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Archive for December, 2011

Creating An Art Inventory

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Portrait of Amie Digital Painting
Portrait of Amie Digital Painting

Last week I began work on creating a comprehensive inventory of my art. My first pass is to create my inventory in a spreadsheet format using OpenOffice Calc. Subsequently I expect to migrate to a database format using MySQL.

Previously my art inventory system was quite informal and inconsistent. The only formal inventory I had was of those limited edition prints that had been either exhibited or sold. That inventory, maintained in spreadsheet format, was necessary in order to provide each print a unique inventory number for use with the Certificate of Authenticity that accompanies each of my original prints.

Separately my only other inventory consisted of the information associated with the web pages for the art that is on my web site. As of this writing there are a total of 58 of my works of art exhibited on my web site.

My initial pass at an inventory wound up with 107 items being cataloged – which does represent a substantial portion of my formal output. By formal, I mean art that is destined to be framed, exhibited, sold. Excluded from this process is:

  • the net art I’ve created to illustrate my web site and blog posts (see the Web Art Gallery for some examples of this art);
  • wallpapers I’ve created for sharing (see Free IPAD Algorithmic Art Wallpaper Gallery);
  • art I created as a part of experimenting with different styles of digital painting.

This inventory made it very obvious that I have much work to do in getting my art into my web art gallery since just 58 of the 107 artworks, 54 percent, are currently exhibited on my web site. And of course my inventory is not yet complete.

The initial fields of my art inventory spreadsheet are:

Painting Title
Artwork title
Gallery Directory
Directory name on hard drive of the gallery directory.
Artwork Directory
Directory name on hard drive of artwork directory inside gallery directory.
Address of the gallery page – empty for art not on web site.
Date Created
Date artwork created.
Photographic, Digital Painting, 3D Render, etc.
Paper Type
Paper type to be used for original limited edition prints.
Edition Size
Maximum umber of original prints to be produced.
Pixels per inch setting for printing
Pixels Wide
Image width in pixels
Pixels High
Image height in pixels
Inches wide
(calculated PPI * Pixels Wide)
Inches high
(calculated PPI * Pixels High)
Matted Size
Used to determine frame size needed.
Square Inches
Size of art in square inches (calculated inches wide * high)
Print Price
(calculated Price/Square Inches)
Comments as needed

Once complete, my goal is to convert the two spreadsheets – the main inventory spreadsheet and my Certificate of Authenticity spreadsheet – into two tables in a relational database so that I will be able to cross reference the two.

The Illustration

The digital painting used to illustrate this post is a very tightly cropped version of a larger painting created as a test of a digital painting program that I have been working on. Titled Portrait of Amie it is based on a photo of a friend.

Closing Quote

Composition is the artist’s method of organising a subject, of deciding what to put in and what to leave out in order to make an effective picture. – Mary Acton

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The Gift of Art for Christmas

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Art Institute of Chicago, circa 1910
Art Institute of Chicago, circa 1910

Christmas is almost upon us and that means gift giving. If you’re like me you probably have not done your Christmas shopping yet. Now I live near Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg but I try to stay away as the mall is overrun by hordes of shoppers from Thanksgiving to Christmas. In fact they even bus people in from out of state.

Shopping online is a great alternative to the challenge of brick and mortar shopping. I’m guessing that when most people think of shopping online they think of but there are some great alternatives out there. The alternatives I’m thinking of are some of our nation’s leading art museums. Many art museums have their own online stores where shoppers can purchase some rather unique gifts. So arranged alphabetically, here is a list of 13 art museums that have an online store. I’ve included the museum’s city location for those museums that don’t include that in their name.

13 Art Museums with Online Stores

So consider giving the gift of art this Christmas. And don’t forget to get yourself a present while you’re at it.

Merry Christmas, Jim

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Digital Art and Unintended Consequences

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Example of unintended consequences in digital art
An example of unintended consequences in digital art

Yesterday I was working on an image processing program to use as a part of my art creation workflow. I was writing a program to texturize an image so that I could incorporate the output as a layer in a Photoshop document.

As a part of the development process, I decided to use as the source image the painting Paris Street, Rainy Day by French artist Gustave Caillebotte. This is the same image that I used to serve as the "discovered" painting for my article and applet Particle Painting: Name That Painting.

To create the look I was after I needed to use the third dimension, aka the z axis. The addition of the z axis made it possible for me to use that axis as the source of distortion while keeping the correct color information in the x,y plane. Using 3D also allowed me to rotate the image relative to the "camera" thus introducing another level of distortion.

All was going well until I made one small change to the variable I was using to control the distortion along the z axis. This single change took what had been output that was recognizable as the source image and produced an image that was completely unrecognizable. I’ve used a cropped version of that output to illustrate this post. Below is a side by side comparison of the source image that my program used as input and the resulting output.

Caillebotte's Paris Street, Rainy Day before and after
Caillebotte’s Paris Street, Rainy Day before and after.

This can not be called an algorithmic oops or a glitch. Rather it is a case of parametric discovery. It is this discovery opportunity, whether by design or by accident, that makes digital art such an interesting and revolutionary arena for artistic creation.

It remains to be seen whether or not I will ever make use of this program in a production environment. Even if I don’t, what I learned during the process will serve me well in the future. So remember the golden rule of digital art: never be afraid to experiment.

Ad Astra, Jim

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