Tag Archives: ms paint

Digital art from August 2004

These are the result of the first time I ever, as I recall, did art just to do it, willfully abandoning care and concern for the end result being ‘good’.  And of course, as I learned then and have re-learned since, that’s the kind of liberating notion that allows it to be good in the end.  Doing it just to do it, not thinking about whether it’s good or bad.

20040826-01, digital image, 800x600 pixels, August 2004

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This is also the point where I gave up on trying to name non-representational abstractions.  🙂  A few to come will have names, but from this point on for most the names will just be the date I did them in yyyymmdd format, and maybe as above, followed by a sequence number if I did more than one that day.  Naming non-representational abstractions is hard, ya know, because they don’t represent anything that already has a name.  The only reason I put forth the effort to do that today is to give them usable  search terms for people Googling…  (yes I hope to be Googled by accident.  To be a search result that if not what they were looking for, that catches their eye and a few curious clicks.  I do that myself all the time.  Anyway, google image search “living mosaic” — I’m in the first 10!!)

Anyway, what’s going on with 20040826-01 is me adding the hand-‘moused’ black squiggles that look almost organic next to the straight lines and geometrically perfect shapes.  The straight lines themselves were quick sweeps across the screen with the pencil tool.  What would be a bold natural curve on paper or canvas, was rendered as series of straight angularly connected line segments (this was 2004, probably on Windows 98; or might have been on my Windows 2000 machine).  Anyway, that kind of geometric perfection is what I liked most then about using a computer to make art, and yet the ‘natural’, ‘organic’ squiggles seemed to provide the eye with a welcome relief.

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Christmas Tree Farm, digital image, 800x600 pixels, August 2004

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And as soon as I explained how in general I stopped naming them, this one got a name.  I kept going with the organic thing and got a Christmas Tree Farm.  Perfect blue rectangles for contrast and because that’s the strength of this media of course.

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20040826-03, digital image, 800x600 pixels, August 2004

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In 20040826-03 I was experimenting with dots and specks that became swarms or clouds.  Again, in contrast with digital geometric perfection.

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20040827, digital image, 800x600 pixels, August 2004

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By the next day I had not run out of steam yet with these ideas, but 20040827 got technically challenging.  Paint could not do gradations of color back then — for that matter I don’t know if it can now, but these days I also use paint.net which can.  So I did the yellow gradation the hard way.  I needed a spreadsheet.  The thickness of each yellow band is, the thickness of the band below it, minus (same thickness minus 175 pixels, divided by 3).  Or in Excel, a range of this formula:  =A3-((A3-175)/3).  Then each band is 10 points more luminous than the band below.  This was to get the ‘ground’ to recede towards the horizon.  Man I really wanted that gradation!  Then blue rectangles and black squiggles, much more relaxed (or exhausted?) than the day before.  This one definitely taught me something about the difference between unbound, non-verbal creativity, and serious analytical calculation and planning.

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Note:  Thanks to the mod-ren miracle of WordPress’ scheduler, today’s post is being brought to you while I am on vacation in warmer parts of the world hundreds of miles away from the internet!  🙂  But please don’t let that stop you from commenting!  I very much look forward to reading your thoughts and interpretations and will of course respond to each and every one when I get back (hopefully without a sunburn!)

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Old digital art

But can any digital art really be called old?  Certainly not old like the Mona Lisa.  Heck, every bit of digital art is far newer even than Andy Warhol’s work.  Anyway these are old to me at least.  This was my main creative outlet from 2004 to 2009, before I started painting.  This was the first.  Realizing Microsoft Paint was very good for straight lines and broad expanses of perfectly even toned color, I did this:

Koan, digital image, 800x600 pixels, March 2004

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I thought the lines guided the eye towards the middle, where there was nothing.  I decide to leave it that way and named it “Koan” after the Zen teaching ‘riddles’ that point to emptiness.  Then I made a whale.

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Killer Whale, digital image, 800x600 pixels, March 2004

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I wanted to represent a natural form with regularly aligned rectangles — two other strengths of Microsoft Paint as a media.  After deciding a horse would be too difficult for a first attempt, I chose something more hydro-dynamically streamlined.  I’m every bit as happy with this one today as I was the day I did it eight years ago.  🙂

So yeah, this is pretty much where my current trajectory through art started.  This is where I started after an ill-conceived 13 year hiatus on artistic activity.  Then after 87 of these I decided I really should try actual painting.

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