Erik Sanner Home Visual Other About


have been spending many hours in the studio.  haven't been blogging.  these are related.

before i knew about (or cared about or loved) painting, i listened to music.  (i played music too, but i think i was usually to nervous to love it.  too many mistakes, no real interest in the practicing necessary to achieve good technique, too much criticism following predictable underwhelming results...)  when i did begin to love painting, it was abstract art (kandinsky, rothko) that made the deepest impressions - the unfathomable mystery, not being able to comprehend what i was looking at, plus the simple encounter with "beauty" and "color" and "imagination."  i began to equate abstract art with music - not trying to represent anything, both exist as purely aesthetic phenomena.  (regardless of whether or not the artists were trying to communicate something, this is how i thought of the work, as little artificial universes constructed to confuse, baffle, overwhelm and excite people.)

the more i learned about painting, the more i wanted to paint.  however, the more i learned about painting, the less original my own work seemed.  and original or not, it seemed that only a very few people would ever care about my abstract paintings, no matter what.  i tried (and have been trying, for quite some time) to somehow integrate my desire to make abstract paintings into conceptual projects, with mixed results, both in terms of my own satisfaction with this-is-something-i-want-to-
be-doing, i can feel my art growing, and viewer response (this is interesting, this is beautiful, i like this, i understand this, i don't understand this, i'm glad i saw this, etc.).  however, even when i have an open studio, and somebody loves an old abstract painting i did, i don't feel great about that.  one of my goals is to utilize contemporary technology and techniques in my work.  it is certainly more challenging to make a "new" painting with oil paint and a brush on canvas.  regardless of whether or not i could meet that challenge, i want to find out what we can do with new ways of arranging colors.  for several years, i have wanted to make some abstract paintings using new techniques.  that is what i have finally begun to do.  and that is why i haven't been blogging.

i used to have a computer which lived only in my studio.  it died in september, and i haven't replaced it yet - my laptop now serves as my only machine, for video rendering, programming, blogging, email, etc.  one defect of my laptop is that it doesn't like to run an internet browser if adobe photoshop is open - the browser will crash.  since i've had a photoshop window open for over a week, i haven't blogged.  (i can do some things on my phone or on other computers, but it takes longer, and other things i just can't do.)  i think it could be a week or more before i want to close that photoshop window - hence this extra-long blog post, explaining what i'm up to these days.  why am i keeping a photoshop window open?  why don't i quit photoshop, do my internet stuff, then restart photoshop, as usual?

decided to do a series of improvisations.  each one will integrate additive and subtractive color during the making, and result in a new media installation projecting "painting" onto a painting.  began the first one (improvisation in yellow, blue and orange) on sunday, 21 march 2010.  realizing there are so many ways to approach this, decided on a few methodological constraints, which makes me want to try other procedures in future pieces after this one is complete.  for this initial piece, i decided:
- it would be a solo work (in the future, hope to do some collaborations);
- it would utilize one projector (as opposed to multiple projectors);
- the projection would be onto a flat surface (no building out into space);
- i would use only photoshop on the computer (not illustrator, no video);
- i would "paint" all of the projected imagery using only the paintbrush tool in photoshop (no photographs, no insertion of existing visuals, no copy/paste, no undo, no filters, etc.; basically getting as close as i can to "painting" in the digital world);
- i would paint all of the physical imagery (no collage);
- i would try to match the size of the physical paintbrush with the photoshop paintbrush (originally intended to use only a #6 boar-bristle brush and a 3-pixel photoshop brush, but began wanting to do smaller detail work, necessitating a much smaller sable brush and a 1-pixel photoshop brush);
- i would work on the physical painting or the projected "painting" whenever i felt inclined to = i'm not keeping track of time, i'm not working for strictly thirty minutes on the digital element and then painting for the next thirty minutes, i might spend two hours painting followed by forty-five minutes of "painting" in photoshop).

the first real hiccup i noticed is that the position of the video camera and the position of the projector means that significant glare from the projection onto wet paint is being recorded.  in one future improvision, that won't be a problem - i'll do the physical painting first, then the projection, which will let me wait until the painting is dry.  however, it might also be possible to project from a higher angle, that might eliminate all (or much) of the glare.

however, at present, i don't want to touch the setup.  right now, everything is lined up - the projector isn't moving, the tripod for the video camera is taped down, and the photoshop window is open on the monitor so that the edges of the canvas line up exactly with the digital image.  so that's what i'm working on and that's whay i haven't been blogging.  i want to keep that photoshop window lined up with the canvas, while i'm painting and "painting," until the piece is done.  i anticipated spending only maybe eight hours or so painting and "painting," but i realized not too long after starting that what i want to do will take a lot longer - so i'm going to keep working on it until i get it to where i want to be.  i've been taking some documentation pictures, which i'll be able to post whenever it's done.  the picture above was taken with my mobile phone, aimed at my pocket camera, which was time-lapse recording as i begin the piece a week ago.  i wouldn't want to show the piece now even if i had another computer - i think i like where it's going to go eventually, but it just changed from getting worse and worse to getting better and better - i think...

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