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Lesson Plans

A new visual literacy...

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lily Kerns (cwkerns)
Thu, 31 Dec 1998 11:47:26 -0600

I am forwarding a note that was sent to the Painter list from John Derry
(with his permission). John is one of the creators of the program Painter
which is far and away the finest "paint" program available.

I especially like his Renaissance analogy....

While Painter is a program of awesome complexity and potential, It can also
be used very simply. Fortunately you don't have to learn it all at once.
I've been using it since version 2--and have never become bored with


>>Painter's marriage of (the illusion of) "natural tools" (especially the
>>brushes) and "computer only tools" (floaters, filters, save as, etc...)
>>is probably laying out the foundations for a different visual literacy,
>> it would be a pity to hamper this development for the sake of so
>>called "ease of use."

The ability to transfer creative skills you've already mastered in
media to the digital realm is a compelling reason to "go digital". Literally
all of the major communications forms are now represented digitally. To be
able to cast your expressive creative gestures via Painter (and other
software) into this digital ocean is, I hope, a furthering of the evolution
mark-making as well as a beneficial empowerment of the individual.

However, if Painter were merely restricted to mimicking traditional tools,
then I would have to do a Big "So What?" Yawn. Certainly that is a good
foundation to build upon. But, for me, the real magic is being able to step
"beyond the looking glass" and make marks i could *never* make any where

The Image Hose is a good example of this. Here is a brush that, while still
borrowing from traditional tools by utilizing eye/hand coordination as well
the artist's varying hand pressure, paints with *images* instead of
traditional painterly strokes. Actually, it can paint with any other source
wish to feed it. It is, in a sense, a "meta-brush" (no pun intended). This
allows the user to create marks that they control the internal content of.
then they can make unique expressive marks that can co-mingle with othermore
traditional painterly gestures.

The Image Hose is just one example of many of the "Looking Glass" tools that
software-based art media offers. It is totally possible and honest to
these new tools in much the same way we've all picked up our tradtional

It is my firm belief that this period will be looked back upon as a
Renaissance of sorts; one in which the capacity for human species to
communicate expressively was vastly expanded, not unlike the advent of the
printing press. Being able to cast our expressive gestures in to that vast
digital ocean is what makes spending hours figuring out why our hard drive
crashed worth it!

Viva la Painter!

Lily Kerns CWKerns
Art Teachers--
Quilt guild--