Crow is a project with the flight of a single crow as the subject matter documenting the process of sketching, animating and coding `crowline’. Its aim was to produce an abstract image of a crow in flight using a range of digital and traditional media
Still images are the critical centre of the crow studio. Their production and collection, the variation of media and presentation, the combination and recombination of multiple images as single, still, images.
The importance of the animation is that it is the process that drives the production of the `still’ crow images. Animation also limits image content choice to the initial phase. After the initial phase the entire focus can be on the qualities of line, tone, colour and image.
The still images are a mixture of digital prints and photo montage produced from ink wash drawings, code mediated gestural line, and digitally manipulated photographs.
Still images are powerful because, unlike an animated image, it puts the viewer in control of the duration and intensity of attention given to each image. It allows the viewer and the artist to re-evaluate each image as they revisit the work and find within it things of which they may not have been consciously aware.
You make each image stand out individually and make it special by that quality of selection allowing you to rework and emphasise elements that work for you.
Using the Processing.org code line (code mediated gestural line) moved the images further away from the quality of verisimilitude often desired in a drawing. Verisimilitude is the degree to which an image looks like an object in the sense of the accuracy of the visual representation.
In terms of animation, I was looking at how during the process of animation our brains move the images back into the impression of visual accuracy – the bird is flying. In seeing the multiple frames I see hints of Plato’s shadows, searching for the perfect artefact of a crow among the many representations of the crow.
Computer Mediated Gestural Line – Crow Line.
While hoping that in the process of repetition aspects of the “Ideal” crow are revealed; a Chinese whisper of distorting shadows going elsewhere needs to be borne in mind.
Brown paper has an absorbency, texture and natural quality which mean that no two pages are ever the same. When you hold it up to the light you will see that there is not one colour but marbled variations of brown tones that reminds me of amber.
I enjoy its associations with wrapping paper – it is utilitarian, the type of paper that you may have to hand when you need to make a note or a quick sketch.
The quality of the line produced by the Code matched to the material compromises needed when working with brown paper and the ink wash. The crow interaction is also a compromise as you have to accept that the crow is free to behave as it wishes in its environment: the artist may only observe and record.
The crow was drawn referencing the line work and tonal work produced in Autodesk and the many photographs I took at Galley Hill. There are a number of different sets, starting with the brown paper sets and a developmental record of production. The first full set was produced on brown paper and lit from the front when photographed; the second was lit from the back when photographed.
Front lit: This set shows the quality of the line work and the ink wash to best effect.
Back Lit: This set shows the interaction between the natural texturised quality of the brown paper and the ink wash image suggesting a sense of depth and colour. The amber tones of the paper reiterate the sense of having trapped the crow in a moment in time.
Ink and ink wash on white paper: This, for me, is a long-standing and frequently used approach and best presents the quality of the ink and ink wash.
Biro on white paper: The line is produced by what is considered a throwaway, everyday object – a black biro. The biro captures the abstraction of the crow with a limited control of line width and tone and the line communicates the sense of the form.
The animation was produced to emphasise that the drawings were all of one, individual crow. There are a number of drawings but only one crow moving and changing space, time and repetition.
The thing I like about crows as a visual source is their varying shapes when in flight. The quality of repetition is fascinating; each time it is the same crow, despite often huge changes in the shapes made.
The first crows I drew were part of a group of crows that spend time moving around Galley Hill, Bexhill, between the cliff top and the beach. This area provides the opportunity to watch, draw and photograph the crows from above as they fly from the cliff down to the beach and from below as they return to the cliff top from the beach. Continue reading →
The nature of art has always been influenced by the tools we have available to make marks. While studying an online Creative Coding Course via Future Learn (www.futurelearn.com) I was introduced to Processing.org and P5.js. This is a software sketchbook, a programming language interface designed for creative practitioners, who want their primary focus to be the visual product, whilst providing the opportunity to explore the code and it’s potential. The code I used for the crow drawings started with a small demonstration piece that was provided as part of the course.
Drawing done using the initial code provided on Future Learn course
I made a number of adjustments to the Code to manipulate the form and quality of the line. Continue reading →