Sunday, March 23, 2008

Art and Technology

"Hanging On"
Oil on Panel
(For the record, this is a terrible photo of this painting - the value range is so close that I can't seem to get it quite right, even with lots of tweaking in photoshop!)

I'm starting to realize that I'll be moving to small-town America in a couple of weeks, so I've been trying to do all of the "city" things that I can before we move.

Yesterday we went to the Denver Art Museum to see the, "Inspiring Impressionism" exhibit. It was kind of a neat exhibit showing the influence of the old masters on the impressionist painters, with a nice range of work that I had never seen elsewhere. The only problem was the amount of people - it's kind of hard to walk up to a painting and check out the brushwork when there are six people standing five feet away listening to their headsets! I don't know what it is about the impressionists that seems to attract the masses...

Anyhow, I have a love-hate relationship with the Denver Art Museum. The new wing is neat, there are some cool installation pieces, and I like the comtemporary art collection. But I can't believe the Western American art wing isn't bigger - I swear it's smaller now than it was before they expanded the building (sad since DAM has such a great collection) - and it seems like there's a lot of wasted space due to the architecture of the building.

One positive thing I was noticing yesterday was how high-tech the museum is, which is pretty cool. The impressionist exhibit featured flat computer screens in the center of each room that allowed you to "touch" a part of a painting to zoom in on the brushwork - pretty neat. The other parts of the museum all have little nooks and crannies where they show video interviews with artists or have touch computer screens with interactive information on the work. They have a huge Daniel Sprick still life and you can go around the corner and hear him talk about his inspiration for the painting and find out everything you'd want to know about his process. They also have i-pods installed near the benches in most galleries where you can pick up the headphones and listen to even more information.

Aspen's favorite thing was an interactive installation called "Bubbloo." It's a fun little area where images of bubbles are projected floating across the floor, and the bubbles "pop" if you step on them or touch them. Once you pop all of the bubbles, a screen on the wall displays information about a piece of art in the museum, and a map of how to get there. Popping bubbles = hours of entertainment for a toddler!

We spend a lot of time visiting museums, and I think it's nice to see that the Denver museum is at the front of the pack when it comes to using technology to make viewing art an interactive experience. For the record, there were more people at the museum yesterday than I'd ever seen there on a Saturday before - good news!

Oh, and on a totally unrelated note, Happy Easter to everyone!!


  1. I shoot a lot of my photos in the direct sun. I know you are not supposed to but I find it gives me more accurate color in those close value/ color areas.
    You might want to try one and see how it goes.

  2. I like the softness in this painting Stacy. I can only imagine that a camera/monitor can't nearly capture or substitute the real deal.

    I'm sure that Impressionists show at the DAM is going to be packed. This week is Spring Break for most; I'm finding everyplace (except rush hr traffic) to be ususually busy.

    Happy spring!

  3. Frank - I've tried shooting in direct sunlight but I always get glare - how do you avoid it?

    Shannon and Tracy - I'm glad you both like the painting. I'm on the fence about it, but Nate LOVES it. And yes Tracy, the impressionists show was PACKED!

  4. I do get some glare sometimes, but that is the beauty of digital. I can just throw all of those out.
    I shoot before varnish.
    Dry paint if possible. fresh paint gives me more trouble.
    It works best if I lay them flat and shoot from above. It may be the angle of the sun here. It is above me. Probably lower on the horizon for you.
    Sometimes I lean them up against something to get a better angle on them and reduce glare.
    I just shoot a lot and pick the best ones.
    I may have to lower levels in photoshop if it is too light, but the color is usually better than when I shoot in shadow. Especially in the subtle areas. The color goes blue on me when I shoot in shadow and I have to mess with color adjust.
    I am no pro, but I get what I need. Eventually.