This week I bit the bullet and finished the first in the series of scanned path videos. I’ve been living with the images for a while and wondering how to create a gripping video from them.

First I colour-corrected them, set the contrast and reduced them to a megabyte etc. in Photoshop then exported to FCP.

One decision that had to be made was how many frames per second; 25 individual fps meant it flowed well, but was difficult to appreciate each image. In the end I opted for 5 different images per second, it still retains the flow and continuation, but allows a little more time to focus on each scan. I may use some animation software to blend the scans, we’ll see.

This definitely wasn’t an easy project. The first video I created, in colour, looked fine, but for some reason lacked the wow factor – the images were distorted as a result of the scanning process, just enough for the viewer to query what was going on, but it wasn’t enough.

I decided that the colour detracted from the patterns and comprehension of the forms, so I created a black and white version with a touch of blue to add depth. Now I was on to something.

Some of the scans had mirror images in them, so I decided to extend this idea and mirror each image. Suddenly a whole world of bizarre and ‘phantasic’ images appeared.

The 60s intro to ‘Dr Who’ sprung to mind, as did Rorschach ink blots and paintings by Arcimboldo. The images are reminiscent of gargoyles, samurai warriors, vaulted cathedrals, some touching on the primordial.

Rorschach psychologists may have a lot to say about individual viewers’ reading of the images. In fact they are so loaded I’m thinking of creating prints from the stills and even a book.

I will work on other versions and then choose the strongest to promote.

I find it bizarre, and magical, that from such an insignificant origin (a path nobody would usually bother to notice) has evolved into something visually powerful.

The following is the text which accompanies the video:

‘St Louis (Path 1)’ is an animation created from scans of a path situated next to my home in the French Pyrenees. Hundreds of images were created with a flat-bed scanner of the rocky path, back-breaking, but I thought I was onto something good. Each scan was slightly distorted when I moved the scanner creating an unfamiliar image. Eventually I took this image manipulation one stage further in post-production.

Initially I was grabbed by the bright blue and orange shale, but as the creative process took over the final version is monotone, however more versions are in the pipeline.

The final result, reminiscent of a Rorschach ink blot, is beautiful, yet can be strangely disquieting.


Instead of hibernating this winter I decided to lock myself in my studio and paint. I made up lots of 100cm X 100cm canvasses, surrounded myself with them and then got to work. It has been refreshing not to have an end in sight and just to experiment.

Music and films figured highly whilst working, in particular ‘Glassworks’ by Philip Glass and the series of films ‘Comedies and Proverbs’ by Eric Rohmer – strangely, instead of distracting me they allowed me to focus more. I only have a short space of time during the day whilst the children are at school and the time restrictions have also added a new momentum to my working practice.

Lots more to do, started two more series today and still a few yet to finish.