AI Birds – Shall we fear or embrace the new algorithms of creativity?




prompt: Great White Heron wearing armor with fierce expression and muted leafy background

I thought I’d launch into 2023 with a new post of bird portrait images. Now this is not very unusual for those who know me, my love of photography and making bird portraits. These however deviate from my normal workflow of capturing portrait compositions in the field, waiting for the perfect pose and as perfect a background as I can capture in nature’s wild tangle where I have only so much control.  Then, perhaps using photoshop to refine the capture into something artistic or painterly.

These works of art were made by my son, David, who is creative by nature, loves photography, but is also very well versed in the language of computers. These images were created by algorithms and the perception and synthesis of machines with the only human ask being a few word prompts and a world wide web of source material to draw from. This is AI art.

Should we fear that a machine can perform abstract creative tasks or is machine AI just the newest tool for human artists to push their dreams, visions and boundaries. What does it all mean? Steve Jobs considered his machines not just extensions of us but were us!! While machines generally are devices to extend our abilities and enhance productivity, they can never be more US than if they can create art. I can think of nothing more organic than that from a machine.

My son showed me some of his creations then asked if I wanted to send him some prompts. Naturally birds were on my mind. So I asked for a Great White Heron wearing armor with a fierce expression and a muted leafy or mangrove background to start with. I suppose the human creativity begins with how well you can articulate your request, what words, what mood you create for the AI engine to work on. It is like having a dream in that your brain has the raw information, but as you know with dreams, the output isn’t always exactly what you expect.


prompt: Great White Heron wearing armor with fierce expression and muted leafy background

You can see how the same prompt can produce a different image.


Prompt: Great White Heron in the style of Boris Vallejo


Prompt: Great White Heron in the style of Boris Vallejo

A second image with the same prompt. As AI draws from images in unpredictable ways, this lovely bird has some extra toes giving it a rather other worldly feel.


Prompt: Great White Heron as a Victorian scientist with a condescending expression wearing a lab coat working in a vintage laboratory, photorealistic.


Lastly this prompt was by my little grandaughter who asked her father for: yellow cat wearing a yellow squid hat

Too cute eh?

Lastly, these were created using the AI Engine of MidJourney which is a creative site with a subscription service. When you subscribe all the images you create are yours to do as you wish with them.

At you don’t have to be a member to click on the Community Showcase block and view some beautiful work by their members.

Love it or fear it AI Art is here for better or worse and dang it does look addictive. I have all these still lifes in my head perhaps I can dream up the elements with a little help from a machine?

Happy 2023 !

As Ever,




In answer to my thought that AI art being derived from web available sources of many types might be considered ” derivative’ art….Dave replied with the following way to look at it:

“I don’t know that derivative work is right. Imagine if you loved Boris Vallejo and you knew the art really well and practiced to create your own work close to his style. I think that is closer to what this is. The difference is that it’s like I am hiring a virtual artist to take my direction on themes and produce an original image. I kind of look at this like Dale Chihuly who is a renowned glass blower, but he was in an accident and for many years now he can no longer lift any glass blowing equipment. But he still has a studio where he directs a team of strong workers to implement his vision. He selects the glass colors, tells them what type of object, the technique/pattern and then he monitors and provides guidance as they are blowing the glass. Those resulting pieces are all original “Chihuly” glass, but he never picked up the blowpipe. I see this art some somewhat similar.

To be really clear, this isn’t chopping up peoples work and redistributing them, it is literally dissecting the elements of all art, what does armor look like, what does a crown look like. Then when it builds a scene, it figures out which variations on those themes and composes them. So it’s just a really advanced artist that can consume every painting Boris Vallejo ever made and every great heron photograph ever made and then use that as inspiration.

As I understand it, a lot of the “people” training model data is naked images. When building a character, it needs to know the naked form, then it literally learns how to put clothes on that form. This is why you can put armor on people, or any outfit you want. You can actually watch the AI building the image from a raw blurry mess to multiple levels of adding detail and sometimes you can see it starts with a mostly naked kind of image, then fleshes out the details. (no pun intended).”

Dave’s Instagram of ai images is f412ai   The instagram link is: for some of his work


~ by Judy on January 26, 2023.

12 Responses to “AI Birds – Shall we fear or embrace the new algorithms of creativity?”

  1. Judy, it’s been a year, but certainly worth the wait, now that you post the images above. Your son David is a fantastic artist! I especially like the image of the cat with the squid hat.

    • It is a joy to hear that my post was worth the wait. That made me really smile as I wasn’t even sure that my post would go through, it’s been so long. I knew it was a long dry spell but I was kind of disappointed with myself that I’d hit the wall for an entire year. A year!! Where did it go? I’ve taken some pictures here and there not worked on and not posted so I look forward to rediscovering those and also the joy in finding new things through a viewfinder. I look forward to seeing what you’ve been up to as well. Thanks so much!! Best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2023!!

      • Happy New Year to you! I hope you will be posting more often. By the way, the Lunar New Year is the year of the cat, so that yellow cat is perfect for it.

      • I am sure going to try. Inspiration sometimes rises up but fades too quickly in a given busy day. I think we all probably get lost in the stuff we have to do and get a bit drained before the stuff we really want to do. Do I sound old???

  2. How good to see your post, Judy.
    You have been missed.

    No need to fear any art form. As with all things in life, there will be likes and dislikes. The former we accept and enjoy, the latter we accept if we must and go forward.

    The examples you’ve provided do, indeed, appear to be mesmerizing. I can see becoming absorbed in their creation the same way I’m absorbed in all aspects of photography.

    Kudos to your son, David, for adventuring into the “new” modern art!

    Welcome home.

    • Hi Wally, thanks so much. I think the AI Art scene is absolutely captivating. The potential for great beauty and imagination is unlimited. I guess every era has its art and tools to deliver vision. I don’t fear it really. I do wonder about all the source material. It takes a vision to utter the words the engine needs to work with, but existing photos and paintings provide a basis of some sort so what is yours and what is others in such a mash up? It will evolve as a tool and probably in the legal rights area maybe. I’d like to play with my own images to mesh backgrounds in more seamless ways.

  3. What a delight to find you posting again, Judy. You certainly have been missed. More than a few times I’ve stopped by to check “this or that” in your archives: sometimes for help in identifying a bird, and sometimes to see how you approached something photographically.

    I’ll confess I prefer your photos to this new form of art, but if the creative possiblities in it get your juices flowing again, that’s all to the good. Writers are dealing now with chatGPT, and articles like this one from Nature certainly raise troubling questions. I’m so far out on the fringes of tech development it’s almost pathetic, but I am aware enough of the issues that I’ve been pondering a disclaimer for my blog: “All posts are chatGPT free”!

    • Yes I can see the problems with chat GPT. Not sure I was aware of it exactly and like to think I’d recognize a generated message from a direct human one. I am sure AI has tells in the patterns and artifacts in things with art and text. But, it is going to get harder. I can see in the AI photo images tells similar to things I might see when I try use content aware filters etc in that details might get copied over that you didn’t choose but were in range. Possibilities are both scary and beautiful and like all things it is our character as we use tools that informs intent.

      Yes it is good to be into WordPress again. I do love the community and friends made by the touch of a keyboard and sharing of thoughts and images.

      If any of my posts provide educational or useful information…I am totally thrilled by that thought. Sometimes when I think of someone new to my site that I’d rather them see my older things that are pushed back and back in the blog and maybe lost except for deliberate search. All feeds are like that though…only the now.

  4. I’ve been hearing a lot pro- and anti- about AI art, some of it about the very concept, other comments about whether it may put human artists out of business, others about the humanity of art, and some about current controversies about who owns the copyright and the right to reproduce. Naturally, my first recourse is to make a historical comparison, and that would be to the advent of photography, which forced a change in the art world, as reproduction of nature could not longer be the most important criterion, as some would have had it.

    • At the end of things, this is really a new tool human artists can use to fulfill a vision. I’ve looked closer into the midjourney site and can see that there is a lot of control in creating the prompts for the look you want. However, the nature of it is such that you will be surprised because it is algorithms and computer think. Since the software draws from existing material, it is certainly derivative art. Just not sure how you’d know whose or what item it was drawn from. It is too mashed up and the artist can create and resubmit and modify and hone direction to the desired result. The only thing that seems direct is when you ask for an image in the style of a certain artist. Not sure you can copyright style though as many original paintings are made using techniques and styling of popular artists. I can see it is great for making fantasy or sci fi book covers…perfect really.

      If you are a painter it might be a tool to work out your elements and then use the output image to paint from. Lots of painters take pictures in the field and use those images to make paintings. It is sort of like compositing in Photoshop..combining images or parts of them to make something new or closer to what your eye saw in the field the digital camera didn’t catch as you remembered. The site seems very intent on not allowing obscene material to be created and disallows certain prompts. They are honest though saying the platform is not a democracy, you gotta follow rules. Most though are for the benefit of everyone to provide a safe artistic community. There are boundaries to push and boundaries uncomfortable to push I think.

      As you say history shows the evolution of art and all change stands on the shoulders of the past but enters new worlds with new media. I will leave it to the legal folks to figure out intellectual property rights on this new way of making art.
      I am sure a finalized AI enabled piece becomes the property of the creator.
      I think the resolution will get more highly developed in the future for making big prints, now not sure how big you can upscale to .

      I sure does look fun and a great way to lose a lot of hours. LOL!!

  5. Wow, you have come back with a big splash of creativity… love the opening piece very much, I can see it as a photograph too – but the added AI makes it a feeling of fantasy. Beautiful work.

    • I agree that the AI images are fanciful and magical in lighting and feel. I put an update at the end which Dave had emailed me as a thought relative to me thinking it derivative art. I like the way he looks at it. It is an interesting new world and marvelous tool to be able to instruct and describe an image in your head. We can do the same thing with still compositions or compositing in Photoshop, but this seems to add a refinement that isn’t always achieved with compositing. And, that you can keep reapproaching the theme to perfect it. Gotta say though that it is wonderful to have artists whose styles you admire and can ask for…that is quite neat.

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