Art Diary: July 2021

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Art Diary

Art Diary Number 2: July 2021

This is part two in my series talking about the art I produce and publish on instagram. My goal of publishing daily had been postponed while I worked on improving my code. The good news is I’ll be returning to publishing art every day from the first of August! Some of the first things I’ll post will be from this diary entry and the last one in the next week or so. Read on to find out more about the art I make.

Zooms and Cropping

Last month I tackled the problem of creating animations. The other big feature I needed was the ability to crop art when I zoom in on art. I always had the ability to zoom in, but the art would have spilled out over the border. For example in this piece many squares and rectangles would extend over the boundary. Being able to crop out the overflow makes creating art like this much much simpler.

This is another good example of how good it is to zoom in on smaller areas. I really like all the intricate details in this picture. The ability to zoom in and crop is going to be really useful in future.

I write all my code in R, which has two graphics systems, base and grid. I had been writing my code so that it can use either, but as this project got bigger and more ambitious I had been neglecting the maintenance of the grid system. I still have a few issues to fix as you can see here. This Celtic knot should look the same using base or grid, but the two systems interpret the colour parameter differently. One uses it to fill in polygons and one uses it to colour the border. I still have more work to do to get this code working 100% correctly. Fortunately it is more than good enough for me to make the art I want, so I’m happy to restart my instagram again.

Celtic Knots

Speaking of Celtic Knots, I added a few new features to my Celtic knot code. It can now handle multiple interlocking loops. This knot is a variant of Solomon’s Knot. I only made it as a simple test of handling multiple loops but it turned out really well.

Random Walks

This piece is a continuation of one I featured in last month’s art diary. This time I used the new cropping feature and changed the colours. Each line represents a particle moving randomly. I also made sure a few particles are special. They generate extra thick red lines instead. Part of the fun of programming art like this is you never know what the final result will look like.


I also started making patterns again. I made a couple of these before, but it was really complicated to specify all the different parameters. This time I just let the computer randomly choose which pattern and colour to use and it works well. I would still like more different tiles and patterns to make the art more interesting. I could also start using these in the background of other pieces of art so I’m not just using plain monotone backgrounds every time.

A Mini Printer

I also bought a portable printer that lets me make physical copies of the art I put on instagram. The printer can only print square pictures and they are very small but it’s perfect for my instagram art which is always square. The quality is really good. The details are clear and the colours are vibrant. The prints can also be used as stickers so I have the option to stick them into my art book. The paper and ink cartridges are expensive but I think it’s a good investment for my art. I’m now considering a printer for postcards as well. Postcards would be great to put on my wall and fantastic to share my art and give them away.

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