Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Untitled (25) Digital Zen






Untitled (025)
iPad 4.
Procreate.

I was at our monthly camera club meeting and was showing a friend how to use the Procreate app, and quickly did this painting. It took me all of about 30 seconds to set it up, and 5 seconds to paint. I had a look at it again at home and quite liked it so decided to add it to my abstract sequence. 4 strokes and a chop. This opens up a whole new approach for me. Anyone familiar with this kind of art though, would immediately notice that each stroke or line has no calligraphic characteristic. That is, each line has the same width throughout the stroke. This would be viewed as very inadequate and inept. I have two pressure sensitive styli, a Pogo Connect and a Jot Touch which will give me a variable line, but it is very difficult to do this kind of painting, even those styli, as the iPad glass is very slick, and there isn't the brush/paper, friction/resistance and, of course, the painting area is very small, only approx 6x8ins. Still I have been practising to see what I can come up with.
What I really like about this work is its "cleanness", its simplicity, and its almost minimilist aesthetic. I love the colours also, the red, which, for me, is somewhere between the earth colours Light Red and Indian Red. The black and the cream toned "paper". The painting also hints at some sort of hidden meaning, almost like a rune. I tried this with a slightly textured paper but it didn't work very well. Again, this is intuitive mark-making - working fast without thinking.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Untitled (024) Bit Frustrating!



Untitled (024)
iPhone 4s/iPad 4
Camera+, Snapseed, Glaze, PS Touch, Superimpose, Aquarella, Filterstorm, Procreate.

I'm rather fond of this one. It was originally an image capture of a watercolour painting. I ran it through Glaze which created some nice effects on the 'continents' within the painting. I couldn't make it work though, and, wanting to try something different. I used PS Touch to selected each continent and save each individual one as a single image. I created a brush of each image in Procreate, ahhh, love this app. Now I can put them into artworks in any size, any colour, and any opacity, in any type of composition I desired. I created a base/texture layer in Aquarella for the watercolour paper effect, and just started adding the forms. Again I couldn't make the picture work, the trouble being, I think, was that the type of painting style of the continents, was so different from anything I could do in Procreate, that the original forms and the new procreate forms were fighting each other. I am sure that there is a way around this, but being such an inexperienced user of Procreate I wasn't sure how. I was going to dump the image and decided to try one last thing. I liked the composition so decided to go with that and just paint over the major forms with a large brush and using intuitive colour. I allowed some of the original forms to peak through in places, and now I could pretty much go berserk with all the Procreate brushes. With this kind of composition there is always a conflict between negative/open space and mark-making. Again it is a very intuitive process for me. When selecting the colours, although it is largely an intuitive process, I do 'grey' them down from their full strength. For instance the primary 'red' in the painting would become an Indian Red (earth colour), the orange would become a Burnt Orange and so on, once the chroma and tone had been adjusted.
Nothing jumps out to me in terms of what the picture 'means', it was just an exercise in mark-making really.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Untitled (023) What the Shaman Saw




Untitled (023)
iPad 4
fractBG, Glaze, PS Touch, Snapseed, Filterstorm, Handy Photo, Procreate.

I really like this image, and it happened relatively quickly. I suppose that his could be said to be a camera-less image. The base image came from a fractal app called fractBG which I am finding is a wonderful way to generate abstracts in an endless variety of forms and colours. The grey/green in the main forms refers to one of my most favourite colours in my real life painting which is Olive Green. The overall image seemed to have a shamanistic feel to it. I could imagine a shaman somewhere in the distant past perhaps, going into a trance and seeing lots of weird stuff from the past and future. Anyway, abstraction for me is a very magical process. Which relates to the text. I find that I am questioning myself as to why I put that set of womens lips in nearly every abstract I have done. That particular form, for me, resonates with all kinds of meanings. It seems a very poetic symbol. And in this image I just wanted a dash of red to perfectly finish of the work. Maybe its me expressing my inner feminine self.


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Lost (Redux)

I waited there among cool branches
biting the fruit of a myrtle bush;
a whiteness stung my eyes,
maybe the salt, maybe her ghost. And then
in the shrubs, a whisper...

Three Mules
George Seferis


















All images iPhone 4s
Apps: Hipstamatic, Snapseed.

This is a revisiting of a sequence I posted some time ago.  This is the Black and White version which gives a different feel, I believe.  There are some very minor tonal variations between the images which doesn't bother me.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Untitled (022) White Billabong


Untitled (022)
iPhone 4s/iPad 4.
Camera+, Snapseed, Handy Photo, iColorama, Repix, Deco Sketch, Filterstorm, Procreate.

This is probably the picture I am least fond of. The original inspiration was a painting by Australian artist Elizabeth Cummings. It was titled "White Billabong", and was basically a very large diptych, mostly in white and off-white paint. I saw it well over a decade ago and its gone to a private collector now. I do have a digital reproduction of the painting and it continues to inspire me to attempt to paint a "white painting". So with that painting in mind I tried to create a 'white' digital painting. The above is in a much lower key than "White Billabong". I am not unhappy with it, just not all that fussed about it.


Monday, 17 June 2013

Untitled (020) and Untitled (021) Elusive Lake




Untitled (020)
iPhone 4s/iPad 4.
Camera+, Snapseed, Aquarella HD, Glaze, iColorama, Filterstorm, Repix, Deco Sketch, Procreate.


This image and the one below are variations or Untitled (016) but in portrait format.
I've had heaps of problems with this image and the one below. Its some thing to do with the sharpening I think. Particularly in the central area. My eyes seem to get confused but it is hard to pin down exactly what is the problem. Anyway I have been watching this image over the past few weeks, hoping that seeing it with a fresh eye would give me a clue. The elements added, for instance with Procreate, are very sharp and perhaps it is that difference which is causing my eyes to jump about. In future I will take more care when capturing the base image.
I wouldn't show this image anywhere normally, but this sequence of abstracts is doing exactly what I had imagined initially, and in this case, illustrating a problem that can occur.
Also there are a number of content threads that are revealing themselves that are worthy of future exploration: 1. Prison Experiences, which splits into multiple threads such as 'the body in prison', brutality, drugs in prison, prison sex etc. 2. Global Warming, which can range from the 'politics of', to 'consequences', and more. 3. Elusive Lake - my family and I had a 2 week holiday at one of this state's more remote National Parks. A 1.5 hr drive in on dirt tracks, all fresh drinking water had to be carted in, pit toilets, ticks, very dangerous snakes, and goannas as big as crocodiles (well, nearly). An inland freshwater lake about a couple of hours walk from the campsite that was one of the most spiritual landscapes I have ever encountered. Beaches that are heartbreakingly beautiful, with a seal colony and no doubt lots of Great Whites. This was were I first started experiencing 'the metaphysical landscape' and considering it as an art project.
Oh dear I have been rambling on.





Untitled (021)
iPhone 4s/iPad 4.
Camera+, Snapseed, Glaze, iColorama, Filterstorm, Repix, Deco Sketch, Procreate.


Another problem I had with both the above images is that I lost control of the white balance relating to background layer. It is so annoying to view the image much larger, and the following day, and find that all of the empty spaces had too much of a cool or warm tint. What a dill.
I prefer this second version over the first - it seems to have a 'cleaner' appearance. I did go back into Procreate right at the end of the processing though, and 'sharpened' up some of the forms by painting along their edges with an appropriately coloured/toned brush.
Ahh well, its all a wonderfully interesting learning experience.


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Untitled (019)





Untitled (019)
iPhone 4s/iPad 4.
Camera+, fractalPhoto, Filterstorm, Handy Photo, Snapseed, iColorama.


I just love this image. Gee, its great when stuff happens and comes together in a very intuitive and magical way. One minutes there is nothing and the next, viola, its there. It could be titled with anything related to Eve and the forbidden fruit. Or the Garden of Eden. I definitely would leave a work like this as "Untitled", and in that way hope that the viewer would bring their own "stuff" to the image instead of my pointing them in any particular direction. And the picture could also be seen as referencing a "yearning" for something forbidden, as it was in my case, when we lived in the foothills of the Australian Alps, a very long way away from the ocean. The text states "for years I lived in the mountains, yearning for the sea" which is a line from a poem by George Seferis, and also references a painting done by one of my teenage students I was teaching at a country Tafe college, some years ago now, where she was exploring her longing to live in Melbourne/the City. We were living way out in country Australia, a long way from anywhere really. For me this work is a wonderful mix of abstract and realist forms, with some really nice poetics happening.


Sunday, 9 June 2013





Untitled (018)
Tentative title: Tree of Life.
iPad 4
fractBG, Snapseed, Handy Photo, Filterstorm, Glaze, iColorama, Deco Sketch, Procreate.


It was real fun doing this one. Bit of a long process but a great learning exercise. I used fractBG, which is a fractal app, basically to generate the base image and went on from there. Considering that the base image was so minimalist its quite astounding to see the very busy final version. The power of iPad + apps. There is scope to take this image further - for instance, I may delineate the three 'heads' at lower centre right, just above my name seal. The key word is 'subtle' though in terms of any future alterations.

Untitled (017) Tentative: The Sand from the Urns



Untitled (017)
Tentative title: The Sand From the Urns. Version I
iPhone 4s/iPad 4
Camera+, Snapseed, PS Touch, AremaC, Glaze, iColorama, Deco Sketch, Filterstorm, Procreate.


The Sand From The Urns

Mould-green is the house of oblivion.
At each of its blowing gates your beheaded minstrel goes blue.
For you he beats on a drum of moss and bitter pubic hair;
With an ulcerous toe he traces your brow in the sand.
Longer than it was he draws it, and the red of your lip.
You fill up the urns here and nourish your heart.

Paul Celan


The above is one of my all time favourite poems by Paul Celan, written relatively early in his career. I have tried on a number of occasions to use this poem as a basis for a painting with rather ordinary results. The great contemporary artist Anselm Kiefer tackled this subject matter with great success. I don't think that the above image is very successful in itself, or in referencing the poem. Still its a start and I intend to keep exploring this particular subject matter. The text is not all that great, far to 'rigid' but I am happy to leave it there as a reminder for myself. After receiving my new stylus (Jot Touch) from now on all text will be hand written onto the image/painting.


Saturday, 8 June 2013

Untitled (016) Integration Prison




Untitled (016)
iPhone 4s/iPad 4
Camera+, Snapseed, Repix, Deco Sketch, iColorama, Handy Photo, Filterstorm, Procreate.

For many years I worked in the State Prison System, and after leaving I did many paintings and drawings based on my experiences within the prisons. The original image for this work was a small ink, acrylic, and graphite drawing I did last year. This is the B&W version. I have also done a colour version which is #020 to be posted later. This is the first digital image referencing a specific concept/series of paintings I have done in the past. Its also the first image that I have used written text to refer to the conceptual source. I have always enjoyed writing on artworks using the text as a compositional element as well as for creating 'clues' to their content. I studied Cy Twombly, a wonderful world class American painter (died recently unfortunately) for all of my painting career, and he has always been something of a passive muse for me. People who know this artist will see his influence in this second work. Yeah, I know its messy, (I like messy) and its more than likely not what many people would consider 'art', but then I have always been more about a personal self-expression and I make no apologies for that. I love this image.
Already thinking about upping the resolution and a large printing on stretched canvas. Finances permitting of course

Untitled (015) Soylent Green




Untitled (015)
iPhone 4s/iPad 4
Camera+, Snapseed, Decim8, Handy Photo, Satur8, Glaze, Blender, Repix, Procreate.

I have had to take a break from mobile device and computing screens for a couple of days. Experiencing significant eye soreness. I have been using 'Tears' eyedrops and that helps. Ah well, its all good. Although I don't know how my addiction is going to hold up with lesser creative involvement. Bit unsure about this one - its heavily apped (well, they all are really).
A large part of my work with real life painting involved using a birds eye viewpoint and this kind of follows on from there. The thing I like most about this image is the 'tendrils' emanating from the shoreline in places if one reads the grey area as some sort of estuary or harbour.
Actually Soylent Green would be a good title for this image.

Untitled (014) Soylent Green - New Series?




Untitled (014)
iPhone 4s
Camera+, Snapseed, Laminar Pro, Popsicolor, iColorama, Pixlromatic, Repix, Deco Sketch, Procreate, Filterstorm.

This one resonates with me in terms of global warming and climate change. I feel that I am hovering over the planet and seeing: oceans turning acidic (green) with warming. Rising water levels from melting ice caps flooding continents. Massive storm cells moving over the globe. Blood spatter symbolic of the effect on peoples, starvation etc. The mixture of man vs. nature symbolised by the use of mechanical markmaking (severe straight lines, dots etc) vs. gesture (as in abstract expressionism, a more 'natural' type of mark). Shifting of continental plates, a planet in turmoil.

Harry Harrison's novel Make Room! Make Room! is a Science Fiction classic as is the movie that was made from the book Soylent Green.  They both anticipate the effects of Global Warming.  Both the book and film were created many years ago now.

Untitled (013)




Untitled (013)
iPhone 4s.
Camera+, Snapseed, iColorama, Repix, Deco Sketch, Procreate, Filterstorm.

I had real problems getting this image to completion. And I can still see things that could be done. But really, one can go on and on. So this is not the definitive version, but perhaps an exploratory sketch?
I have just finished reading through the massive thread that Catherine moved to this forum (MobiTog Appstracts forum). Just a wonderful informative post. And interestingly, after taking in all the wonderful images, its causing me to re-evaluate my own stuff. Which is such a beneficial process.
I really have never liked this image.  And then after awhile that rotten 'chicken face' at the center of the image started popping out at me.  Normally I would alter this as my eye now immediately goes to that particular form which totally dominates the picture.

Untitled (012)



Untitled (012)
Iphone 4s/iPad 4.
Camera+, Snapseed, iColorama, Deco Sketch, Repix, Procreate, Filterstorm.

A nice No.12 round bristle brush, some acrylic paint, an A4 sheet of Fabriano Accademia cartridge paper 200gsm. Close the eyes, a few splodges and splatter and strokes. Take a photo with my iPhone, and off one goes again. I usually cut the A4 sheets out of a much larger sheet and when I have enough, I just start splashing paint around. If I'm at the local art society clubrooms, I will also use watercolour, squeezed straight out of the tube, and put through a very old hand press. I could end up with 30 - 40 explorative paintings with which I can continue the layering process. Working pretty much purely by intuition. This one above is from a batch I made late last year. Creating art is such a joyous pastime no matter what medium.
Its a bit strange but I have feeling that I should straighten this image with a slight rotation anti-clockwise. Probably something to do with those very straight lines. Instead of correcting this I think I will just leave it for future reference.

Untitled (011)



Untitled (011)
iPad 4 Native Camera
Snapseed, AremaC, iColorama, Repix, Deco Sketch, Procreate, Filterstorm.

This is the first time I have ever used the iPad camera to create an image with. The original image was just a quick shot of my desk in front of my iMac. Although one wouldn't know it looking at the above. I wanted really, to prove to myself that anything can be the basis for an abstract image. The tools we have at our disposal are extremely powerful indeed.

Untitled (010)




Untitled (010)
iPhone 4s/iPad 4
Camera+, Snapseed, PS Touch, ScratchCam, Repix, Deco Sketch, Procreate.

Again using a drawing as the basis for the work. But added a lot more digital elements. I find that what to call  this, a painting or a drawing, is something of a contested area.

Looking at this image today (18th June 2013) I really feel the need to cut away some of the 'sky' area. The area below Cezanne's mountain feels too heavy.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Untitled (009)


I am changing the format of the posts slightly.  From now on all text will be below the image.


Untitled (009)
iPhone 4s/iPad 4
Camera+, Snapseed, iColorama, Repix, Procreate.

I'm a bit concerned that this image is too close to the original. The forms and composition are unchanged - I just added some elements to the picture. It raises the question in my mind - is this an "appstract"? Or maybe I'm just nitpicking. I was thinking about not including it in this forum blog but I really want to keep the sequence intact.

Its been a little time since I have made this image and strangely enough (or not) this has become one of my favourites.  Just goes to show one should not be too hasty to make a judgement.


Untitled (008)


Up to now I have resisted the urge to lighten the left hand side - it seems a tad unbalanced, but I can live with it. Overall I am really enjoying this image.




Untitled (008)
iPhone 4s/iPad 4
Camera+, Snapseed, iColorama, aremaC, Repix, Deco Sketch, Filterstorm, Procreate.