Making Art: Digital Painting

My son is very much of his time, a geek up on the latest technological gizmos. If it were not for him, I may not have discovered digital painting. It may not have been something I would have seriously wasted my time on were it not for his delight in showing me his latest toy (the iPad), its touch-sensitive screen, and all the cool things it could do. That was, maybe, 2008 or 9.

Asian vegs, iPad, SketchbookPro

After he demonstrated the drawing app and seeing how enthused I was, he gifted me an iPad.

Painting, free-hand, on a computer touch-screen is a lot less messy—no brushes to clean and erasures are a cinch. One good feature the iPad has over a typical computer with mouse-driven software is that it lets you mimic directly on the screen the gestures you make when painting on canvas. I tested a Wacom tablet once and the experience was too removed from painting on canvas that I nearly swore off digital art making.

You might expect that digital painting on a touch screen is easier than on canvas but for me, at least, it takes nearly as much effort and a fair amount of time (but not as much). Of course, painting apps often have the option of making it easy on yourself and eliminating many decisions an artist has to make.

If you’re painting from a picture, you could take the picture as the base layer, pretty much trace it on subsequent layers with various brushes, and then delete that picture layer. Et, voila, you have produced a fairly photo realistic painting. Not quite painting by numbers but not all that far from it. For me, not much fun and not very challenging.

I prefer something less picture perfect and incorporating all the idiosyncrasies of my flawed perception and hesitant strokes so I paint free-hand.

Woman 2 is my take on an oil painting I saw at the Musée d’Orsay. It’s an 1895 portrait of Madame Lwoff Valentin by Alexandrovitch Serov.

And here again is the oil on canvas version of Asian Vegs Yes, it’s richer and has more depth, because it’s created with a still freer process, and colors you can play with a lot more.

What do you think?

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