Adams-Pseudocode I-Pseudocode, 42 x 78 inches, acrylic & mixed media on panel, ©2014 Deidre Adams


A long, long, time ago — in what feels like an entirely different lifetime — I went to a technical/vocational school in Albuquerque and enrolled in a course of study called Data Processing. The field wasn’t as complicated back then, so this prosaic name was perfectly acceptable. I’m going to really be dating myself here, but the first computer language I learned was COBOL (COmmon Business Oriented Language). Before the school upgraded to their snazzy new Data General with input terminals in the early 1980s, we had to type our program code onto punch cards. Really, kids!



One mistake in typing, and you had to throw the whole card out and start over. Some of the programs got to be pretty long, with several hundred cards that absolutely had to remain in the right order. Having your program run involved handing your box of cards to a lab tech and then coming back hours later to get back your cards along with a printout of the results. Because you never got it right the first time, you’d then have to debug and type some new cards with the changes. This was an iterative process which could involve many rounds. If your program got to the point of being many inches worth of cards, the lab techs had a great joke they might play on you, especially if they knew your deadline was imminent. They would come out with your box, with the cards all piled up in a big jumble and say, “I’m so sorry — I tripped!” After several minutes of enjoying your utterly panic-stricken (or rage-filled) response, they would reveal that your stack was safe and sound the whole time and it was all just fun and games.

Prior to doing the real coding, a programmer would first write out the program in pseudocode, a kind of higher-level outline that would help to organize the logic of the program before getting too far into the weeds of code. I hadn’t thought about this in years, but last summer I went through a basement purging and found some old COBOL textbooks that I had held onto all this time for who knows what reason.

We had pre-printed forms for writing pseudocode.

Pseudocode01From Introduction to Computer Programming: Structured COBOL, Shelly & Cashman, 1978.


The next step was to translate the pseudocode into code, written by hand onto yet another form. So primitive!
Code002From Introduction to Computer Programming: Structured COBOL, Shelly & Cashman, 1978.


But I digress.

This got me to thinking about the word pseudocode, and how it’s rather a good metaphor for the kind of communication that’s prevalent in the media now — a lot of coded language, sounding like it means something, but quite often saying little to nothing that’s going to make a difference in people’s lives. This also ties back into my work, in which I use expressive gestures and calligraphic symbols which have a kind of significance for me but don’t convey any concrete meaning to the viewer.

Adams-Pseudocode-det3-Pseudocode (detail), acrylic & mixed media on panel, ©2014 Deidre Adams
Adams-Pseudocode-det5-Pseudocode (detail), acrylic & mixed media on panel, ©2014 Deidre Adams


All this is fodder going towards me re-thinking my artist’s statement in preparation for the upcoming show. I think every artist should do this from time to time, and what better time than when you have an opportunity to show some new work? I hope to have an updated statement ready to post very soon.

2017-10-15T16:14:58+00:00 January 18th, 2014|Art|2 Comments

3 things

Adams-InsightSuspended-Insight Suspended, 48 x 72 inches, acrylic & mixed media on panel, ©2014 Deidre Adams

Thing 1 – I have been working hard on some new paintings. Here is one you’ve seen before, but at that time it was called Suspension of Disbelief.  I had it out because I was thinking of putting it into an upcoming show, and I realized that I really was not at all satisfied with it. I won’t bore you with all the painful details, but I’ll just say it underwent several interim transformations before I got to this place. At one point I had what was more or less the background in the piece above. It wasn’t awful; just kind of plain and not all that exciting. I was living with it like that and trying to decide if it was finished.Then, I was looking at some other artwork in magazines and online, and something gave me the idea to add the red line. I knew there was a pretty good chance things would go from OK to really terrible, but very often, overcoming a state of fear like this is when something really good happens. I’m quite pleased with the result and I think it may become part of my working method for the future.

Adams-InsightSuspended-det1-Insight Suspended (detail), acrylic & mixed media on panel, ©2014 Deidre Adams


Thing 2 – When I last wrote, I mentioned wanting to have a studio outside my home. I’m happy to announce that after a bit of a search, I have found a space. I’ll be sharing it part-time with another artist. I’m hoping to be able to move in within the next week or two. The not-so-great part is that it’s about 20 miles from my house and a 30+ minute drive in non-rush hour traffic. So I’ll no longer be able to just wake up and start working, or to keep going well into the night if the spirit moves. But my hope is that once I’m there, I’ll be very focused and less tempted to waste time on the computer. So it remains to be seen whether I’ll actually get more done, or less. In any case, I’m excited beyond words and can’t wait to move in!

Thing 3 – I will be exhibiting some of my paintings in an upcoming show called Texture, Form & Function, at The Art Gallery at the Denver Performing Arts Complex, Jan. 31 – March 15. The other artists in the show are Bonnie Ferrill Roman, Mary Hertert, and Sally Converse.

Texture, Form & Function – Jan. 31 – March 15

The Art Gallery at the Denver Performing Arts Complex (next to Backstage Coffee)
100 14th St., Denver, Colorado
303.623.1300 – [email protected]

Opening Reception: Friday, Feb. 7, 7:30–11pm
Fashion Show: Friday, March 7, 7:30-11pm
Artist Talks: Sat. Feb. 22 & March 15, 10-11 am


2017-10-15T16:14:59+00:00 January 13th, 2014|Painting|8 Comments