ddrees art

My art work and thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘shape’

Blend Extrude Structures

Posted by ddrees on August 8, 2008

Well I got to some forms I like for the fish backgrounds but I could keep fooling around with it for months so this will be my interim stage.

After playing around with extruded line and shape blends….

  • Color changes on blend ends are necessary to show articulation
  • Processing is slow and boring. Use small samples to work out concepts
  • Crossovers make great intersections when extruded
  • More original blend set lines and fewer in between steps are better because you can edit the lines but not the steps
  • I like 2 or 3 blend steps between 4 or 5 lines
  • When you get a form you like it is easiest to export it to Photoshop and edit it there
  • Expanding breaks the thing into too many parts to take advantage of Illustrator
    steps in line blend extrude

    steps in line blend extrude

    shape blend and extrude examples

    shape blend and extrude examples

    I shall be using the wavy intersecting lines rather than the shapes for the fish. I need to fool around with the extrude depth and shading. I can do quite a few adjustments after the forms are exported to Photoshop.

    Illustrator forms with photoshop marbling layer - example

    Illustrator forms with photoshop marbling layer - example

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Leaf Art

Posted by ddrees on August 2, 2008

I 56 like leaves too. Here is my leaf art set at Flickr. Before personal computers I collected them and pressed them in things like old telephone books. Leaves pressed can mess up a book, so telephone books are perfect except space consuming. I would transfer them to boxes when they were dry. I still run across the boxes in the house, but I throw them out despite the nostalgia for years of leaves gone by. One problem is, as every botanist knows, that you lose the live color in pressed specimens, hence the need for scientific illustrators and photographers. The Smithsonian has cartloads of dried plants, many of which have likely not been seen since they were collected two centuries ago. They had warehouses of such stuff, at least when I was studying scientific illustration there with such greats as Elaine Hodges, author of the main scientific illustration book.

My colleague, Bob Creamer, has made a stunning body of work utilizing some of these stores in his photos.

I also used to photocopy some plants, for their structure. That was better than nothing but the paper took up space and different versions of machines smelled, aged and printed differently. I rarely touch a photocopier anymore. I cannot think of the last time I did. People xeroxing too much used to be a big issue at school so we had to have ID numbers to get into the copier. I have not heard any grumblings about that for a while. Now there are issues about digital color printers. But times change subtly and inexorably. Now I scan the leaves. I have quite a collection, but they do not take up space and they do not make me sneeze.

I also have lots of slides taken with my Zeiss Contaflex which had three close up lenses that could be screwed into an attachment. Now I need to scan the slides to use in the computer. I would like to buy a slide scanner since it is hard being at the right place at the right time to use the school scanner.

So far scanning slides and film has been slow and boring but the scanners are getting cheaper and the speed better. I am no early adopter. I adopt some tools that others have forgotten about like etching, marbling and papermaking. There is a special artistry to all these things. But I also like computers.

Some of my leaf art was made by looking hard at the subjects and rendering them naar het leven. Some were projected slides that I sketched with pencil on the paper tacked on the wall as a screen, as I imagine Vermeer did with his camera obscura or in our middle years with a lucigraph or lacy Lucy or still with the camera lucida.

Jungle plant watercolor ©ddrees 1987

Jungle plant watercolor ©ddrees 1987

After I got the trace I would study prints of the slides, whose color was never right, and watercolor them from there.

Now the computer is added to the mix but I have yet to use my new digital camera. And then there are Flash movies.

I like leaves for the same reasons I like shells and trees and cats and skies and bugs. They have beauty of shape, color, structure, transformation in life cycle and they are emblems and representatives of the vast wonder of it all.

Sweetgum and leaf tiles ©2002 ddrees

Sweetgum and leaf tiles ©2002 ddrees

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Fish and Fowl Show Preparation

Posted by ddrees on July 27, 2008

I 13 have been making pieces on the subject of fish, for an October show in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia in which my former colleague Jane Morais invited me to participate. The show is to be called Fish and Fowl or something close, and Jane is making ceramic chickens. She has some ceramic pieces up at the Maryland State Arts Council site. I had been making shell pieces for a while before she asked and have quite a few fish and shell subjects dating back. Actually I made some cast paper shell pieces with marbling while taking Jane’s handmade paper class, I think in 1992. I made shell molds from my shell collection for the paper shells.

Terra Cotta Shell  ©1992

Terra Cotta Shell dd ©1992

My “stuff” is like a wunderkammer collection with shades of Andy Warhol and Joseph Cornell. Not as much stuff as Warhol, but if I had the money it might be. This is my OCD heritage. I would love to do more handmade paper work but the labs are not set up now and my house is too much of a mess already. Too bad Pyramid Atlantic is not closer so I could make paper there. I met Helen Frederick, the founder and leader, back in the seventies when she had started her atelier in Baltimore, but she moved to DC for more traffic. She has made it a superb place and has managed to retire from it recently.

wunderkammer engraving

Some of my artworks for the show will be all digital and some will be watercolor and marbled paper. The marbled paper is a good fit because it is so watery. I can scan my marbled papers and use them repeatedly and they also can be tricked up in Photoshop. But I like the look of the actual paper, with raking light catching the paper texture and all.

My marbled paper samples

My marbled paper samples


I have been collecting public domain fish pictures along with other natural history pictures for quite some time. I have a few old engraving books on the subject, the first of which I inherited from my grandfather many years ago. I love these old natural history books for not only their science but for their reverence and wonder at the creatures that were being discovered and catalogued. There is way more to the planet than people.

Here is a watercolor and marbled piece, not digital, that i made this spring.

Seafoam green fish ©2008

Seafoam green fish dd ©2008

Here is a digital piece I made this past winter.

Shellhead ©2007

Shellhead dd ©2007

I am currently playing with some Adobe Illustrator pieces that shall emphasize the gorgeous variety of fish styles. I think of them as decked out in couturier clothes. I am hoping to have time to make some flat shape oriented fish pictures that will be finished in time and also to do some dimensional things with my scanned marbled papers. The design concept of repetition and variation fits well here. Visual comparison of fish types held together by their being a set of fish. One can expand the meaning from there.

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