Friday, April 28, 2017

Digital Delving

These past weeks of trying out various digital sketch programs as well as more full-featured ones has been a great chance to work on all kinds of images and ideas. The programs in question are mostly easy to use even for a non-techie, with results ranging from passable to excellent. These are some of them.

The first image turned out to be a cartoon. I began with a simple sketch of two people visiting a museum, but it changed. The New Yorker has carried this style of cartoon for decades. For some reason while I was doing a sketch of a museum using Sketchbook and a Wacom tablet the idea of money as abstract art popped up. Maybe it was simply the way the image evolved that made me think of this style of cartoon. That, and the thought that in real terms, abstract art these days is money.

The next image is a drawing of the sculptor Camille Claudel based on a well-known photograph of her, taken when she was twenty. Ms. Claudel's story is a tragic one. She showed signs of being a talented sculptor while still a child, and received encouragement from her father. Eventually she went to Paris at an early age and became involved with Rodin, the world-famous sculptor. Ms. Claudel lived with him openly (though he was nearly twenty years older, and married), for which she was condemned and shunned by her family, even a beloved brother. She parted from Rodin, struggled with mental illness and was at last confined involuntarily until the end of her life and mostly forgotten. Yet she was a truly gifted sculptor whose work is now in the collections of a number of museums, including a newly-opened one in her home town in France. This drawing was done using Sketchbook and a Wacom tablet.

And here are two studies, "painted" using ArtRage5. The yellow one is the official bird of the state of Iowa, a goldfinch. The other is completely imaginary but based on the American robin.

The more I use these programs, the more I like them. They provide flexibility. It's possible to revise or rearrange much of an image without the problems with tangible media like graphite or paint. No erasing, or painting over. For me, simple and quick manipulation makes study easier. Digital works of these kinds are becoming more and more useful for me as I approach paintings in the real world.
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