versions that are useful for on-the-go use, and controlling your main Mac computer from the other device.

Go to the App Store from your Mac to something like this:

App Store App Store, Today at 11.37.16 AM.png

Mobile Arts & Adobe

Adobe has done a phenomenal job in re-branding itself with monthly subscriptions to their powerhouse products and a huge array of free mobile apps to stay relevant in this ever changing techno landscape.  Similar to the mobile music apps I follow, people have the capabilities to develop the hidden artist skills that lay dormant until tapped and nurtured, especially in concert with these incredible, transformational apps.

Here is what I am testing and using on my various mobile devices to demonstrate in workshops and with teachers and students on my my travels.

You will need to make a free Adobe account to use these apps.  It’s time to capture the world around you and see it in a totally different way, as inspiration for expressing your aesthetic notions from within.

Please email me if you have any questions, suggestions on how you use these or other apps, or collaboration ideas.

Adobe Free Apps.png

That Perfect Graphic

Finding that perfect piece of clip art graphic can be a time consuming task for anyone pursuing a unique, personal look to their work.  There are numerous image sites that provide free graphics for a variety of situations, e.g., pixabay.  Another alternative is what I am sharing here.

Adobe has put out apps that allow for image capture and simple manipulation to create that perfect piece of clip art, in this case, vector graphics.  Using these two, free apps provide a new perspective to photo taking, learning about the best ways to capture the outlines of your desired shapes.  Once taken, you can use other apps to colorize or 3D-ify them, which I’ll mention later.

Finder Finder, Today at 5.48.02 pm

Adobe Capture

Finder Finder, Today at 5.41.12 pm

Adobe Shape

Both of these apps (available for Apple and Android devices) capture shapes for conversion into vector clip art.  Adobe Shape is solely for this purpose, syncing all creations with your free Adobe account.  This syncs your images for use with any Adobe computer apps you may have, e.g., Adobe Illustrator CC, Adobe Illustrator Draw or Adobe Photoshop CC, however Adobe Capture offers other capabilities for gathering colour schemes, shapes, brushes, and looks.  These features are especially useful if you are wishing to extract colour themes from photos for use within other works.  Brushes take on the shape of your saved vector graphic for adding creative brush drawing within Illustrator and Photoshop documents.

Here is an example:

I want to create a music sheet for students with a musical instrument graphic, a recorder.  Here is the original photo taken after using Adobe Shape.

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Here are two examples of taking the graphic into Pages (Mac) with a simple title added:

Recorder Challenge 1This is the same image copied, and flipped horizontally, with a shadow added to it.

Recorder Challenge 2Here is the same image with an added yellow line around/within the recorder from another app for Mac called, Logoist 2.5 (a fantastic app).  The image was enhanced, then copy-pasted back into the original Pages document.

This gives you an idea of how you can use Adobe Shape and Capture ‘on the go’ from your mobile phone to your finished document.  You will never look at small trinkets and unique objects the same way now that they can be captured in these two apps.

Another way I used the apps was to draw an image on paper with pencil.  After following the routines with editing the picture, these apps smooth out your lines making your artwork look even better – I’ve very humble drawing skills, but this helped me realise my thinking.  I could fill the shape with another colour, or add 3D effects to it.

JPEG image-2F33525BF79E-1Download and have fun!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or suggestions.

Muskoka Steamship

Muskoka Steamship

Muskoka Steamship Reduced

Once again, George Shaw, my father (in his 85th year), has finished another painting portraying a quiet, early morning in the town of Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada.  In the background is the famous and historical steamship, the RMS Segwun docked at the Gravenhurst waterfront.   Reflectively, my father remarked about his trip there years ago with his wife, fondly remembering the early morning peace and tranquility, the bakery and fresh coffee.

My father’s goal of one painting a month is beyond impressive and I hope you’ll join me in wishing him good health, happiness, and the energy to keep his brushes primed for the next subject.  Please email me your comments and I’ll pass them on to him.

This link will give you further information about the RMS Segwun, and the Muskoka Steamship and Historical Society.

‘Shaping’ by George Shaw

George Shaw’s Latest Painting


Shaping - George Shaw - ReducedGeorgian Bay, Bruce Peninsula – Acrylic on canvas

In his 85th year, my father is still going strong.  He’s survived one of the worst Canadian winters in years to finish this reflective, scenic painting.   The contemplative subject of a shoreline shows a flat stoned bottom jigsawed from weathered time and natural geological forces.

Though his composition, my father’s work invites the observer to become absorbed with the almost invisible horizon.

I can imagine myself carefully jumping from flat stone to flat stone while watching crayfish scurry or swoosh into the natural underwater crevices.

Peace and calm, Dad… carry on.

By the way, my father is considering purchasing his first mobile phone!

Photo – Clifford Wedge

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