Archive for May 14th, 2008

A while back I commented that pictures that I mark out by drawing vectors that describe relationships between the objects in the composition (rather than marking out by grid) tend to be better pictures and I promised a post devoted to this subject.

What I am going to do is make a couple of posts on this subject, so that they don’t get too long. I will probably digress later also on to how I progress from the initial marking out and building up the underpainting and then the whole picture.

Well now I am working on a new picture (see the reference image on the right) that is a section from my ravine of the Jordan river picture that I did back in 2005. That picture was by the way, my first picture on canvas. Until then I had painted on board only.

What always amazes me (though I suppose it shouldn’t) is that whenever I analyze a reference photograph that I have chosen to paint, I always “discover” compositional features that “just appeared” there without necessarily any forethought. For example, a picture that just hangs together and has great composition “just happens” to divide on thirds and have great compositional vectors so that elements just lead your eye from one object to another within the picture.

In this one, the thirds “just happen” to come out on the bigger trees on the top right and bottom left and on the start and bend of the river. Those trees “just happen” to balance each other off and the river just flows between the other third marks. “Just happens” :-).



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Follow-up 18th March 2009: This article refers to Iron Speed Designer version 5. Version 6.0 now officially supports medium trust.

If you have been following me, or if you have read my about page you will know that when I am not painting, I work in the IT industry as a web-programmer-architect-tech-geek. So when it comes to improving my website, I don’t go shell out money to somebody to do it for me; I do it myself. Also when I want to learn something new and I haven’t got a chance to do it at work, then I can always try to implement it on my own site.

I wanted to build a better interface for uploading new items to my website and managing the database and I was going to learn a new tool in the process. As you will see, I ran into problems.

Anyway we have this cool tool (cool in a geeky way, not really cool) which we use at work called Iron Speed Designer that is a web site generator. You create a database on SQL Server, Oracle or MySQL, give your tables and fields meaningful names, add foreign key relationships and then run the wizard. Five minutes later you have a “good-enough” full ASP.Net web application for insert, update, view of all your data tables. Cool. Well cool if you want to build a website and especially if you are understaffed, lazy or are just not a geek and don’t know how to create your own website. Seriously this application can save you (wo)man-months and loads of money.

What is even cooler is that the whole thing is XML template based, so you can modify the templates and the code generated is ASP.Net, so you can (and are positively invited to) add your customizations after generation and do what you want. If your database has changes you can then get the tool to pick up the changes, regenerate and keep all your customizations. Well cool have I said already?

Iron Speed have three versions of the tool which just include increasingly more functionality as you pay more. We use the most expensive one at work. I downloaded the free version to use for myself.

However – and there tends to be a however whenever you get to one of these technological wonders – it works wonderfully on your own internal servers but not on hosted servers. Why? Well if you thought this post was geeky, then it is going to get worse now.

The problem is in the trust level required to run the generated code. For some reason the base classes that do the basic plumbing of the system appear to be making unmanaged calls or reflection. If your site is running under full trust this is no problem, but in a typical hosted environment this means trouble. My host (GoDaddy) imposes medium trust and although there is a guy who claims in the Iron Speed forums that you can get around the problem, I couldn’t. I tried rewriting the classes like he says and in more places but in the end I gave up.

Conclusion Iron Speed v.5 does not support medium trust. A shame, but that’s the way it is [Version 6 now does – RS 18/03/2009].

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