Showing posts with label Imagination. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Imagination. Show all posts

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Respectfully Resurrect

As an artist and tech-savvy individual, my surprising journey into the world of Vincent van Gogh took an unexpected turn when I delved into the realm of artificial intelligence. Little did I know that my exploration would lead to a captivating endeavor – creating images of Van Gogh as if he had never left us, but instead continued his artistic journey in Paris. 

The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh, 1889

AI interpretation
Years ago, then as a student in art college, my fascination with Van Gogh's unique style and emotive use of color prompted me to study his life and work in detail. Van Gogh´s turbulent and tragically short life as a Dutch post-impressionist painter left an indelible mark on the art world. His emotionally charged brushstrokes and vibrant color palette spoke volumes about his inner struggles and passion for art. 

AI interpretation of Vincent in Paris if he had not died age 37

Armed with the tools of our digital age, I decided to take my exploration a step further. Using AI technology, I began recreating the style of Van Gogh's iconic paintings, seeking to understand his techniques and immerse myself in the creative process that defined his legacy.

A unexpected breakthrough came when I started to ponder a fascinating "what if" scenario: What if Van Gogh hadn't met his untimely end in 1890, and instead, he had recovered from his mental health struggles to continue his artistic journey? The idea of creating images of a later-in-life Van Gogh living in Paris, a city synonymous with artistic inspiration, ignited my imagination.

AI interpretation

With the help of advanced AI algorithms, I embarked on a journey to visualize a hypothetical continuation of Van Gogh's life while also imagining the artistic evolution he might have undergone in a different timeline. What if Vincent had met with some success as an artist, like many of the impressionist painters that came before him? What if his brother Theo, an art dealer, had been fortunate selling the many paintings Vincent produced?

As I brought Van Gogh back to life through digital art, I couldn't help but marvel at the possibilities technology offered to reinterpret and extend the legacies of revered artists.
In this alternate reality, I envisioned Van Gogh thriving in the vibrant Parisian art scene, surrounded by fellow creatives and finding new inspiration in the city of lights. The result was a collection of images that blended the familiar with the speculative, providing a glimpse into the "what could have been" of Van Gogh's artistic journey.

AI interpretation of Vincent in Paris; successful artist. His brother Theo acting as his dealer.

Studying Van Gogh through the lens of AI not only deepened my appreciation for his art but also allowed me to play a part in crafting a unique narrative for one of history's most celebrated artists. In the realm of creative exploration, the intersection of art and technology continues to open new doors, offering a chance to reimagine and extend the legacies of those who have left an indelible mark on the canvas of history.

I would not mind if after I died, someone wished to respectfully resurrect me and my life work . . . perhaps I would be honored.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Kaleidoscope of Sensual Surprises

Life is a kaleidoscope of sensual surprises.  During travel, I leave familiar surroundings to engage in the unknown and see with fresh eyes, hear with new ears, and think new thoughts. All the while being mesmerized and awed by little revelations. Yet even without going anywhere, the kaleidoscope of patterns, sights, sounds, tastes and smells is always turning; a bite of cold wind across the face, coming indoors to fragrant aromas of cooking foods, hearing the song of a strange bird for the first time, a fabulous sunset or sunrise.

A surprise can be simple and appear like a gift from an unseen hand. I have deep windowsills at home. In my bedroom I placed a model of a sailing ship on a window ledge. Recently, before taking a nap after lunch, I pulled the curtains closed. After rising, I went to the curtains and saw the ships shadows cast upon the fabric. It captured my imagination and I went and got my camera. The rippling folds of cloth were like ocean waves that took my vessel into an etheric sea. Why did I notice it? The winter light and angle of the sun made the picture come to life. Also, I was willing to see . . . because if my emotions and thoughts had been obscuring my perceptions, the little shadow theater would have had no attraction. I had seen it before. Now the elements lined up to capture my senses and I was ready.
I like happy accidents and am open to experiencing them during my creative process. Recently, during my month sojourn in Venice, Italy, I fell into a hobby of making photographs of people taking “selfies.” World famous Rialto Bridge was just minutes from my flat. Everyday, thousands of selfies are made there. So whenever I was passing over the bridge, 2 or 3 times a day, I would linger to photograph. Once, I spotted two fellows making a portrait, and surreptitiously became involved with my camera. Just as they were composing, I shot my picture from behind, capturing the subject’s face through the triangle of arm, shoulder and head of the picture taker.

Because I am creative, poems arise from what is garbage to others. One day I was walking on the stone sidewalks of Cuenca, Ecuador. I often look down at the patterns and crevices of the walkways as I sojourn. Something stopped me. A picture had fallen face up onto the grimy patterned  stonework. It was a family portrait of a boy. I noticed how the smiling, lovely face was vulnerable on the dirty sidewalk where it would be stepped on. Why did the scene attract me to take a photograph? Most people would ignore it. I found the incongruity evoked pathos in me. I reflected upon what happens to people in life. The purity of their beginnings fall to earth. At early stages innocence suffers degradation, injury, abandonment, death. Yet the smile and light is in the picture.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Geese Are Clouds

Recently I happened to meet my friend Therese at a place where the sunset views are spectacular. If a good sunset is unfolding, we both know that we may find each other at this place. I was there before her and took pictures as the fiery drama climaxed and slowly receded. As I was about to leave, Therese arrived. We hung out together for awhile and then bid farewell. I went home, but she stayed and the next day sent me some of her photos by email. 

I find being with Therese often leads me to see in new ways. She experiences a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia. It is where the mind takes familiar patterns and perceives something beyond what is apparent. For instance, a common activity among children is seeing dragons, rabbits or other phenomenon in the shapes of fleeting clouds. 

Therese has pointed out angels or faces in my paintings. If I look close enough and with active imagination, I might see what she does.
My father could not see the man in the moon.

When she sent me the photos she remarked about seeing geese in one picture of a road with dark, moving clouds in the sky. 

I asked her if I could make a painting from her photograph, and she agreed. The result is a combination of our creativity. The geese are clouds.

See more paintings from Steven Boone

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Power In A Picture

The expression, “One picture is worth a thousand words”, has special meaning to me as an artist—most of my life is visually inspired. I have stood painting in silence for countless hours. No words transpire but the pictures that arrive speak volumes.

In silent wonderment I have experienced the earth in its many mysterious expressions. In my archives are tens of thousands of photographs from many travels around our globe. Occasionally I come upon one that warrants a closer look. The photo from Agra, India, included here, is an example of a picture that can elicit a story:

It does not matter who the figure in the foreground is, she is everywoman. Standing on a balcony, dressed in a simple and elegant white sari, her flowing robe disappears into the dark shadows surrounding her. Her hands rest on a protecting barrier that offers safety from accident. If she were to fall she might die. She is wrapped in thought and reverie, pondering her life on the threshold of a dream. The place she stands is remarkable, at a ledge—as if at the prow of a grand ocean vessel, taking her forward into a vast unknown. She is above the fray, at the level of the treetops where birds sing and monkeys play among the limbs. How has she arrived at this moment in time? Where will she advance next? Maybe she is simply breathing in the moment with no care to the past or future; exhilarated being on the edge of something bigger than her.

Behind her head are many rooms. Each is connected, has its own vantage and holds its own integrity. All are part of a greater whole, yet are independent. They could be storehouses of her mind. And when she has passed through each of them, she will arrive at a tower that is not limited. It is above all, and offers a viewing point that is not circumscribed. It is a place of clarity and peace. But it is not easy to arrive at.  Many doors lead to it.

Our woman is in her process. She stands in shadow but is robed in white. She is on a journey of many levels in a place of wonder.

These are the words that come to my mind as I ponder the image. The story can extend to a thousand words . . . this is the power in the picture.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Be Surprised

A Tale of Love, Mixed Media, 34 x 24 x 4 inches

I like to be surprised by my creations. That is, to be so involved while creating, I “disappear” in the work.  When I re-emerge to take a look, I might be amazed.

I can be astonished by other peoples reactions as well. This happened recently. I have a new art gallery in a mall off the main plaza in Santa Fe. It has big windows so pedestrians can see inside and view the art hanging directly in front of them. When I first opened, I hung my new work of mixed-media pieces in front of the windows. I hoped that they would make an impression. Later, friends came by and suggested I put my better known landscape paintings in the windows. I obliged. 

After I made the change, a fellow came in and introduced himself as a partner in a business down the hall. “I am glad you made the change,” he said. “There was a piece in the window that was creepy. Where is it?” Then he walked to the backside of the panels and said, “Here it is! Ugh This really creeps me out!” His skin crawled as he pointed to the dolls. I had to laugh, because it never was “creepy” to me.  (I am laughing to myself now, as I write, just recalling this.) 
The next day a woman came in and went right to the same piece and spent considerable time studying and admiring it. 

So why the different reactions?

I claim a piece a success in as much as it gets strong reactions. Weak or badly done art does not warrant reactions worth talking about.

Four Hangups, oil on linen, 28 x 30 inches,
Some years ago I made a series of paintings called HangUps. They always elicited responses—some highly positive and some negative, but always a reaction. One of those paintings is now in a museum in France. 

VanGogh All Hung Up, oil on linen, 22 x 24 inches,
In the collection of Foundation Van Gogh, Arles, France

And that is art.
Diana's Song, Oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches

For more on the mixed-media pieces, see my previous post: Walk A New Path

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Place Of Not Knowing

A person dear to me and I have had many conversations about dreams, symbols, imagination, spiritual paths, esoteric thought, psychology and perception. We both easily jump into the same deep pool. We share books and are both in similar soul searching processes, seeking higher truths that lead to rebirth in spirit. She dreams and remembers them. I do not remember my dreaming. When she shares her dreams that are so full of rich symbols and extraordinary happenings, I sometimes am breathless.

I often think that life is a big DREAM. Fantastic surprises come and go frequently. We are often in wonder and awe. Mystery surrounds us and permeates every atom of our existence. It is the realm that poets, visionaries and seers draw from. It is why I call this blog My Fairy-tale Life.

Rather than be suspect of mystery, I relish the place of not knowing. It is full of potential. It calls me to be creative.

I tire quickly when I am bound to pragmatism and dogma. Thank God I can be an artist and make use of dreams, symbols, flights of fancy, flesh, blue skies, storms, crumbling earth, crashing ocean waves—all impermanent.

Life in THE DREAM.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Walk A New Path

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. -George Bernard Shaw

The best art allows us to see with our own eyes, but brings us into revelation. Our vision and perception gains strength. A chord is touched inside of us so that we say, “Aha.”

When it goes public, a piece of art is owned by all, so to speak, and open to a myriad of interpretations. From that time forward it is objective and subjective both. The risk an artist takes is that he may value his work highly, but the public does not.

When a new movement in art comes along, it often is met with resistance and some ridicule. It asks the viewer to take a different path from the norm, and often, the viewer says, “You foolish artist, I know what good art is. You can't fool me! The tried and true is apparent to all, so why should I go down this suspicious path with you?” In modern times, this is what happened to the first impressionists, and much later, also the abstract expressionists. First ridicule and resistance, and then through persistence, passion and devotion, a warming occurred with people. In these cases, it took years along with the slow gaining of important allies in the art business, and then the public was swayed. Now there is adulation. Just look at Van Gogh's life.

The same happens in social movements such as women's suffrage, native people's rights, race equality etc. Also, the world's great religions were often met with fierce resistance when they first appeared.

I have started creating art that is a departure from my past. It just seems to be the time, and I have the passion and will to walk a new path. I have not lost anything, I can always go back. Recently, I have been constructing my paintings as much as painting them. They begin with an idea that is fed from my unconscious and I go from there. There are two now, with more coming. The finished peieces are in the public realm since people have seen them—mostly online. I am not showing them in a gallery at this time. Being public they are both objective and subjective now.

As an example of how this type of art can evoke a wide range of subjective responses, I will tell of the interpretations from different people as they viewed my last piece. The main parts are: two dolls—one standing and one falling, a niche where one doll stands and one has fallen from, a window, an open book turned to a chapter titled, “On Love”, and a hand seeming to come from thin air and holding the book open.

A close friend of mine was the first to see it complete, and as we discussed it she formulated a story that the two dolls were actually the same person. She is both standing and also toppled over and entering the realm of the book; falling into the story of love while the Hand of God holds the book open.

Another person said that at first glance it made her feel like someone is trying to hold onto LOVE.

Someone else wrote on Facebook: “People told me to be 'perfect'. Perfect like a doll... Then, some people gave me books leading to imperfect worlds... I took your hand so that I could grow into something I would never have imagined...”

Another Facebook friend wrote: “This is a dream world, and perhaps it has a touch of adobe wall of Santa Fe and old walls of places you've traveled. There is hope and life coming through the top window, so close yet set apart from the innocent girl, the fairy tale girl, with the perfect outfit, part of whom has lost control and fallen,(or perhaps some inner part of the dream has fallen) almost, perhaps it will be a surprise to her, into a book, which seems to be orderly - can't see the title. She doesn't know it but part of her falls into some type of order that this hand, old as the wall, ancient like the soul, has touched. The figure at the top might be mourning for loss, while the hand feels the order of that book, not reading it or holding it, but feeling it. It is a left hand of the intuitive, inner self. Some dream perhaps fallen yet into a book. The hatted doll is in a bit of a precarious position but so close to the window of hope. Perhaps she represents external fantasies (letting go. Just a few thoughts. She is hatted like the men you painted, but here is a feminine aspect, perhaps an inner child waiting to be helped down or through that window. the book is quite balanced...I mean the two pages, like yin and yang. Perhaps the hand knows in this book is the balance. If I want to trip on it, it could be a person, with the doll at the head, the doll and the hand the arms and the book the feet. The head then would have part in life and hope and part in image, possibly fantasy or a young female sense, the hands part letting go and part holding on to the feet holding to balance, truth. But I wouldn't want to project onto it...(ha, ha, smile).”

And now, I confess that my original conception was for the two dolls to represent a sort of fate for two different people. One who would stand firm in life, bearing witness to the window of life and the Book of Love held by the hand of destiny (or God), and the other who falls.

I like all the descriptions and they all work! Art is objective and subjective. That is the fun.

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider's web. -Pablo Picasso

Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. -Albert Einstein

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Imagine Vividly

Gondola traffic in a narrow canal.
For many years now, when I awake from sleep I do not remember dreams. There was a time when I remembered and wrote prolifically in a dream journal. These days, perhaps my entire life is a journal and is not separated by boundaries—what happens in sleep is simply rolled into waking consciousness and woven into creativity. In conscious thought I imagine vividly.

Now, living in Venice, Italy, the waking hours are even more remarkably like fantasy. A huge window is in my kitchen and the first thing in the morning, I look out upon a small bridge that crosses over a canal below, which is often traveled by gondolas, the way it has been for centuries. Further on is a 1000 yer old stone paved campo lined with little shops and honored with an ancient church that sounds wonderful bell chimes.

When I first arrived in Venice, I bought a vaporetto (water-bus)  pass, but have hardly used it since I walk and explore. It is remarkable how little changed the city is from the last time I visited in 2008. Elegant instrumental groups continue holding court in the evenings at cafes on St. Marks Square, the Doges Palace gleams with gold mosaics, tourists from everywhere pour through the streets and empty starry-eyed onto the campos, and the air feels the same with a slightly pungent smell of sea and canals. One thing has changed and that is that many people are addicted to “selfies,” and walk around with smartphones attached to long rods taking videos of themselves as they go from place to place. They can't take their eyes off of themselves and I wonder how they see anything else!
Tourists, completely tuned into cameras.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Disappearing Passage

A motif has captivated my imagination since my earliest days as a budding artist: the disappearing passage. As a boy, I sometimes would sit at my school desk with my pencil and draw on paper a horizontal line, and then make a road that steadily grew slimmer, until it disappeared at the horizon. Those simple lines gave me great pleasure and left me satisfied. Perhaps, it was my path into eternity.

Now, a half century later, I continue making images that lead the eye into a central location and end in ambiguity. Often, in the beginning, it is an unconscious attraction and only later I see that I have come to familiar territory. Most often the road or path seems to begin underfoot, and travels to a place of disappearance. But it can also be a river or a street . . .

It is as if I am in dialogue with time and travel, and I love symbols of issuance and continuity, even as they go to the mysterious place of vanishing.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Does the moon follow you when you walk outside at night? It depends on what you believe. If you imagine so, and push that imagination into the forefront of your mind and then invest the thought with a determination that it is true not based on logic but simple belief based on feeling, then this fantasy can be hard to shake.

Religious attitudes can be especially strong, particularly if individuals base their salvation upon belief and have been trained to trust in the “higher minds” found in their religious order. For instance, this may lead to a conviction that God came to earth in the form of a man. Or that to kill unbelievers will gain you favor with Allah and a seat in heaven.

In the first example, if we apply logic and understand that God is illimitable, then He does not go up or down, but extends through all space and time, so it is quite impossible that He would fit Himself neatly into a tiny cavity of flesh to work miracles from this place. What would happen throughout infinite space if He were to only be in this tiny cell? The universe would collapse.

In the second example, why would anyone think that they have to kill in order to gain favor with God? God could easily do this Himself if He wanted everyone to be the same and only believe. No, He enjoys diversity and wants people to come to Him of free will, and that is why He is patient and merciful, and all manner of people exist on earth.

I have been exercising my imagination in doing new artwork. Using photographs from my world travels and also studio shots, I then print them onto canvas, mount them on board, and then paint over and apply encaustic (hot wax and resin mixture) to give added dimension and nuance.
For years, I have gained my livelihood for the most part through my landscape paintings, and some artists are content to continue in the comfort zone of success achieved by the formula that is feeding them. But imagination is an artist’s foremost calling, and for me, this must be my path, although it might be fraught with peril . . . I would call it sublime fear.

Does the moon follow me at night? I can imagine so, but not necessarily believe it.