I woke up with a question. “Can I create a painting starting with randomly placed dots?” I then laid there thinking through the mathematics. “For any number of points, n, how many lines can you draw between them?” It turns out to be a simple progression. 1+2+3+4…(n-1). I also realized that you can draw an infinite number of curves through any two points. There are a lot of possibilities with just a few dots. I decided to try 10 dots. You can draw 45 lines through ten dots. So, that gives you a lot of choices.
I used the Sketch Club app on my iPad to try out the idea.
- I first made 10 random dots in one layer.
- In another layer I drew 7 lines through pairs of dots. Notice I used just a subset of the 45 possible lines and I didn’t use all the dots.
- I hid the lines and drew 5 curves in another layer. This time I used all 10 dots.
- I showed both the lines and the curves.
- I filled the areas between the lines and curves with six colors.
- I colored the lines and curves black.
- I turned the canvas 90 degrees counter clockwise.
- I used the Waterlogue app to add texture.
- I used the Distressed FX app to alter the contrast and color balance and to add a little more texture.
Here’s the finished first experiment.
Next I used the same 10 random dots in another application. Inkpad uses vector graphics. It’s easier to create lines and smooth curves. I then used Sketch Club to fill in with color.
The next day I tried some additional variations. I added a texture, I varied the colors, and I tried the kaleidoscope filter.
Conclusions: I found this to be a good creative exercise. It’s an expansion of “doodling and noodling” where you start with something random and then make something out of it. All media evolve from a series of creative choices that take you in directions that you didn’t know existed when you started. It’s important to practice exploring without fear. Digital media allow you to explore a variety of choices. This process of building on randomness is one that can be generalized and used in other media. Any creative work is a combination of chance and choices. We need to embrace chaos, trust our judgements, try many variations, rest, review our work, and (if necessary) try again with renewed vigor.