Posted in Chit Chat

Traditional and Digital Art

I know that a lot of people dislike, or are skeptical of digital painting/art, and I can understand that.  In fact the more I get into it myself – and go searching for ‘help’ or ‘how to’ videos, I am finding more and more the massive interest in digitally painting over photo’s, or merely cloning them.

Photographers who take amazing portraits (or whatever their interest) can actually make their photographs look like paintings by simply cloning the photo, then using a cloning brush, add paint strokes and effects.  There is also the option to add freehand paint strokes – in the end still resulting in a ‘painting’ as such.  You can also just paint over a photo as well.   While this is just another form of ‘art’, it is not how I paint mine.  I take hours and hours, blending, adding, deleting layers that don’t work etc.

Before I discovered digital, I painted in oils for the most part, also doing a few sketches and then trying my hand at acrylics. I must admit I prefer oils simply because they take so long to dry (gives you plenty of time to fix mistakes), and also just the actual process of blending paint with your brush to get the exact colour or effect you want.  I still have a lot to learn about working with acrylics and want to do more (as well as explore watercolours more) but I’m having so much fun with digital painting at the moment that is has all taken a bit of a back seat.

I have found that I use the digital method in the same way I paint with oils – I love to blend the colours.  I guess it’s a habit that might take me some time to get out of, but I’m trying! Ha!  Finally getting the Corel Painter 12 software last year has allowed me to paint as I always have, but as I use so many  layers I can simply discard anything that, to me, does not look right.  There is no mess to clean up, and the best thing of course is that you don’t spend hundreds of dollars on paints and canvas.  (Having said that, I do have a good stock of canvasses which I get when they are on sale!)

This is one of my favourite oil paintings I did some years back – my attempt at the Girl with the Pearl Earring… blend, blend, blend!  She is now hanging up in my living room – the entire background is black, the blue hue is just from the photo I took at the time.

So while on my journey of discovering the fun in digital painting I do hope I am improving with each one – or at least staying on course.

There are some amazing digital photo painters out there – and even if you don’t think it is ‘art’ – you still have to have the talent to actually do the work itself and of course the creativity to imagine how you want the final piece to look.   Artists are all different, we use different mediums, methods and styles… and it would be a shame if we all put out the exact same kind of work.

There are so many artists who inspire me, and often wish I was as talented, but I am me, and this seems to be ‘how’ I paint for now…   and half the fun for me is trying out all the new brushes in Corel and then thinking.. eeek.. that didn’t work so well, or wow… that’s exactly what I wanted.  It’s a journey.. and one I am having a blast with and no doubt I will be still be learning in 5 or 10 years time!

The only problem with that is in 5 or 10 years time there will be yet another form of ‘art’ available.. and I’ll still be doing my own thing!

Either way.. art is art…and when you commission a piece, no matter how it is done, as long the end result makes YOU happy, then that is what matters.




Self taught artist back living in New Zealand after more than a decade of living in Canada. Starting over in more ways than one but always up for the challenge!

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