ddrees art

My art work and thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘butterflies’

More about op art

Posted by ddrees on December 30, 2008

r-ms1eturning to my discussion of Optical Art, I would like to share some of the ideas of US design education in the third part of the twentieth century. At Catonsville Community College, the two of us who were the main two-dimensional design teachers for years, though very different in personality, shared in the indoctrination of our alma maters, Bob Dale from MICA and UMD and me from Pratt, PSU and indirectly, Yale through Skidmore, and so we saw eye to eye on our educational objectives. I handled the Color Design class, which was more Albers than Albers. I do not think we were too much different than most of the country in our points of view.

The CCC art faculty used to differentiate between types of op art effects in a manner that would help the students gain control of the art elements both one element at a time and elements combining with other elements. Other objectives were to develop abstract thought capacity and hand eye coordination. In those days we believed artists should have an ability to objectively assess what they put out for communication and to realize that there might be a difference between what they were recording to the material world and what portion remained in their imagination. The students were supposed to realize what was the perceiver’s share. This is not a new idea in education, think Henry Adams “One sees what one brings”, but with many ripples about what is really real. Since I somewhat believed in objectivity, this was important to me.

Let us not forget that Plato worried about the unreality of images many years ago and the discussion goes on and on from there. Oh yes, there was also the graven image item in the Ten Commandments and what that would expand to. In the sixties and seventies, the op artists were making their manifestos  and I remember Victor Vasarely declaring that after him there would be nothing more for anyone to do in the art world. I think he missed something basic about creativity. He must have missed Arabesque designs which influenced Maurits Escher and also quilt designs to mention a couple of precedents.

Maurits Escher- Butterfly

Maurits Escher- Butterfly

NYPL arabesque designs 4

NYPL arabesque designs 4

NYPL arabesque designs 3

NYPL arabesque designs 3

NYPL arabesque designs 2

NYPL arabesque designs 2

NYPL Arabesque designs

NYPL Arabesque designs

I have used quilt design motifs in a number of my works like these two below.

magnolia quilt-©1989 DDrees

magnolia quilt-©1989 DDrees

magnolia quilt-©1989 DDrees

magnolia quilt-©1989 DDrees

We are really all remix artists. Some pieced quilts

c1tcht2 pieced quilt

c1tcht2 pieced quilt

japanese-quilt-show-at-the-la-connor-quilt-museum-wa1

japanese-quilt-show-at-the-la-connor-quilt-museum-wa1

le159v1 pieced quilt

le159v1 pieced quilt

oleo-1973

oleo-1973

Some call Vasarely the father of op art, but with so many design precedents I cannot see how anyone could lay claim to that. At an AIGA speech at the Baltimore Museum I recall hearing April Greiman laying claim to the circle. I think she was at least fifty, so old enough to know better. She startled me.

The basic starts in our 2d design class were line transitions as previously discussed. Previous

Line transitions were made out of even width lines that might or might not wave or change direction. The line had to be repeated many times at intervals or negative spaces that were close in width to the lines, to create ambiguity at the edge of vision’s tolerance for seeing things as discreet lines and spaces, and optically mixing them as visual gray. The result of the ambiguity would be difficulty in keeping the image static. You could delight in how something as simple as a line system would produce flashes, depth and motion arising through perception. Many traditional artists and engravers already knew all this because they had to control the elements to tease them into illusionism.

https://ddreesart.wordpress.com/tag/op-art/

Diderot's Encyclopedia Sandal detail showing line transition

Diderot's Encyclopedia sandals engraving

Diderot's Encyclopedia sandals engraving

When I was a student in Bittleman’s class he would have us take small pieces of Albrect Durer’s mature woodcuts and copy them with brush and ink very magnified in order to study the relationship of the line pattern to image formation.These traditional artists were not so interested in focusing on these tricks as on some other content of their preference.

If you start to use shapes rather than lines, new experiments can be generated. Adding color shifts, hue, value or intensity adds the next development. So from line transitions we took the students to shape transitions. From simple figure ground ambiguity we moved to reversing figure ground designs in which the shapes had additional content, like being letter forms or creatures, (think Escher). I hope that the students were following this train of thought. I assumed they were because it was so laborious for them to craft these items in pen and ink that they had plenty of time for their brains to ponder on it. Their results were often very good. As more elements join in the game, possible creative results expand exponentially. Using a vector program makes this all the easier. My computer graphics students can proliferate designs so fast it would make Victor Vasarely roll over in his grave. I do not think they care to imagine what it was like to make these by hand. The end of art is nowhere in sight.

Student’s digital line and square op art examples:

	121cg1_cmc_opsquares2.jpg

121cg1_cmc_opsquares2.jpg

121CG1_JW_checkers

121CG1_JW_checkers

cgvc121_lmp_checkers

cgvc121_lmp_checkers

cgvcd121_eab_oplineart2

cgvcd121_eab_oplineart2

cgvcd121_eab_opsquares4ai

cgvcd121_eab_opsquares4ai

jhorstmanCHECKS

jhorstmanCHECKS

trudylrwbheart

trudylrwbheart

How tos;

Making a Line transition with bend and twist in Adobe Illustrator- see figure

  • Make line stacks with a 6 point stroke
  • Transform /move /vertical -12 point . Copy the repeat transform 50 times or so
  • Option drag to get 8 or so stacks, Align and distribute the stacks
  • With direct select tool select points between stacks and move the set. Repeat till it looks like this
  • Then  apply the twist filter
op line-bent-and-twisted-part-11

op line-bent-and-twisted-part-11

op line-bent-and-twisted-part-2

op line-bent-and-twisted-part-2

mylinetranbendtwisted ©2000 DD

mylinetranbendtwisted ©2000 DD

Making a Shape transition in Adobe Illustrator

  • Shape blend between two triangles- one with apex to left one to right
  • Height of triangle must have multiple values that equals number of steps times vertical distance between top and bottom
  • Run the blend. Here there are 14 steps between two shapes
  • Make another set horizontal as a start guide to reset apexes for additional columns
  • Option drag column and edit apex- repeat to width desired
shape-blend-starts for op shape transition

shape-blend-starts for op shape transition

	shape-transition-1 ©2000 dd

shape-transition-1 ©2000 dd

Line transition with figure ground reversal

figure-ground-reversal-lines

figure-ground-reversal-lines

figure ground reversal dressed up ©2000 dd

figure ground reversal dressed up ©2000 dd

figure-ground-reversal-turned-decoration ©dd 2000

figure-ground-reversal-turned-decoration ©dd 2000

I plan to add an entry about more complex figure ground reversals in the future.

Art and life

In view of the playful, game-like nature of op art, despite the arguments that it points out ambiguities and conditional nature of meaning, I often worry that art is a minor pursuit. But I feel that I can be surer of my conditional statements in art than if I were to make huge blunders in the material world like our government has been making. In art, the players are line, shape and color, reference, etc. In politics and control of wealth I do not even know who the real players are. I do see some ugly results in the real world, so I hope the future will track down the truth.

This from Harold Pinter d.2008: excerpted from Nobel Prize acceptance essay 2005

In 1958 I wrote the following:



’There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.’



I believe that these assertions still make sense and do still apply to the exploration of reality through art. So as a writer I stand by them but as a citizen I cannot. As a citizen I must ask: What is true? What is false?…..

So language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool, which might give way under you, the author, at any time. 



But as I have said, the search for the truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot.…

I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all.

My PSU printmaking mentor , Bruce Shobaken, used to say about being an artist, “At least I am not hurting anybody”

Advertisements

Posted in art | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An inordinate fondness for beetles

Posted by ddrees on September 1, 2008

“The naturalist, J. B. S. Haldane, was asked by a cleric about what he might infer about the Creator, based on his wide-ranging study of life. 
: Haldane supposedly replied the creator had “an inordinate fondness for beetles” based on the then current count of beetle species at around 400,000.”

Inordinate Fondness for Beetles tan/blu ©2002 d drees

Inordinate Fondness for Beetles tan/blu ©2002 d drees

An inordinate fondness -blue © d drees

An inordinate fondness -blue © d drees

I like insects (and spiders) because they are so beautiful, symmetric and jewel like. I also like them because of their fascinating life cycles, long and short, their transformations, communications and industries. They come in any color you can think of and all kinds of spots and stripes. I remember, but not well enough to give the exact citation, that Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan had decided to spend his next life as a bug because the bug he had chosen had such a great community life and was very happy.

Art deco and Art nouveau artists often used insects in their designs. E A Seguy at  NYPL, Seguy at NCSU, Seguy at Bibliodyssey (the real skinny,see below) Louis Comfort Tiffany , Rene Lalique, Emile Galle are examples. My Flickr set of my work relating to insects is here.

e a seguy plate

e a seguy plate

Dragonfly, L C Tiffany

Dragonfly, L C Tiffany

Rene Lalique Brooch

Rene Lalique Brooch

Emile Galle

Emile Galle

There are quite a few great beetle, butterfly and insect books old and new. Lots of people like them despite the maligning of some of these creatures by shortsighted sci fi and other stories. Many groups on Flickr devoted to insect pictures attest to this interest.

Bugs do at times seem alien but are anything but. My source pictures for the beetles are from hand colored engravings in Entomology: Beetles, edited by Sir William Jardine, 1843.

Jardine Beetles Frontispiece

Jardine Beetles Frontispiece

Jardine Beetles Plate 26, hand colored engraving

Jardine Beetles Plate 26, hand colored engraving

A later edition of this whole book can be downloaded as a PDF albeit a poor quality one, from Google.

I bought a copy of the Jardine book and a butterfly book, Berge’s Schmetterlingsbuch, 1842 and a few disbounded plates from Cramer’s butterfly book, which is really high priced intact.

Berge's Smetterlinge Plate 11

Berge

I love Antiquariat Junk’s site and bought a great but soiled butterfly book from them at a reasonable price. They have a beautifully organized site and you can see plates in the books. You can sometimes get these wonderful antiquarian books at lower prices when they are dirty or poorly bound because high roller collectors want them as close to perfect as they can get. I am in it for the pictures and can expertly clean them up in Photoshop. So I want the real books for the line detail and I start out with 1200 ppi scans and play around with them from there. Most anything that you can get on the Internet is too low in resolution but some libraries are doing excellent scanning jobs if your bandwidth can handle the large downloads. Here are some links but be careful you do not get stuck in them. University of Strasbourg, University of Wisconsin,

A picture blog coming out of Australia, Bibliodyssey, often finds and posts links to these good picture sources. It is on my check every week list.

I also have collected a few specimens but not with scientific rigor. I have found more than one Luna moth and noticed how different the individuals are. I suspect this is often so. But that is another large subject for another life. I do not want to kill any of them to catch them anymore. There are enough other ways to get models.

Luna Moth, watercolor and marbling ©d drees

Luna Moth, watercolor and marbling ©d drees

Some of my artworks here are from specimens, some are from my photos and some are from engravings. I avoid contemporary photos because of copyright issues.

black and gold striped creature designer, digital ©d drees

black and gold striped creature designer, digital ©d drees

Inordinate fondness/red ©d drees

Inordinate fondness/red ©d drees

Inordinate fondness/dark blue ©d drees

Inordinate fondness/dark blue ©d drees

Inordinate fondness/sand ©d drees

Inordinate fondness/sand ©d drees

noiseless, patient spider, watercolor and marbling ©d. drees

noiseless, patient spider, watercolor and marbling ©d. drees

night vision, watercolor ©d drees

night vision, watercolor ©d drees

Anne's Butterfly , watercolor and marbling © d drees

Anne's Butterfly , watercolor and marbling © d drees

Bug Pals, digital © d.drees

Bug Pals, digital © d.drees

Butterfly and Pinecone Mandala ©1994 d.drees digital

Butterfly and Pinecone Mandala ©1994 d.drees digital

Butterfly mandala-blue © d drees

Butterfly mandala-blue © d drees

Butterfly vortex ©d.drees digital

Butterfly vortex ©d.drees digital

blue and white © d drees

blue and white © d drees

Grasshopper pattern © d drees

Grasshopper pattern © d drees

Waterskeeter pattern © d drees

Waterskeeter pattern © d drees

Illuminator's Butterfly assembly  © d drees

Illuminator's Butterfly assembly © d drees

Is rapture the treasure © d drees  digital

Is rapture the treasure © d drees digital

Palimpsest © dedree drees, digital

Palimpsest © dedree drees, digital

caterpillar © dedree drees , digital

caterpillar © dedree drees , digital

This caterpillar from Diderot, then worked in Photoshop channel ops. My students do not tend to like the abstraction level of channel ops. I really do like channels and they fit into my procedural art area.

Caterpillar 8 © d drees

Caterpillar 8 © d drees

Caterpillar 9 © d drees

Caterpillar 9 © d drees

And do not forget this one.

scarab

scarab

Posted in art | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »