Showing posts from 2008

The Sea

The sea is the same everywhere; but the sea is never the same.

As an image is inverted, so the sea is transformed by day or night.

Strange stories have come from the sea, impressing upon us an image in our minds that the authors could never imagine.

If an image is only the light it reflects, then no one has ever seen the sea.

As the earth is the bottom of the sea, so the sea is the bottom of the sky.

Impossible colors; the sea burns with the colors of the sun.

Somewhere, once, the sea was just like this.

The sea is new.  It has always been this way.


(A series of images based on an original made in CAPOW 2007.  Each image was altered by a different photoshop filter.  In some cases the
images were derived from applying the on board XnView filters to an indexed image.  The result of many filters changes enormously when
applied to a 16 or 256 color image for which it was never intended.  Just another example of how many creative options there are even when
all you're doing is pushi…


(Image made in CAPOW 2007, a very serious electro-science program with buttons I don't understand.)

Inside the Midnight Room of Cellular Automata

I don't suppose the term Cellular Automata was intended to sound freaky and far-out when it was chosen to describe whatever it is that Cellular Automata is, but in an art context I think CA (as the savvy in-folks call it) has a very exotic sound to it which, incedently, it probably doesn't deserve.

I would probably have labelled it (from a graphical perspective) "Brainless Bits" because it tends to produce images composed of tiny particles that are intensely repetitive and quickly bring you to the point of boredom.

The options available in CAPOW 2007 help to overcome this frustrating source of mechanical graphics; but even still produce imagery that is very minimalistic and provokes one to work it over in an ever extending gauntlet of graphic filters.

Sometimes the harsh minimalism looks good and serves to highlight the cold, dead, lifeless, unthinking, mechanical nature of art from pushing buttons and turning dials.

Of course, sometimes it doesn't.  I don't post…

Pool of Water, Pool of Light

"Bielokurov came over in a poddiovka, wearing an embroidered shirt . We played croquet and lawn-tennis, and when it grew dark we had a long supper, and Lyda once more spoke of her schools and Balaguin, who had got the whole district into his own hands. As I left the Volchaninovs that night I carried away an impression of a long, long idle day, with a sad consciousness that everything ends, however long it may be. Genya took me to the gate, and perhaps, because she had spent the whole day with me from the beginning to end, I felt somehow lonely without her, and the whole kindly family was dear to me: and for the first time during the whole of that summer I had a desire to work."  (From The House With the Mezzanine, by Anton Chekhov, 1917)

I don't normally read things that would be described as Literature, I'm more interested generally in adventure fiction or classic sci-fi, but I do get curious now and then and want to read the good stuff.  It doesn't last long, bu…

Sindbad's Dream

I had inherited considerable wealth from my parents, and being young and foolish I at first squandered it recklessly upon every kind of pleasure, but presently, finding that riches speedily take to themselves wings if managed as badly as I was managing mine, and remembering also that to be old and poor is misery indeed, I began to bethink me of how I could make the best of what still remained to me. I sold all my household goods by public auction, and joined a company of merchants who traded by sea, embarking with them at Balsora in a ship which we had fitted out between us. (From The First Voyage of Sindbad, Andrew Lang, 1898)

Mario Klingemann's distortion filters from his VM collection are a good example of how unpredictable clicking on graphical effects can be.  After doing a number of things with this image which was originally an Afghan banknote, including some chopping and negative (invert) effects, I clicked on one of the VM distortion filters (probably Distortion by Brightn…

Clicking With 50 Afghanis

(Image from Numismondo-World)

Using Revolver, Mirror-Mirror, India Ink and a host of other filters, I turned the above image into this:

Being my further attempts to experiment with the creative theme of paper money, I also created a reverse side to my banknote.  I tried to add some simple money attributes like a denomination number and a country of issue thing, but none of that seemed to go well with this colorful "crayon image".

There is a school of art, or style of art, called Fluxus that is oriented around themes that are multi-functional like money, receipts, (and other stuff I'd be able to list if I knew more about it) and the co-mingled contexts of art and functionalism make for what is often a sort of surreal effect.

Anyhow, Clickism (clicking on graphical effects) works best when using this sort of raw material because it's easy to create chopped up collages of the patterns and forms used in paper money (some of which is already very artistic in its own right) an…



While doing some more radical experimentation in Sterlingware I made this.  It's using the Gaussian 6 render method which isn't usually a very useful one.  However, when you just concern yourself with making something interesting to look at and forget about the the more technical side I guess you're more likely to find things where you didn't think they were likely to be.

It never ceases to amaze me how much detail can be generated in a fractal program in such a short time and with such little effort and how complex and unrepetitive it can be also.  The notion that fractals are formulas repeated over and over again suggests monotony, but it isn't usually that way.

As with all graphically creative software, I think people should focus on producing any sort of interesting imagery and not, say, fractal imagery with a fractal program etc...  That's probably why I find the simpler, one-layer fractal programs to be more creative tools -- you can be…

The Bacterial City

Comparative Study the Bacterial City
And that small colony, that bacterial city, has roughly seven trillion citizens— more than all of the humans who have ever lived

These same sugars chains mesh together forming what could be considered the infrastructure for the bacterial city. Biofilms are constructed in a manner that ...

Individual bacteria settle on a surface, attach themselves tightly, begin to reproduce, and thus create a bacterial “city” – a biofilm – with pathways for ...

... infrastructure for the bacterial city. Biofilms are constructed in a manner that . is conducive for optimal nutrient deliv- ...

... Infectious Diseases of Central Full Name Diseases Nervous System *Typhoid fever Meningitis Address Paratyphoid fever A. Bacterial City, Street and No. ...

(Text taken from the search results of Googling the string, "Bacterial City"; a digital age writing technique I picked up from Blog With A View.  Scribefire, the Firefox plugin that I use for writing my blog posts, pre…

Out Around Rigel

And so we swept on through space, with Rigel a great blue glory ahead, and new stars, invisible at greater distances, flaring up in front of us and then fading into the background as we passed. For a long time we had been able to see that Rigel, as inferred from spectroscopic evidence, was a double star—a fainter, greener blue companion revolving with it around their common center of gravity. Beyond Kappa Orionis, three hundred light-years from the sun, the space between the two was quite evident. Beyond four hundred light-years, the brilliance of the vast star was so great that it dimmed all the other stars by comparison, and made the nebula seem a mere faint gauze. And yet even with this gradual change, our arrival was a surprise.


At last I could see. Out the window opposite me, Rigel was a blue-white disk half the size of the sun, but brighter, with the companion star a sort of faint reflection five or ten degrees to the side. And still beyond, as I shaded my eyes, I could see …

Desert Portrait

A reworked version (above) of the Star of Arabia series I did in a previous posting.  This time I generated the image 4x the size, but India Inked it (texture pattern) before resizing it.  The result is an antialiased India Inked image.  Smooth and nice and all that.  I don't know.  It looks more polished, but what's so great about being neat and polished?

I used (above) a different India Ink pattern here -- bubbles -- I think.  Not bad.  It makes for a nicer sandstone look and darkens the sky to give a sort of visionary appearance.

My, how a little freaky coloring (above) spices things up.  Nice and neat is dull and boring most of the time.  What strange alien fungus has covered the world and even grown across the sky?

Yeah.  Alright.  Blockwave metamorphosis.  The image speaks.  Pixels into hieroglyphs and the universe becomes a printed page of pictures.  Notice how the rougher, cruder stuff is so much more interesting.  You'll never get anywhere with this sort of thing by …

You could not understand them

You could not understand them if I explained them to you, and they are merely two of our smaller developments. I have no serious designs upon the earth nor upon the Solar System, nor have I any desire to rule over, or to control the destinies of masses of futile and brainless men. I have, however, certain ends of my own in view. To accomplish my plans I require hundreds of millions in gold, other hundreds of millions in platinum and noble metal, and some five kilograms of the bromide of radium--all of which I shall take from the planets of this Solar System before I leave it. I shall take them in spite of the puerile efforts of the fleets of your Triplanetary League.

(Text from Triplanetary by Edward Elmer Smith published in Amazing Stories, Jan-Mar 1934.  Image made with the blockwave filter from Showfoto, Jun-Aug 2007)

I Speak the Language

Started off with Vernissage.8bf which makes big square objects.  Then I used the Mosaic Toolkit to add the side details which are barely visible now.  Finally I used this filter, Dream Lines by Andrew Buckle.  Normally it doesn't look very interesting, but with the minimalist squares of Vernissage and the difference type of blending mode it uses it produces something intriguing -- and shreddies like.  The words are just a variation on the bold opening lines to a salesman's resume that I saw in a book.

Consider the shredder

I stumbled upon a very simple filter I used to use with the strange name of "shoutin!".  It's by Mario Klingemann and shreds your image into a bunch of strips separated by some white space.  What makes it such a useful thing is that this patterning effect enhances the effect of many other filters, just as coloring filters complement the output of almost every other distortion filter effect.

Here's how it looked after I added the shoutin! effect:

A very simple filter and probably not a very complicated one to make either, I'm sure.  Despite all that it has quickly become a very useful tool in my gauntlet of filters.  After the above image I then made this one below by applying the Revolver filter which is a combination distortion (shape changing) and coloring effect.

Finally, I Mirror Mirrored it which resulted in the initial image posted at the first.  I couldn't include the numerous other coloring and distortion effects that brought the image to the final shred…

Crude Appeal

Along with my last posting, here's an image that I find is both a crude messy sort of thing and yet at the same time having some special sort of style or character to it. I think I referred to this sort of thing a while back as "Raw Style", meaning not polished and clean but having something appealing to it all the same.

The image above was made with the blockwave filter from Showfoto during my early discovery days with this tool back in Spring, 2007. I couldn't display it back then because it was too big for my blog's smaller layout at the time. Also, I wasn't sure if the image was actually something I wanted to display anyhow. Since then I've come to like the thing.

Analyzing artwork can sometimes be more difficult than making it. Especially when all you do is push buttons and turn dials...

Stairway to the Stars

Since I don't consider myself to have really made this image in the same way that a real artist draws or paints something by hand, I'm quite comfortable talking about how great it is.  First, let's look at its humble origins:

It's a watercolor sketch of an opera stage set.  Nothing particularly interesting except the nice muted colors and the variety of textured areas which makes for good raw material for the sort of distorting and genetic recombination of Clickism -- art of the future.

Although I just made this yesterday, I can't quite remember what I did first.  I think it was Picture Chopper by Harry the Raver (a pretty famous filter guy).  No, it was "Holding a Cake to the Sun" by Andrew Buckle.  There may have been one coloring filter before that.  Also, I used a few other coloring filters and at one point after trying and untrying a few I thought I should save the image because if the program crashes (I run XnView on Linux using the Wine Windows emula…

Ghost Streams

What is an arroyo?
It is a ghost stream

I have seen them
approaching in the clouds
once a year
like Halloween
flying down from the sky
pouring over the land
The arroyos rise from the grave
full and flush
unlike any other day of the year
thundering through the night
and disappearing at dawn
then riding off
with the wind
and leaving behind
the legend
of rivers in the desert
the arroyo

Vintage Pulp Sci-Fi

I don't like intelligent science fiction.  I like the stuff with spaceships and rayguns and explorers fighting strange creatures on distant planets.

I like stories with pictures where the robots have rivets and look like walking boilers.

Science fiction is too serious now.  Readers get upset when things aren't realistic and authors try to talk like psychologists with a Ph.D.

Ironically, I think it's because Sci-Fi readers have lost touch with reality and see scholarly and intellectual pursuits as more noble and want to explore "the mind" (whatever that is) instead of taking off like Sindbad in a Titanium ship for whatever's out there.

Maybe the space heroes of the future will be expensive machines -- space probes -- and space exploration for us humanoids will just become a slow moving video game.

Or maybe this is as far as the future goes.

People on Fyre

This sort of thing happens all the time when you're pushing buttons and turning dials, so I gave this type of "looks like" art the name Metamorphic because it looks like things that are real and yet is completely derived from abstract processes and formulas that, at best, are only remotely related to real objects.

It's like finding a rock that looks like a fish or the continent of Africa.

I think these look a lot like simple pen and ink caricature sketches.

This one (above) is a ghost playing a violin.  Maybe not.

This last one, below, is a little hard to label.  So I put on my "labeling cap" and thought, "Shovelling Biscuit!".  Yes, it is a Shovelling Biscuit, indeed.

Sometimes, I am a caricature of myself.  We all are.  That's why we pay so much to have people make insulting drawings of ourselves.

And now computer programs are getting into it.


Another Clickism success story.

I used multicrystal to sierpinski-ize and smear a fractal sideways.  I then India Inked it using the large scale wave pattern.  Either before or after that I believe (from looking at the image) I used a coloring filter called Ink Rubber by Martijn W. van der Lee made in 1997 to produce the deep oranges and blue gray, uh, blue grays.

Of course I wasn't trying to produce deep oranges or blue grays.  I was trying to simply make the image look better by clicking on (and clicking off) various filters.

And the oil?  The orange rock stratas combined with the black flowing liquid just looked to me like an interesting depiction of oil in the ground although I don't think it's quite like this in reality.

Fractal science and oil exploration: How to lose money scientifically.

Not the Usual Trash


Far out, eh?  It's like those Mondrian colored window paintings except with a strange new twist and curve to them.

I did some serious thinking about why everything I was making in Fyre was looking like a pile of curtains with a few rolled up pieces of paper tossed on top.  The answer, as always, was with the buttons and the dials, because, like the title says (unless I've changed it again) all I do is push buttons and turn dials.

I changed some "transient" thing from 10 to 8 which reduces the number of elements in an image (reducing the clutter) and then went back to turning the dials some more.  The result was less of everything, but occasionally (which happens "often" when you're using the power of a computer) something distinctive and clear would appear.  Up there is the first one.

Below, is the next one.


For some reason, the lines are curvey instead of straightey, and give the images a streamlined look.  I saved the worst for the la…

The Secret of the Treason

XI. But when the Counts of Castille saw how Rodrigo increased day by day in honour, they took counsel together that they should plot with the Moors, and fix a day of battle with them on the day of the Holy Cross in May, and that they should invite Rodrigo to this battle, and contrive with the Moors that they should slay him; by which means they should be revenged upon him, and remain masters of Castille, which now because of him they could not be.

This counsel they sent to communicate to the Moors and to the Moorish Kings who were Rodrigo's vassals, being those whom he had made prisoners and set at liberty. But they, when they saw this counsel and the falsehood which was devised, took the letters of the Counts, and sent them to Rodrigo their Lord, and sent to tell him all the secret of the treason. And Rodrigo thanked them greatly for their good faith...

(Text from Chronicle of The Cid, translated from the Spanish by Richard Southey, 1883.  Image made in Fyre.)

Cupboards and Clouds

The mind consists
of cupboards and clouds

If your thoughts contain a door
you're in a cupboard
with handles and hinges
and a nice coat of paint
that's okay

Clouds can be huge
but usually they're not
A dream, a memory
those are the golden clouds
Another dream, another memory
those are the other clouds
darker, paler
either way you know what they are

It's good to put your clouds in cupboards
but if you think too much
about anything
the cloud will grow big
slip out the door
and lose that nice neat square shape

Enshrouded in clouds
enspoken in speaking
better hope it's a golden one
that's okay

(Image made in Fyre.)

The Day the Land Came Together

I remember
the day the land came together

There was a scroll for everything
the sky, the rocks and the sea

The scrolls were read
and the land came together

He read the sky scroll
and then dropped down through the sky
He read the Earth scroll
and then dropped down to the Earth

Then he walked around and everywhere he found a scroll he read it
and something new happened

As words echo
so the scrolls ran together
First a sound
then a symphony
then something strange

There are other scrolls
still to be read
but now is not the time

These are strange times

(Image made in Fyre)

All these things appeared as nothing

III. At this time it came to pass that there was strife between Count Don Gomez the Lord of Gormaz, and Diego Laynez the father of Rodrigo; and the Count insulted Diego and gave him a blow.

Now Diego was a man in years, and his strength had passed from him, so that he could not take vengeance, and he retired to his home to dwell there in solitude and lament over his dishonour.

And he took no pleasure in his food, neither could he sleep by night, nor would he lift up his eyes from the ground, nor stir out of his house, nor commune with his friends, but turned from them in silence as if the breath of his shame would taint them.

Rodrigo was yet but a youth, and the Count was a mighty man in arms, one who gave his voice first in the Cortes, and was held to be the best in the war, and so powerful that he had a thousand friends among the mountains. Howbeit all these things appeared as nothing to Rodrigo when he thought of the wrong done to his father, the first which had ever been offered to t…

The Chronicle of The Cid

II. In those days arose Rodrigo of Bivar who was a youth strong in arms and of good customs; and the people rejoiced in him, for he bestirred himself to protect the land from the Moors.

Now it behoves that ye should know whence he came, and from what men he was descended, because we have to proceed with his history. Ye are to know therefore, that after the treason which King Don Ordono the Second committed upon the Counts of Castille, that country remained without a chief: the people therefore chose two judges, of whom the one was called Nuno Rasuera, and the other Layn Calvo, who married Nuno's daughter, Elvira Nunez.

From Nuno Rasuera King Don Ferrando descended, and from Layn Calvo, Diego Laynez, who took to wife Dona Teresa Rodriguez, the daughter of Don Rodrigo Alvarez, Count and Governor of Asturias, and had by her this Rodrigo.

In the year of the Incarnation 1026 was Rodrigo born, of this noble lineage, in the city of Burgos, and in the street of St. Martin, hard by the palace…

Beware... The Overlords!

Actually, we're all safe.  I don't think they'll bother too many of us.  They've come to Earth in search of fresh brains to power their empire.  Most of us will just get slapped with a Defective tag and sent home.

Which brings me to something else: we need new frontiers in the Sci-fi/Weird Tales department of pulp-type fiction.

I like reading the classic rayguns and spaceships Sci-fi stuff, but it's not something that anyone can really write about anymore.  It just doesn't have the same credibility.

Aliens or alien life of any type just doesn't seem plausible anymore.  So many Sci-fi adventure stories revolved around the encountering of alien (non-Earth) people, plants and animals -- alternative Earths.

Today the Universe looks very empty, and not because we don't have the imagination to fill it up with things but because our own explorations of it (mostly by telescope or space probes) have shown it to be both full of the potential for life and yet complete…

Glistening Cave of Justice

Grasshopper, do you still doubt the power of Clickism?  Are you not convinced that strange new wonders can come from the diligent application of photoshop filters?

Consider this, then.

The above diagram was the original image which I started with which eventually became the black and white image at the top -- all from clicking.

It's been more than a year now, but I think I started off with multicrystal which produces the sierpinski glass block look (oh sure! we all know what that looks like!).  Then I probably India Inked it using the Ostromoukhov pattern (sand grains).  Then Overlap 4 to get the 45 degree angle faces and add some new recombinant features to it (recombinant features?).

Finally, it was off to the Boris Karloff of filters: Extractor 1.  That's where the rich deep black and white contrasts come from.

Of course the whole process could have gone off the road and just become a lot of mush, which is what often happens.  But I took the road less travelled.  And that's …

Winter Arrives on the Golden Land

Although it's completely accidental, these images made in InkBlot Kaos and filtered with India Ink.8bf create in my mind a vivid image of Winter and it's effect on human activity.

Winter, like the tornado-armed amorphous monster in the picture, chases everything either indoors or underground.  Subsequently, as we see in the golden, glowing subterranean depths of the foreground, Winter turns everything into a refuge.

I've always found this intriguing; while the indoors of a house or the bottom of a rodent's hole in the Summertime seems stifling and stale, they are transformed by the arrival of Winter into a place of comfort and security.  No one tells the animals or the people to stay indoors and yet both do so instinctively.

In the old days people went outside much more in the winter because they had work to do and because they were bored with being indoors.  Ironically, in our much more modern times we spend the winter living more like animals than we ever did in the pas…

Distort and Contort

You know, once you've allowed yourself to be photographed you've really given the world free reign to distort and contort your appearance.  I think of all the political news stories that feature photos of public figures that appear to be good illustrations of the contents of the story and yet predate the events depicted and were taken under circumstances often unrelated or even conflicting with the events of the news story which they were chosen to illustrate.

The old expression, "the camera never lies", seems like a reasonable thing to say in the context of the written accounts of eye-witnesses which often conflict with regards to important details, but what we see is often misunderstood and for that reason, the camera can deceive.

I've blockwaved a hundred-year-old tinted photograph of a famous person off the Wikipedia.  That noble, inspiring man whose contribution to history has benefited hundreds of millions of people has been distorted here by me into some fri…