Author Archives: Bruce Thompson

Digital Variations

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised it’s kids who discover strange figures lurking about my digitally re-worked landscape pictures—forms and shapes previously undetected by the artist!

I had painted Canadian landscapes in oils on canvas for well over a decade, when I began digitally transforming images of some of my past oil/canvas landscapes, taking into account aspects of chaos theory and using digital tools of different capabilities to ‘re-paint’ the image.

In the creation process, I first paint a picture of the subject in oils or acrylics in my usual style, then capture the image in digital form. Then begins the work of using digital algorithms to transform the image, patch by patch. After the digital transformation, the image is projected by a specialized form of inkjet onto a suitable surface—canvas, paper or other media. To add texture and surface protection, I apply an acrylic gel, and paint in any colour enhancements I feel are necessary.

The new digital ‘painting’ is strikingly different from the original oil/acrylic painting. The result of a single move in the transforming process is typically unpredictable, as I have only limited control of what emerges from the complex mathematics of the tool.

I have learned never to add any features during the digital working of the image, such as new shapes, lines or colours. The energy patterns flowing through the new image easily transcend human-recognizable dimensions of the world, proposing surprising arrangements and transitions.

The result is an original piece of art. As part of the sale contract, no copies shall be made, and apart from a small jpeg file for records, the digital files will be destroyed. 

Developing the above process has given me an entire new interest in landscape subjects I have visited and painted many times before. In exploring the mystery of a northern spruce bog, the activity of a prairie slough or the diaphanous colours of a prairie dawn, the process yields new ideas and possibilities–colours, shapes, changing relationships among fractals of an image and of an ecosystem as well.