July 05 Installment: Gasoline Rainbow

[…] In summer, gasoline rainbow in the gutter, […]

– From "Impossible to Tell", by Robert Pinsky

Sometimes, it doesn't take more than a single spoken line to inspire me. In this case, it was a line from a poem: "gasoline rainbow in the gutter".

About "Gasoline Rainbow"

Having been caught up with work, I wanted to not only do something simple for this months installment, but something close to my roots. I remember some of my first creative juices flowing around beautiful music by Björk, and accompanying graphics for the Homogenic album by MeCompany.

That's when I stumbled upon the "gasoline rainbow" from Robert Pinsky's jokingly aching and roughly urban poem "Impossible to Tell". Immediately, I thought back to bicycle rides in the Copenhagen evening, small puddles of water splashing, the lights of huge advertisements reflecting in the water. Not to mention the gasoline leaks under the cars, sparkling with the eerie but beautiful colours that are quintessentially urban.

It was a relief to paint these reflections. I've been without internet at home for 2 weeks, so there were no distractions. In those situations, it happens from time to time that I get that very special feeling that initially made me want to be a graphic designer. With hard times at work, such a feeling is very reaffirming.

During the while, it also became clear to me that 5 has been a magic number. Painting 5 pictures every month forces me to 1) come up with a concept, 2) paint that concept in the first picture, 3) stretch and try that concept in the 4 remaining pictures. Having done this for 4 years, it's almost routine. The first picture is the most difficult, and picture 4 or 5 is where I start mastering the concept. As such, it's more often than not that the last picture of the bunch is the best one. I'm undecided in this case, but I did feel I had a greater understanding of the material I was trying to work with—that is, an understanding that's hard to communicate with words. Those are the times when I'm reminded why I started doing this, and why I kept going.


Since my "Recut" last month, I've chosen to paint the pictures in high resolution. That means european A4 (unless I have a good reason for another format), in 300 dpi. That comes up to more than 3000 pixels in width, which is obviously unfit for the monitor. But it does seem a waste not to allow you all to see the detail, so I built some functions that allow you to switch between a quarter-scale version, and the fullscale version. Quite simply, you view the installment, and click the picture. Update: It didn't work well for Mac, so instead I just enabled default Flash zooming. Right-click and "zoom in".

I would have wanted to make a magnifying icon, but being lazy got the better of me. Maybe next month. Add to that, some improvements to the way the size-switcher works—for instance I'd like to build that fantastic Mickey Mouse-hand that's available in any graphic application worth using (press space!).

Have a great Summer!

I'll be taking some vacation in the near future, much needed I might add. Here's my wish that we'll all have a great summer, and that we'll enjoy those special urban evenings where the gasoline rainbow is pretty to look at.

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July 05 Installment: Gasoline Rainbow