Take a quick look before I write more – this is a Roman painting. First in the original as you can see it on Pompeii’s walls, then as a photoshopped version, in which I combined several photos, effects to bring out the true color and some touch-ups (without adding things that weren’t there).
See it here like nowhere else!
Wall Painting from Pompeii (Young Couple), Original Version
Wall Painting from Pompeii (Young Couple), Retouched Version
It really touches me I do admit – those people look like they could be ones neighbors. Most probably this is a portrait of a newly wed couple. Both seem to be writers as they hold papers and pencils.
Ironically the catastrophe of 79 AD that not much later delivered them most likely to a horrible death, conserved the picture. Which gives us the gift to see of one of only a handful remaining Roman paintings.
I discovered this in the BBC documentary “Sister Wendy’s: A Story Of Painting“. In which a kinda odd nun goes around in the world and talks about art. She knows a lot and has a unique view on things. Great stuff.
What struck me is the high technical quality. How few things did we learn until then? The colors of the skin are close to perfect – with a transition from yellow, to red, to violet to gray. And maybe even because it’s not photographically perfect, the figures feel full of life. The eyes are nearly magical.
It took Europe more than 1000 years to get back to that standard. And very probably this picture is just from an average artist – as if you would pick now a random painting from our time, to pass to the future. Imagine what pieces of the masters of that time are lost, never to be seen again.
An update on the Unearthly Challenge. Maybe I should have explained a bit: It’s a contest where one has to do a 3D image of an environment. There is only a rough topic (End-Game). And one has to post updates, so that people can follow your workflow. It’s great for learning.
Now I’ve done a color version of the concepts posted before. Well, I’m not quite there yet, I still have lots of ideas, But its time to start the 3D part.
Any ideas or comments are very welcome.
First color concept of the Falling Town.
Render of the 3D blockout
First something about the last posting – I’ve updated the portrait of the blonde girl. Damn, it looked bad (heh, I deleted all traces). I never see how bad a picture is until a week is over or so. Was a good learning experience to analyze and fix it though.
Update of last postings painting
And yeah got no internet – so fewer updates for now. Bad timing, as I just started taking part in the Unearthly Challenge with two friends.
The topic is “End-Game”. We want to do a 3D version of a medieval town that gets devoured by some digdug style machines that dig the ground away.
Here are the two first detailed concepts:
Overview Concept of Falling Town
Second concept of Falling Town
Some might know Kevin Kelly from his Ted Talks about the evolution of technology. But thats of course just the tip of the ice-berg. What an amazing mind (I love people that shine in so many fields) and what an awe inspiring blog.
One of his latest posting about Extropy is easy to understand and yet goes very much in depth. Maybe only workless bums like me have the time to read it but it’s worth it, I promise. Great piece. His concepts are related to Steven Wolframs “A New Kind of Science“. An interesting new idea is for example that old technology stays around because it’s still needed. The whole concept is spot on – I think it goes further than he writes (ok, the posting is long enough either ways ). I think it may also support Chomskys idea that language might not have evolved genetically.
The self organizing patterns he talks about can be seen in nature often – thats why maybe art might help with this new way of looking at the world (wouldn’t that be cool). Here one of my older sketches of seashells, where you can see some cellular automaton-like structures.
Seashells from Okinawa
I was painting these in a gallery in Amsterdam, while an “Open Atelier Route” was going on. Lots of galleries and art studios were open to see – and also here people could walk in and watch as we painted portraits of those two really interesting models.
Portrait Ilse, 30x40 oil on linen
Portrait Dirk, 30x40 oil on linen
I can’t stop myself to write this (hehe). But this discussion about free will or no free will really bothers me.
There are two blog postings by Aaron Swartz that just got me on the topic again: Is there free will – and may quantum mechanics solve the whole question? It’s a very good blog – and his recent adventures are really interesting – but anyways: As everyone else so far, in my opinion he asks the completely wrong question. I do not understand the problem. And this solution with quantum mechanics certainly does not solve anything.
Let’s just assume something: One really smart mind finds out the answer to the question whether there is free will. Now he tells people “Hey people of the world, the solution is, there is no free will, its all deterministic!”.
What would happen? Nothing. Nothing would change – the world would run as it was.
So let’s assume something else: He finds out that we do have free will. Wow, everyone likes to hear that somehow, but what would actually change? Nothing. Again no one would do anything different just because he knows he has free will.
Ok, so for me the conclusion is: There is no difference. Its both the same – free will or not free will, the problem does not exist.
Oh yeah, there is this third option. The guy finds out: “Its easy, it’s all quantum stuff”.
Well first of all – I don’t get why anyone would conclude that this “reconciles free will”. By definition it means everything is random. No will at all and no determination.
Now what does that solve? Nothing at all. I would even suggest that it’s impossible – since an avoider (as Dennett calls it) could not exist.
Someone tell me please what I’m missing here.
Else the conclusion must be: the question philosophers ask is the wrong one. We do have to find the correct question first – then we can try to find the right answer.
Not quite sure if it agrees to the image But I love the expression.
Anyways – these are some watercolors of people I painted recently on the street (in Amsterdam and Utrecht). Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the other people I painted.
Last Friday I was painting in the Oude Kerk, a church roughly from 1250 A.D. , in the center of Amsterdam (surrounded by the sinful redlight district ).
In the background somebody was playing the organ – what a great atmosphere to paint. Makes me want to make a series out of this – also because I feel there is much room for improvement. New topic – new challenge.
Oude Kerk, Amsterdam
This is really bad for me – I sometimes discover an artist on the net, and then surf for hours trying to find all his works. But of course, as you read about him, you’ll find more artists that are connected to him. And before you know it, you surfed all day and did nothing useful.
This one really kicked me out of my socks though (hm, does this saying only work in German? ): Thomas Wilmer Dewing (1851 – 1938). What a shame is wikipage is though, the German one is more elaborate. I love how soft he is able to paint – and still fill the figures with detail and life. Technically really hard – I myself have a lot of trouble painting soft details, it needs much more control and deliberation. Gotta learn it though.
The Wiki talks about that he is a Tonalist – meaning he used one value and color and deviated only slightly on a picture. There are some more interesting artists following that route, like Leon Dabo (1865 – 1960). I disagree with the comment though that it is outdated, who decides that anyways? Even if modern artists use more colors, the idea to restrict the number of values is very much still used. Even if not obvious, I think it’s the secret of artists like Alex Kanevsky – the restriction of values allows him to pull this crazy stuff, while it all still seems to fit together. And is it an accident that there is a wave very much like Dabo’s on his frontpage?
Thomas Dewing - A Reading (1897)
Thomas Dewing - The Hermit Thrush (1890)
Thomas Dewing - Lady in Yellow
Leon Dabo - The Seashore (1900)
Next batch of sketches from 2008 – featuring some industrial party in Rotterdam. The dresses there you don’t see every day, people pay really attention to it – and have to guts to wear unusual stuff. Really inspiring.