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Archive for the ‘Limericks’ Category

From Burma Shave to Digital Art

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Soggy brushes digital art jingle inspired by Burma Shave
Soggy brushes digital art jingle inspired by Burma Shave

The mind works in strange ways, making leaps from one thought to another. That chain can take you to some pretty strange places.

In this case I was watching a movie from the 30’s on Turner Classic Movies (I confess to being fond of movies from the 30’s). The scene is a car driving along a road in the American southwest. A little while later in the movie one of the characters is getting a shave from his girlfriend. Some hours later thinking back on the movie, Burma Shave popped into my head. I headed for the nearest search engine to see if I could find some of those Burma Shave jingles online. Sure enough, I found plenty – in fact an entire web site devoted to them at

The following is the jingle from 1947 that I was reading when I made my creative leap.

No soggy brushes
In your grip
You’ve always
Got a
Finger tip
Burma Shave

Now how that led me to segue to thinking about making jingles for digital art is a mystery, but I think it was the reference to soggy brushes. Perhaps my previous experience writing computer programs to create lullian poetry (an example on this web site is The Art of Lullian Poetry) had something to do with it. Perhaps it was because of a period of time when I was writing limericks. Anyway I set myself the task of writing some Burma Shave style jingles that reference digital art. In fairly short order I came up with the following spin-off sticking with the soggy brushes opening:

No soggy brushes
To mess your house
Instead just
use your
laser mouse
Digital Art

Firing up Photoshop, I put together the graphic that illustrates this post. While the Burma Shave jingles/poems used one roadside sign per line of prose, that approach just doesn’t work well on the Internet so I collapsed everything down to a single image.

You can find an excellent collection of Burma Shave jingles at and the particular jingle that started me off at No Soggy Brushes – Burma Shave.

And here is one more digital art jingle done in the Burma Shave style.

Jars of paint digital art jingle inspired by Burma Shave

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New Algorithmic Art and a Processing Tutorial

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Aftermath Digital Painting
Aftermath Digital Painting, 32 x 16 inches

All in all this has been a very good day. It started too early when my alarm went off at 6:00am. While fixing my son’s lunch, I hit upon the following limerick, a testament to having gotten too little sleep (I didn’t go to bed till after 1:00am):

My alarm goes off at six o’clock
It always comes as quite a shock
There in bed I wish to lay
But I have to rise and face the day
Gee I hope I don’t get artist’s block

Seeing my son off to school and with coffee in hand I settled in at the computer. I began by putting the finishing touches on the web pages for my series of five works of algorithmic art titled Cubic Disarray. Fortunately most of the work was done for me by a program I wrote to fill in a skeleton art gallery web page with the relevant data from a control file. This program also produces the XML entries for my sitemap.xml and newsfeed.xml files. The five works in the Cubic Disarray series are:

Cubic Disarray: Division algorithmic art
Cubic Disarray:

Cubic Disarray: Bisection algorithmic art
Cubic Disarray:

Cubic Disarray: Impending Unity algorithmic art
Cubic Disarray:
Impending Unity

Cubic Disarray: Point of Radiance algorithmic art
Cubic Disarray:
Point of Radiance

Cubic Disarray: Turbulence algorithmic art
Cubic Disarray:

When I decided yesterday that I was going to add these to my web site and make them available for purchase, I knew that I wanted to give credit to Georg Nees, whose work Schotter was the inspiration for my series. My idea quickly snowballed out of control. My first impulse was to just give a line of credit on each page. My next impulse was to create a web page dedicated to Schotter (German for gravel). I then decided to write a program using Processing that would recreate Schotter. Once I had the program written, it seemed only natural to turn it into a tutorial.

This morning I finished work on the tutorial and published it, along with the Cubic Disarray series to my web site. Included in the tutorial are a side by side comparison of Nees’ original Schotter and the Processing recreation. If you are a Processing user or are just curious to learn about algorithmic art, then check out my Georg Nees, Processing, and a Schotter Tutorial

In other good news I heard from an art gallery in Chicago today that is interested in my art. Hopefully we’ll be a good match for each other. Right now some of my space art is being exhibited and is available for purchase from Paper Crown Gallery located in Arlington Heights.

Lastly and best of all I completed two digital paintings today. Now one of these, titled City Lights, I started today and finished today. The other painting, titled Aftermath, I only finished today. Believe it or not I actually began this piece in April 2009 and last worked on it in April 2009. For almost three years this piece sat collecting electronic dust before I quite by accident rediscovered it earlier today. At 16 x 32 inches, Aftermath is one of my larger pieces and I have used it to illustrate this post.

So today was definitely a day without artist’s block. But who knows what tomorrow holds.

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New Art: Digital Rain

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

Digital Rain digital art painting
Digital Raindigital painting

Added some new art the other day to my Nature Art Gallery – a gallery I’ve ignored for far to long. Titled Digital Rain, this was simply an experiment in painting a heavy rain – so heavy as to make the sky opaque. The idea came to me while watching a rain storm last year while at Bryce Canyon National Park. From my mountain side viewpoint, a heavy rain in the distance connected the sky to earth and was sufficiently heavy so as to obscure the landscape beyond.

It’s a hazy boundary between being clever and the opposite. We frequently see people creating something that forces us to ask ourselves what on Earth were they thinking when they did that? Now I’m not sure if I’m crossing that boundary here but the thought struck me to write a limerick about my painting to accompany this post – the goal being to make this post a little more entertaining. So for better or worse here goes.

My digital painting of rain
won’t pose a challenge to your brain
As fine art it’s not much
But it does give a touch
To the scope of nature’s domain

For details about the painting, visit the Digital Rain web page.

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There Once Was A Limerick

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Forest Guardian
Forest Guardian

I always had a fondness for limericks. I recall reading that Isaac Asimov, one of my favorite science fiction authors, was quite fond of composing limericks on demand. A few months ago I was looking at a photograph of some installation art that seemed to involve hanging an automobile from some ceiling. That image inspired me to write the following limerick which I titled An Artist’s Fate.

An Artist’s Fate

There once was an artist named Roe Tate
with a serious itch to be great
He created some art
using old auto parts
But his art ran him over – that’s fate

Earlier today I rediscovered this limerick in one of my to-do files and wondered if it was short enough to post on my Twitter account. Alas, no – nine characters too long. But the thought of posting a limerick to Twitter was now implanted in my brain and I resolved to write a limerick short enough to post.

After some head scratching, I came up with the following limerick:

Twitter One Four Zero

Twitter’s limit is one four zero
In which to post I am a hero
This brevity with words
Is strictly for the birds
No time to fiddle like Nero

Unfortunately Twitter strips out the carriage returns so my four line limerick becomes a one liner and I didn’t have the characters to spare to insert any sort of separator between lines. If you head over to my Twitter account you can see the limerick in all its glory. End of story.

The Illustration
To illustrate my limerick post I pulled a photograph of a bush that I had taken atop a small mountain in Arizona. Using Photoshop, a variety of filters and adjustment layers, I converted that photograph into the pictured titled Forest Guardian.

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