cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Alan Levine

Good morning troopers! Who is ready to make art today? This is my second day’s effort for the ds106 July 2013 Daily Create Challenge I issued yesterday. I am 2/2! It’s not about doing them all, its about doing as many as you can (like all of them).

Today’s Daily Create is a drawing challenge — “Draw something abstract out of straight lines.”

I’ve been tinkering with an old Director authored shockwave site (might be blogged soon), and was reminded of one of the first Director things I made, an abstract (primitive) drawing tool named after an elephant at the Phoenix Zoo who painted art, this was something I called Ruby’s Art Pad:

Ruby was an Asian elephant at the Phoenix Zoo. Her keepers once noticed her using a stick to draw patterns in the dirt of her pen and they were amazed what happened when they gave her a brush, paint colors and a blank canvas.

For years, she has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the zoo through sale of her original paintings. Bold, brash, and daring with use of colors, she was the un-adultered pure artist. (We’re not talking “Dogs Playing Poker” at the Motel-12 Starving Artist Sale!)

Ruby was sent to flirt with the studly “Sneezy” at the Tulsa Zoo so that she could put her energies into motherhood. She returned to Phoenix pregnant, but sadly the fetus died inside of her and in October 1998 an attempt at a C-section on her found Ruby to be too sick from infection. She died. (see news stories from CNN. A week later, the Phoenix Zoo offered a one day free admission as a special tribute to ruby.

The shockwave version of Ruby’s Art Pad no longer worked, so I fired up the old 2002 MacBook which still has classic mode, to use the desktop version, shown above.

ruby-animI am proud to show that in 1996 I was using animated GIFs, here in a little icon to represent what the app could do. I have found more GIFs I did back in the old web days (when it was a viable means to animate at low bandwidth costs) (remember 14.4 modems?

In this case, the actual creative portion took very little time, but fiddling with the old computer, transferring files back and forth, well it might have pushed my total creative time spent to be 30 minutes. Still not much

Meaning? It sort of reminds me of my pine forest on a hot day, but may also represent the natural tendency from order to chaos.


Okay, are YOU ready to join in? Never too late. See how much art you can create in a short window of time. Every day.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. Animated gifs are not interesting. Elephants with paintbrushes are. Blinky things not interesting. Abstract art made with Ruby’s Art Pad definitely interesting. Cool. Love that.

    1. I know that about you!

      Keep in mind the era, 1996. Embedding video was barely possible at that. There was no flash. To show something as a time series was best done as a GIF– not flash but to show multiple states of something over time.

      One day I will walk you into the Garden of GIF and you will know

      1. I remember my husband’s son staying up all night to play Myst circa 1994 then excitedly explaining it to us. I asked, “But what is the point of [what was it?] saving the princess?”

        He looked at me totally baffled. He should have said, “It’s a game. I do it for fun.”

        And I wish he had. I wish I had become a D & D fanatic; I wish I had learned the immersive pleasure of MUDS and MOOS and other communal online games, and no doubt that would have led me to an appreciation of games, fanfic, and gifs.

        Now Daniel is a big Digital Technician, assistant to Bill Pope (Spiderman II, etc.) and currently traveling all over Europe in a big remake of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series, this one with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Staying up all night to understand all the secrets of Myst got him everywhere.

        I’m sure learning to build bigger and ever cooler gifs has taught you a hundred useful tech skills and has contributed to what I “like” most about you–your non stop sense of online fun and play.

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