Tuesday, February 07, 2006

a box of algorithms or a pallet of paint

I've been taking digital photos and playing with them in a photo program that has some spiffy tools. I got a little miffed because the computer does some stunning things that I wish I could do. What I have discovered is the computer as a tool has pushed me into new ways of working.

this first picture is a digital picture taken below Grand Coulee Dam called Seaton's Ferry, which I also did a painting of.

I used the computer to morph the digital photo into this version that is still somewhat representational

I then pushed it further into this rendition. What I learn here is how to see. How to push elements beyond the literal. How color relations are developed ending in an abstraction where the canvas becomes an object in its own right. It reminds me of reading Hans Hoffman's founder of the German, Bauhaus. I was a student going to Eastern Washington College, a half hour ride into the wheatland outside of Spokane, WA. He opened my eyes to the 'ideas' that an artist is obliged to grapple. It's been a long time since I was looking at things that intellectually rather than in the moment that I've lived in for so long.

I've often reflected upon what value there is to art. Picture making is not what it was when the camera didn't exist and the artist was something of a magician. Today we not only have camera but numerous technology that diminish the role of the artist who is relegated to the duty of operator of technology. People are saturated with visual stimulus and bombarded with ideas and take the images they are surrounded with for granted.

My attachment is to the process. Being one with nature. Like farming or logging my paintbrush is the team of horses that I harvest hay. Instead of harvesting a field I am harvesting a landscape and instead of producing a bale of hay I end up with a painting. One does not have any less value than the other and both share 'substance' which is how I want to live my life, a life of substance.