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Archive for May, 2012

Schaumburg Prairie Arts Festival

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Glass Blower at the Prairie Arts Festival
A glass blower at work at the Prairie Arts Festival

On Saturday morning, with a sky that was as ominous as any I’ve ever seen, I headed off to the 25th annual Prairie Arts Festival held on the grounds of the Schaumburg Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center. Hosted by Schaumburg’s Prairie Center for the Arts, this fine arts exhibition and sale featured more than 140 artists, photographers, sculptors, jewelers, carvers, potters, glass blowers, and I’m sure I’ve left out some category of artisan.

I was sad to see that there were no digital artists exhibiting. However there was one traditional artist whose body of work was quite clearly inspired, both in terms of subject and in terms of painting style, by computer art. And while there were no digital artists, there were a number of photographers who had clearly used either Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, or other software to manipulate their digital photography in order to produce a body of work that was less photograph and more art.

Prairie Arts Festival
The setting for the Prairie Arts Festival

In terms of the range of themes for the art, the most popular theme by far was scenic. By scenic, I mean landscapes, cityscapes, and work with a strong architectural component – a barn for example. With respect to having a single subject for a painting or photograph: flowers were it – both for photographers and artists. There was little in the way of abstract or contemporary art. And, not surprisingly, no examples of space art or astronomical art. For my tastes a photograph of, for example, the Orion Nebula, is far more interesting than a painting of a barn.

In addition to the art, there were three musical acts performing simultaneously on the three stages spread from one end of the festival to the other. One stage had a harpist, another a steel drum band, and the last an acoustic group, making for a very nice blend of musical styles.

Prairie Arts Festival
A view of the Prairie Arts Festival from across the pond

With plenty of art and music in a park setting there was only one more element needed – food. There were about ten food vendors and I duly consumed my fair share of ‘junk’ food. The one food item that really tempted me was the chocolate coated bacon – a temptation I resisted.

In summary, I arrived at the festival certain that we were in for a very nasty storm but the winds swiftly carried the storm clouds east and it wasn’t very long before we were treated to blue skies. One objective I had in attending the festival was to look for new ideas for my own art with respect to compositional elements and subject portrayal. Unfortunately with the art and photography so heavily weighted towards traditional landscapes and flowers, I came home without experiencing any eureka moments.

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Processing (Bush + Obama) = BushBama

Saturday, May 26th, 2012


Last night I was working on creating some image processing routines with Processing. My focus was on using convolution matrices to implement a number of effects. With respect to image processing, a convolution matrix is useful for a variety of effects, like edge detection, blurring, sharpening, and embossing.

I had also written some methods/routines/functions (take your pick) that added or subtracted fixed color values from every pixel in an image. I had also written image AND and OR routines so that I could perform either a logical AND or a logical OR between every pixel in the source photograph and every pixel in the image created by one of the other filter effects I had written.

This got me to thinking. I thought it might be cute to see what happened if I were to ‘add’ two images together. I thought adding two faces together would be nice so I went to Google Image Search and searched on the keyword ‘portrait’. The first photo that showed up in my search was a White House portrait of Barack Obama. It instantly occurred to me that there was only one suitable matching photograph to use for the addition operation: an official White House portrait of George Bush.

I had to use Photoshop to insure that the two faces lined up reasonably well and that the images were of the same dimensions (I didn’t feel like writing a scaling function right then). I then ran the two portraits through my program and obtained the results shown above. Note that this is a slightly scaled down version of the original as the original was too large to display in this space.

Question: realistically – will I ever use this image addition routine to do ‘real’ work? I seriously doubt it. Call me a geek but I just happen to enjoy writing code. Anyway it’s time to put the keyboard aside and head out to the Schaumburg Prairie Arts Festival. Hopefully the rain will stay away.

Ad Astra, Jim

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