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  • Writer's picturePete O'Brien

Inside THE FLAVOR OF ART

Updated: Jul 8, 2023


The Flavor of Art is available as an ebook from Apple and as a paperback from Amazon. It begins as follows.

About the Artist, About the Book

Hi, I'm Pete O'Brien, an independent artist and creative writer from Maryland. This is my first Art Book, though some of my fiction and poetry titles include illustrations. I publish ebooks and print books, printing only as many books as copies sold to save trees. For a full list of publications, visit Xyloquirk Books at www.xyloquirk.com.

Some words now on the origin of this book and what it contains. And for that, a step back in time to day one.

The Flavor Of Art sprouts the same day I conceive of creating an art book based on 15 minutes of art a day. From that day forward, I sketch and draw on acid free sketch paper with an ebony pen, scan the art into the computer, and incorporate the image into the book. The size of the pieces varies. If the day's art takes more than the allotted time, that's okay, but any less wearies the fantastical and obscure roving genius of antiquity who lives under the giant lotus at the center of Oceanearth.

Some of the pieces are collage. With these, scanning from a printer adds gray areas, blurs, and smudges, which reveal the limitations of the electronic device, and which are absent in the art itself. And in a digital photograph, the white of the page looks like manilla. The actual object looks better! Nonetheless, the photos and scans are still very practical to use.

For glove, I use a camera instead of a scanner to eliminate the shadow smudges and blurs, to achieve a closer match to the original, even with the manilla, off-white, even gray background that the art doesn't have.

I don't re-envision the images on the computer other than to add a frame to the art in plain white or black, or in one instance only to cover over part of the composition with a white background. (I'm referring to bird & cat.)

For a collage piece like clowning, the scanner adds shadow blurs. Here, I almost go with a photo editor filter, as it removes the gray blurs, but since it also adds a line across the face of the clown, I put the scanner image aside and use the camera's output instead.

There is much trial and error. For example, the filter that almost works to bring clowning closer to the way it really looks doesn't work at all to remove the manilla tone that the digital camera adds to my photograph of glove. The highlights filter mostly eliminates the scanner smudges for parrot though, so I use it there.

I present the artwork somewhat by the calendar, along the lines of a page a day.

For the print version of the book, in addition to the Short Contents that appears at the beginning, at the end I give the full table of contents, listing the date I do each piece. If more than one piece appears on a page, I indicate where on the page the art appears. After the contents, I provide a chronological index to make it easier to navigate through the book along the timeline of creation.

Since ebook pages are fluid, and links only navigate to pages, the ebook version has no Short Contents, and links to the art from the rear Contents and Chronology Index only exist for pieces that appear as single page entries. For example, armour appears by itself and may be navigated to directly from the link in the Contents and Chronology Index. But hello, agog, wild tree, there, fruit fries, buds, and reach are smaller pieces that appear on the same page in the print version, so a link can't find wild tree independent of the other six. The solution is to use the Contents link to get to stimuli b, and then navigate three pieces beyond it to wild tree. The page numbers and artwork positions I give in the Contents and Chronology Index refer to the print version.

Discipline is a hard word, and keeping to a schedule sounds unnatural. But a piece a day, and not a day missed, is beautiful, and pleases the fantastical and obscure roving genius of antiquity who lives under the giant lotus at the center of Oceanearth. It's all love.

At the start, I invite a couple people to join in the adventure of creating their own art books, but as it happens I'm the only one who strikes out on the path, journaling my way through like a bat chasing a steam train in the rain at midnight.

Around me glaciers vanish at a breakneck pace, and fierce storms herald Oceanearth's desperate need to reverse the global melt. It's something to say, and say again: Oceanearth is a beautiful, marvelous, curious, enchanting, fierce, strange wonder. So much so that I believe that humankind's collective mission, and the one worth fighting for together, is to restore her, be good stewards, and rebuild healthy ecosystems, that the entire planet may partake of a fruitful life.

Once we accept our mission to save the planet, we turn on one another less and find we can do more in all significant areas including world peace, social justice, public health, and feeding the hungry than ever before. That is my essential intention for this book.


Pete O'Brien

July 23, 2022


© 2023 by Pete O'Brien. All Rights Reserved.

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