Rob Adams a Painter's Blog painter's progress

July 1, 2024

Through the Looking Glass

Filed under: Art History,Artificial Intelligence,Uncategorized — Tags: — Rob Adams @ 6:26 pm

There is a type of dystopia where most the citizens are happy and believe their dystopia is an utopia. If it’s literature then the rebel gets subsumed or brainwashed, or in the sci-fi world a lone rebel fights back and brings the system crashing down. The result is presumably that the ignorant masses can now live in a miserable but newly aware state. So is the Ai revolution taking us to Big Brother? The press and pundits would love this to be true. Or do we already live in a dystopia and Ai will open our eyes to the fact?

I suspect the answer is both of the above. We love opposites, they are easy, black and white good and evil, binaries are beautiful. However we live in a world of ever changing greys where a bad act can have a good result and a good one can pave that path to hell.

Ai has already changed our appreciation of images. many now view any image with suspicion. This is maybe a good thing, illusory images have always been used to tell lies. To sell religious myth and to gild the reputations of the powerful. This is only one side of the mirror though. They have also been used to tell stories of beauty and delight, of poetry and wisdom. Most of the deluge of images produced by Ai have amost no story to tell. Some are interesting and striking but they are few and far between. After a while you recognise all the different types of image. The Robots, monsters, heroes and heroines are all cut from the same cloth.

On the other side of the coin there are those who are obsessed with what they imagine to be realism. They mean photographic of course, the goal is an image that is indistinguishable from a genuine photo. What you do after this goal is achieved is unclear. I have no interest in the fake photos… advertisers however are rubbing their hands at the thought of no model or photographic fees. Hollywood is also preparing to jump in. With Ai you will very soon be able to make films with dead actors. John Wayne may ride across the prairie again, Marylyn Monroe might star in a sci-fi flick. Their joy will be short lived though. If the present arc of advancement continues you won’t need a studio, actors, writers or any of the enormous crews. You will suggest a story, pick your actors and an hour or so later your movie will be ready to watch. If you think it will be terrible, think again, the models will be trained on all the greatest movies. The Ai ones may not be Oscar winners but they will be more watchable than most of the trash released in a year.

For now though I was happy to play with this new toy. I tried mixing styles and subjects… not so easy as they need to be balanced. I found different ways of getting what I wanted rather than what the Ai gave me. I also made videos of my discoveries which became strangely popular for basic screeen captures with me gabbing in the background. Here’s a few of the more deranged images I made.

It is very good at baroque madness. The hard bit is controlling the composition and getting things in places you wish. This was done with a hand drawn depth map.

This is an example of the more unstructured random output. For this I input a series of conflicting images. Baroque buildings and paintings mixed with fractals I’ll put a few of the images below and you can try to work out what influences they had!

I even remade one of my old illustrations… I got increased finish but less charm.

It is very good at the generic. So horror, sci-fi and of course Steampunk.

Then there are the Ai people, they don’t come in very many varieties. The girls are sexy and the guys are musclebound.

The above demonstrates a point in my earlier post. There is no personal style in the Ai world. One thing I wanted to manage was an equivalent of my pen and ink style. So far this has been impossible… I don’t know whether to feel pleased or frustrated! Below is as near as I got.

I think that is enough about Ai for now. I might return to it as changes are happening at breakneck speed.

June 5, 2022


Filed under: Dorset,Painting,Perspective,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Rob Adams @ 10:10 pm

Emotion. We all want it in our work it would seem. Feeling, intuition, instinct all these are toted as desirable in an artist and their work. Logic, learning, systematic thought and pragmatism are less desirable it would seem. I am puzzled by how such a strange inversion of reality has taken hold. Animals have instinct, feeling and react intuitively, but they don’t make art. It is therefore almost certain that the scorned attributes of logic, systematic thought and learning are to blame for our creative bent. I just don’t see how any other conclusion can be reached. We might I suppose choose to beleive in mysterious “energies”, souls talking or the infinite speaking to us, but really that is the same as believing in fairies.

Michelangelo’s works, the cathedrals and even Stonehenge are the result of rational thought not instinct. I am not saying that feelings and intuitions are not valuable, far from it, but these understandings are often the result of a long process of internalised learning. Magical thinking is so deeply embeded in us that it is not going to go away. When a misfortune hits any of us we all curse some cruel higher power that has singled us out for an injustice. We say thank God, thank Heavens and believe our pets understand our every word. However playing music has taught me that the appearance of what appears to be moments of emotionally inspired expression are actually achieved by systematic hard work and practice. The muses do not whisper in our ears to inspire, we earn it by striving to understand and hard work.

It was said by Arthur C Clarke that: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” and so it seems when an individual who had never learnt to paint and draw sees a masterpiece. Since they cannot concieve of creating such a thing themselves, they attribute its creation to some special or mystical inspiring force. This is not a problem provided that the artists themselves don’t believe in the myth. The present demise of many of the Arts today is unfortunately that many do believe just that. It is if a conjurer on stage actually believed that their slights of hand were true magic.

So I say to my fellow artists, there are no mystical inspirations, no magic tricks to gain mastery. There is no wellspring of creativity, no guidance from above. It is just hard work and practice. If you are one of those who presents some empty nonsense as a deeply meaningfull artwork then you are no better than a huckster, no matter how much some sucker pays for it at auction.

Now I have that off my chest may I con you with a few paintings?

A small 6in square painting of Wareham. Done from a phone snap through a windscreen but it had very interesting light and a subtle colour harmony. When I paint from snaps like this I set my timer so that I don’t go on too long. This was 30min’s worth.

Another from a photo. I was looking through old images of Bridport market looking for square compositions and this took my eye. 7in sq Oils.

Not sure about this one. As so often happens there are bits I like and bits that I am uncertain about. Putting a prominent figure into a landscape is always asking for trouble. I decided the figure had to be developed enough that you would try to gauge their mood and the landscape needed to be subservient. Not altogether sure I succeeded though. 10in Sq Oils.

Sorry I am hooked on squares at present. This the church near Tarrant Crawford, it still has medieval wall paintings just about surviving on its walls. In this one the figure works much better. I allowed the light to embed the figure in the space. 7.5in sq Oils.

This is Hambledon Hill from Hammoon. In the 45 min it took to paint I was hailed on, rained on and snowed on… hard to focus on making a painting. 6in Sq. Oils.

Tired of square ones yet… a few more still to come, they will call this my square period. This is Kington Magna. I must have a go at this view on the spot. Quite hard to get a position to paint from that explains the charm of the place. 7.5in sq. Oils.

Another small 6in sq of Hanford School. I painted this hand held in under 30 min. I must get back at this time of day and do a larger one as it often looks very beautiful. Oils

Another hand held job. No way to set up a tripod easel on the road bridge over the Stour at Blandford. This another view I keep on coming back to, such a pity the traffic makes it almost impossible to do plein air. When I was doing this some of the lorry wing mirrors were inches from the back of my head! 6in Sq Oils.

Sea fret at Swanage. Less than 30 min this one as the fret dissolved into a bright sunny dat as I painted. Great fun to try and catch such transitory effects. 8in sq Oils.

I hadn’t done a complex urban scene for a while. It was very hard work and took well over an hour but the light stayed with me which was good. 10in sq. Oils.

Don’t know why I painted this one, very unlikely to find a buyer. I was almost back to my car when I was taken by the light and decided I would have a go. The young lady walking briskly down to the car park was a gift I could not turn down.

So that is the end of my square period… next the pentagonal period…

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