A year ago, I produced an experiment in online art, I called it Art Stunt. I streamed live video of a painting in progress for a week, viewers could watch me paint or tune in over time to see how the work progressed. I considered the experiment a failure, the painting developed too slowly, the video resolution was low, and only by a rare coincidence did the small audience manage to actually see me at work.
I considered these problems, and created a new method using stop-frame animation. I’m photographing my painting with my new digital camera. I have my laptop operating the camera by remote control, every few brushstrokes I can tap a key and it captures a high resolution image. I use Final Cut Pro to process the images into a continuous “intervalometer” animation, one frame every 3 seconds. Now you can watch the brushstrokes appear as I paint them. An evening’s work is compressed into 30 seconds.
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Don’t judge this painting too harshly yet, I’m just throwing down some light gray underpainting, I’m barely started. I haven’t really discovered what this painting is about yet, it will take a few days of bad painting to get it working. This is nonobjective, nonreferential painting, I work without a plan, more involved with the process than the result, hoping something develops as I work. I throw out a lot of these paintings, or use them as sketches for more fully developed work, so it’s a little disconcerting to have the world watching over my shoulder when I might end up trashing it when I’m done. But that is the nature of this experiment. That is also why I’m calling this Art Stunt 2.0beta, this is mostly for proof-of-concept.
I can already see a few problems here, but they’re minor. The tungsten lighting is a little yellowish and uneven, I could use flash only, but I need a bit of extra light to see what I’m painting. It’s good enough for a beta test, I could do better if I had serious lighting, but I’m doing this on the cheap. Still, the effect is rather dramatic. I can see how I first laid down some broad brushstrokes in light gray, then a few thinner ones, then switched to a darker color, then used a smaller, floppier brush for some finer work. I’m not sure I want to know this much detail about how I paint, I never really thought about this before. I’m not sure how this will affect what I will paint, or if this information is even useful. But it will surely be entertaining, so stay tuned and watch what happens.