Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Look Back - Part 2

Continuing remembrance and reassessment of 2019, Part 2. It is a good exercise for me and helps the work progress.

Hoff, "The Blue Spruce," oil on panel, 8x10
July The past summer was mostly highlighted by frequent trips outdoors to paint. The first tentative steps were (predictably for me) the environs of Druid Hill Creek, either from a deck outside the studio or on one or the other creek bank. Moving outdoors was eye-opening, particularly the opportunities for intense looking, observing deeply and minutely, spending more time on seeing than on painting. Sometimes even old dogs can learn new things.

Hoff, "The Discovery Garden, ISF," watercolor on paper, 5x9
August is the month of the famous Iowa State Fair, and as in the past several years I spent several days on the fairgrounds, looking and sketching. The daily forays provided many opportunities for watercolor sketching, and I filled pages in several sizes of sketchbooks. My new plein air easel arrived and was everything I hoped it would be, providing stability, portability, and ease of use. By the end of the month my reluctance and unfamiliarity with plein air painting faded, and outdoor work had become my primary way to make artwork.

Hoff, "Looking Northeast," oil on panel, 9x12
September in Iowa is still warm or even hot. Trees hold their leaves and the earth is sleepy but not ready to surrender to shorter days and cooler nights. That allows for more plein air sketching, so September continued to be a productive time. We spent about a third of the month visiting friends in Virginia, as we've done in years past, which gave me a lot of plein air opportunities in the Allegheny Mountains. The weather held during the end of the month, after our return to Iowa, and gave me some more outdoor painting time.

Hoff, Digital study after daVinci
While plein air work in oil and watercolor remained the focus of the summer, my daily digitalia habit blossomed into a blog of daily digital drawings. Increasingly my go-to sketch medium in the studio is a Wacom tablet and Sketchbook or ArtRage. These tools are quick, easy to use (after a significant amount of practice), and involve no cleanup, etc. You can draw faces, figures, anything really, in a very similar way to traditional media. And when switching back to traditional media the quality actually seems improved.

October became Inktober after I happened across a post about the history of that international event celebrating the now-uncommon medium of pen and ink drawing. Pen and ink was one of the mediums of the golden age of illustration over a century ago, and despite the popularity of ink-drawn comics by people like R Crumb the medium is considerably less popular. Inktober is an opportunity to draw something with ink every single day--a formidable challenge and one I took

Hoff, "Study of a Man (after Durer," ink on paper
up almost as a whim. The event has gained worldwide attention since being devised a decade ago. For those who can't find something to draw there is a suggestion of topics and there is an extensive archive on the site. The idea is to do the drawing and post it. I managed to do more than a drawing a day and posted them all here.* It was interesting to do both original drawings and copies of masters like Albrecht Durer (left).
"Tree roots (after Constable)," silverpoint

In all of that I also found some time to do metalpoint drawings and posted a couple. One of them was a copy of an old drawing by Constable of tree roots (right) that seemed suitable to the medium. (Although the date on the drawing says September I actually completed it some time during the first week of October.

"Early Snow," watercolor on paper, 9x5
November has been the month of Fall color here in Iowa during my entire time here, and this one was no exception. The trees began to change in the middle of the month and were brilliant for perhaps a week or so until a hard, killing frost came and finished everything. Luckily there was still time for some outdoor work with watercolor, and I managed a post about Fall on Druid Hill Creek. And digital dailies continued, although the most interesting of them were done from Roman sculpture busts--a form of realistic portraiture that was highly valued. There is much to learn from such work.

"Pompey" digital, from a Roman portrait bust
The remainder of the month was occupied with drawing and the beginnings of studio paintings.

December isn't over but it began with a bit of a retrospective posting of drawings in five separate media, a reminder of the diversity of this year's work. That reminder sent me through a review of the year, which is not quite over. One of the conclusions is I've done much drawing, less painting. The second is what painting I've done has been much watercolor, less oil. The plan, then, is to resume more oil painting over the winter, using natural light in the studio. Probably a lot more exploration of still life is yet to come.
*Inktober posts
Inktober Plan
Another Shot of Ink(tober)
More Inktober
Halfway Through Inktober
An Inktober Update

Friday, December 27, 2019

A Look Back - Part 1

As the end of the year and the decade approach it's time to look at this year's works and interests both for personal review and to spark new ideas.

Hoff, "Winter Snow," oil on panel, 4x6
January was when I began doing daily digital drawings, and posted the first few, although I had been exploring computer drawing programs and methods for a long while. We had a couple of deep snows that prompted tiny oil sketches (right).

During part of the month we were in France for an international circus competition. Throughout the trip I made watercolor postcards and mailed them home from Monaco, where we attended the circus. I posted several of them here during the month. I also kept a couple of small sketchbooks handy and made graphite or watercolor records, some of which I posted after we returned.

Hoff, "The Second Deep Snow," oil on panel, 6x8
February was a month of deep snow on Druid Hill Creek, and I posted watercolors showing snow at its coldest and deepest. Here is a previously unposted oil from the same period, "The Second Big Snow,"done from a studio window after the sticky stuff covered almost everything.

Hoff, "The Last Scraps," watercolor on paper, 5x9
March once again showed how the calendar turns when the month of the war god comes. The snows abated and by the end of the month the creek was showing signs of life and growth (below) although a scrap or two of snow persisted. In the studio most of my work was either digital drawing or watercolor sketches.

One post in March involved a discussion of drawing hands and featured several digitally-drawn copies of hands drawn by masters of the past. A lot my digital work has involved getting to know the interfaces but also digital work has allowed me to copy many of the masters' anatomic works. March is when I began doing digital dailies which led to a daily posting on a new blog since last July. After posting about drawing hands I added a post on drawing heads and included a few copies of masters done in various media including metalpoint.

April brought the longer days of springtime and also some diversity into the daily digital drawings I was making. I made a number of drawings of classic cars and worked on facial expressions too. The weather was
Hoff, "April on Druid Hill Creek," watercolor, 5x9
gentle, mostly, and gave me a chance to do some more studies of Druid Hill Creek as the undergrowth began to burst into leaf. Most of the bushes were honeysuckle, which runs riot along the creek bank. Although we had hints of green early in the month it really wasn't until the final two weeks that green filled the woods.

Hoff, "On the Hudson (Plum Point)," watercolor on paper 5x12
May was the month I'd looked forward to for a long while, mostly because of the opportunity to work with my friend Garin Baker a master oil painter who also teaches at the Art Students League in Manhattan. The workshop was a resounding success, and gave me the impetus to head outdoors to paint for the first time last summer. It also caused me to think about a new plein air setup, an Open Box M, which arrived later in the summer. In the meantime it was a revelation to spend time confronting the subject, reacting to the environment, "making the best of an emergency" as John Sargent used to say about plein air watercolor.
Hoff, "Downstream on Druid Hill Creek," oil on panel, 9x19
Besides that, I continued daily digital drawings, watercolor sketches, and a few other endeavors.

Hoff, "Morning, The Garden," oil on panel, 12x9
June was a month of exploration, finding likely sites for outdoor painting, sometimes just spending time looking. Not far from the studio is the Raccoon River, which joins the Des Moines River close by. The rivers make excellent spots for paintings, and I did some work there. But my first tentative steps outside were onto a shady deck where I painted a trio of houseplants that were at last returned to the outdoors. I also painted the garden terraces on the sloping creek bank outside the studio, in slating morning light. The mysterious effect of very solft edges in nearly every part of the painting was appealing.

Hoff, "Francoise Gilot," digital
Hoff, "The Dredge, Newburgh, oil on panel
June gave me an opportunity to continue working through more digital drawings, particularly of heads and expressions. And I finished a full-size studio oil of a Hudson River scene based on observations, reference pics, and an on the spot watercolor sketch.

The rest of year was heavy with outdoor painting, a new watercolor sketch group, and some work in other media as well. More in another post.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Quiet

The day before Christmas finds The Studio Journal as quiet as a mouse.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Art that Speaks

"If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint." So said Edward Hopper, the great American painter. Famously taciturn, Mr. Hopper was difficult to interview, the traditional goes, and was often unable or unwilling to explain much about his work or motivation. But regardless, his work speaks to me and to untold numbers, and I'm not always sure why that is. Regardless, a Hopper painting almost always evokes a complicated response. His "Early Sunday Morning," (above) dating from 1930, is a great example. We see a deserted street of storefronts and windows, morning light raking across. There is no one, not even a dog, on the street. The shops are dark and quiet. For me, this is an exquisite expression of loneliness at the break of day. It speaks to me.

As a painter, my goal is to move the viewer, evoke a response. The response doesn't have to be an emotional earthquake, a little thrill of recognition is enough. My hope is that one of my realist works will speak to a viewer as Hopper's painting speaks to me.

Hoff, "Poppy," oil on panel, 5x7
A few years ago, at a street festival where I was exhibiting work, the final day was winding down. At a street festival, especially a multi-day show, the final few hours are often fraught--a selling flurry, worry about striking the exhibit, packing up, the drive home, etc. Feeling a bit frazzled I was standing outside our booth when a man and a boy came walking up. The man inquired about a very small still life, about 5x7, and confirmed the price. When I told him how much, he turned to the boy and asked if he was sure he wanted the painting, and the boy nodded. "Well, give him your money then," the Father said. So the boy handed over the price in cash. He seemed very very happy. He had seen the painting, gone home and gotten the money from savings, and came back to buy it. He was seven years old. When I asked him why he wanted the picture, he said, "It spoke to me."

So far as I am concerned, the answer would have been payment enough. Here's the painting.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Rebuilding the Past

Reconstruction of faces is an important adjunct to various sorts of investigations these days. Beginning more than a century ago, methods of rebuilding human features from cranial remains have been refined until reconstructing accurate likenesses, even of historical figures, is now at an all-time level of accuracy. Part of the reason for that accuracy (and therefore likeness) in such reconstructions actually dates to the end of the nineteenth century when first attempts at rebuilding faces from crania, and the collection of reams of facial thickness data began. Today there are huge data bases that take into account all sorts of issues like gender, race, and so on.

Skull of Richard III and reconstruction based on it.
Although the most publicized facial reconstructions have been to identify unknown victims, facial reconstruction is also used in anthropology, archeology, and other sciences. Furthermore, the technique of rebuilding a face from the bones outward has evolved from using strips and lumps of clay applied to the actual skull or cranium to using three-dimensionally-printed copies of skulls or to fully computerized three dimensional reconstruction. Regardless, the accuracy and likenesses achieved in such work are striking.

Face of Shakespeare, from a death mask
Various historical figures have been subjected to study and reconstruction from cranial remains. For example, King Richard III of England was found some years ago buried under a parking lot. The remains were definitely those of the deposed monarch, based on DNA analysis, but his face was known from posthumous paintings. So a computerized reconstruction of his face was made based on scans of the skull, then the result reproduced in plastic. 

Hoff, "The Bard," digital
A decade or so ago a scientist in England reconstructed at face said to be Shakespeare (above) but instead of a skull used a death mask. (The mask may not be the author.) Taking the mask that was only discovered two hundred years after Shakespeare's death, the result does resemble our conception of what he may have looked like. The scientist responsible claims that the result, when compared with a portraits of the writer, is very close. Perhaps so, although there is considerable variation among the images available. Taking the mask image I used Sketchbook and a few period references for the hair and collar, to make a fuller rendering of the head. While it may or may not be William Shakespeare, the result was pleasing. 

The Archer, from The Mary Rose
An interesting group of reconstructed likenesses were made of crew of the Tudor-era English warship Mary Rose. The ship went down with the majority of the crew in a storm in the 16h century with nearly 500 crew. Although names aren't known, some of the crew could probably be recognized from their images. A particular favorite at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, U.K. is an archer (presumably) whose entire skeleton is also on view. It shows deformities consistent with archery as does one of the fingers of his right hand. 

Context 958
Probably the most fascinating of historical facial and skeletal reconstructions, though, has to be Context 958 which is the only name given for a 13th century man whose skeleton was recovered from a medieval cemetery in Cambridge, England. He seems to have died as a destitute man in a shelter and was buried in its large graveyard. Using the skull plus computer software, researchers generated a possible likeness. Based on his remains, he was likely a tradesman who worked hard and was reasonably well-fed, with perhaps two significant periods of illness or hunger during his childhood. He died in the medieval hospital that had occupied the site of a current school in Cambridge, of unknown causes. The grounds contained more than 400 sets of remains. In the case of this fellow, he looks as if he could be one of our neighbors.

Hoff, "Beachy Head Lady," digital
An interesting idea came to mind while looking at these and other historical faces. These make fascinating drawing material. With that in mind, besides the drawing of Shakespeare above I've done a few others because their stories were engaging and their place in history caught my attention.

One of them, named Beachy Head Lady because her skeleton was discovered  there in Sussex, England. The skeleton suggested she died young, was probably upper social status since there was no evidence of hard work, and was clearly from sub-Saharan Africa--that is, unimaginably far away. She had grown up in the area, however. Using radiocarbon dating the remains are from the third century; her face was reconstructed by a forensic expert. I used that image to make a drawing of her head (left). Although literally nothing was known about the skeleton discovered in a forgotten box labelled Beachy Head, based on extensive analysis she is theorized to have possibly been the wife of a Roman official and therefore lived a life of much reduced labor. Nonetheless, it is startling to think that the face we can see, however close it comes to reality, is the face of someone who lived nearly two thousand years ago. In my drawing I tried to give her an even livelier look.

Hoff, "Erika the Red," digital
In foraging through historical faces reconstructed by traditional means or by computer, I ran across another fascinating story and a distinctly different history of Vikings. The burial of a woman that was unearthed in Norway may have been that of a Viking warrior. Of course the traditional history of the people was that the men went off in long boats to pillage and conquer, leaving women children and elderly back in their homeland. However, this woman was buried with deadly weapons including arrows, a sword, and an axe. More important, she had suffered a head injury that looked like a sword wound that fractured her skull. The original discoverers knew the skeleton was female but somehow ignored the evidence of her grave goods that she was very likely a warrior. From the skull, her face was reconstructed using traditional methods. I made the sketch here based on the reconstructed image (right) and again tried to give her some real recognizable emotion. I assumed she would look fierce and forbidding, and gave her a healed scar instead of the unhealed wound depicted in the rebuilt face. I assumed a fair complexion and hair and medium-green eyes.

Using these kinds of references for drawings has been both fun and instructive. I'll probably do more.

Friday, December 13, 2019


During the past couple of weeks, a banana has occupied center stage in the continuing discussion regarding what art actually is. Art Basel Miami featured one fastened to a wall with grey duct tape and entitled "Comedian," by the Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan and priced at $120,000. It should probably surprise no one that the work in question sold. Alas for the buyer, another artist came along and cheekily ate the exceptionally expensive fruit.

Maurizio Cattelan, "Comedian," fruit, tape
The problem many have with this entire episode is the idea that something like "Comedian" could be considered art. After all, it's just a banana and ordinary tape. But that view is considerably more narrow than the view that accepts "Comedian" not as the tangible objects but as the concept behind it. That is, the entire work is the art--concept, fruit, tape, metaphor, hullabaloo, and even the unexpected devourer. The whole nexus of idea, work, events, etc. is the art, not the objects and the wall.

For me, "Comedian," has fascinating overtones. First, a comedian in baggy-pants comedy a century ago was the "top banana." For another, a banana peel is as ancient a comedic device as may exist. For a third, the whole idea when taken literally is absurd--taping a banana to a wall and calling it art. And that makes the title amusing, too. Finally, can there be any doubt that the auteur is pointing out the utter abject foolishness of the "art world" in pricing the absurdity at $120,000? The thing about comedian (for me) that makes it even more amusing is that so far three editions have been sold. Piero Manzoni would be proud. Mr. Cattelan has created an engaging piece that provokes thought, echoes through several layers of meaning, and provides not only smirks and chuckles but a poke in the eye for the art world.

If you think Mr. Cattelan sounds vaguely familiar, it is probably because he is also the artist who had functional, solid-gold toilet installed in the Guggenheim Museum a few years ago. The work, "America," was in its own small lockable room and could be employed as a traditional toilet. A few months ago it went on display at Blenheim Palace in the United Kingdom, only to be promptly stolen (and probably melted down), although the likely thieves have been arrested. Actually, the accidental extension of the metaphor--"America" being stolen--seems appropriate these days.

Oh, and the age-old question is, "is it art?" To which I answer yes. It was conceived, it seems, as an artful episode and statement. Mr. Cattelan was not making found-object art the was Picasso did, for example, out of bicycle parts. Instead he made a crude assemblage that became something different when he named it. And it became even more different--almost self-parody--when priced as it was. So yes, in my opinion, "Comedian" is a clever piece of concept art. I like it.
Today is Friday the 13th, so here is a digital offering in keeping with the legendary bad luck day. "Curiosity" is a black feline. What can I say? I'm a traditionalist.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

More Animals

Practice drawing animals of all kinds is useful to the realist, and certainly to me. As I posted in September animal anatomy is important, but animals show many expressions, from joy to sorrow. And trying to capture those expressions is an interesting challenge.

Hoff, "Bonobo," digital
Of all animals, the great apes are closest to us genetically speaking. There are four groups of great apes--gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, and bonobos. The latter were often called pygmy chimps in earlier times but are a distinct species. Drawing these apes has been fascinating because of the astonishing similarity of their eyes to human eyes. In the drawing of the bonobo at left, I fancied I could detect real human emotion in those eyes. She seems to be wary, curious and ready to run at any moment. Bonobos are now endangered and may number less than 100,000 in the wild.

Hoff, "The Pitiless Eye," digital
Reptiles are primitive-looking, their scales and appearance probably dating back millions of years. Alligator eyes in particular, with vertical pupils and a nictitating membrane (which protects the eye underwater) give a particularly flinty and unblinking cruelty to their looks. It was that sharp predatory focus that interested me in this drawing of an American alligator. I emphasized the light on the upper edge of the orbit and around the triangular socket while deepening the pupillary darkness as much as possible. These animals are frightening simply because they're so utterly alien.

Hoff, "Motherhood," digital

Elephants are becoming more and more scarce. They're increasingly hunted by poachers for the ivory in their tusks. Their habitat is shrinking and the modern world making the remainder less and less inviting. Yet these huge gentle creatures continue to fascinate us and provide lessons as well. The image of a mother elephant helping her newborn to stand up for the first time struck me as a metaphor for all motherhood. Mostly I wanted to emphasize the connection between the mother and her baby, using the sinuousness of her trunk as it wrapped around the baby's belly. To me the mother's gaze is tenderness and love.

Although I'm mostly doing digital sketching these days, my plan is to return to traditional media--particularly graphite and charcoal--for a while, just to practice.

Related posts:
Animals for Fun and Practice

Friday, December 06, 2019

Five Different Media

While a lot of my daily work is digital drawing these days, there are other media and disciplines besides pixels and oil paint that occupy part of my time. Over the past couple of years I've worked with graphite, ink, gouache, casein, pastel, and watercolor as well as with my main materials. You could say that working in such a variety of mediums can dilute the effect of practice, but I think using different methods and mediums enhances the work.

Over the past few days I've gone back and reviewed works done using five different media over the past few months. For me it's useful to review and reassess work after letting it "rest" for a while.

"The West Bank," watercolor/ink, 5x9
Working outdoors this past summer gave me opportunities to make a number of watercolors, many in sketchbooks I keep in my car. This particular watercolor and ink is actually a view of the bank of Druid Hill Creek opposite my studio. This was done a few weeks ago, before very many leaves had begun to change. The textures and colors of the three trees in the painting contrasted against the backdrop of the forest floor. This work is 5x9 in one of my watercolor sketchbooks.

"Rojo," ink, 6x8

During the month long Inktober event I managed quite a few pen and ink drawings. This was the final drawing of October, a study of a truly mean-looking rooster, done from a combination of memory, references, and imagination. He was based in part on memories of my grandfather's old white rooster whose angry red comb and wattles petrified me as a five year-old. Worse, the old rascal knew I was afraid of him and would chase me from one end of the chicken yard to the other every time we met. This particular drawing was done with both brush and pen using a water soluble black ink. 
"Flintlock," graphite, 6x8

One late October afternoon in the studio I happened on a photo of a rifle from the early days of the continent, a flintlock made in the 18th century. As sometimes happens, I grabbed the first piece of paper that was handy and sketched the old weapon with a #2 pencil that was lying about. Although this particular sketch is rough and unfinished, it represents the kind of mental notes that graphite images provide sometimes.

"Mini," digital
In contrast, earlier in the month (as one of my daily digitalia) I made a fairly detailed and finished drawing of a Mini," one of those popular and fuel-saving small cars that have appeared over the last decade. This was done digitally using a Wacom tablet and Sketchbook. The image reference was a promotional photo found online.
"Chinese Pavilion," oil on panel,12x16
During last summer I began working outdoors a lot more, after buying a new plein air setup (an Open Box M). One of my first excursions was to a local park along the east bank of the Des Moines River. It is an Asian garden, with a Chinese pavilion that is approached past a guardian lion. The pavilion has the typical roof line and colors. I spent two hours sketching the park and pavilion in oil, trying out the new easel, then returned for another couple of hours the following day at the same time and with approximately the same weather and lighting conditions. This preliminary sketch is likely to provide material for a more complete and larger studio work this winter.

Taking time once in a while to leaf through old sketchbooks and shuffle old panels and canvases is good practice, seems to me. A review lets you see where you've been artistically while also providing opportunities for new inspirations or reiterations and improvements in old statements. For me, using multiple mediums is a way to work with each in ways that provides good practice and chances for wider explorations.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

A Daily Habit

One of the bedrock principles in education is repetition. Going over a fact multiple times helps fix it in our minds. The same is true of physical activity--so-called muscle memory improves as we repeat it over and over, until we no longer think about it but simply move. Golfers work hard on their stroke, basketballers on their shot, and baseballers on their swing. Artists do the same thing. Painters sketch, make studies, and paint every day. Pianists practice virtually every day, or play for others. And so on.

Duane Keiser, "Japanese Maple," oil on paper, 6x7
An interesting development has been the daily art movement, pioneered by Duane Keiser, whose blog initially featured a small oil done every single day, for sale. Many others have done the same thing over the ensuring fifteen years, whether posting watercolor sketching or oils or digital drawing. Some artists offer works for sale, some post for other reasons. Regardless, daily posting requires a regular, repetitive work schedule. A British artist, Peter Brown, aka Pete the Street, is known not only for painting every day, but doing it outdoors on big canvases in all weathers including rain and sleet. (Talk about commitment!)

Peter Brown, "Snow on Hammersmith Bridge," oil on canvas, 25x20
My own practice recently has included a daily posting of digital work, a commitment that forces daily work. For me the repetitive act of drawing or painting is rather like that of the athlete or musician--it is practice rather than completed work. The work becomes less formal, more fluid, in my experience.

Hoff, "Studio Tabletop," oil on paper, mounted, 6x8
Over the years what has varied for me is the medium used. Nearly a decade ago my daily practice was like Mr. Keiser's--a small oil every day. Most were on small gessoed panels ranging from smaller than a postcard to perhaps 6 by 8. When doing a small work every day, it was important to simply allow something to catch my eye. It could have been a bottle or spoon or even an eraser and a pair of scissors. Sometimes the way light refracted through glass was enough to trigger a painting. As a bonus, many of these paintings, which I've termed my "Windowsill Works," allowed me to study composition, light, paint properties, techniques, and any number of other aspects of oil painting.

Hoff, "Pellegrino bottle," oil on panel, 4x8
The problem of course is that a period of intense work with almost anything becomes routine and less inspiring than in the beginning. And given the many different ways to make art and my own lack of experience with them, it's important to keep investigating and experimenting and learning.

Hoff, "East Lake Bar & Grill," watercolor and ink, 3x5
A few years ago my interest shifted to watercolors (although I continue primarily as an oil painter) and I began to explore the medium via daily small works done in the studio or outdoors on site. These little watercolors are simple enough to do, require little in the way of materials, and provide excellent practice in doing some of the same kinds of things I was doing with oils, namely studying the paint as well as the methods.

Simplicity, portability, and easy cleanup made it more likely that I would not only have materials at hand, it made it more likely I'd actually make a picture. In those years I did many watercolors on postcards, on single small sheets of paper, and in sketchbooks. The continual practice flow with watercolors includes seeing, composing, drawing, painting, inking, and reinforcing. The repetition becomes inevitable habit.

In the past few years, digital art has piqued my curiosity. A digital drawing tablet (Wacom Cintiq) and increasing access to more and more sophisticated programs has made digital art considerably easier to explore. As I worked though the early stages of learning computer art programs, the tablet made it seem more like traditional media, which was enormously helpful. Gradually I began to make full drawings digitally, sometimes even a complete "painting". The thing about doing digital art work is that it's not so different from traditional media once the tool (the computer) is familiar enough to no longer be in the way of one's thoughts. That is, practice
Hoff, "Head of a Woman," digital
with the computer eventually meant that I could concentrate on the image and not the machine. After a while, too, incorporating traditional drawing tactics like chiaroscuro into making digital drawings made my traditional work better, too. Practice.

With digital art, there is ease of correction, frequent file saving to avoid ruining a work, and opportunities to more easily practice composition and graphic design, among other advantages. You can easily manipulate the image and drawing. Of course, my Wacom tablet is hardly portable and remains a studio tool. Nonetheless, a daily digital image has become a part of my practice. Eventually I decided to share those digital works online in a blog, Daily Digitalia, a compilation of my daily digital works. A digitalium, by the way, is a digital work of any kind.

So it's the habit of doing that is important in my studio. Repetition works.

Related posts
Finding a Subject
Habit and Creativity
Pete the Street