Enjoy the past comments below for Love those apps…
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.
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.
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.
Today’s new technology is out-of-date in less than a year.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.
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.
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.
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.
“Painting by hand, I’ve come to figure, is a certain kind of love.” I wish I had said that!
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…..
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. Ive 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!
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.
When I was a university student, in mid 80s, 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?
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!
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!!!!!!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
PC is a dirty word, MAC MAC for artists, and no Photoshop, keep it honest.
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.
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.
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’!
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.
You are wrong to suggest that painting with the brushes app on an iPad is easy. The brushes program doesnt 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 its easy.
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.
Ellen must be paid or enchanted by the money-grabbing Apple…just read about Mr. Evil Jobs and you will understand…
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.
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 doesnt do the drawing or creating, its 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. Ill always draw and paint but continue to “pad” along as well. And thanks for saying theres room for us all!
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.
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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.
wonderful: both portraits. Glad he is a successful pilot.
I like the after works with the helicopters….
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.
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.
@ 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.
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.
Love the transformation! Good for you!
I didn’t know, you could send a painting to the barber shop!…
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!
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.
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!
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.
You varnished the changes? Was it an oil painting, and if so how long did you let it dry?
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!
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.
you are fun and kind along with everything else and after my own heart.
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.
Wow that was so wonderful
Robert you are ‘truly – one of a kind’. A special ‘one’ at that! Delightful message.
oil painting, 36 x 24 inches by Kim Carlton, TX, USA
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!