Saturday, January 27, 2007

Reality, Edited

When I was in high school, I bought a book of cartoons by Gahan Wilson, called I Paint What I See. The joke behind the title is that the artist in the cartoon - much like Wilson himself - is drawing truly bizarre stuff.

The path of light is real. The colors and perspective are not.

I thought about calling tonight's entry "I Paint What I See," but it would be misleading. Despite my interest in photography, I'm not a very visual person. Unless I'm actively looking for a photographic subject, I'm not observant when it comes to the sights around me. Nor am I good at visualizing. Maybe it's my fairly extreme myopia. Maybe it's because I'm usually too busy living in my own head to glance outside it, or maybe it's simply that my brain is better at sounds and concepts than sights and spacial relationships.

Also, being no good with eye-hand coordination, I'm not good at drawing and painting from scratch. I'd much rather take a photograph. If the result is a little dull or boring, PhotoStudio will help me liven it up a bit, adjusting tone and color, and even adding special effects.

Here, for example, is pretty much my first sunset photo with the new camera. I lightened and darkened and saturated until I liked what I saw. Does it accurately represent last night's sunset? Not particularly. It's more interesting than the actual view was at Fifth and Wilmot, where I was experimenting with low light photography of the St. Michael's exterior.

Tuffy herself is pretty much an accurate
rendering. I just played with the background.

Mind you, I didn't edit any of these photos to match a picture in my head. I did it to create a picture I could then see on the screen. For me, it's not I Paint What I See. It's "I paint in order to see."

That's why I hired my friend Sherlock to draw Rani and friends back in 2004. I wanted to see these people in my head, and give them faces at last. I only had rote description of each, but I had Sherry draw and redraw them all until they looked right to me.

Speaking of Rani and friends, I had an idea today for another scene in the new Mâvarin novel, the one that comes after Mages. Heck, I've got whole strands of plot threads spinning themselves in my head these days. Question is, can I finish that scene I started a week and a half ago in the Messages from Mâvarin fiction blog? Probably. Can I do it tonight, bearing in mind that it's already 3 AM? Umm, not so sure about that one. I guess we'll "see," won't we?



DesLily said...

I love changing pictures in my paint programs! I'm forever taking 2 or more pictures and doing alot of cloning from each to come up with "what I want" from them... one can get into it and wind up spending hours doing it though!!

Schelle said...

Thanks for your comment :) I'm actually happy they're fortnightly challenges! I will use the odd Wednesday to post my best photo for that fortnight! I look forward to reading your novel-in-progress when I get some time :D