Wednesday, January 18, 2006

dianna ponting: canadian pastellist
An email arrived on the Ludlow Art Society’s inbox that aroused my interest. I designed and now manage the Society’s web site and it’s good to find that visitor numbers are increasing.

This particular email came from Dianna Ponting a Canadian artist who lives in British Columbia. Dianna is Vice President of the Confederation of Canadian Artists and is a successful professional painter. She is primarily a pastellist and will be giving a series of pastel workshops in Great Britain and Ireland in 2006.

I was impressed by the variety of work on Dianna’s website and, having bookmarked it, I’ll be back to study it again.

Dianna's web site is worth a visit at

Friday, January 13, 2006

The digital challenge
I used to be a bit sniffy about digital imaging but the preparation of movies and animations in the lead up to Christmas 2005 has made me change my mind, at least in part. I’d always felt that painterly and drawing processes had as their end result hand crafted artefacts which had value because of their individual character. Any technology which came between the moving hand making marks and the support on which the marks were made was a recipe for disaster.

This was perhaps an extreme attitude but it was formed by the growing use of digital technology to produce GicleĆ© Prints, a pretentious name for a scanned reproduction of a painting - typically a watercolour. The practice of signing and numbering these is a piece of nonsense aimed at adding value to a reproduction which is really worth very little. There was a good practical reason why etchers and engravers produced signed and numbered editions – over time the plate degraded but with a digitally stored image there is no reason why the print run is theoretically infinite. Furthermore when you buy an etching or engraving you are purchasing a hand crafted artefact which because of the way it was made is likely to be subtly different from others in the edition – it therefore has real value

However digital imaging is here to stay and we artists have to learn how to make creative use of the new technology. I find the current software great fun to use and the results are easy to share over the internet. At the moment I’m exploring ways of using Corel Painter Essentials 2 with a Wacom tablet. It’s great fun simulating pencil and chalk marks, and brush strokes on screen I’m not sure though whether digital drawings can be put in permanent printed form or whether they should remain as strings of bytes on some form of storage medium until sent to a computer screen.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Each year as christmas approaches I dabble with computer animations. The object being to send cheery Christmas and New Year email greetings to friends and acquaintances. I don't think this has made me very popular and perhaps the problem was that I was cluttering up people's inboxes with files they couldn't open. You can get these greetings from Yahoo of course but they are mostly naff.

Designing a simple animation for an email greeting is the easy part - sending it in a form that can easily be opened by the recipient is another matter. I haven't found a way of placing either GIF or SWF animations in an email and there is no guarantee if they are sent as attachments the recipient can handle them

So distribution has to be via a link on my blog:
New Year Greetings
or for Christmas 2005 this one:
Happy Christmas