Art of Images
People talk of “art,” and most often, they are thinking of images, images as art. But we also know that the word art points to much wider circles of human creation than just images. It is wider than drawing and painting.
But on this page, in these galleries, this is what I mean by art, my visual art.
Art-making, in the western tradition(s) for the past centuries, graces primarily the one that makes it. Often, it leaves a trail and others pick it up and see what might grace themselves. Often, it leaves them cold. Even when made with a keen desire for others to be somewhat graced by it, the trail–an object or performance–fails to touch others. Art, this way seen, lives in its own place, perhaps like a terrarium so that it may be enjoyed by observers. But like a life itself, it belongs to itself. Art for the artist.
Digital tools have fully arrived now. I think the moment was when TIME had its person of the year painted in what I call ‘digital oil.’ It was the new Pope, no less. By Jason Seiler. (Dec 23, 2013 TIME cover). I encourage everyone to try it. Find a friend with tools. Ask me. I want to help. Think of it as the most patient tools you can hold. Make a mark. Make another. Let it do something. Let yourself be with it. This is play. Does it leave a trail that others might pick up and feel graced by? That will be for them to discover. Meanwhile in your play with a digital tool–oh, my, humans have made marvelous ones now!–then you will find it completely patient with you. Only you are saying, “Yes!” and “No!” “Beautiful” and “Junk!” It is quiet, saying at most, “Keep me” or “Change Me.” Finally, understand that digital art is playing directly with colored light, while the so-called traditional media, like paint, are playing with materials that send color to our eyes only when light bounces off them. Oh, I love those gooey, aromatic, physical media. They are like food. Digital is, then like what? Maybe like dreams. Yeah, like dreams.
Digital Oils, general
These digital images have various effects similar to oil painting. Sometimes this is just the gallery I chose to put the image into, but many were intentionally made using oil painting as a style and method. Always for me, it is about the image and its effect and what tools to use to get there and only secondarily a question of what category label to give it.
This gallery includes (and is mostly) a series I call “Alpha Lock.” It is a method of digital painting I invented (others surely do similar things) using iPad’s Procreate app with Pencil. I like it because it not only does not simulate physical media, but it allows image effects that cannot be made in the physical media. Look for strokes that lie over and under each other in bold or subtle ways, especially where a stroke of color follows what is under it, yet changes that. The term “alpha” refers to something in digital images. It is the attributes, such as color, that determine which dots are in an image. By locking these in place, one can add to what is there while also keeping parts of it in place. Hard to describe...
Most of my digital portraits are “born a photograph, raised a painting.” I import one or more photographs (usually ones I have taken myself) into fine art painting software such as Procreate and ArtRage and then work from there. I don’t use automatic features that alter a photo to make it look like paint. Instead, I work “every inch” (even spots as tiny as refliections on the eye) and use artistic choices as I would in making any fine art image, such as oil paintings.
The images I put in this gallery are “born a photograph, raised a photograph.” That’s a twist on my metaphor for describing some of my digital fine art (see, for example, the digital portraits) which I call “born a photo, raised a painting,” which means they started out as photographs and got their basic “DNA” from there, but are then cultivated often for a long time being worked on every inch with digital tools as a painting. So, here are photographs that I have also worked on in varying ways to present images of superior photographic qualities, some of which might not even be in the original. Some are just fine art photographs the way I took them in the camera. But I have “a thousand” of those; so when I place one here, it qualifies to me as fine art, thus “Photographic Art.” To me, art in the western tradition is self-expression plus communication that emanates notable beauty—or more accurately that draws out the elusive and even mysterious “beauty” response in the artist and many of the viewers.