Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Process on the Princess of Parallelograms

Lady Ada Lovelace drawing

I don't usually post shots about my process of printmaking, but here goes. This is the drawing I made on Monday evening at the music for drawing soiree. Reynardin posted hers, so I have been inspired to share.

This is a drawing of Countess, Lady Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), who published the first computer program.* She worked together with Charles Babbage, the inventor of the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine (the first - analogue! - computers), correcting his notes on how to calculate Bernoulli Numbers with the Analytical Engine. More importantly, she (a great communicator, daughter of mad, bad and dangerous to know Lord Byron) was able to understand and explain the workings of the analytical engine and the potential of computing machines. Her comments seem visionary to the modern reader. Babbage called her the Enchantress of Numbers and the Princess of Parallelograms.

She is shown in front of my sketch of one of Babbage's drawings for gears within his machine. Also included are some equations for Bernoulli numbers.

The image of her is inspired by a couple of well-known engravings. This will end up as a lino block, so everything will be reversed, when ultimately I carve and print it.

Ada Lovelace block in progress
So the next step is to draw the image on a lino block. I do not use any transferring techniques. I re-draw my image. This gives me a chance to fix and change things. For instance, I think she looks more like Ada now. Also, I haven't made a decision about including equations. Since she had nothing to do with designing hardware, I want to hint at software - specifically the mathematics. I was not convinced by the placement of the equations on the drawing. I had this brainstorm to write them on the gears; this would convey that the movement of the gears could ultimately make the calculations. Except, I don't like how it looks. The equations are not matched to the size of the gears... and there is no artistic license when it comes to equations. So, I have to think some more...

Like my stripey new shoes?

*Mysteriously, she looks like Faunalia's friend (and mini-me) Becca.

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