Monochrome #5

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Warm, Protective.

Yesterday, I was investigating putting the bright spot slightly off-center, Monochrome #4. At the time, I did not think about possible differences due to the direction of the offset. I mentioned that in passing, and was going to leave it there. But leaving it as a passing comment seemed incomplete. So I had to go back and create today’s picture.

This one is basically yesterday’s post mirrored across the horizontal center line.

The image suggests a sun in the sky, which probably accounts for my initial reaction.

Monochrome #4

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Mischievous, Roguish. A child that will not stay still for a photograph.

Again, this is an experiment. What do I feel, first impressions, when I see this? Why? How does this translate to more complex pieces?

The image is trying to move the focus off center. The single fuzzy white dot is shifted down and to the right compared to Monochrome 3. Same clean shape, but it not, as if it refuses to be, where you expect it. Staying in the center is too expected, too symmetric.

When I am working on something and notice that main point of interest is in the center, I immediately feel compelled to change that; I cannot consciously do the normal or expected thing. So I shift the view slightly. The viewer experiences a subconscious search and then discovery to find the central feature. Just a playful tease.

Most of the time I shift the main feature to the right and down. I do not know why I favor that direction. I am not sure what different directions mean. Perhaps a shift lower is something that is grounded. Whereas a shift up suggests rising or falling.

Monochrome #3

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Friendly, Confident, Bold. Although sometimes Menacing, Invasive. The latter when it reminds me of a Dalek’s lens.

I have many pictures of these fuzzy white dots on my hard drive. I have grown quite fond of them. I created them more as an experiment than as finished work. I see them as an abstraction or template for art. (Abstraction in the general and original artistic sense.)

I led with some possible emotional reactions to this image. Now a technical examination. The viewer’s attention is drawn to the center. The focal point is the exact center of the canvas. Focus or interest wanders towards the edges, then snaps back to the center.

Center focus is the default when I am creating much more complex pieces. If I am thinking about things other than the viewer’s center of focus, it inevitably ends up at the center of the canvas. The feature I find most interesting is placed dead center, smaller supporting features surround and support it, fading out to the edges. Most things are designed this way. It is not creative, it is just the default.

Site Reset

More rambling about site design and maintenance. Probably of little interest to most people.

Much of the recent work has been behind the scenes. Mainly smoothing out the publish work flow. I can create content, words and images, offline. Proofread and revise locally, then push to the live site with confidence. Also locally I have automated all of the picky little details that WordPress likes on a post.

Visible changes include a smaller title, 55 pixels, down from 150 pixels. 150 was not bad compared to other sites, such as WordPress standard themes. There should always be some content visible without scrolling.

The Blog page now shows a single post, to avoid too much vertical scrolling. Also since most post have high resolution images, it loads faster. You can use the archive links if you prefer loading several posts then scrolling through them.

There are several improvements on galleries (still called categories), with more to come. Category is a built in concept in WordPress. It almost works for galleries. WordPress has a more general concept call taxonomy, for grouping and classification. I will be looking into that.

If you are still reading, I would appreciate some feedback. What do you like? Any suggestions? Send me links to sites that you think have a clean and functional design. Do you use WordPress? If so, how does it work for you?

Monochrome #2

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For this image the colors in Monochrome #1 are reversed. Are these fuzzy black dots, or holes? They pop in and out like an optical illusion. The intent is not to create an optical illusion. Rather the intent is to explore the emotional response compared to the black on white version.

I do not mean an obvious emotion like you might experience with a painting or photograph of a child with a puppy. Rather something more like meditation. If you try to remove your expectations and quiet the inner narrative, what do you feel? Personally, what I find is not symmetric as might be expected with the mechanical color flip would suggest.

Monochrome #1

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I was planning a series on the somewhat cliche subject of order and chaos. The thesis being that the most interesting art is on the border between the two, while either extreme is uninteresting. A blank canvas is the most extreme example of order.

What is an example of boring order that is a small step above an empty canvas? To find that I decided to remove all color, and all sharp contrasting edges and transitions. Perhaps the simplest 2D geometric figure is the circle. So, fuzzy circles must be the answer.

Well, it turns out that even fuzzy black and white circles are interesting. Perhaps it is the simplicity itself that makes it interesting. Perhaps it is the irony of setting out do create something uninteresting that makes it interesting. It is surprising and fascinating. It gives me motivation to put the order and chaos project on the back-burner, and to set aside the brightly colored and twisty fractals for a short time to explore the world of fuzzy white dots.

Site Reset

I planned to slow down the posting for a couple of weeks to work on some of the site internals. That was a year ago. No, it does not take that long. Other, more interesting things kept me away. It was an easy task to put off. And it turns out a much larger task than anticipated.

Yes, it does not look like much has changed. Most of the changes are hidden. I added a custom database table and plugin to the WordPress install. The real source of the post and image data is on the local computer. Updates are made on the local system, where it generates a json file with the changes and pushes it to the remote web site. The WordPress plugin makes the necessary changes on the site. Working locally to create and organize content is easier. The automation helps ensure that the several easy, but also easy to overlook, steps to add a post are always done correctly.

It also helps ensure that my local install, remote test install, and live web site are the same. Nothing is more frustrating than when something works on the test site but fails on the live deployment.

Of course some stuff still does not work. But failing consistently is much better than working intermittently.

Bugs #28

Bugs Fractal 102

Nerdtalk: a = 2, center = (-1.55, 0.33). Formula information can be found in earlier post Bugs_#14. cos() is used instead of sin(), but the results are similar.

Solipsism: Yep, still talking to myself. Unique non-bot page hits have dropped back down to between five and ten a day. No one is leaving comments. I kept up the one-post-a-day pace for over 100 posts, but I have slowed down in the last two weeks. I am going to take a break for a little while. No not for a decade like last time, just for a few weeks.

I still have ten or so finished images to post in the bugs series, I will get those posted, slowly, not daily. I also need to generate a gallery page for the series. So the blog will not be entirely quiet.

It is not that I am burnt out, just the opposite actually. I have been working on my program. Not in the art algorithm / generative aspects, but more in the fundamentals. There are always bugs to fix, and tests to write to keep the bugs out. The fun part is that I am adding a layer to help with organizing my recipes/formulas. The program now (well soon) will track and categorize images/recipes by those that have been published, are queued to be published, need little tweaks before sharing, ideas for a new series, etc. I will be able to select formulas, palettes and similar things by clicking a representative image, rather than remembering the name.

I want to make changes to the site as well. WordPress has been great for getting me started again. Back in the day, the site was all static html files. That was a really energy drain when I wanted to post something new. But WordPress has its own kind of energy / productivity drag. The WordPress web interface dashboard is great for non-programmers. But it quickly becomes too much clicking and form-filling-in for me. The default gallery sucks. There are numerous third party plug-in galleries, but none do want I want. You get the idea, I will stop whining about why I want to make changes.

I envision a day when a button in my art program will automatically generate the image at multiple resolutions (thumb, mobile, gallery, full), ftp them to the web site, give them reasonable and trackable automatic names, add to a gallery page, and generate html for a notes and comments page.

So, the bottom line is, my posts will slow down while I am working on these background tasks.