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Paint vs. Pixels

April 22, 2006

The new iMac is why you haven’t heard from me for three days. Of course, along with the fun, there are the small frustrations of learning one’s way around new software.

On the PC I have been using Corel PhotoPaint, and with the Mac I have trial versions of PhotoShop Elements 3 and Corel Painter Essentials 2. I’ve played around with both of the new programs, but seem to gravitate toward Photoshop Elements. If it’s not just my imagination, I believe there are lots more tools and fun stuff. Then there’s the full PhotoShop to consider, which I’m not sure I need at all in order to do convincing paintings.

Some of my experiments are with the pen and Wacom tablet, using traditional painting techniques. Amazing how many ways there are to make a mark on screen, and how much easier with the pen than with the mouse — the way I had previously done it for years. With a little practice there is no reason whatsoever that a digital painting has to look as if a computer created it.

Advantages are: paint never runs out, you have an unlimited array of brushes and charcoal and pencils and pastels and smudge sticks and cotton balls and erasers and paper and canvas, your clothes and environment stay clean, and you don’t have to wash brushes.

Disadvantages? I don’t know yet. Public perception I suppose. Artists are supposed to feel pain, of course. We are expected to have to suffer for our art. If it looks or sounds too easy, then we’re not the real deal. I suspect that it’s mostly artists who are reading this anyway, so you know what I’m talking about!

I don’t really plan to abandon my messy studio. This is just another wonderful tool, and I’m having a blast.

Digital Study for Totem Painting

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Christa permalink
    April 22, 2006 10:23 am

    I’ve been working on both paper, canvas and the screen for the past…um…10 years or so…and I remember when I saw Photoshop the very first time. I thought it was cheating, because it was so simple to paint with it…lol
    No paint to mix, no brushes to keep clean and you could erase any mistakes like you snap your finger.
    And as you said – you never run out of paint.

    I could write a book about this, so I’ll try to keep it brief :p After all these years I’ve had some “side effects” from working in Photoshop that I cannot fit in with the traditional artwork I do. There’s no “history” built in a drawing pad or a canvas, which means that you cannot undo things…lol And whenever I make some sort of mistake in my drawings these days, the though alway appear that I will undo what I’ve just done before I realize that I’m not working at the screen…LOL

    But the drawing pad and the canvas will always be my favorite. I think that pattern was set a long time ago.
    Good luck with your adventures on the screen 🙂 And congrats to your new iMac 😀

  2. edith permalink
    April 23, 2006 7:50 pm

    Hey, I have an art blog too. Is it too late to get the complimentary An Artist’s Life book from the editor?
    If not, who do I write to?

  3. edith permalink
    April 23, 2006 8:12 pm

    Edith again. Wondering what model of Wacom tablet you
    have. You sound pretty happy with it + the results are gorgeous.

  4. sugar mama permalink
    April 25, 2006 12:35 am

    I’m an iMac girl too, though I haven’t tried ‘painting’ in Photoshop… unlimited art supplies, that is dreamy! It could be fun to play with images of your actual paintings too — see what kind of digital life they take on. Glad to hear you’re having such a good time!


  5. Anonymous permalink
    May 3, 2006 12:51 am

    I purchased elements for my Mac, and don’t know where to start. I have never used computer software for making art.
    Any knowledge or tips that you can suggest would be appreciated. Thanks, Cindy

    ps Your works and your thought processes are impressive.

  6. Martha Marshall permalink
    May 15, 2006 2:21 pm

    Cindy, there are some really good online tutorials that I stumbled upon here

    Good luck!


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