For the Spring Swirlings series, I wanted a look that exemplified the spirit of the season. I’d recently seen the Perpetual Ocean and Wind Map animations that were working their way around the internet, and I wanted to do something in that vein. Something that showed the life and energy that boils unseen in spring plant growth. In my head, the opening verse from William S. Burroughs’ “Apocalypse” kept repeating:
“Mariners sailing close to the shores of Tuscany heard a voice cry out from the hills, the trees and the sky: “The Great God Pan is dead!”… But Pan lives on in the realm of the imagination, in writing and painting and music. Look at Van Gogh’s sunflowers, writhing with pretentious life…“
I began to experiment with various Photoshop filters that I hoped would contribute towards the look I envisioned in my mind. I even took a brief detour into Illustrator, but nothing was quite right. Then I remembered that I had briefly played with a beta version of an Adobe plug-in called Pixel Bender. After some false starts, I began to get promising results, but every time I thought I had settled on a method, I would find a way to improve it. Just as I had finally decided on a method, Photoshop CS6 came out, and it included a final version of the filter, now called “Oil Paint”. I had hoped that the final version could address some of the shortfalls of the beta that I had been struggling with, but the new version was a very different animal from the beta, and there didn’t seem to be any way to reproduce my earlier work, much less improve on it.
Incorporates an image from stock.xchng photographer Bertil van Kolthoorn.