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Archive for March, 2010

Art Magazines and My Ith Rule of Composition

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Vermeer Art of Painting
Cropped The Art of Painting by Johannes Vermeer

I visited a local bookstore yesterday to go through their various art magazines. Going through these magazines I am in search of visual inspiration, art news, resources on the web, and digital art techniques. In yesterday’s session, I looked through the following magazines:

  • Artforum
  • Computer Arts
  • Computer Arts Projects
  • Digital Artist
  • Digital Arts
  • Digital Studio
  • Elephant (first issue of a new art magazine).
  • Eye
  • Frieze
  • New Art International
  • Raw Vision

While reading Artforum, I came across an article More than Meets the Eye and my gaze fell upon one sentence in that article:

"The compositional rigor of Noland’s painting was, in my opinion, beyond reproach."

Compositional rigor? My first thought upon reading this sentence was that it made judging art sound like judging the figure skaters in the Olympics. The judges have their rules, check lists, and parameters in order to grade the performance of the athletes. It seems to me a rather cold way in which to consider a painting.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, composition in art is basically about how the picture is put together. It is about the individual elements of the image and how they are arranged and used with respect to one another. With this in mind, there are a number of so-called rules that the artist should follow in order to create an aesthetically pleasing painting.

Personally I like to think that I do not consciously consider the rules of composition when I either look at or create a picture. In fact with respect to my own art, I try to follow the Ith rule of composition which is a rule that I created. The Ith rule of composition says to ignore rules 1 through I-1. Following the Ith rule of composition insures that creativity is not constrained.

The Illustration

Rather than use one of my own works of art, I opted to use The Art of Painting painted by Johannes Vermeer circa 1661. Note that I have cropped the painting to fit this space. To learn more about Vermeer and his art, check out the Essential Vermeer web site.


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BLUECANVAS Art Contest and New Art

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

With A Flourish
With A Flourish

The folks over at BLUECANVAS Magazine are having an art contest with the winners to be published in the next issue of their magazine, that being issue five. The deadline for submitting art for the contest is April 16, 2010 and there will be 4 to 6 winners chosen. The theme of this contest, BLUECANVAS Magazine’s second such contest, is solace and artists are asked for their interpretation on this theme. From the contest web site, There is no right or wrong interpretation, we just want to see what you come up with.

There is no fee to enter the contest. Instead the magazine requires that those wanting to participate in the contest create an account with BLUECANVAS, which is free; put your art in the art gallery associated with your account, and then contact the magazine and inform them which item(s) in your gallery you wish to submit to the contest. You can see the profile that I created for myself at

The stated judging criteria for submissions are originality, technique, and title/description. There is a limit of 3 submissions per artist. For complete contest details, see

The theme of solace is an interesting choice. I don’t have anything in my existing body of work that would be appropriate for this theme and at the moment I’m drawing a blank on what I could create that would be appropriate.

The New Art

To illustrate this post I’m using digital art that I just added to my web site titled With A Flourish. For complete details, see the With A Flourish gallery page.

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Don’t Be Alarmed Now

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Old Artsnova Blog
The Old Artsnova Blog

Yes this is the Artsnova Blog. The new look is a result of finally taking the time to modify my old WordPress theme template so that my blog is fully integrated into my web site. While my blog and web site were on the same domain, they had been created separately at different times. While I created my own design for my web site, at the time I set up this blog I just went with the default WordPress theme modified with a variety of my own tweaks over time.

The result was that my blog and web site:

  • had entirely different looks to them
  • had different page layouts
  • had different navigation systems

The bottom line was that for a visitor it was like going to two completely different web sites. This meant that visual branding suffered and that cross traffic (going from blog to web site and from web site to blog) suffered.

The new blog design now matches the Artsnova web site in that it uses the same basic page layout, design, color scheme, and uses the same navigation system. I have deliberately kept a couple of minor cosmetic differences. The purpose of these visual differences is to help visitors distinguish between those pages that are a part of the web site and those pages that are a part of the blog. The visual cues are use of a different background color for the content area (white here on the blog); a slightly different background color for the navigation sidebar (a lighter shade of blue on the blog); and the addition of the text Digital Art and Space Blog Reflections on Art, Computer Graphics, Photography, Space and Astronomy to the masthead for the blog.

I hope that you enjoy the new look and feel of the Artsnova Blog. If you encounter any problems with this new design, please let me know.

Thanks and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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New Art, a Poem, and Digital Art Reflections

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

Impression of Water Lily
Impression of Water Lily

I just added new art to my Nature Gallery. Impression of Water Lily is a digital semi-abstract impression of a water lily. This is what I hope to be the first in a series of evolving impressions of similar botanic pieces. My objective is to experiment with different digital techniques of representing various flower-like structures found in nature.

Regarding computer art, here’s a poem I’ve just written that in part reflects the intellectual challenges faced by the digital artist.

I really like computer art
Painting with pixels is sweet
But reading all those manuals
Is anything but a treat.

One advantage traditional artists have over their digital artist counterparts is that after all these years paintbrushes are still paintbrushes and pencils are still pencils. Given the static nature of their tools, traditional artists can focus on refining their mastery of their tools. The same is not so for the digital artist. It frequently happens that even before one can master a particular digital tool, or explore its full range of potentialities, a new version of that tool or another tool comes along to replace it and the learning process begins anew.

The tools I learned how to use when I was first exposed to digital art (computer art as it was then known) in the early 1980’s are extinct today. In fact, today I’m only using one of the tools that I learned and was using in the 1990’s. It is the one graphics software that I have used the longest. I started with Adobe Photoshop 5 circa 1999 but today’s Photoshop CS4 bears little resemblance to that first version.

I fully expect this rate of change to continue. As operating systems progress and change; as old hardware dies; as graphics software packages cease to be supported and their owning companies go out of business; and as new graphics software offerings supercede in functionality capabilities of older software; we digital artists will remain on the upgrade treadmill with our noses buried in the manual of our newest digital tool.

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Quotes, Quotes, and more Quotes

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Beach Sky Study digital painting
Beach Sky Study digital painting

I just added two new collections of quotes to the web site. The first is Computer Art and Artist Quotes which is a small collection of quotes about computer art. The second is Space Art and Astronomical Art Quotes and covers the fields of space art and astronomical art. Unfortunately this collection is a little on the skimpy side. Lastly I added a number of new quotes to the A Small Collection of Art Quotes page.

Hope you enjoy these resources.

The Illustration

To illustrate this post I used my digital painting Beach Sky Study.

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Bionic Cnidaria Computer Art

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Bionic Cnidaria
Bionic Cnidaria

Had a tough time deciding whether or not Bionic Cnidaria belonged in the Computer Art Gallery or in the Nature Art Gallery. One the one hand it is meant to be a tribute of sorts to the phylum of cnidaria, which includes jellyfish. On the other hand it is an artifical creation of my own imagination. In the end I decided to add he/she/it to my Computer Art Gallery.

When visiting Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium or Brookfield Zoo, I’m always drawn to the jellyfish and the slow rhythmic fluidity of their movement. Now I need to decide whether or not to create more cnidaria.

For more about this new piece of art and to see a wallpaper sized version, check out my Bionic Cnidaria Computer Art page.

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