Red Flower’s Dancing

Many years ago (and here is where it is important to remember to document your work especially if you, like me, don’t like to put a date on the front your finished work) I created this mixed media drawing called ‘Red Flower Dance’. The best record I have comes from a digital image of this drawing dated 2004, during the years I lived on Vancouver Island.

“Red Flower Dance” by Elma Schumacher, mixed media on rag paper.

This drawing took countless hours to complete. First I created a water colour background, then let the paper dry before splashes of darker background colours, and expressive leaves and flowers were added.

After that I spent hours drawing fine lines with an old school rapidograph pen that needed to be refilled often and occasionally had to the have the nib taken apart and cleaned. Some outlining and splashing in a white gouache and acrylic paint mixture, time to let that dry and then final areas of acrylic medium were added to strengthen the colours in certain areas and add a bit of shine to the surface there.

Once everything had the time to dry completely I moistened the back of the drawing and placed it between sheets of clean acid free blotting paper and heavy boards for a few days. The blotters wicked the moisture out, but had to be changed every day or so, so that once dry the drawing would lay perfectly flat.

Now this next image is completely digital. It grew out of a photograph of flowers that I took this fall and was then styled using Google’s Deep Dream Generator and the image of my art work above. Due to copyright issues I only use my own photographs and my own artwork to style my digital images.

I used a digital editing program to create a final image here, cropping the image and adjusting colours and more. It took a lot less time to create the this image than the one above, but don’t forget that creative control remains with the artist.

“Red Fall Flowers” by Elma Schumacher, digital art.

It is a good approximation of my style of drawing. I can see my own handwriting in there, though the choices made by an AI will never be the same as my own. What I know I won’t see, even if I print this image using high quality paper and the best possible printer and inks, are the subtle surface textures and the clear, even fine lines found on my hand drawn art.

So I’m not afraid of AI taking over, because I believe as far as the fine art world is concerned there will always be collectors who value hand made creations above all else.

For me though, having a body of work that I can use to develop new work in a digital medium gives me the opportunity to explore more images and ideas. That, without demanding the same investment in time, materials, and last but not least studio storage space. Now to see where it all leads.


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