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Norton Starr


"Experiment in Shading"

(Pressurized) ball point pen on paper, 14.25” wide by 15.25” high, 1973.

This was drawn by computer-controlled pen on a CalComp Drum plotter at the University of Waterloo. It consists of several hundred concentric star images, with their “radius” varied sinusoidally so as to create the shadow effects of darker and lighter regions. The end result is like an unrealistically precise charcoal drawing.

Norton Starr, Bryan E. Boyle Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Emeritus
Amherst College
Amherst, MA

"As I grew up, my freehand drawing often involved families of parallel lines and curves suggesting shading effects. In 1972 I recognized that with the aid of a computer driven plotter I could obtain pictures essentially impossible by other means. Although I produced a number of drawings of different kinds, I spent a fair amount of time and effort trying to achieve shading effects by drawing lines and curves variably spaced from one another. The computer afforded a degree of control that made possible my use math functions to provide desired transitions between dark and light regions. 'Experiment in Shading' is one consequence of that initiative."