My weblog ELECTRON BLUE, which concentrated on science and mathematics, ran from 2004-2008. It is no longer being updated. My current blog, which is more art-related, is here.

Sat, 14 Jan, 2006

Art from the archive

I haven't died of bird flu yet, so I suppose I'd better get back to work. I got a new scanner, this one a Hewlett-Packard, with a two-year warranty that will replace it if something goes wrong with it. This scanner can scan sixteen 35 millimeter slides at a time, while the previous one could only do 4. I did this as soon as I realized that I had to plug in the "Transparent Materials Adapter." Then it scanned a full load of slides.

I have an extensive art archive of more than a thousand slides, going back all the way to the late '70s. It goes with my art catalog, which begins with my first sold work back in about 1976. I don't have a slide of catalog number 1 (unfortunately, the original is lost), but I do have most of the others. I am currently at catalog number 930. This number doesn't represent the number of artworks actually made, because many of the single numbers in the catalog represent sets of artwork. These sets can sometimes number more than a dozen.

For instance, catalog number 691, which by fortuitous numerology was created in June of 1991 (6/91), contains 18 pieces. These were created all at one time, and are all the same size, though some are vertical and some are horizontal. At that time I used to make "editions" of airbrushed astronomical pictures, which I would then sell for very modest prices at science fiction conventions. I would lay the small panels out on newspapers spread on the floor, and paint them en masse. I used only bright, primary colors like blue and red, with perhaps a touch of purple and yellow, because this is what attracted viewers. Then I gave them evocative titles. Not all of them turned out well, but enough did so that I could earn a few bucks from them.

I had 16 slides of the 691 series. I failed to photograph one other, and the last one is still in my collection, because I liked it too much to sell it. So I loaded all the 691's into the scanner, and then processed the images from the slides, one by one, until they were once again presentable. I don't know whether other artists keep such complete and detailed records of their art. Cataloguing has a "commercial" quality to it, a bit too crass for "fine" artists perhaps. But I enjoy rolling out the numbers. One ongoing project of mine is to make digital files of all my art slides and negatives. Then I can put the whole catalog onto DVD's or whatever storage medium shows up in the future.

Here's a couple of examples of what I was doing in 1991. These are small paintings, 7 inches by 10 inches. They are painted by airbrush and spatter brush in acrylic on black illustration board.

This one's catalog number 691A, "Lighthouse Beacon."

And this one is catalog number 691M, "High Energy Radio Source" (depicting colliding galaxies):

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