Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Secret Door

When I was a child, and this has continued into adulthood, I've had a recurring dream that I've opened a door, a cabinet, entered a tunnel or just turned a corner and discovered something remarkable that had always been there. You’d be surprised how often that’s happened for me in the real world.

That’s what I’ve found by putting up my Kiddography blog. By doing so I’ve discovered the work of a number of artists I’d not seen before. Most recently I’ve come across the work of Scott Altmann, Mark Reep and Todd Harris. When I went to these artists’ sites I found links to dozens of other artists whose art I greatly enjoy. This is just a start; in time I’ll have a long list of suggested viewings.

The digital work I saw this week inspired me to try one more pixel-only painting. Well, it started with a scanned drawing and I painted it in Photoshop. Typically I’ve done these mostly with multiply layers but I used semi-opaque layers this time. The background is a modified scan of a section of an oil painting I did long ago. My problem with working digitally is that it doesn’t have the nature reflecting aspects of a physical medium. Even though the basic principles of aesthetics will always apply, I miss the fortunate little accidents I find with watercolor or oil paint.

I wrote an essay for a book coming out next year from Nonstop Press called “Real vs. Virtual. My essay is likely the silliest thing I’ve ever written. I’m truly surprised it was accepted. It would be a terrible thing if I were ever taken too seriously.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention Tom, but even more importantly thank you for those sketches. The second sketch is like a complete illustration, with a loose narrative being suggested.
I agree with you on the digital vs. traditional painting statement. There are advantages to the digital and it is superior in its convenience, but my heart will always belong to the real world of oil paints.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Tom Kidd said...

Hey, that's what you can do when someone gives you a nice HTML code to paste in. I'm a bit of a devil in how I first used it though.

I always see a story in my pictures even when it's not completely formed. The monkey on my back is a narrative one.

I think I paint a little faster with traditional media and I like backing up and coming forward without clicking. The only advantage I can see to digital is cleaning up. There is none. Another digital advantage is I typically need a block of time to do an oil painting. Once certain things are started you have to complete them or redo them the next day. I can work on digital piece for 5 minutes and it'll be just as workable whenever I come back to it. This is good when waiting for something to download and other slow computer functions.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The artists you told in your post are all very talentuous. Like you I discover them with their blog, internet is a wonderful source of discover. (sorry for my poor english...)
Concerning your love for the real oil paints, I just have to say that I'm agree with you and Scott to say that it's the better way to paint. The wonderful rendering of a real painting is, to my sense, incomparable.
But digital, when your are autodidact like me, is an easy way to discover how works colors and painting technics, all very restricting and discouraging at the beginning with real paints. Maybe it's also the better way to create bad habit...

3:32 AM  
Blogger Tom Kidd said...

S.D., Those are very good points. I don't know about other artists but everything I do is, at least, partly to learn something, even my illustration assignments. Working in different mediums forces you out of the norm, makes you less complacent and more mentally facile. I can certainly see how working digitally can be an effective way to learn. It has been for me.

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, thanks for the mention and link. I've come to think of my own learning curve as an endless series of steps- Most of the time, the angle of ascent seems too shallow, the steps too small. But when I pause, look back, I'm usually pleasantly surprised to find I've come farther than I realized. Of course, sometimes I stumble, and fall flat on me face, too :) One of the most important things I've learned is to not be afraid to fail.
A relatively forgiving medium does help :) But if I blow a drawing, there's always another. And I've likely learned more from that failure than from a piece that progressed more smoothly.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow! this is a like really nice.. i love it...

1:03 PM  

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