Android Dreams

A friend pointed me at this article from The Guardian newspaper, and I think it’s well worth a look. It discusses a new kind of ‘art’ made by instructing Google’s image recognition software to interpret pictures in certain ways. The software is given a selection of parameters designed to yield a new version of the original image.

Many of the pictures which the image recognition software produces are quite spectacular and intricate. They are born from the software’s attempts to ‘make sense’ of a scene it has been given. The images produced can be somewhat Escheresque, and at the same time reminiscent of the best ‘Magic Eye’ pictures in their repetition and detail. For more detail and images, check out this link:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jun/18/google-image-recognition-neural-network-androids-dream-electric-sheep

Photo: Google, via dontpaniconline.com

Looks like there’s a new fantasy artist on the block!

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Knowing When to Stop

ipad Cat photoSometimes, you want to keep it simple. But knowing when to stop can be so hard. I’m definitely guilty of often carrying on when I should have stepped away from a picture to catch it at its best. However, occasionally a picture you thought was going to be one way turns out as something rather different.

I’m really fond of this iPad sketch done in quickly in the Brushes app. It’s my cat Peat, curled up like Smaug on the sofa. He’s black, so very black that it can be difficult to see his features in low light.

I sketched out his main curves, and suddenly didn’t want to take it any further – one of those happy cases where less is probably more.

Sneaky iPad sketch

ipad Ted sofaBack to the iPad, for an impulsive evening sketch of my son, reading on the sofa in his dressing gown. It’s not often he stays in one place long enough for me to capture a picture of any sort. I pretended I was doing something different on the iPad, so he took no notice of me while I scribbled.

I am finding the immediacy of the iPad is very satisfying for this kind of snapshot, and it’s permitting me a rather carefree attitude which I find very difficult to replicate in paint. Perhaps it’s to do with drawing using just a finger, rather than a pencil or pen? Who knows, but do I like the liberating results it gives. I think I should do more of this…

iPad, you Pad?

Clenched fist ipadBack to the iPad, for a play with Brushes. This was just a quick sketch, a bit of lazy experimentation on an evening when I couldn’t be bothered to get out any ‘real’ art materials. I didn’t even spend long thinking what to draw – just took what was right in front of me. Sometimes I think that’s no bad thing.

I like the way that the digital app permits me to make sweeping gestures and can put the brakes on my tendency to drill down into the tiniest detail. It’s also great for experimenting with colour, something I’m still new to, having been a long-time graphite devotee. The freedom to make mistakes and then undo them without penalty is so beguiling!

New Media – playtime anywhere

It was Andrew Marr’s title A Short Book About Drawing which woke me up to the possibilities and immediacy of working on a tablet.

So far, I’ve been impressed by the Brushes app for iPad. It’s so intuitive, it is very easy to get started ‘painting’ and experimenting. Although I wouldn’t want to be confined to digital art, it does offer some true benefits.  One of the great advantages of drawing on a tablet is that it allows you to work in very low light conditions which present tremendous difficulties for traditional media. Plus, it requires no effort to get materials out and clearing up is a press of a button. Marvellous.

Here’s two similar pictures I’ve produced – one is using Brushes, the other’s in Conte pastels. It was an interesting experiment – the experimental digital version came first, and was much quicker (albeit not as accurate)!

Bec's Drawings      Sewing box