Last Wednesday, in A Resolution Fulfilled, I posted a watercolor project I’d completed. As you can see, it is a grid of small watercolor squares, each a mostly random wash of color. You can click on the image to see it at full resolution.
The painting was done by masking the paper into squares and painting each square in the grid separately. Once one set of squares dry, I remask the paper, which covers the already painted squares, so beyond trying to maintain a color scheme across the entire painting, each square is like a small painting in itself. I enjoy watching the painting evolve, a little at a time, and the surprise of seeing the entire picture when the last step is done. Noticing that some of the squares resemble real objects, I embedded 24 small photos in the grid, one of which is me, hence, the title, Portrait. If you can’t find all the photos, there’s a key here. Yes, there is always the possibility I won’t like the result when it’s done but that is there no matter what I do. As I started this painting, I decided to create a time lapse video of the process. I mounted a camera on a tripod above the paper and photographed each step. This is the result. In looking for music to set to the video, I found a guitar solo of Both Sides Now by Pat Martino on my laptop. I have no idea where it came from but it seemed to suit the process perfectly. If you are interested in the technical details, read on after the video.
To make the video, I mounted a small Sony Cyber-Shot camera on a lightweight tripod on my office table with the watercolor taped to the table beneath it. Periodically … after several brush strokes and as the masking tape was moved, I snapped a photo. Looking back, I needed a somewhat more steady way of mounting the tripod to the table or, perhaps a shutter cable so I didn’t have to touch the camera. The result was a small amount of jitter in the images that you can see in the video. I also wish I’d limited the photos to only the painting itself. As it was, the paint tubes and brushes around the painting seem to jump from frame to frame, so I decided to trim the photos to the area of the paper. To do that I used the freeware photo application, Irfanware’s crop image function. Because the camera shifted slightly, there were approximately 75 images that were rotated by a few degrees, so I used Irfanware’s Fine Rotation function to straighten them before cropping. That took about six hours. I built the video using Window Live Movie Maker, which allows me to import all 300 images as video frames and set the duration of each frame, as well as add a music track. Each frame is .6 seconds long except the final image which gave me the look I wanted and seemed to fit the music. The transition from frame to frame is a dissolve, which looked better than simply jumping image to image. The title image was made using Windows Live Movie Maker’s image Visual Effects and Titling functions. Windows Live Movie Maker will only save the video as a Windows Media Video (wmv) file, but WordPress prefers mp4 videos, so I converted it with Wondershare Ultimate Video Converter. In order to upload videos, you have to have (pay for) the WordPress Video Upgrade.