From Processing To Painting

I’d been working on using Processing to create these grid patterns using circles of varying diameters for a while now, but moving from the digital world to the physical world is something I first started experimenting with last fall when I was attempting to win a laser cutter. While I love laser cut wood, I wanted to try applying the idea to something different, and it’s been a long time since I put paint on canvas, so…


More info on this series of painting (titled annular) can be found on the project page, but the basic process involves running a Processing sketch, using the output to cut stencils, and then painting using the stencils.

Cutting a Stencil

The Processing sketch outputs a PDF file, which is a vector file easily opened in Inkscape and adjusted to the correct size. I then save out the file as a DXF to load into Silhouette Studio to cut the stencils. (I could use the laser cutter, but the laser cutter is at Milwaukee Makerspace and the Silhouette is in my basement, so it’s more convenient for pieces 12″x12″ or smaller.)


The stencils are cut from old posters that a local printer was discarding. I hate wasting things, and the posters are a great source of strong paper that can be easily cut to size and run through the Silhouette.


I’m pretty happy with how these turned out, and I’ll be creating more of these. Ultimately it would be nice to have 64 of these, but that’ll depend on funding. (And yes, these pieces will be for sale.)


Don’t forget to check out the project page for annular where there’s more info on the concept behind these pieces and plenty more photos.


9 replies on “From Processing To Painting”

Very cool project Pete! You know what’s crazy, whenI first saw the last photo the “bleed” (or is it overspray?) made me think that these were illuminated :)

Wait. How does processing generate the file? Are you encoding data into the stencils? Because that would be super cool. Source code or it didn’t happen! :)

Okay. I didn’t see the word “random” anywhere in any of the descriptions, just “Processing spits out a file” so I had hopes that there would be the makings of a chapter from a Dan Brown novel! ;) But all the same, pretty cool!! I’m going to try to get my xyron to do this…

Right, that’s where I was pseudo-quoting from. The actual quote is “with a Processing sketch that outputs a file”

outputs… spits out… same difference, right!?


Yes, the same… I did have this bit as well “using Processing to generate grids of objects with randomized values mixed in”

(I probably shouldn’t have written it all while hopped up on cold medicine.)

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