In my most recent trip to the art store, I picked up some 9″x12 inch wood panel. I had the idea to continue with my landscapes at a smaller scale since my most recent larger Chiliwack Lake Painting that was 22″ x 28″ took almost 4 weeks to finish. As Walter’s teething has recently started his naps are getting shorter or he wants to be held for the entire nap. So I have less time to work on large landscapes, perhaps smaller works will be more achievable projects.

Chilliwack Lake, Joanne Hastie 2020, 28×22″ acrylic on canvas

When I was looking at the newly purchased panel back in my studio space, I started wondering if panel would be a better surface for the robot to paint on. It wouldn’t buckle or warp if too much paint was added, so it will be a more predictable surface in the process. I have also been thinking about taking on the challenge of programming the robot to paint my ML abstract series that I currently do by hand. 

In that series, I created code to digitally collage about 50 different shapes with hundreds of color combinations, then I use a classifier to sort through the compositions to select the most interesting ones which I then by hand. (More on that series here).

I thought if I could get the robot to paint 1 shape, then I could collage that single shape and slowly add more shapes the robot can paint to the collage.  I decided to start with the circle…

Practice circles by the robot on paper (you can see the page rippling a bit)

When I was able to get the robot paint 6 circles predictably on paper through lots of trial and error, I wrote Python code to collage this shape. I then moved on to paint a primed and pre-painted wood panel.

I immediately noticed, with the identical code to make a circle, that going from paper to wood the brush makes different marks as it drags on the smooth versus rough surfaces.

Here is the first circle composition, my current idea is to make 3 circle compositions and then move on to the next shape. Each time I improve the code from what I learn from the previous painting. But we will see where this project goes…

Robot painting the first composition of circles on a wood panel

I am thinking about going over this painting with one more coat of paint by hand to fix the rough edges. Since I currently paint the ML abstracts by hand, why not sell new ones that are combination hand/robot? I am still thinking if I want to keep the robot marks or vary the processes that I use.

In the meantime, I thought I would share this work in progress.

The final robot output… 9″ x 12″ acrylic on wood panel
  • This post is also included on my Patreon page – here.

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