Friday, July 25, 2008

science, art, adventure in Linuxville

Years ago I read a science fiction story about some folks stranded on Mars after a failed rescue attempt. The backdrop was some ancient Martian ruins that resembled typical urban suburb dwellings on earth. As they waited for their own rescue, they eventually broke camp and found the ruins inviting and accommodating. They removed their space suits, made the most of their new surrounding. Soon they forgot all about rescue, settled into merging with the backdrop. Their blue eyes turned almond in color, their skin, a honey golden tan and they melted into the landscape. After some time, a rescue crew finally did come. They wondered what happened to those stranded people, saw the abandoned camp, then the ruins so inviting and accommodating!

On the surface Linuxville is the hot bed of excitement, controversy, discussion and consideration. Using Linux you settle into the backdrop, it is inviting and accommodating.
Shades of Garrison Keillor and Issac Asimov!!

One dream I had as a young man was to roam the world with my artist box filled with paint and a stack of clumsy canvases. It's kind of romantic. More so than whipping out a camera like a tourist, though I have know some pretty serious photo buffs. I could do the same with a laptop and digital camera. The technology has changed, the metaphor remains the same. Having been a draftsman for years has degraded my appreciation for realism though. I am wrapped in a world of lines and how they represent things. An artist touching on new media is the most thrilling thing in the world. People who view and buy art don't always know what went into making the end product, usually they just like what they see. To the artist it is the process, the action of doing it, then the drama of display. In my exploration of the Linux desktop via Ubuntu 8.04, I have discovered free and open source artist tools. The GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) is like the popular Photoshop, but different. Then Inkscape, a program like Adobe Illustrator, also different. They sport the same tools as their counterparts and have plug-ins and extensions that make for custom functions. Having played with pen and ink, paint, pencil and other things, I am excited to be able to emulate the same qualities and looks and then use the computer to find new constraints or dissove limitations. You might have more regard for traditional art materials and methods, I can understand that, but you need more than one lifetime to master both the old stuff and the new, if you still want a normal life to boot. How many prodigies do you know? It's better to learn the old and timeless principles and apply them in new ways with the tools you have at hand. This is coming from a not so old guy! I am not "dissing" painters and such, I still admire those with those talents and abilities, I'm just being real in a world of change and possibilities. Blending and bending is the keyword these days. Like the movie "Remo Williams, the adventure continues!!"

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