View Full Version : Winter moss

12-26-2013, 10:06 AM
... in the misty Pacific Northwest ... iPhone AR pencil in dissolve mode ...

12-26-2013, 10:58 PM
A place I would dearly love to see Pete.

12-26-2013, 11:23 PM
Hi Alexandra, the browns and greens and greys against tree and stone are soothing to the eye ... I was drawing birds and noticed what I thought was a shadow on moss actually was a living thing in the form of a tiny feathered friend ... Btw, did you find the tree sprite in the middle of the picture above center? :)

12-27-2013, 01:48 AM
Nice textures, you could also use it as a backdrop for future drawings too?


12-27-2013, 03:26 AM
Nice textures, you could also use it as a backdrop for future drawings too?

It's a good thought, Niloc, thanks ... Sometimes it's a matter of surface and depth, background and foreground, as Macbeth discovered when the trees of Birnam Wood rose up against him ...

As the mists lifted, a different light illuminated the scene ...

12-27-2013, 09:15 AM
Hi Pete,
Think I'm making out the feathered friend, for the tree sprite, my mind's eye formed a face, top center-above middle!
But, with my eyes, I'm seeing faces forming most everywhere, time for my glasses prescription update!
Also, time to get back to the 'day after cleanup'.
Happy Holidays and take care!

Current strain:http://forums.artrage.com/showthread.php?45915-Painting-favorite-model

12-27-2013, 09:24 AM
Kinda nice Pete. I had to wait until dark to see the top one, so the one on the bottom was nicely illuminated. Yes, Steve, I can see a set of eyes up top too! :cool:

D Akey
12-28-2013, 09:44 AM
Boss that moss!

For me, looking in from the outside, it's not about getting a natural representation as much as using it as a springboard for laying down paint. . . unless it isn't, heh. But that's what I would be doing were I doing what you are. I would be using a lot of this stuff as a starter like a pinch of yeast in bread. But if you're still aiming toward the 'unified field theory' in Art, then you're on your way in a rather rarefied place. So on that path, it seems that the road less traveled is the road most traveled since everybody uses it. But to get to the unified field, I would think one would have to go a lot deeper elementally to where it's almost devoid of anything other than that 'stuff' of creation. Personally, I like using it a lot closer in where it's already differentiated and familiar and thus having it being about what I'm saying and letting that be 'new' or not.

I applaud your intention. Personally this is not my favorite to look at. But if it's a step on your journey it's very useful. For me to be interested it has to grab me somehow. When all else fails, I think it might stand on looking cool. That may be something to include. To me it's like the Hubble images. The concept is incredibly cool across the board when one can add in the notion about what it represents that we can even see it. But some of it is actually really amazing to see. And I'm not sure that some of those mind blowing images haven't been somehow enhanced with color tweaking and so on. It fits with my concept of grandiosity so I'm cool with that. They're trying to get people on board with space exploration and haven't really changed any of the important elements (and I don't know that they enhanced anything. It might actually look like that. But, I'm guessing they did.) My point is that at some point it's not a bad thing to turn it into something visually more compelling for the purposes of showing it to the world rather than to a scientist.

But you go man go!

12-29-2013, 03:16 AM
before there is anything
the darkness thinking the light
W. S. Merwin, "Any Time"

Some people collect seashells, or coins, or butterflies ... I collect images ... I put them in a memory chamber where they sort themselves into easy categories, light, dark, black, red, blue, green, and so on ... The lock to the chamber is a poor memory and the key is a rich association ...

The very American poet W.S. Merwin is admired in China ... I have two of his volumes translated into Chinese ... His vocabulary is simple, the images are not difficult, and yet a deeper meaning somehow magically has been woven into the text ... I think of him as a nature poet, a dying breed ...

I don't often include the literary references behind my paintings, a work of art should stand on its own, or so we are told ... We want our paintings to veer toward realism, then words aren't needed, interpretation is self-evident ... When we are able to grasp the reality behind the image, we feel we have license to experience some sort of emotion ... We call this "art appreciation" ... Light on an object illuminates the object for all to see, we see it and we are satisfied ...

"deep woods, late light on moss"
Wang Wei (8th c.), "Deer Park"

J.M.W. Turner produced many large paintings on historical themes ... The titles he gave them often do not track back to the content, at least not fully, his sunlight told a better story ... And he wrote a great deal of poetry, or at least words he arranged in rows to resemble poetic lines ... He used words as daubs of paint, he placed them side by side without regard to syntax ... The poems and their intent remain indecipherable ...

If it looks like an orange, has the form and color of an orange, then that is what it is ... If the eyes and mouth and nose are aligned, then it must be a portrait ... Anything that deviates from this mapping of image to reality is considered "abstract" ... Or, worse, as simply a very bad drawing or painting ... (There is a deep connection in the popular mind between poorly executed art and abstraction, but the two are very different, although it is hard to say exactly why this is so) ...

Even though we live in a painting culture that artificially separates words and images, most paintings come with words: we demand they be given titles ... "Untitled" is a disappointment, it implies too much freedom, it points the viewer in too many directions and suggests the artist doesn't know what s/he's done ... A few years ago I posted about the problem of titling a painting, I said that most paintings on this forum are misnamed ... I meant that if someone paints an orange in the style of realism and calls it an orange, the label somehow feels incomplete ... How many ways can we illuminate an orange? ... I don't mean there should be fifty-one shades of grey, fifty seems enough, but shouldn't there be something more than reality itself at work in the painting? But can we draw inspiration from oranges alone? Shouldn't there be a cockatoo too? ...

.... late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Wallace Stevens, "Sunday Morning"

So it is with "Winter Moss" ... It's not abstract, it's not realism, it's a kind of freedom ...

D Akey
12-29-2013, 03:59 AM
Intriguing. Your words intrigue me. And the post I'm responding to should be the title. To use an accounting analogy, there seems to be an above the line title and a below the line title. There are different ways of looking at what constitutes above the line and below. But in the most basic tallying process, we can say that the sum could be the formal title, and all the stuff that gets figured in is above the line or what you said in this latest post.

In Douglas Adams' brilliant and witty Hitchhiker's Guide, the planet Earth was simply an organic calculator to come up with the ultimate answer to the ultimate question. I don't think I'm giving anything away that is not in the popular lexicon anymore, but the answer was a single number = 42. To me that describes the process when context is removed entirely. 42 doesn't give me anything really. I'm not sure it even begs the question more than 'What are you getting at?'.

I don't mean this to be insulting. It's more trying to put words to my experience. But saying 42 is like using a burp describing a sumptuous meal. I personally prefer to experience the meal. There's a world of experience, flavors, smells, nutrition, knowledge of foods and spices, the growing and selecting, washing the earth from it, the shape and texture, the artistic plating or not, how the food pleases me or not, if I'm eating with others, how hungry I was, what was the atmosphere when eating, was I alone or with others, was there a wonderful conversation happening etc etc etc. None of which seems to be making the cut to be communicated.

And a burp somehow doesn't quite offer me anything I want. It's so ambiguous that all it really tells me is that one had an air bubble come up. All else is extrapolation. And depending on the burp, I may or may not be interested in putting my energy into deciphering a meal someone else had. It's way to exclusive and my curiosity is not piqued because my experience of my own burping doesn't even interest me.

The post you put there is fascinating by comparison. It communicates.

Anyway, there is a heck of a lot of Artistic expression that fits into that category for me. But had I been there at the meal, I might understand and a burp would say it all, would sum it up. But if I wasn't there and the artist is not trying to include me, it's sometimes considered rude, or exclusionary. And without comment, it could leave people with a feeling that the person has no interest in what the world thinks. Though we might suspect because of their artistic leavings, they really do care.

12-29-2013, 05:53 AM
[QUOTE=D Akey;461176] To me that describes the process when context is removed entirely. QUOTE]

Fair enough ... But I should remind you that I gave a lot of context for reading the painting in my original post when I said that it was done "on the iPhone in AR in dissolve mode" ... In other words, Winter Moss is very much about the excitement of being able to use a certain tool in a certain way with a painting program called ArtRage ... I find this to be as exciting as the literary references, which I gave because I thought you were also asking about my approach to painting, my philosophy of art if you will ... And there's much more to be said on both scores -- novel technique and suggestive content -- but it's not essential to understanding Winter Moss, unless you believe (as I do) that there's more to painting than meets the eye ...

D Akey
12-29-2013, 07:38 AM
Decidedly. Sorry about that Mr. Pete.

I find reading your descriptions and thinking process somewhat requisite to the reduced visual stimulation, which makes me wonder at the minimalist approach (at large) in fact actually being about painting. It becomes to me something of an "Ahem. . . Would you like to discuss (x, y or z)?" rather like a conversation starter more than an encapsulated vehicle for gaining sudden awareness by looking at the picture. And many forms of abstraction are springboards for conversation, the legitimacy and thoughtfulness of the artist calibrating the level of conversation. Having read your posts and your blog, I assumed you were working within a deep artistic, philosophical and cultural context. So I've addressed you as a credible artist on a meaningful direction, but in whose work I reached for that depth and when I do, when I task myself to say something clear, I seem to offend. So. . .

I never considered it an ArtRage thing one way or another but of course it is because you are using their program. As an outsider, myself not attached to ArtRage, I can only say that I'm glad you are enjoying it and exploring it. And I hope my comments are not ruffling your feathers too much. I thought you wanted opinions about what you post. But maybe we should let others have their say without me saying too much -- go minimalist with the comments in keeping with the artistic appearance. Maybe then you will read into the response better things than I personally am capable of saying.

So far though, the stand out characteristic, for me anyway, is your accompanying conversation while I puzzle through and then search for more purpose in your offerings because to me they are rather inscrutable. And that may be the point. I don't know.

Looking at what motivates people to do art, your motivations don't seem very different from those of others irrespective of style, and perhaps I should look at it that way, as a picture, take it or leave it, and get behind the pleasure derived by the artist in doing it. Clearly you like it and that's more than good enough for me. Keep enjoying, my friend.

12-29-2013, 08:21 AM
D Akey, you haven't ruffled feathers at all, or if you have, I know it's because you want this old bird to leave his comfy perch and fly ... higher :)

12-29-2013, 08:02 PM
Steve, my apologies, also to Robyn, I meant to acknowledge your comments, but got a little sidetracked ... For all of your enthusiastic support, thank you...

ps: I hope all that talk of oranges didn't cause you to feel even more squeezed, haha...
Hey Pete,
Replying in both threads...

Apologies not needed! I enjoy reading what D Akey and you discuss, it's a learning
experience for me....HUH!.. Think I've said that before?
As for the oranges, made good...'Juice for thought'!

Like to add this...
if I may, my mother has painted her entire life, she would take me to all the artist haunts
in San francisco in the late-sixties, where I would listen in on conversations, just like the ones
you two have. During those occasions I was given an opportunity to meet many great artist, writers and poets of that time.
It was a fantastic learning experience for me. And you both are continuing that opportunity to me, all I have to do is listen.

Your discussions with D Akey, remind me of those times with mom and her friends!
Thank you both, for bringing those memories to mind.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year!
Take Care,

12-30-2013, 03:23 AM
.. ... Btw, did you find the tree sprite in the middle of the picture above center? :)

I managed to find it but it was not at all easy.
I loved your description:
It's not abstract, it's not realism, it's a kind of freedom ...
Maybe that's what I'm looking for , because figurative painting begins to seem boring, but many times I do not have the courage to let go.
Other times I do, but the habit to form and shape come back even unintentionally.
It 'hard to get rid of it.

I wish you a Happy New Year Free!:)

12-30-2013, 04:26 AM
So very cool.....

12-30-2013, 07:33 AM
Hi ken, thank you for Christmas Window Shopping, the spirit in it will linger long after the holiday ... I showed it to my grandson remotely via Skype and he just lit up, he lives in Africa for now, but that didn't deter him from expecting Santa to arrive on time (and he did) ...

steve, thank you, do you mean to say you actually sat around in the same room with Ferlinghetti, Corso et al. (I always wonder who "Al" is)? ... And was that at City Lights? ... wow ... Ferlinghetti's Starting from San Francisco is on my bookshelf in its 1961 incarnation, a gift from a poet-friend and Californian, I used to bring it with me to read in the cafes in the Village ... Those easy rhythms have stayed with me ...

hi Silvy, happy to see you here, I've been looking for your new paintings :)... You have such a fertile imagination and in your paintings you've done it all in many different styles ... I hope you will return soon with something new :)

Happy New Year to all! ...

ps: I've been talking a little about "dissolve" mode and probably should say why in more detail ... The short answer is that dissolve mode brings me one step closer to being able to emulate ink brush paintings in digital ... Well, there are no short answers, apparently, so I'll add that one main goal I've set for myself is to produce an ink brushstroke that doesn't look mechanical ...

First, I work on the iPhone because my style of drawing involves very rapid hand motion as line develops into form ... The AR app on the iPhone does not have any of the memory issues that can occur as you scale up to the iPad, and beyond that the platforms no longer are portable, and I do a lot of my initial work outdoors or at least outside of my studio ...

Second, in dissolve mode a line can be drawn with spacing built into it, pretty much like a dashed line but with less regularity ... This means that light and dark can be built into a single stroke, and many such lines with light and dark can be made to emulate a typical ink brush stroke in the kind of "xieyi" style I practice ...

Third, blending and transitions can be handled with greater precision in dissolve mode ... A watercolor stroke painted in dissolve mode and later converted (on the iPad for example) to Multiply mode can still look like a watercolor brushstroke but with much smoother gradations ... There are many such advantages, I'm still working through them ...

In the idealized selfie I've attached below, I've used an underdrawing in dissolve mode on the iPhone with the pencil to build up densities of ink with built-in areas of transparency characteristic of a single ink painting brushstroke ... The example is crude and underdeveloped but it may give you some idea of what I'm after ... The goal in ink painting never is realism or abstraction, but a blend of the two that captures the most detail in the fewest possible strokes ... By "detail" I mean the essence of the subject and the attitude of the painter become just one thing ...

I call "freehand" anything that doesn't look as though it's been produced mechanically ... And freehand is very much part of my definition of freedom ...

12-30-2013, 08:43 AM
Hey Pete,
Sometimes City Lights, Vesuvio Cafe and Cafe Trieste later on!
Asked Mom about, et "Al", she simply said...who ever the hell he was with at the time!
'Idealized selfie', I'm beginning to understand.
Take Care,

12-31-2013, 12:22 AM
Pete, the first painting made me think of those big old trees in the winter the second has the colours of autumn :)

12-31-2013, 05:45 AM
Hi Jean, best wishes for the new year! ... I'm sending you a sugarplum in the hope that you will dream of them year round:) ...