Love those apps

Dear Artist, This morning, June Howie of Victoria, BC, Canada wrote, “Do you have any advice on the pros and cons of using the iPad for painting? The subject seems not to be mentioned in some circles, but as a novice painter, I’m curious. I often wonder if I’m really behind the times. Have you used this sort of thing and what were your reactions?” Thanks, June. Many of us knuckle-dragging brush-painters think that “behind the times” is part of our job description. Why deny ourselves the authentic journey of a time-honoured form? Traditional painters point out that painting with gadgets is like a four-year-old with a Guitar-Hero. “Your kid can be a regular Chet Atkins in twenty minutes.” For pint-sized Picassos there’s Nintendo DS (Dual Screen) and its art apps. All so impermanent — but then again, maybe that delete button is a good thing. IPad apps like Sketchbook Pro, Procreate, ArtRage ArtStudio, Brushes, Zen Brush, Inspire Pro and others are great for the ageless instant gratification needy. And like other new technology, the cutting-edgers are putting the things to work. David Hockney recently exhibited a bunch of florals on wall-hung iPads. Such a curious feeling when passing along the wall — so up in the clouds and easy does it. Batteries not included. “Nevertheless, Bunky, it’s art.” Virtual and actual are like chalk and cheese. If pushing paint turns your crank, get out your sharps and filberts. If iPadding floats your boat, I say Pad like mad. There’s room for us all. Like you, June, I’ve a Photoshop function that turns ordinary photos into watercolours. The technology is so marvelous it knocks my socks off. But it’s not me. To me, making paintings is a doing thing, a communion with nature, an attempt to refine my own sensibilities and understand my processes, a lifelong puzzle of delight and a membership card in the Brotherhood and Sisterhood. My app is the same juicy paint used by Vincent Van Gogh; my screen is the woven canvas of Titian. Painting by hand, I’ve come to figure, is a certain kind of love. Best regards, Robert PS: “With a Wacom tablet and a PC, a middling artist could create a work that is more refined than Hockney’s flowers. Even when finished, his images look more like doodles than polished works.” (Dan Costa) Esoterica: Now familiar with my own particular voice and accent, my Dragon app prints out exactly what I speak into my iPad. Twenty years ago this miracle would be unthinkable. You can be assured that painting apps will get better and better. The current clunky line and substandard gradation will be history. Artists may only need to think of something and the app will make a masterpiece. In the meantime, for my buck, the iPad and other devices for painting are useful learning and testing tools. And like that old hog’s bristle lying half-dried-up on my palette, those new-fangled gadgets can let you down.   Not the same feel by James Moritz, New York City area, NY, USA  

by James Moritz

Painting with the iPad is like comparing a drive-through window at a fast food chain to your favorite chef-owned, local restaurant. They are two very different experiences but they both feed a person in the end. The physical texture on canvas and dimension in brush strokes can’t be done on an iPad or even Wacom’s Cintque. The blending, brush strokes, texture and such are missing. I enjoy them both, although painting is almost meditational while I don’t get the same feel from iPads and Cintique.   Work in progress checked by iPad by Jakki Kouffman, Santa Fe, NM, USA  

“Chama River Turning”
acrylic painting
by Jakki Kouffman

I currently employ my spiffy new iPad in rather old fashioned ways: for study purposes. At the end of each painting day, I snap a picture of the piece with the device. Originally I relied solely on reversing the image with a hand mirror to judge its progress. I still use a mirror every few minutes, but the iPad gives me an additional tool. Take a quick picture and see it at a different, usually smaller scale. Value and compositional issues that may have gone overlooked by tired eyes stand out immediately. What’s even more useful is to save all the variations, in case you want to retrieve something you did on Tuesday.       Praise for the Wacom Cintque by Bryan Johnson   My Dad is an old time traditional paint artist and I am a digital artist painting textures for film & TV in the cg world. I also fall back on my photography skills (film — still shoot it — and digital) for reference and textures. Along with the neat software out there (Photoshop, Painter, Artrage, etc.,) as you mentioned, that combined with a Wacom tablet is amazing. I’d like to add another notch by suggesting a look at the Wacom Cintque. It is a LCD monitor as well as a tablet. Some artists I’ve worked with (be it painters or modelers, sculptors, story board artists) love it. Not for everyone that uses a tablet but very interesting artistic technology nevertheless.   Older mediums never replaced by Jean Wilson, Des Moines, IA, USA  

“EBW navajo”
decorated envelope
by Jean Wilson

You did not mention the other sensory experiences that you get with an actual brush and paint. The smell of paint is part of the experience and the tactile sensation of pushing and pulling a gooey 3D medium will never be replicated by buttons and touch pads. And most of all… the look of real paint on a surface cannot be replicated. When you see gouache sitting on the surface of arches paper, the particles of pigment have a completely unique appearance. Each medium is unique. Electronic art is its own medium and is welcome to stand alongside all the others, but it will never replace any of the older mediums. There are 4 comments for Older mediums never replaced by Jean Wilson
From: Patricia Warren — Nov 08, 2012

What a delight to see your decorated envelope! I belong to two decorated envelope exchanges, and it has encouraged me to see that they might be considered ‘art’. You have made my day!

From: Stolz Eva — Nov 09, 2012

My late husband was president of Canadian Independent Cover Club. We have a huge collection of envelopes around the world. Yours will be one of very unique. All the best Eva

From: Maren Malm — Nov 09, 2012

I agree! Your envelope is beautiful and clever. I’m inspired. I’ve often wanted to do this and never had the courage, but now I will venture forth!

From: Jean Wilson — Nov 13, 2012

  Masters of digital media by Kit Miracle, Jasper, IN, USA  

“Dreadlock portrait”
digital painting
by Gary Stearly

You may wish to check out Gary Stearly. He’s a painter with twenty years of history who has now transitioned to a WACOM. It’s very impressive work. I do not know him personally but have only seen his work in a portfolio submission. (RG note) Thanks, Kit. And thanks to everyone who sent examples of what they thought were modern masters of digital media. There were quite a few.     There is 1 comment for Masters of digital media by Kit Miracle
From: Anonymous — Nov 09, 2012

Is this drawn from scratch or is it an altered photograph? Looks like a photo.

  Digital an artist’s godsend by Bernadine Fox, Vancouver, BC, Canada  

“Home: breakfast”
oil painting
by Bernadine Fox

The best use of digital technology around painting comes in the form of digital cameras. They are on all the iPads, tablets, and cell phones these days. All those ridiculous things that artists used to do to try and get a fresh perspective on their painting (putting it away for a day or two, getting feedback from a fellow artist, looking at it through a mirror, etc.) are now dismissed with one click of a digital-picture-taking device. The image is immediate and it gives an artist the ability to step back from the piece and see the distortions, the bad colours, the improper shadows, and not-enough highlights. I take my phone or my Samsung tablet with me to the studio and will snap a photo every so often just to get that perspective. Not only that, I can take that image home and print it at night. Then, I get to sit down with it while watching my favourite late-night TV show and mark it up circling the areas that need my attention the following day in the studio. When I am done a piece, I can immediately document it. That photo can be uploaded into Photoshop and cropped and used right away in my inventory archives and to send out with exhibition proposals. Gone are the days of slides (OMG, that makes me so happy). Digital technology has been a godsend for artists!   Principles still rule by Cindi Walton, Boise, ID, USA  

original painting
by Cindi Walton

I am an artist. I graduated from college with my emphasis in ceramics. So, I’m in love with the smell of clay and the “morning of Christmas” feeling of opening the kiln. I also am a painter. It kind of sneaked up on me. When I had an idea, it seemed like a natural to pick up a brush, squirt out some paint and paint my idea on canvas. But, my day job is making Christmas cards on the computer, so I guess then I’m an illustrator. I use Photoshop and over the years I learned some ways to use that software, my computer, a scanner and a printer to create some good stuff. It’s all art. My printmaking professor embraced the computer and all its marvels. But, his critiques were the same as for non-computer work. The use of color, highlights and shadows, perspective, rhythm, patterns were still the discussion on whether you had created good art or not. Many of us thought that if we did it on the computer it would be easier, but you were still questioned on the same basics of design and composition as a piece with ink or screen-printing, etc. They are all tools to create with and it’s all art. However, the principles of art still rule.   Versatility of the digital process by John Deckert, Mill Valley, CA, USA  

“Another Wake Up Call”
digital painting
by John Deckert

With an iPad and an app and a stylus I’ve been able to keep up my drawing skills and improve my understanding of color mixing and composition all without making a mess on the living room rug. And there’s more to learn from these apps too. They are excellent teaching tools. The ability to demonstrate in a clear and obvious way the relationship between value saturation and hue has opened more than a few students’ eyes. The ability to UNDO is a bonus. The trial balloons you can send up with layers are a real treat. These things are not going to replace my painting. They will not replace my sketchbook. But I would no more abandon them than I’d give up working in the evenings by electricity in the studio light or photographs. And check this out. With some of the apps you can play back your entire painting like a movie. Making it interesting to see where things got tied up, where things went wrong, or when it all of a sudden got too fussy. Yes, you can print them out on paper or canvas then put them in a frame or sell them as gicleé prints, but for me these things are most useful in the digital world. I can email the image. I can post it to a website. It doesn’t take up space in my attic. Everyone I know can have an “original.” And the treat of seeing exactly how it was done.   More to it than meets the eye by Don Lambert, Weatherford, TX, USA  

“Spirit 2”
digital painting
by Don Lambert

I am a life time artist, painter, illustrator, photographer, giclee printer and as of the last 20 years a digital artist. If you could spare a minute would you please look at my web site and look at the gallery pages. All of this work is digital. All of this work is original and completed using a high end digital camera, Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter a Wacom tablet and the latest large format printers from Epson. These are all printed on Canvas and stretched. Some are as large as 40×60 inches. I shoot the image, I crop the image for composition, I adjust the image in Photoshop for the look I am after, I PAINT the image in Painter then I print the file. I gotta tell you there are times I just want to yell obscenities when folks dismiss digital art as an iPhone app anyone can download and create something with a push of a computer key. I know this is not what you meant, just saying for serious digital art there is not a button to push that will give you an instant work of art that has a file size you can print. Twenty years ago I left an art directors position to do my own thing. Did lots of free lance illustration and airbrush work to put food on the table. Picked up some photo restoration from a local lab and all of a sudden my studio was a photo restoration lab. My dear wife, who is a world class software designer and computer genius, mentioned off handily that a computer setup done correctly could really help with my overwhelming work load. Well, being the traditional artist and husband, she would have to prove it to me. At that time I was doing the pickup of the work at labs across town, setting up displays in the PPA doing all the art, retouching all the old photos. Copying the repaired prints then making new prints in my dark room. Then on Fridays delivering and shipping. Oh and when time allowed I sat in front of an easel and painted. If a computer system could save my life not to mention sanity I would look into this digital crap; just could not believe it could help in any artistic way… Very long story cut short, it revolutionized my work. This all happened when the first pressure sensitive tablets were out, the machines were moving from 16 bit to 24 bit and monitors began to be good enough to work with. As you can imagine it took years of up-grades to finally have a workflow that that was as smooth as it is now. For me, computers are just another tool for the creative artist, just as a flat or filbert brush is — there was a time I even left a jar of medium open by my work station for that painterly smell. There are 6 comments for More to it than meets the eye by Don Lambert
From: Bee Gee — Nov 09, 2012

Then you have become a digital artist, you have learned to do this on the computer, it is what it is thats all. You could just as well learned to paint, you didn’t want to ok by me just don’t think and believe everybody is going to want to do computer art, there is a difference and you haven’t said that. We get to choose which one we want to do and I’ll always take hand made art, because this is what I like, and so do a lot of other people. Also I would not spend money on digitally made art, I like the real paint thing. You are defending your art, you don’t have to as long as you allow people to have their opinion and what they want. It is just a choice.

From: Terry Fortkamp — Nov 09, 2012

Very interesting. This is a great tool for your sensibility! As a representational painter also, I can see what a time saver this is. Some of your work looks like touched up photos and some looks so painterly and all look beautiful to me. You have a great feeling for color and composition and many buyers would rather have the stunning emotional quality felt in your work than seeing paint on canvas. Congratulations!!

From: Sarah — Nov 09, 2012

Spirit is a gorgeous and powerful work of art. Seems to me that you have more than mastered the particular tools of your craft. No doubt there are lots of half-hearted “artists” using digital tools that produce mediocre work at best. They probably need to use actual paints and brushes to develop the skills needed for meaningful and beautiful work. Robert Genn is right–there’s room for all of us.

From: Brenda — Nov 09, 2012

If you have clients, nothing will stop you. These works are very nice time savers for you and money savers for your customers. I wonder if they are a good investment though, as printed imitations of paintings?

From: Lezley — Nov 12, 2012

I’m interested to know whether you actually paint digitally or put it through a paint app that will render the photograph like an oil painting? Those are very different things. I came here by way of the Robert Genn email about your work and in his article he says, “Then he passes the work through the “Painter” app and produces what looks for all the world like a masterful oil painting.” I know a great many fantastic artists who have worked hard to master digital painting techniques in just the same way you master traditional methods. I suck at digital painting and I’m not going to even attempt to learn it beyond the ability to apply gradations to digital illustrations. It’s a commitment to years of practice and developing the use of the tools – just like any other medium. I don’t see a value difference between digital and analog paint skills because they are developed in the same way. However, I don’t see much artistic value in using a “Painter” app to replicate an analog technique. Would you be able to clarify for me in regards to your own methods? And if you ARE using Painter to digitally paint all your work – contact Robert Genn because that’s not the way he represents your technique in his latest mailing. Thanks!

From: Nancy Cantelon, Port McNeill, B.C. — Nov 24, 2012

Don Lambert, your work speaks for itself. The colours are warm and rich, the composition, ‘feel’ and energy are inspiring, and it’s a magnificent piece of art, originating in your head. Beautifully done!


Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Love those apps

From: John — Nov 06, 2012

Sometimes when I’m having trouble with a piece, I will photograph the artwork and then work through the problem with Wacom and Photoshop. It is quicker and I think there is an advantage to having the smaller image on the monitor to check for overall design flaws. Computer assisted images are never a starting or end point. The Hockney approach is interesting in that the creative surface of the ipad is the one that is exhibited like traditional 2-D art. It becomes problematic when the file is printed, I think because the surface is so important to the presentation and the printed file would not resemble that wonderful ipad screen.

From: Nina Allen Freeman — Nov 06, 2012

For me, the surface texture of a painting is a large part of the joy of painting it as well as looking at paintings in an exhibit. Brushstrokes, areas of canvas, smooth and rough places, these add so much to a painting and so far, ipad apps haven’t been able to duplicate this. The only way to get this kind of lovely texture is the very low tech painting by hand, guided by the most remarkable computer of all, our brain.

From: Sandra Taylor Hedges — Nov 06, 2012

Whether it’s conte, watercolour or Finger Sketch Pro the fact remains – I did it; I’m an Artist therefore it’s Art. If all you die hard knuckledraggers think that these computer tools are easier than painting; try them, easy they are not. Bamboo tool really helps to develop your hand eye co-ordination as does many of the other drawing apps out there.

From: ReneW — Nov 06, 2012

Today’s new technology is out-of-date in less than a year. New apps arrive on this iPad daily. Innovations in sketching, drawing and painting apps are really helpful to us artists who like to do quick thumbnails prior to making a work on canvas or paper. Sculpture on my iPad is still not done easily. In my humble opinion, electricity and a battery is the main drawback to the new technology. If I don’t have electricity and a battery I am dead in the water. Having just 10% battery power remaining on my iPad is not good.

From: Jeanean Songco Martin — Nov 06, 2012

I must agree with Robert on this one. I too need the juicy paint, my paint comes from the inspiration of Velasquez, Rembrandt or Constable and just the thought of the coarse woven linen that Titian used makes me excited. I am proud to say that I am behind the times. I think it is okay to use technology like an IPad if you feel it helps your work, however, I think like the use of photography it should only be used as an “aid” and not a substitute. I belong to several life drawing groups and it is very odd to watch painters who bring in photographs and now the IPad to paint from instead of watching the model who is right in front of their easels. It is actually harder to paint from a flat image. It is much easier to derive workable information from life and the emoitional response is so much greater when you have a “one on one” experience with a model, still life or landscape. There simply is no comparison to the real deal which for me is still working from life.

From: Robert Sesco — Nov 06, 2012

After you have the benefit of Life Experience, you have valuable perspective. With that perspective you make choices based not upon Madison Ave. advertising, Billboard Magazine rankings, public-voted who is Hot and who is Not, or the NYTimes best seller list, among many other demographically generated samples. You begin to think for yourself, and you begin choose that which appeals to you because YOU like it, or favor it, or want to explore it. Because of the world I entered into, grew up in, and matured in, I will choose to continue to write with a fountain pen on quality stock cards or paper and practice good penmanship and lick a stamp and send off my invitation or sentiments of sympathy etc. I will never stoop to sending such things as an email, or eCard, etc. I fully understand that this may become the norm, but as long as I live I will choose and make my decisions based upon the generation into which I was born. I will also choose to listen to complex or sophisticated music from the Classical genre or from the complex and sophisticated period of the Big Band era rather than the melody-devoid street rhythms of HipHop or Rap with vulgar lyrics and angry sentiments. It’s not my demographic, it’s not my generation. The Japanese could easily drink a cup of tea without all that ceremony and ritual, but they choose to do so because it means something to them. Many oil painters choose to paint as old masters painted, not because it helps them churn out product, but because it means something to them, there is a romance to the smell of linseed oil and the learning. I smoke a cigar once a year and I choose my cigar based upon historical figures who smoked that brand, such as Churchill, Letterman, Limbaugh, etc. I write love letters to my mate because I think she enjoys it more than if I were to send her an email because it is more convenient for me. When you are young and have only been conscious on the planet for a couple of decades it is unfortunately normal to be distracted by all the latest gadgets, to be unable to be comfortable in silence, having music playing in your home and in your ears while on a walk and from your computer while at work, etc. If you want to create with virtual screens and digital color and plasma canvasses then, as Robert has stated, there is room for you in this world. Go for it. Neither the digital visionary nor the oldest traditional painter should judge the other for relevance. When you are mature, you choose for yourself and you do not require everyone else to believe as you.

From: Armand Cabrera — Nov 06, 2012

The downside of creating art digitally is you have no physical original for your efforts. Yes, you can make a print of the work but that hardly takes the place of a real painting. Most painting programs simulate brushwork and texture poorly and those qualities are reduced even further once you generate the print.

From: Edna Park Waller — Nov 06, 2012

“Painting by hand, I’ve come to figure, is a certain kind of love.” I wish I had said that!

From: Kirsten Elizabeth Gilmore — Nov 06, 2012

Even if your art is made with brushes and paint, technology can help strengthen your use of them. One useful tool is to photograph a work in color, open it in any graphics program and, in one click, switch to grayscale. Then, you can clearly see the range of values in her own piece. Now, I do this automatically, internally, without the aide of technology, but when I was first learning watercolors, this technique helped immensely. Too often, I see students whose work lacks a dramatic range of values; telling them this does little to change it, but showing them in grayscale makes it clear.

From: Tud — Nov 06, 2012

Digital devices and apps are new tools and new toys we can play with. Each tool has a different nature, just as any traditional medium. Use it if you like it, or put it away if you don’t. Simple as that. Hockney is not a good example for digital art but merely seeking attention by jumping on the digital bandwagon, in my opinion. One can easily find thousands of much better digital artists all over the web to see what these tools can do.

From: Len — Nov 06, 2012

My only beef with digital generation is the expectation to be “liked”. The rest of us just do what we do regardless. I don’t remember reading articles where sculptors ask what others think about sculpting…

From: John Deckert — Nov 06, 2012
From: Paul Bower — Nov 06, 2012

One of my art teachers uses her iPad to take pictures. She then uses the iPad photo to use as a reference rather than a print photo, just as some use a computer. It seems to work great for her and for her class demos.

From: John — Nov 06, 2012

You may be interested in my wife Kate’s Facebook group, iPad painters. There’s a broad range of skill and style, but I’ve found some gems there. The nicest thing about iPad painting, I think, is the lack of fuss of the usual assortment of tubes of paint, brushes, etc. One can paint easily while riding the airplane or stuck in a boring meeting…..

From: Teresa Wertheimer — Nov 06, 2012

Thank you for quoting my son (Dan Costa) in your Nov. 5 letter. I almost fell off of my chair when I saw his name! I am an artist in Tucson Arizona, primarily using watercolors. I’ve been reading your letter for a couple of years now and almost always find it interesting, informative, and entertaining. I have thoroughly enjoyed it so keep up the good work!

From: Greg Freedman — Nov 06, 2012

Creating art on computers takes little effort, often the push of a button is all that’s required. Where is the value in that? I believe that if I am not challenged by every new canvas I put on the easel than I am cheating myself. Not because the most effort produces the best art – often it doesn’t – but because the harder I work to achieve my goal produces the most value for me as an artist. The steeper the climb the more satisfaction I feel if I reach the summit. It may be true that the paintings that flow easiest from my brush are often the most relaxed and successful pieces I produce and, conversely, the paintings that give me the most difficulty can turn out stiff and over-worked – but that is just product. For me, the real value in art isn’t the quality of the product I produce but the value of what I experience while producing it. No matter how hard an artist works, art can never be mastered – even the masters knew that.

From: Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki — Nov 06, 2012

When I was a university student, in mid 80’s, there was a “mad scientist” guy working night and day in the lab, always pulling his hair out. He was working on voice recognition software. So it took 30ish years from the lab to Genn use. You are right, artists are not on the cutting edge of technology. Art apps are getting a huge popularity, just as you say, as instant gratification and distraction from reality. But there must be a few of those who will be innovative and original and make discoveries that will contribute something to the art history. We are seeing two new camps being formed, as strongly opposed to each other as realist and abstract ones. For me, computers are a tool of business, and brushes are a tool of love, so I have no interest in apps. But there are friends who get lot of happiness from them. People like you and I are only one part of the equation, or maybe we take ourselves too seriously?

From: Elle Fagan — Nov 06, 2012

Yes…we used to do up cute Etch-a-Sketch art with our young children and hang it up for show till one of us got wiggly and had to shake it down and start again. Apps indeed… I got my POMODORO – means Golden Apple – the Italian idea of Tomato. Arrived at my door at noon. In spite of voting day, will be at it ASAP. I am fine and efficient in my work as a rule and have even sold half of my last “300” or donated or gifted them. But NOW I am UNdisabled from the accident that stopped me for a bit….and it is grand at my new studio but all the new business setup , paperwork, computers and iPad etc….my way at the easel got disorganized. And then “Ta-dahhh!” your note about the Pomodoro! Perfect! This will help get it snappy again…and not only that: my injuries to Lumbar, Thoracic and Cervical are nearly pain free, on no meds – PARTICULARLY if I remember to get up every 25 minutes and walk around walk around stretch , breathe , walk around. So your POMODORO suggestion is a Golden App indeed!

From: Norman Ridenour — Nov 06, 2012

What you are saying that art is religious and no gizmo is going to change that. Back to my question to students; ‘Is art the process or the result?’ As a good pagan should I get a pouring machine to portion out the red wine to Pan each Equinox and Solstice? &%!_($ NO! The ritual is it!!!!!!!!

From: Peter Kiidumae — Nov 06, 2012

I’ve often wondered, had the computer been invented before fountain pens and paper, would the same people that say they “would never stoop” to sending an email in place of a handwritten note by post instead look down on the mailed letter as something beneath them, never to be stooped to as a replacement for an email? I strongly suspect so.

From: Rick Rotante — Nov 06, 2012

I imagine that electronic art will invest itself into more and more discussions on art, along with arts form and substance. I can even imagine a future with an “Electro-Genn-Techno Key” site on the web. Personally, I am at the age where what I paint will continue to be done the old fashioned way. My major concern is with the art, not the novelties with which we make it in future. Artists, since the beginning, have experimented with all sorts of supports for their work. This is why we have murals, mosaics, tapestry, paintings on wood and metal. I see this exploration continuing ad infinitum. Each generation will develop new ways to get their ideas across. The current trend for every new thing, sadly,seems to involve electronics, I am sending this message electronically. The images I attach are electronic, albeit they started as an original actual painting, but viewers are seeing an electronic version of my work. My only concern is the quality with which art is produced; that it involves the viewer and has some sense of beauty inherent in it. I am not a big fan of minimalist abstract art, nor many of the “ism” that have come (and gone) with time. But this is the experimentation I am talking about. If future generations want their work on an iPad hung on the wall, so be it. It would be nice to have it next to an original Sargent or Monet.

From: Kathryn Pigg — Nov 06, 2012

My sketchbook mobile app allows me to explore and sculpt. Always an abstract painter, the warmth of touch approach allows me to use my tactile faculties and enjoy growing and learning. I do little with special effects. I just explore color, line, and other emotional and cognitive effects.

From: Tricia Reichert — Nov 06, 2012
From: Gwen Meyer — Nov 06, 2012

I think she was talking about using the iPad in the same way one would use a photograph of source material, not as the vehicle for which to create art. Yes, being there with the scene in front of you is best, but sometimes life doesn’t allow for that, and it doesn’t make anyone a lesser artist…only the results do.

From: Lida van Bers — Nov 06, 2012

To me there is only one way of true panting and that is, brush or other tools, real paint to mess about and canvas to create feelings, mood, thoughts, eyes,and your whole being. This can never be done digitally or an iPad. Real painting will never be dead.

From: Annie Cicale — Nov 06, 2012

It’s amazing how many people mix up the actual object (the painting) with the process (the painting!) What we do with them afterwards has to do with marketing, communicating and such, but the doing has to do with our own self. I have been painting and lettering for years, but recently decided to try some wood engraving. I wear closeup glasses and magnifiers on top of those, my hand and neck ache after a few hours and I know I’ll be all gooey when I print them. I COULD draw them, scan them (or draw them with my Wacom), make some photopolymer plates and print them that way, but that’s a totally different process. Which is better? Depends on the day. I love your letters. I imagine you painting, thinking, drawing, thinking, and then running over to the computer to write it all down. Or–perhaps you pick up your Osmiroid and dash them off, and then, over your evening Scotch, type them up. No matter what your process, the results are wonderful.

From: George Lambert — Nov 06, 2012

I have never tried iPad apps but I use my iPad to take photos of landscapes, still life’s and portraits. I set my iPad on a table next to my easel and paint away. I can crop, zoom and move the image around with my fingers. It’s quite a lot of fun!

From: Ellen Lyons — Nov 06, 2012

PC is a dirty word, MAC MAC for artists, and no Photoshop, keep it honest.

From: Maureen Ward — Nov 06, 2012

I haven’t given up on traditional oils — and I even expanded my tools to include gouache over the last couple of years. But I can’t turn my nose up at the iPad. If you avoid tracing, weird effects, lots of layering, I think you’ll find it’s just as challenging to produce a nice image on the iPad as it is on canvas or paper. Especially when painting alla prima from live models, making gesture drawings while the live model is doing a belly dance, or even making a decent image from a reference photograph of your spouse.

From: David Nielsen — Nov 06, 2012

Recently I have played around with my iPad, using Sketchbook Pro. It is not the same as working with oils, (my main medium) but isn’t that the point? Testing yourself, breaking away from the norm, and simply experimenting help inform our other work. I made the iPad drawing in a few minutes, while at a meeting, looking out the window. It was fun, and creative.

From: Steve — Nov 06, 2012

I don’t have an iPad- heck, I don’t even have a smart phone. But, I am a potter, and I don’t see how I can throw a ‘virtual pot’!

From: Arthur Hunter-Blair — Nov 06, 2012

Totally agree with you painting, printing etc. is a hands on thing, I have been at it for 70 years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It would drive me buggy if I put it into the hands of the devils machines.

From: Anne Swannell — Nov 06, 2012

You are wrong to suggest that painting with the brushes app on an iPad is easy. The brushes program doesn’t “do it for you,” believe me. Take a look at the Hockney paintings, and before you make such a claim just TRY to do anything like those flowers on an iPad…..THEN tell me it’s easy.

From: Gavin Logan — Nov 06, 2012

Thank Goodness!

From: Jill — Nov 06, 2012

With respect, I disagree. Wacoms and Photoshop have become ever more sophisticated; iPad apps – including the Photoshop app – are following close behind. The best work I have seen is being done by high end illustrators (and a few fine artists) who have thorough training and experience in traditional media. Working digitally saves them drying time and scanning. I’ve learned methods of digital painting that create a traditional palette, use a grissille under-painting and mirror wet-in-wet and glazing techniques. Switching between digital and oil enhanced my understanding of both. Yes, there may be a lot of lame work out there, but there is also work with rock-solid content, composition, and execution. I prefer playing in the muckiness of oils, but when I have to produce something solely for print – I go digital.

From: Hans — Nov 07, 2012

Ellen must be paid or enchanted by the money-grabbing Apple…just read about Mr. Evil Jobs and you will understand…

From: Alison Nicholls — Nov 07, 2012
From: Jose DeLaRosa — Nov 07, 2012

I’m a gallery owner and artist. I feel a little more like a dinosaur everyday, I believe the unfortunate outcome will be that technology will eventually take over our craft. I still refuse to take pieces into my gallery (Hanging Around Frame and Art) that are not “hand made” pieces, but I also see the writing on the wall, that before long I will have to start taking in digital art in order to compete. I hope this trend slows down but it is unlikely, I noticed that digital art is becoming a major part of art programs across the nation. I have also heard arguments that digital art doesn’t put the artist at risk like the oil paints and mediums that I am so passionately embrace. They are right, even with proper ventilation and handling we are still exposed. Like you I would rather die creating art the same way that it has been done for thousands of years than change to a computerized version.

From: Lori Graydon — Nov 07, 2012

I do portraits in watercolour and pencil but also have a blog that I illustrate with an ipad (drawing with a stylus instead of a finger). I don’t think an ipad can make someone an instant artist. It doesn’t do the drawing or creating, it’s really just another medium. Once you find the app that works for you (Art Studio and Sketch Club are my favourites) it can be a lot of fun. I’ll always draw and paint but continue to “pad” along as well. And thanks for saying there’s room for us all!

From: Gabriele Stehle — Nov 07, 2012

I was in Cologne, Germany,two weeks ago, the train passing the Museum Ludwig on the way in. I got excited when I saw there was a David Hockney exhibition going on during my visit. I hardly ever go anywhere when in Cologne, visiting my parents, so I thought it might be a nice change to go and see his exhibition. Luckily I Googled it first. There were some images online, amazingly bright and colorful, just as I like it, but my heart sank when I realized those were the pictures I had read about, the iPad ones. I lost interest instantly. I’m aware David Hockney’s craft is in them, I wouldn’t be able to do anything even close. It’s not the kind of art where you think even a four year old could do it. It’s the medium that just doesn’t interest me. Call me old-fashioned, I won’t mind. I like art to be done the old way, actual, not virtual.

From: Chris Breier — Nov 07, 2012

You never have to reload your “brush” or wait for the paint to dry. I think it would be great for beginners because they can make hundreds of lousy drawings without feeling guilty about wasting materials, and experienced artists can explore new ideas with the same freedom.

From: Bart Hellemans — Nov 08, 2012

I was reading Steve, (the potter) his comment above, where he mentions virtual pottery doesn’t exist. Try this : download sculptris, turn on turntable animation (in options) and start sculpting. There’s your pot :)

From: David Rankin — Nov 08, 2012
From: Steve Clement — Nov 08, 2012

Robert, a great story and one showing the true integrity of you as a person and an artist. I wholeheartedly concur with your decision to guarantee satisfaction for life. I have never had such things cause me problems, but they certainly have won committed collectors and friends. Good show.

From: Russ Hogger — Nov 08, 2012

Using the computer to create art can be another way of making a set of limited edition digital prints. For example make a set of 20 prints on good quality paper. Number and sign them, then delete the original.

From: Gabriella Morrison — Nov 08, 2012

What excites me about the visual arts is the fact of manipulating materials to express ideas. Thirty years ago, the main satisfaction from photography for me was in working in the darkroom with its limitations and its potentials. Seeing an image gradually appear in the developer was magical; it was a challenge to remove it into the fixwer at the correct time. Still, photography had little of the visceral enjoyment potential of making a woodcut, inking it, printing it – where my body and not just my eyes and mind were engaged. I know it is seductive to be able to make retinal products without being necessarily physically engaged and involved, but we human beings are best when we are kinetically engaged and are less passive when using our physical as well as mental and intellectual capacities. I think also that the digital age is changing the nature of us as beings, and not necessarily for the better.

From: Connie Kuhn — Nov 09, 2012

wonderful: both portraits. Glad he is a successful pilot.

From: Carol Taylor — Nov 09, 2012

I like the after works with the helicopters….

From: Sheila Minifie — Nov 09, 2012

I have been a digital artist for about 13 years, and have been a traditional painter and sculptor for about 35 years. The digital way is just different – it has different strengths and weaknesses. I love it – I’m different on it – freer because I don’t have historical techniques to press on me, which I do find holds me back somewhat in traditional work. In digital, I rather throw things around and am unable to recall exactly how I achieved an effect (but that’s just me). I am at one with the materials. There’s no need for an either/or. There certainly cannot be right or wrong way to express whatever you want to express, only authenticity and skill and a pull towards quality.

From: Sheila Minifie — Nov 09, 2012

For those who think like Jose DeLaRosa that computer art should just go away – I was told by my MA tutors in 1998 that they wished the internet would just go away – that I shouldn’t have anything to do with it because it wasn’t going to be of any use. I had real problems with them throughout my postgrad. The internet can be bad and it can be good; same, same digital art. It too will develop and has strengths, both similar and different than the things we value (including myself) in traditional artwork. And age is no excuse either – I’m 64 and was doing traditional figurative sculpture when most art students were doing pop art and abstract painting and was sneered at for doing it. There is one thing I would say – and I do sympathise with people not liking printed out digital work because I believe it is better viewed on a screen so that light and colour can work their magic.

From: Sheila Minifie — Nov 09, 2012

@ Greg Freedman. Computer art isn’t about pushing a button and there you are. That is mythology. Someone doing that isn’t an artist at all, but likely an amateur playing with technology or a graphic artist in a hurry.

From: misspeggyartist — Nov 09, 2012

What a wonderful painting it was and is. I’ve only had an issue like this once and it was worth every minute of work for the end result of a more-than-satisfied client.

From: Pat Langley — Nov 09, 2012

Love the transformation! Good for you!

From: Hilde Friese — Nov 09, 2012

I didn’t know, you could send a painting to the barber shop!…

From: Sylvia Boulware — Nov 09, 2012

I love your style of painting Jimmy. Thanks for sharing the background story of this very successful “transformation”. The composition reminds me of something an art teacher once warned us students about…those “tangents”. Beautiful result!

From: B J Adams — Nov 09, 2012

You have hit the brush on the canvas with an answer for everyone. When I first got my iPad I had to try every Art App and felt they were amazing. Working with each App was like solving a puzzle, sometimes a good result and sometimes deleted immediately. The Apps and the iPad turned out to be more a bit of magic for playing and did take a lot of time, examining what was possible. But, when I go in to the studio the iPad is put away.

From: Maureen O’Keefe West — Nov 09, 2012

I love the way you obliged the owner of the painting of Jimmy Newton by erasing his moustache and adding the desired helicopters. I bet it made the recipiants very happy!! You are a true artist to do that for them and not get caught up in your ‘precious’ work – adjusting the painting was very gracious of you! Both paintings (before and after) look amazing!

From: Micaela Marsden — Nov 09, 2012

I think of the iPad as another medium. A bad artist will do what a bad artist does, a good artist will do what a good artist does. You do not have the same tactile experience you do with a brush/canvas/paper whatever, but it has other interactions which are different and wonderful. You can use different blending methods, such as “normal”, “multiply”, “transparent”, etc etc., and you can change the properties of the brushes. You can choose any color in the spectrum with hue/shade applied as you wish. It’s easier to share them online. You can share in print, especially if you create your art using a higher resolution, then you can print it out on good paper, on canvas, etc. It’s not quite the same as an original, it’s more like a…print! Still good art.

From: Page Holland — Nov 09, 2012

You varnished the changes? Was it an oil painting, and if so how long did you let it dry?

From: Karen R. Phinney — Nov 09, 2012

Well, I have respect for any art making, however it’s done, but i don’t think I could ever use a computer to actually make art. I Love the whole painting thing, getting the brushes out, putting out the paint, applying it to the surface (canvas, board, or paper) and even cleaning it up. A sensual experience! But, for those who have mastered the software and the techniques, that is great. It just won’t ever be me!

From: Marilyn — Nov 09, 2012

The advantage of studio art over digital art is I can keep on painting when the power fails, Cable goes haywire, or the computer/iPad goes bonkers.

From: Judy Wray — Nov 09, 2012

you are fun and kind along with everything else and after my own heart.

From: DeweyZ — Nov 10, 2012

Hi – Maybe its my old eyes but the plane on the left side looks like it is attached to the mans head – maybe it should carry through to the other side a bit – or lightening it up to the same value as the other plane. I admire your work and you are a very talented artist – thanks for your website it is most enjoyable. Happy painting – DeweyZ I enjoy going to your site and seeing what others are doing.

From: Delilah — Nov 11, 2012

Wow that was so wonderful

From: Patsy from Texas — Nov 11, 2012

Robert you are ‘truly – one of a kind’. A special ‘one’ at that! Delightful message.

From: Jim van Geet — Nov 11, 2012
From: Kathleen Lambert — Nov 11, 2012
From: Darlene Pike — Nov 12, 2012
From: Robert Masla — Nov 13, 2012
     Featured Workshop: Ingrid Christensen
110912_robert-genn Ingrid Christensen workshops Held in Mexico   The Workshop Calendar provides up-to-date selected workshops and seminars arranged in chronological order.

Westward Vision

oil painting, 36 x 24 inches by Kim Carlton, TX, USA

  You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013. That includes Rodney Mackay of Lunenburg, NS, Canada, who wrote, “It’s wacky but fun. I think my grandchild will eventually be hanging the changing face of digital art on a very flat monitor.” And also Roos Schuring of The Netherlands, who wrote, “Everyone can paint, but with all of those people losing their jobs and turning to painting, I think it’s good to have quality to stand out more.”