‘Denial of digital?’

Dear Artist, Readers may remember “More to it than meets the eye” by Don Lambert of Weatherford, Texas, in response to my recent letter “Love those apps.” Taking a look at Don’s work, I was blown away by the remarkable quality. Don’s art is photographically based. As I understand it, he goes to quite a bit of trouble to set up his models and photograph them in period costumes and true-to-life environments. After photos are taken, he may combine by Photoshop other images that give the work added meaning and nuance. Then he passes the work through the “Painter” app and produces what looks for all the world like a masterful oil painting. From there he goes directly to Giclee-on-canvas in a variety of sizes to order. In this way Don produces excellent work that looks like the oil paintings of E.I. Couse, W.H. Dunton, Dean Cornwell or even Vermeer, Sargent or Norman Rockwell. To get some advice on this, I spoke to my trusted friend Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki. “This definitely requires skill,” she said. “But the problem is with the images being printed on canvas. When you print digital art on canvas, it devaluates digital art and makes it cheesy and a ‘traditional painting look-alike.’ I like David Hockney’s presentation on digital devices better. His ideas can be safely commercialized and sold as a digital file, which in fact they are.” “Perhaps,” said Tatjana, “the value of work like Don’s is in enabling artists to be more prolific and to be able to correct mistakes and make adjustments. One of the most constraining limits in traditional painting is that there’s no undo button.” “Yes, but,” I said, “are we not perhaps coming to a time when material can float in the clouds, just as it does in the brains of many artists, until it’s needed by a consumer?” That’s when one of my other trusted friends, Joe Blodgett, chimed in, “You know better than that, dude; ersatz is ersatz.” Best regards, Robert PS: “Computers are another tool for the creative artist–just as a flat or filbert brush is. But there was a time when I left a jar of medium open by my work station for that painterly smell.” (Don Lambert) Esoterica: In the same way that 19th century portrait painters were disturbed and disenfranchised by the advent of photography, many of today’s painters are in denial of digital. As Tatjana mentioned, there are other issues. On Friday, in a high mountain park, sitting on one of those bottom-warming cushions, I was attempting to keep my fingers moving in their fingerless gloves. Large flakes of snow were landing on my palette and the drip on the end of my nose was in constant need of becoming an icicle. “This is so wonderful,” I said to myself, “I hope this will always be.” Am I nuts? Who’s in denial here?   Don Lambert — giclees on canvas

Available light


Before sundown


Blowing off steam


Borrowed pony




Guard duty


Man cave


Morning coffee

            Not in the painting department by Duncan Long, Manhattan, KS, USA  

“Lead Me Not”
digital painting
by Duncan Long

I earn my living as a book cover illustrator. I think “Denial of Digital” was interesting, but also sort of misses the mark. Digital to print is more like an etching, silk screen, or lithograph than painting. Yes, it might be applied to canvas, paper, or whatever. The process of creating the digital work may (or may not) be similar to painting with many programs mimicking actual mediums. But the process of creating an original and then reproducing it on some other medium is more akin to something other than painting.     There are 6 comments for Not in the painting department by Duncan Long
From: Sheila Minifie — Nov 16, 2012

Nice piece of work!

From: BG — Nov 16, 2012

Thank you for the honest comment which I agree with. So many people who work in this medium want to make it something it is not and that is painting! It is lovely but it should be what it is.

From: Janet Badger — Nov 16, 2012

Makers of Original Prints,(serigraphs, etchings, mezzotints, linoleums) have nothing in common with those who manipulate photos and let the computer create the art. Just saying…A plate whose image is created with a human hand gripping a tool over a period of days or even weeks, ink applied and then wiped away by that same hand, paper soaked, a press cranked, sometimes with difficulty and effort…this is original art from start to finish.

From: Betty Newcomer — Nov 16, 2012

I totally agree with Janet Badger!! True art comes from our soul and digital is NOT from there. I must say a lot of it beautiful but not from the artist. Feelings are a lot of our images and we want it all! lol I do not believe they should be judged the same in a show either!!

From: Anonymous — Nov 16, 2012

As a digital artist, who works mainly in Art Rage, I create works from scratch, with no photo manipulation incorporated into the mix. You can make your marks just like a normal artist (and I am one too!). To do it well, takes a huge amount of practice and passion, and then many hours of creating. The soft proofing and then printing with my expensive giclee printer onto gorgeous artist paper also takes research and practice. I sign each one and sell, just like a linocut, etching, etc. To degrade this art to have no meaning is ignoring the advances in our technological and artistic world. I agree that taking a photo and pressing a ‘convert-to-painting’ button is cheating, but not all digital art is that.

From: Lynn Kenneth Pecknold — Nov 16, 2012

Having been an art teacher for most of my teaching years, I enjoy discovery and the excitement of mixing media.For those of you who would like to comment on my work, please do so,much of it is digital in some way or another.I think it is fun to make art, but I am no good at spending hours and hours defending by etchings, lithographs,serigraphs,lino-cuts and engravings. I have now committed to developing as an emerging septuagenarian artist. Cheers

  Fake paintings a misguided idea by Jean Wilson, Des Moines, IA, USA   I respectfully disagree that Don’s art looks like oil paintings. They look like photographs that have been run through a computer. I have a degree in painting (graduated in 1972) and I recall many of my instructors explaining that the difference between photos and actual drawings and paintings is that the artist is able to adjust things in ways that enhance the image. With a photograph and a computer, you can adjust… but it so mechanical. There is no life to Don’s images. Artists who make images using their hands are working with tools that have unique capabilities that the computer has yet to replicate. If you really think his photoshopped images look just like paintings I think you need to take another look… and be a little more objective. I think there is a place for computer art… but making fake paintings seems misguided. There is 1 comment for Fake paintings a misguided idea by Jean Wilson
From: Sheila Minifie — Nov 16, 2012

Sorry I don’t agree with your statement about adjustment. With a standard filter through a computer, like the above ‘paintings’ I agree with you because that’s how they look like they’ve been made and I dislike them intensely for the reason you do. However, there are other ways of digital adjustment which rely on creativity and are more difficult to do well. Quite a different matter. I think those instructor’s comments are out of date (and might have been true at the time).

  Phony sculptures by Tony Angell, Seattle, Washington, USA  

“Otter play”
bronze sculpture
by Tony Angell

I found your latest “report” regarding digital 2d work to be informative and something of a parallel phenomena to the digital sculpture that has proliferated and likewise been foisted upon an ignorant public. As you undoubtedly know, with 360 degree digital photos of a form you can program a “carving” machine to shape your subject in Styrofoam with near perfect fidelity to the subject. I am told it can be carved in stone as well. To my eye it is soul less B.S., but is, with the sufficient merchandising budget, sold throughout the land with the “artist” claiming credit. Of course, don’t hand him a hammer and chisel as he’s not sure which hand to place them in. I get solicitations from China to do this monthly although there are now many operations state side who are offering such services.     Digital never sleeps by Nikolay Semyonov, Rostov-na-Donu, Russia  

digital painting
by Nikolay Semyonov

I must also agree on the painterly quality of Don’s images (I didn’t say “canvases” because I use the former to refer to my works). There seems to be two directions in photo-based computer graphics: a) artists do everything to make it look like traditional painting and b) others to preserve the photographic look. I am with the latter. In both cases, skill and knowing where to stop are required. I fully second Tatjana Mirkov-Popovick’s opinion except one thing. I just don’t understand why the digital should follow the traditional. I agree that, being printed, “oil” images look rather clumsy and fake. “Erzatz” is quite a handy term here as well. It may take another couple of years — or decades (Heaven knows) when the public gets used to the idea that digital art has its own merits. “Why deny the obvious…?” (Paul Simon, “The Obvious Child”). Or should software developers start on working on how to convey smell and canvas texture? By the way, I’ve already seen the prints that imitate 3D textures resembling oil/acrylic brush strokes. Technology never sleeps.   Layers in Photoshop by Wesley Smith, Mt. Lebanon, PA, USA  

digital painting
by Wesley Smith

I, too, am a digital “painter” switching from oils about ten years ago. My work is also photographically based. I have a data base of over 40,000 high resolution digital photos that become my pallet. I don’t shoot my photos as completed images but as content. I’m much more interested in gathering textures, shapes, objects, etc. I then draw on these images piece by piece, collage like to create a new digital painting, working back into the image with electronic brushes, washes of color, etc. The thing I like most about Photoshop is layers. Each piece of the painting inhabits its own layer enabling the artist to bring selected layers to the front or push them back, alter their transparency, shape, saturation and so on. When complete, the layers are collapsed to a single layer and printed by a professional printer onto archival 265 gram watercolor paper. I’ve tried printing on canvas but it looks phony. There are 4 comments for Layers in Photoshop by Wesley Smith
From: Sheila Minifie — Nov 16, 2012

Absolutely me too. I work in pretty much the same way, except that I do transfer in hand drawn work. Lovely work! :D

From: Ron Ruble — Nov 16, 2012

Wow!!! Smack on image. Great work no matter what the media. Art it is.

From: s jensen — Nov 16, 2012

Arresting composition,rich in texture, there is something to this media that will definitely have its place in the art world.

From: iskra johnson — Nov 16, 2012

Mesmerizing and beautiful–and it would make no sense to try to do this work with glue and a knife. It’s cinematic/photographic/dream-world and the computer is the perfect tool for this.

  Finding uniqueness in digital media by Iskra Johnson, Seattle, WA, USA  

“Dormitory Study 2”
digital collage
by Iskra Johnson

As someone who works in digital media as well as live hands-on media I think about (and question) the integrity of digital processes. For me the clarity comes when I am using the medium to do best what can’t be done another way. For images created on a computer to move offline into the world of tangible artifact there has to be a context. The medium is indirect — it goes through a printer and it emerges as a print, not a painting. No amount of folderol is going to make it anything other than a print. So why not really think about what “printness” is? The qualities of etchings, monoprints, photographs, serigraph, the nature of digital ink and how it lies down on a surface, how it can behave like other traditional print techniques, how it can be delightfully different — why not work with that? In this way what is created is true to the medium and has integrity. Otherwise the digital output is merely a record of something else, ie. a “reproduction of something done better in some other medium.” There are 4 comments for Finding uniqueness in digital media by Iskra Johnson
From: Nan Kritzler — Nov 16, 2012

You have stated this well. Painting and printmaking are different media. Digital art can be a print or live on a screen. Maybe those blank TVs hanging on people’s walls can be turned into a “light canvas.”

From: Sheila Minifie — Nov 16, 2012

I think digital work needs a transparency of some kind and then they can come into their own. Printed digital often looks a bit dead to me compared to how I see them on screen. There are digital pictorial frames now available, though a bit expensive.

From: Iskra Johnson — Nov 16, 2012
From: Tatjana M-P — Nov 16, 2012

Very interesting letter. I also think that there is a huge opportunity for innovation in the use of digital art, in print form or something entirely new. Best luck to you in making new discoveries!

  Get a life! by Beth Kurtz, Manhattan, NY, USA  

“The Battery from Brooklyn”
oil painting
by Beth Kurtz

Don Lambert has certainly achieved some remarkable results in his work. Many painters try to do the same sort of thing. The problem with it is not so much the approach, whether digital or traditional, as in the artist’s total immersion in nostalgia — IMO, these images simply are not “real,” and one can feel their inauthenticity. Is the artist too insensitive to the reality of his own life to address it in his work? As for digital technology, I can agree that it can be a great help to the artist. I use it all the time with my photo references, changing the values, adjusting the colors, posterizing, grey scale, etc. But that’s not where the gratification lies. The fun — by which I mean the authentic experience — lies in pushing real, physical substances around with a real, physical object. Lambert’s approach, for me, could not satisfy the love of creating, with one’s own hands, a physical object with lasting value that is a reflection of one’s own life. One wants to say to Lambert: “Get a life!” Your experience with the cold, the snow on your palette, etc., is surely one of those authentic experiences that lead the artist to truly authentic work. There is 1 comment for Get a life! by Beth Kurtz
From: BG — Nov 16, 2012

I agree and I love this painting, I too like to paint NYC

  The day is coming for digital by Will Enns, Summerland BC, USA  

“Window shopping”
digital painting
by Will Enns

The digital medium is a tool set, nothing more, nothing less. The biggest problem with digital tools is turning digital work into an income stream. The giclee process makes this not only possible, but easy. It allows us to make hard copies of our work which people can use to decorate, or whatever. Artists who don’t think this is important aren’t being realistic. I do magazine work digitally. This is a cover image that was published by Canadian Technician magazine. “Window Shopping” paid me a wage for first time print rights. It ran on the cover of the magazine, but I have sold dozens of giclees of this image, which have thus far generated nearly 4 times the original pay. The day may come when ordinary people have huge digital displays hanging wherever we now hang fine art. But I doubt that day will arrive in time for it to do me any good. I submit that digital art has precious little value until someone pays money for it, and then, it is only worth what was paid. It’s no different than any other commodity. If you can parley an impermanent and ever changing display of your work into a solid income stream, good for you. There is 1 comment for The day is coming for digital by Will Enns
From: Kirk Wassell — Feb 04, 2013

Very well said, digital art only has value when people recognize it and pay for it. I too am a digital artist, and have never tried to compete with any other art form, apples and oranges as I see it. No pretense here, as a graphic designer and photographer, digital art was a natural progression for me. I own and display several oils as well as digital.

  Conclusions of an iPad Painting teacher by Andrew Judd, Toronto, ON, Canada  

digital painting
by Andrew Judd

I taught an entire course on how to “paint with your iPad” at the Avenue Road Art School in Toronto. A very exciting and informative experience. My students had a blast and so did I. Some conclusions I’ve come to: 1. Digital painting is not real paint. (seems obvious …. no?) 2. At this point in time there are no satisfactory ways to print the digital textures in a 3d form. (That may happen someday.) 3. When you run a photo through a paint program, YOU are not PAINTING… you are creating an IMAGE that imitates some form of painting. 4. When you draw the image directly on the iPad using the digital apps available with a stylus or finger, your hand makes the same human marks that add your own personal quality. 5. When you run a photo through an “App” the most exciting thing is watching the technology create a poor imitation of paint. 6. There is no clean up required and you can create images anywhere you carry your iPad. (You can also check your email and listen to music during the process.) There is 1 comment for Conclusions of an iPad Painting teacher by Andrew Judd
From: judy lalingo — Nov 15, 2012

True enough. Digital can do some amazing things, & are a wonderful tool for the artist. Once the image is made, you can push the button & make umpteenth reproductions. But in the end, it is not, in it’s purest sense, an original painting. Like it or not, that is where much of the value of art lies… in the one of a kind, hand made, original paint on board or canvas. There is history in that.

  Coming back full circle by Rodney Pygoya Chang, Honolulu, HI, USA  

“SF 4”
digital painting
by Rodney Pygoya Chang

Since 1984 I’ve been living in blasphemy, working in a digital world. First on my computer, then displaying in the brick and mortar world as framed prints, now virtual exhibiting only online in a virtual realm. Medium and space of exhibiting are the same, so there is a consistency. Displaying photos of oil paintings online is a bit “cheesy” from my perspective. Every day, I imagine folks around the world download my work – hopefully as desktop screensaver, not printed prints to be sold. But I don’t really care. I create for the broad, global audience to share my expression and way of thinking (aesthetic values too) as I live out my life. After almost a quarter century effort to be a relevant, ground breaking digital artist, I look forward to moving from hectic Honolulu for the 3 acres that await me in the rain forest at Volcano, Big Island, Hawaii. At that time, no more digital. I’m coming back full circle, baby, mushing wet and cheesy clay within my hands. There is 1 comment for Coming back full circle by Rodney Pygoya Chang
From: Liz Reday, — Nov 19, 2012

Wow! Nice artwork! Love the feeling of texture- something I haven’t seen before in digital work. I think you’re on to something. I’d try to do this but don’t have the skills. For me it’s easier to paint. Maybe there should be a new name for digital artwork….any ideas?

  Digital artists breaking new ground by Robert Hughes, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK  

digital painting
by Robert Hughes

Your latest letter struck a chord with me as I also paint digitally as well as painting with oils, acrylics etc. I use both Photoshop and Painter to create my digital paintings, with Painter as the main programme. The attached image of the family group was painted in two sections and finally brought together as one painting. I wanted to create a room for the family from scratch in Photoshop, I wasn’t sure how to do it at first, I had to learn as I went along, as you can imagine I encountered a number problems before I got to what you see here. I paint digital paintings using the same technique I use for oil painting except my mediums are Pixels instead of paint and a stylus instead of brushes. I like to work from h-res photos for digital portraits: the two bottom images were painted from photographs supplied by a studio in Orlando, Florida. The top image is a detail of my Granddaughter Jessica, age 15 months at the time the photo was taken. Like Don Lambert, I also have the final artwork printed onto canvas using the ‘Giclee’ process. I also agree with you when you say, “Computers are another tool for the creative artist — just as a flat or filbert brush is” “In the same way that 19th century portrait painters were disturbed and disenfranchised by the advent of photography, many of today’s painters are in denial of digital.” I have entered the two bottom paintings into Art Competitions — most art competitions now have a clause saying “Digital Art not permitted” — The family group got to the final 300 entries for a Nationwide art competition which was to be seen on the BBC TV here in the UK. Unfortunately, it never got into the finals, which is a pity as I thought people would be interested in hearing how it was created. On another occasion, I entered the two bottom paintings into a “Digital” painting competition for 2012. This time it was for ‘Ballistic’ book Publishers — the winning entries would be incorporated into the latest book which has a worldwide circulation. Both paintings made it to the finals of the competition, but no further. Many people still do not know what Digital Painting is — different to Digital Art. When you tell them how it is done, some say, “Well then, it’s not real art, is it? Anyone can do that” but that’s not quite true. It takes skill and the same determination and planning most artists have when tackling a painting. It’s not a case of picking up a ‘brush or a stylus’ and start painting; there is more to it than that. A quote by Don Lambert in your letter, “But there was a time when I left a jar of medium open by my work station for that painterly smell,” made me think of one occasion when I found myself sitting in front of my computer contemplating a painting I was working on, and as I stared at the image on the screen I took my handkerchief out of my pocket and started cleaning my brush, when I realised I was holding a stylus. Artists are ‘creative’ people and by their very nature are inquisitive. If you can find something that helps you create new innovative work of art, go for it. The French Impressionists broke new ground. So, too, have Digital Artists.’ There are 3 comments for Digital artists breaking new ground by Robert Hughes
From: Kay Christopher — Nov 15, 2012

Your painting is stunning, rich, beautiful, compelling, impressive—I love looking at it!!

From: Frank Nicholas — Nov 16, 2012

Up to this date, though I have all I need to do so, I haven’t done one single digital painting. I do quite a bit in Photoshop with photographic images… marrying two images together to direct prepress people to complete an advertising image, but that’s it. I’m more of a paint and pallet type. Watercolor, or acrylic mostly. Oils seem to be more in my past now, though I’m very familiar with them. I must say that I like the Kirovski digital painting shown here. Lots of creative work in that!

From: Molly — Nov 16, 2012

Perhaps the best way to separate the artists from the digital “artists” is to set off an EMI “bomb” that will make all electronic devices inoperable. If the digital “artists” can pick up a brush and do the same work as their computer then they are artists.


Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for ‘Denial of digital?’

From: Mike Barr — Nov 12, 2012

What is it with art these days? Photographers are trying to make photo look like paintings and Super realist artists are trying to make paintings look like photos!

From: Laurie Landry — Nov 12, 2012

I have no beef against digital art – in fact I have a couple of friends who produces digital arts. They take their own photos and do a lot of photo manipulation using their software, before either printing it onto canvas, or creating a silk screen base. They are also very upfront about their process when talking to potential buyers. The artworks are often very interesting and original. I also know of an artist that shall remain unnamed – takes a photo, run it through a filter on photoshop/painter, print it onto canvas, and then add some clear acrylic gel to give it some paintbrush texture, sign the name in, and claims it’s acrylic on canvas, painted from scratch. If asked if giclee was used, the artist denies it. I think it’s a dishonest representation to the buyers who pays in the 4 digit figures. It’s a creative process, and if someone is really interested in your artwork, they’re interested, regardless of how you got to the final stage. In that sense, I think you owe it to your clients and potential client honesty in your creative process, if asked. It won’t make your work any less creative and original in their eyes because it’s already speaking to them at some emotional level.

From: Russ Hogger — Nov 12, 2012

In this case anyone who takes a photo with a digital camera is an artist.

From: Victoria on Okinawa — Nov 12, 2012

Honestly, I have no idea what you are trying to say in this letter, for, against or both? Digital is here and can not be denied but it will not last even in cyberspace, there are no true compatible digital formats that will last even past a few years, software changes so often. Even if digital is made into a print, it will fade early on too. Painting will last maybe 100s of years if done with the correct materials and preserved in controlled environments. Painting is my choice because I enjoy the process and the results, I also hope that my paintings will have more years in a home than a print or photo or digital image will last. I am not in denial just facing realities. I use my digital camera to capture images and use others digital images but ultimately they are resource material, not my finished product. It all depends on the purpose and plans of the artist. Deception will in time be found out so I pity those who try to dup their clients, time will tell all.

From: Eileen — Nov 12, 2012

To me, some of the clickback images do look like digital manipulations of photos– not at all like paintings. Values are off, colors are garish, textures corrupted — all these combine in an unattractive mishmash. You say the guy can actually find buyers for this stuff?

From: Afton — Nov 13, 2012

Art is ever so tricky to fit into a tidily defined box; but it is art, should it fit into a defined box? Trying to define art has always been controversial, but now it seems more so. I am a traditionally trained fine artist who went back to school and am nearly finished with a BFA in graphic design and the media arts. There was a bit of an inner struggle attempting to decide if the digital arts were really considered art. My conclusion came after much pondering and realizing that art has always evolved and changed; we are now part of a new historical evolution in art (I wonder what they will call it). I always believed graphic designers to be “hacks” and now I’m going to be one of them. I do see and approach things differently from many of my fellow students and have an easier time with composition, movement and color theory, but in the end it doesn’t make my work any better than others in my classes. Art is personal, individual and now it’s also global and can become viral. How do we as traditional artists find our way in this digital world? The answer is as individual as the art itself. I chose to jump on the digital highway and embrace both worlds. There are some really exciting possibilities. To me, it was a way to make the imagined reality. Afton

From: Merrill — Nov 13, 2012

I believe when the human hand is no longer directly involved in art making, it then is not fine art. Without the hand of the artist, those artworks fall into the field of commercial graphics or something along those lines. I believe this even for Warhol.

From: Robert Sesco — Nov 13, 2012

It occurs to me that central to this discussion is the answer to the question, “Why do I create?” Because if (a) you create because you love the process, or (b) you create because you desire feedback in the form of approval or sales, the infinity of methods and paths for creating will matter in differing degrees depending upon the answer. New methods, like new works, come into existence all the time. If your answer is (a) what problem do you have with the never-ending march of new methods that others use or that you yourself use? If your answer is (b) then competition for approval colors the way you view new methods, and if you can’t beat em (out compete em) you may join em. It’s interesting how survival of the fittest permeates so many aspects of Life Itself, and yet ART may exist without the slightest thought for competition and solely for the enjoyment of Life. Enjoy creating for creating itself, or enjoy competing and the measure of your approval. It’s all good. You can go to the Justice of the Peace and get hitched -because you want to make a statement to others or because you prefer minimalism- or you can throw a royal wedding -because you want to make a statement or because you prefer gala- it’s a matter of the value you place on ritual, history, romance, tradition, expediency, etc. This question of what is art cannot be answered even in the dictionaries or college philosophy courses. So the question is not “What IS art?” but “WHY do I create?”

From: Claire Remsberg — Nov 13, 2012
From: ReneW — Nov 13, 2012

Is it real or is it memorex? How do you know if you bought an original or a copy? In my opinion, once a digital art piece is printed to paper or canvas it is by definition a facsimile, or copy. A Giclee is a copy. So if the original digital image is deleted from the computer it no longer exists and you are left with nothing more than copies.

From: Mary C — Nov 13, 2012

Don’s images are beautiful, and well composed. I would be more impressed if he had painted them. Half of my admiration of a great painting or print is for the composition, and the other half is for the physical dexterity and accumulated skill used to create them.

From: Jackie Knott — Nov 13, 2012

These days anyone with a camera claims to be a “photographer.” Too many refuse to recognize there IS an art to photography … Mr. Lambert illustrates it is far more than simple point and shoot happenstance that accidentally catches a great image. Conception and his eye for composition is superb. Might the second problem be classifying exactly what these images are. Mixed media? No, that’s not it. App-paintings? Manipulated photos? We need a new word for combining the two. The third problem could be using canvas as the means to display an evolving art form that overlaps giclee. It’s the blurring and mounting of art forms. As long as buyers are aware of the process and are not under the assumption they are buying actual paintings, what is the problem? Don, don’t apologize for your creative use of exploiting a new medium. Denial of digital isn’t the problem … we just haven’t figured out what all can be accomplished with it yet. Ten years from now this discussion will be considered quaint.

From: Dianne Mize — Nov 13, 2012

How could the digital world replace the artistry of Itzhak Perlman Kristi Yamaguchi? Why painters get exempt, forgiven and otherwise justified for avoiding the directness of mastery of skill and expression baffles me. Let’s call it what it is: a reproduction is a reproduction, digital work is digital work, and as your friend, Joe, said so aptly: ersatz is ersatz.

From: Murray — Nov 13, 2012

There are paintings and there are photographs. Both art forms. Mr Lambert’s is a talented photographer and has embellished his photographs beautifully. But, they must be presented for what they are– photographs.

From: Cliff Fiscal — Nov 13, 2012
From: Gavin Logan — Nov 13, 2012

If everything is in the image–it tells a story and is competent– which these Lamberts are, then I think probably the general public couldn’t care less about the ways and means and goes for them like crazy.

From: Judith Martinez — Nov 13, 2012

It seems to me that we need to create a new category for this type of work, just as acrylics or gouache had to be added to oils and watercolour. The distinction needs to make clear to the ordinary buyer/collector that it is not a print of a traditional brushwork painting, and that there is no “original” available; the first printing is no different from any later ones as all should be numbered as in a print run. The artist’s creativity and skill in using this new set of supplies needs to be highly recognised; only avoiding any misunderstanding of the different methods used, if only to prevent improper charges of fraud, is any different from the more traditional media. (I already put on the back of my work the medium and substrate used, as well as crediting the inspiration for it.) We are all creative–this is just another way to express it !

From: Bonnie Lou Cozby — Nov 13, 2012

As a photographer and member of a widely diverse art association, I am faced with this conversation quite often, Many of our painters do not deem photographers worthy to be called artists and digital art is welcomed with even less warmth. Personally, I find the artistic hand in my work to be the seeing and capturing the emotion of the shot. This I strive to do without cropping. By manipulating the photo, or not, according to how I want the final image to appear and feel, I reach a conclusion for the image leading me to a decision on the printing process, which is widening every moment. No matter what I print on, the work is a photograph and art and I am an artist. It seems a slap in the face to try and label photography anything other than what it is…I don’t want people to think my work is a painting. Art is an honest and creative process with room for all. Lessoning the medium of one does not elevate another.

From: Dan Young — Nov 13, 2012

If Doc sells it for what it is….. fine……But where is the joy in the process? Sorry, I don’t get it…..I love the process of mixing color, the feel of brush on canvas and watching the magic develop….. I learn something every time I paint…… I feel I live in computer HELL way too much….. It seems there is an issue every day around glitches, email, backup….. That said I do love my Mac as a tool for collecting photos to use for inspiration…..

From: Suzette Fram — Nov 13, 2012

Mr. Lambert’s artworks are lovely, but they’re not paintings. They are embellished photographs. Photography is an art form, but it must go beyond the lucky snapshot to be a work of art. Digital works are also an art form but should be done from scratch, not on top of a photograph. There is much blurring of the lines here; I myself do not like to exhibit paintings in a show that also has photographs in it, simply because the two art forms are so different that they cannot be compared. Putting a photograph of a landscape next to a realistic landscape is, I believe, unfair to the painter; it is denying the amount of work that has gone into the painting, as compared to the photograph. Not that there isn’t work into the photograph, but it is so completely different, completely different skills are needed and used, that it doesn’t serve either artist well to compare them to each other. The photographer may have stood in that field for hours, taking hundreds of photographs, to obtain that one perfect one that shows the light the way he intended. The painter will have toiled for hours getting that painting just right, having to live with any mistakes he may have made along the way. He has only the one work, he cannot simply delete all the shots that didn’t work out. Very different skills and accomplishment. I think Mr. Lambert shouldn’t call his work ‘paintings’, not even ‘digital paintings’, for they are not, not when he is working on top of a photograph. Which does not mean that it is not good work, and he should be proud to show them, but he should call them what they are, embellished photographs, or digitally manipulated photographs.

From: Don Lambert — Nov 13, 2012
From: Rick Rotante — Nov 13, 2012
From: Rene Goodman Seigh — Nov 13, 2012

This goes back to the unanswerable question, “What IS art?”

From: Robyn Rinehart — Nov 13, 2012
From: Wendy Christensen — Nov 13, 2012

“ersatz is ersatz.” Indeed! Much as I like admire good software and good photos, running photos through software does not turn them into paintings.

From: Estelle Goldblatt — Nov 13, 2012

As a classically trained cellist, purists would say that my electric cello is not as good as my “real” modern Italian cello. I regard this as a fallacy. Each instrument has it’s own colors, textures, strengths and weaknesses. That’s how I see the iPad vs. “real” brush discussion. I can see the beauty in both modes of creation. It’s almost like saying blue is better than green. Not so… they are both on the spectrum. One holds up both the sky and seas: the other holds our feet as we walk on our green earth and the canopy of trees above our heads.

From: Jeanne Ainslie — Nov 13, 2012

Not impressed! Too much like paint by number. In fact, I find it quite contrary (and appalling) to the creative artist’s spirit of living life in abundance.

From: Basil Pessin — Nov 13, 2012

In the article Denial of Digital I would like to suggest to one of your trusted friends, Joe Blodgett, that when a conventional painter copies from photographs and claims their painting is an original that statement is not quite true. “You know better than that, dude; ersatz is ersatz.”

From: Susan Coyne — Nov 13, 2012

Artists were needlessly worried when photography was invented. It didn’t copy the artists work. It never could. But, Setting up still life’s and posing subjects, then photoshop painting, in my esteemed opinion is one step away from plagiarism. A man came into our studio last year with his computer created water colors looking to rent space next to us. We told him he should go check the camera stores.

From: Louise Francke — Nov 13, 2012
From: Susan Coyne — Nov 13, 2012

Technical can be learned in painting and digital. The mystery or the why is the difference between picture making and painting.

From: Melanie Peter — Nov 13, 2012
From: Richard Gagnon — Nov 13, 2012

How much could you see one of these fetching at a Christie’s auction?

From: Janet Thomas — Nov 13, 2012
From: Leni Levenson Wiener — Nov 13, 2012

I feel compelled to comment on the statement by your “trusted friend” that printing digital images on canvas is cheesy and [she]prefers David Hockney’s presentation. Art is not about what one person likes, nor should we compartmentalize what is art and what is not art. There was a time in art history when “art” meant either a painting or a stone sculpture. Today art is as varied as the artists who create it. Is a strip of fluorescent light tube art? What about found objects hanging by twine? Is conceptual art “real art”? Is performance art? It took a long time for photography to be considered art — does that mean it cannot grow and evolve and change from printed images on shiny paper? To suggest that what Don Lambert does is somehow inferior to the work of other artists is narrow-minded and naïve. In this day and age artistic interpretation is not limited by materials and techniques, artists are free to pursue their visions in their own way. This is what makes art so exciting these days. We may not always agree on what we “like” but vive la difference!

From: Larry Moore — Nov 13, 2012

Digital prints on canvas do look a little cheesy because of the uniformity of surface, but the technology already exists to print in 3D. When some bright person figures out how to print a digi-paint image with a truly dimensional surface (matching stroke for stroke), the last difference between the two mediums will be knocked off the list and the public won’t know the difference…. Like butter and margarine.

From: Patricia Heller — Nov 13, 2012

I don’t think this is art. This is a manipulation – more a “computerization” of matter, some of which could be stolen ideas from another format or artist. I believe there is an actual way of painting in a digital format, but it is as if you were using the computer screen as a canvas or paper. That might be considered art- I don’t believe Mr Lambert’s work is art. Looks like the posters in the windows advertising the latest movie to me.

From: Shari Jones — Nov 13, 2012

As a retired graphic designer/illustrator, I have had the life sucked out of me spending hours in front of a computer. Last weekend a friend and joined others on a painting trip to Marble Canyon in Arizona. It was cold and windy, yes the fingerless gloves helped, yes my nose froze, yes the wind picked up my canvas and entire set-up and dumped it – turpentine on painting. It was marvelous! The air was clear, the colors were glorious, the scenery was spectacular and life was not sucked out of me but given in multitudes of senses. This I will “suffer through” any time!

From: Paul Joseph Schleitwiler, FCM — Nov 13, 2012

It does not matter how the art is produced. The art itself is. When someone first made cave art using a brush instead of spitting the paint directly on the wall, critics complained that it wasn’t art because it wasn’t done with traditional tools and methods. When artists first painted from photographs instead of directly from live models, critics complained it wasn’t “real” art. The insular “art world” of galleries and their collectors still considers oil painting as somehow better than acrylic and greater “art”. CG art is already accepted as art by the majority. Just not by those who think process is more important than product in art. The galleries will come around when some wealthy person donates his or her collection of CG art to a major museum. God bless you always,

From: Don Lambert — Nov 13, 2012

People, the work is ALL original. The photos the application of digital paint there are no no magic buttons.You can call it manipulation or faking the brush work with a tablet but it is my photography and it is my hand on all the rest including printing and stretching. There are no stolen ideas these images are mine. Now as far as never becoming an artist I’ll put my skill with a brush and paint next to ANYONE. I have painted for 50 years I know my way around a palette and have painted as most here in the snow and ice. So what , does that make us better or is it dues we all have to pay. The work on my page is digital, I shot it , I painted them with tools that any one can learn . If anyone here thinks for a minute that you can compose, shoot , transform that into what you see then print this stuff and not be an artist I cannot convince you. The night scenes were all done at noon, wanna try that sometime when you have about 40 hours laying around? To do this work you must have all the equipment and be able to use it. I have no idea how the public will react to this work, I hope better than this group. Digital is here to stay, you can embrace it and make your life as an artist easier or not. Don’t much care, I do teach tho just in case… Don

From: Tracy Owen Cullimore — Nov 13, 2012

Robert, I wish you wouldn’t have included this in your fine art communication. His work may be beautiful but should be kept far from fine art painters as it does not require the skill that we work hard to perfect.

From: Regina Calton Burchett — Nov 13, 2012

I think some pretty amazing graphics can be done digitally. But I have serious problems with most of the people I have encountered over the last few years who either overtly or subtly try to convey the impression that their work is hand-created original art. I have been in art competitions with these people – and in one of these, wondered if the judge realized the winning piece was a photograph manipulated to look “impressionistic” or hand-painted. I also am curious if the judges and viewers know that the “artist” – yes, in my opinion, I am using the word loosely – can crank out another ten or hundred pieces, looking exactly the same. I have been at art fairs with these computer creators, who also forget to pass on the fact that these were done on a computer, with an undo button, and that they are mass-produced. From 1989, I started taking computer art classes and have enjoyed them very much. But I think graphics done in this manner need to be in a separate category and must be clearly labeled as computer art. Thanks for bringing up this subject – it’s a sore one at times.

From: Luz Maria Perez — Nov 13, 2012

The debate about original art vs. digit art will rage on forever. And as the years go by I am sure that digital art is going to go where we never even thought it could go. We will be amazed by things to come! But…let’s call a spade a spade. I DO NOT want to compete against it (digital) in the same category I paint in…..I am an oil painter. When entering shows, I am careful to select shows that have different medium categories, i.e., oil, water, pastel, photography. Best in Show, of course, is its own thing and if a digital work were to win, I’m sure I might not like it but we artists have had to contend with that with all the other mediums. We can rant and rave but digital art is here to stay.

From: Gary Giacomelli — Nov 13, 2012

A lot of painters have an irrational fear of mechanically produced art work. I think that they see it as a lesser discipline in which just about anyone can clog the market with a profusion of “acceptable” images and render the hard won skills of the painter obsolete. In a world drowning in inexpensively made goods and shoddy workmanship, the hand-made, traditionally crafted painting will stand out as more desirable, not less.

From: Paol Carmen — Nov 13, 2012

Photos are art, no question. And hand made paintings are art no question. And collectors need to be told which is which. Trying to slip one by on collectors is not kosher. That’s why educational sites like this are worthwhile. People need to know this stuff and learn the differences.

From: Nicholas Bray — Nov 13, 2012

All art shows and competitions should include a section titled: “Photoshop and “Painter” enhanced photography.” I feel that “ersatz area” is too strong.

From: Richard Mazzarino — Nov 14, 2012

Mr. Lambert- No matter how much time you spend setting up the model, no matter what clothes you put them in, no matter the manipulation in photoshop or paint, these are photos printed on canvas. Please don’t try and tell us that are you are a painter of worth for years, or that these are your photos, none of this changes the fact that these are photos on canvas. If you are the painter you say you are, prove it and PAINT for real with brushes. I’d like to see some of these works and not the trash you sell to unsuspecting art illiterates. I don’t fault you for selling these and making money. More power to you. It was once said by a truly great philosopher “there is a sucker born every minute.”

From: J. Bruce Wilcox — Nov 14, 2012

Don- Thanks so much for standing up to all these ‘opinionated artists’! As a former visual merchandiser, the time we spent creating and then setting up a ‘window display’, very similar to your process of setting up a photo shoot- often took many weeks. And in the end we took a photograph of the ‘window’ so it could be archived. It was a use of my creative ability all always be thankful for having had- and we all recognized it as an artistic process with the finished product- ART. Some of you ‘painters’ must think paint is the only art medium. Your heads are up your asses- I mean paint tubes.

From: Peter Kiidumae — Nov 14, 2012

Nothing like a discussion about alternate ways of producing art to bring out the worst in a group that seems to feel it somehow holds some sort of sacred right to the claim of being “artists”. I couldn’t agree more with Bruce Wilcox’s assessment of where the rudest of you have your heads. Congratulations to you Don, for working so hard to create in new ways, and much success in your upcoming show. Ignore the incredibly ignorant comments from those “painters” here that feel they are superior to anyone that does not do it their way.

From: Digital — Nov 14, 2012

I think that the discussion could go in a different direction. It would probably be useful to challenge digital artists to work out a novel presentation and commercialization of digital art. Something that would make digital are shine, and be rewarded. Why present this new and innovative thing as an imitation of something else, that’s why the use of canvas is discouraged. The digital artist who figures this out will reap the rewards. That was the spirit of the initial letter – not a reason for bickering!

From: Jackie Knott — Nov 14, 2012

Dang, people! Ignorance, misunderstanding, or probably precious turf protection, let another art form evolve however it wants to. How does this medium detract from yours??? Don, my daughter is a booked-up commercial photographer who loves/uses her Wacom and several photo manipulation programs. Please post the dates and name of the Fort Worth show because I know she will want to be there … in fact, I might make the hike myself. Press on and ignore the skeptics. You must have your own compass.

From: Don II — Nov 14, 2012

We don’t need to have a certain IQ to write here — do we? What does “let another art form evolve” mean? Who can prevent evolution? This is not personal, nobody (I hope) wants to hurt another person. People are simply saying here what they think, isn’t that what this thing is about? If he didn’t want people’s opinions (ignorant, narrow-minded, dumb, naïve or whatever we happen to be), he shouldn’t have brought this up. If I was trying to break into a new market, I’d like to get feedback from the people who’ve been around the block. The least useful thing would be to get pats on the back and not a dime for my product. Don is about to test the market, so good luck! If it works, great, run to the bank! If it doesn’t, he can always return to the brushes, or star something new. Hopefully he’ll let us know.

From: Tamara Temple — Nov 14, 2012

@Russ Hogger: “In this case anyone who takes a photo with a digital camera is an artist.” — no more or less than anyone who puts pigment on paper, squishes clay, writes down some words, etc, etc. It’s all in the process, and the result.

From: Tamara Temple — Nov 14, 2012

@Tracy Owen Cullimore: “His work may be beautiful but should be kept far from fine art painters as it does not require the skill that we work hard to perfect.” — It does not require the same skills as fine art painters — it requires different skills, ones that also require hard work to perfect.

From: Don Lambert — Nov 14, 2012

Ok everyone, This is a show I set up in the ‘Ft Worth Community Arts Center’ in Texas. We have worked a year with framing and printing. Frankly at this point I could give a fat rats ass what the nay sayers are yelling but PLEASE READ THIS… if you want to see an oil painting of mine. I will have an ORIGINAL there as proof that I can paint. Just come prove it to yourselves!! The reception will be in the main gallery, the date of the reception is Dec 7 from 6-9pm and the show will be up for the entire month. There will be all the works on my page at full size about 45 pieces plus an 18×24 original oil. Altho you may call it an illustration that is another argument for someone else deal with. For those that can see beyond your own nose I appreciate your comments, for the rest I NEVER wanted to discuss this in this forum I simply replied to Robert about a downloadable app that you could NEVER make a decent print. As far as printing a digital file on canvas I’m just dumbfounded about that, who in their right mind would show digital work on equipment no one could take home for that matter selling a file to be printed by anyone is just not thinking. My work is my work and I will attempt to sell it for what it is. The presentation, ideas, overall feel and expression of them is the be show.I expect the people that show up will in some cases be as critical as this forum but they will be impressed with the work non the less.This show was not something I entered hoping to fool anyone in fact no judges no panel no anyone has a say, except make it pretty. I PAID for the month. This gallery was once ‘The Ft Worth Museum of Modern Art’, when I was a younger guy I would visit this place and sit on the steps leading into the main gallery and wonder what the hell were these people were thinking? In front of me would be a stack of tires or broken bathroom fixtures with names AND no one was there to stare at this crap. Across the street is ‘The Amon Carter Museum’ a place of sanity, old illustrators and painters . Spent lots of days there. Just saying…If you think I am trying to sell something that is a lie, here is the name of the show… DIGITAL ARTISTRY by Don Lambert a digital compilation of fine art and photography So there it is if you want to see this work and blow it off as nothing but old saturday western posters or fake paintings or whatever comes to mind, hey it is a free country and so is the show. It HAS cost us a bunch so there will be no free wine at my table . You can go into one of the other galleries that night and sip their grapes just loosen up some. Oh and for what its worth I no longer speak in that BS that spouts from “artist” mouths however I do speak Photoshop. Before I leave this enlightened conversion…a couple questions for you painters…Have you ever painted something that someone else has not painted before or invented a technique to apply that paint? Do you paint because you are trying to prove to yourself that you can paint like some one you admire. People there is no such thing as a completely original technique or subject and you cannot make this a better planet no matter how well you can smear paint, it just doesn’t matter. I will be 68 years old on Sunday, I can truthfully say in arts I have pretty much seen and done it all and at this age I have no patience with wide eyed artist that are fooling themselves about their place in history. We should know by now that it is the whim of the elite few that set the rules, not talking ’bout sunday painters here but to those who have fooled themselves into believing that they are gods gift to the ages. Just wake up,the world does not care whether you have the values right in that shadow or the hand in proportion to the face nor does it care if your composition followed the rule of thirds, but it does know what it likes.I hope it is the work I show cause I sure as hell like it. Hope to see some of you at the show in the meantime I will endeavor to persevere Don

From: Russ Hogger — Nov 14, 2012

Because I am not a “plein air” painter I have always used a camera as my main sketching tool to gather photo reference material for my art. It’s so easy to load digital photos on to a computer. Digital art is something different such as ArtRage, it is a paint program making it possible to simulate painting with a “brush” and mixing colors on the computer screen. Check out some of my ArtRage paintings on my web or check me out on facebook. www.russhoggerfineart.com

From: Pam Cranford — Nov 15, 2012

If Don is creating his art digitally, why is he doing such a bad job of “hands”?

From: David Sharpe — Nov 15, 2012

While what I see in pixels looks pretty good I admit, I’m sorry, a painter app is a digital app where the computer does most the work – it’s not hog bristles on the end of a stick that is mixed into linseed oil and colour and manipulated intuitively through the head heart and hand. And I’m sorry- with all due respect to Don, Buck Dunton, Dean Cornwel, Sargent and Vermeer it definitely is NOT and never will be. It’s pixels- not paint.There is a difference -thank heaven.

From: Bobbo Goldberg — Nov 15, 2012

Though I’ll never be the painter you are, I love to draw. But when my camera and I set out to begin the newest collaboration, the challenges are many and delightful. I have to find something to shoot, contrive to make not only a good photo, but one amenable to my post processes. Then it’s a matter of getting it to happen in Photoshop and Painter. Sometimes it works and sometimes it’s not what I had hoped, but it’s always a stimulating dialogue. I can say that, after being involved in some form of the arts all my life, this feels no different; only the medium changes. Thanks for addressing the issue. The accompanying photopainting was captured with my new Canon SX50. The 50x zoom lens was a big help.

From: Loraine Wellman — Nov 15, 2012

I’m totally enthusiastic about the use of various hand-held devices and lap-tops – just not for myself. I find that other people’s preoccupation keeps them totally involved in waiting rooms and oblivious to me with my sketch book. Also, their concentration keeps them relatively in the same pose. Free models!

From: Linda Eichorst — Nov 15, 2012

For me, computers are wonderful and necessary for the comfort and pleasure of my life, but I’m not sure I could ever put a keyboard and screen above sitting in the middle of my subject matter touching and tasting life. The brush doesn’t “talk back” like a computer when you hit a wrong key. The brush interacts with the physical muscles in our hands and arms, and causes my conscious mind to smile. The brush is primitive and malleable, and you can throw the darn thing across the room releasing a great deal of frustration with no appreciable damage. If someday I can throw my laptop across the room and retrieve it undamaged, maybe I will feel differently. When I am writing on my computer, I need a certain amount of quiet to use both sides of my brain effectively; when I am slinging paint on canvas, I can have classical, country, old time rock and roll, or my favorite, Adelle, blasting from the stereo and it just enhances my mood and creativity. I need to let more than my “fingers do the walking”, so “let’s get physical”.

From: Robin d’Arcy Shillcock — Nov 15, 2012

Notwithstanding Don’s noteworthy images, I cannot but feel somewhat tricked. In good single Dutch the expression would be that his images are “neither meat nor fish”. They hover in a kind of “in between” world of imagery. They’re not real good (retro) photos, nor are they real good paintings. They do have an old-fashioned look, but it’s more the sauce than the goose, I’m afraid. In his images I miss the compositional excellence of painters of the old west like Winslow Homer or Charles Russell. Also lacking is their finesse where attitudes of men and animals are concerned. Also, there is a discrepancy between the figures and the backgrounds. The long-dead artists knew how to resolve such discrepancies, because they were THINKING in oils. Don thinks like an illustrator, and bases his work on that of other illustrators, or on movie stills. I guess Don is quite the handyman in computer technique, something I to admire as I possess not a milligram of such savvy, and I’m assuming he goes to great lengths to get his set-ups just right. But to me something essential appears to be lacking. I guess they’re a bit thin in concept and conviction. To me, a visitor to the theme park Six Gun Territory when a kid in the 60s (the 1960s that is), his images look too much like snapshots of clichés of the Far West, like stills or posters from a “spaghetti western”. His idea of the west as a place where women knitted or simply sat about (with a pretty still life on the table) waiting for their derring-do hero men appears so heavily-masticated by so many others, it approaches the corny. I guess if you’d want to venture into this kind of imagery you’d have to have real mastery, not only in technique, but in concept as well as in all other aspects of image-making to be able to add something worthwhile to all that has been done in that field since the west was won. And as to your friend Tatjana Mirkov-Popovivki’s remark about traditional painting having “no undo button”, I’d have to say that it does, and that she could find it in the painter’s head and hand. One of the essences of painting lies in the time it takes; you need time to understand, to do and then it takes more time to change your opinion and adjust the painting. You have to think in oils, acrylics, watercolour and when you pack it in after a day’s work the image lives on in your head, as an after image that can serve to soothe the spirit or tweak the painting into the right direction for a long time after painting. Shut down your laptop screen and nothing vibes on in your head. So you go walk the dog for some inspiration. Groningen, Netherlands

From: Ed Chow — Nov 15, 2012

What about calling this sort of thing “Paintings-lite” ??

From: Richard Mazzarino — Nov 15, 2012

I don’t believe the word “paintings” can be mentioned anywhere with these images. They have nothing to do with paints except for the fact they are printed on canvas. These are manipulations of bits of data arranged into an image that may or may not resemble a work made with paint; and after viewing the samples attached; I can’t even say this is accurate. The reason photography gets a bad name as an art is partially because images are created by manipulation of emulsion,ink and papers with machines. If there is any artistry at all its in the ability to play with these processes to get a desired image. But, when the smoke clears- they are not paintings.

From: Bobbo Goldberg — Nov 15, 2012

If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that opinions are like orifices: everybody has one, and conviction certainly doesn’t mean one is right. I’m a little embarrassed by some of the rudeness and hauteur displayed here. This shoe obviously pinches some feet rather sharply. No artist needs to defend his or her methodology or medium of choice. Do what pleases you, create what excites you, and let the pinched little naysayers go to blazes.

From: Bobbo Goldberg — Nov 15, 2012

P.S. Mr. Lambert’s images are no more representative of digital art than any traditional painter’s work couldbrepresent painting. Google digital painting and there might be some surprises in store. I found Mr. Lampert’s paintings to have a very photographic look, and was perhaps not the best solo artist about whom to have this conversation.

From: Susan Holland — Nov 15, 2012
From: Jane R Willson — Nov 15, 2012

To me, digital “painting” is just another tool in the well-rounded modern artist’s tool box, verses an end in itself. Or an either/or choice. I work in oil, pastel, watercolor, Sumi inks, acrylic–on a wide range of surfaces. Out of curiosity, I taught myself to “paint” in pixels with my finger on my iPad this year. It’s been pretty darn fun and rewarding, especially after i put in that ton of hours to get the hang of it. But that doesn’t mean my brush painting days are over. It just means I can digitally paint now too. My vote? Digital is here to stay. So why not just play with it–gently add it to the tool box, if it makes sense, as Hockney has. Or as Lautrec and Picasso added the new Lithography to theirs. Or the Impressionists added the new photography to theirs.

From: Sheila Minifie — Nov 16, 2012

It’s so nice to hear from other authentic digital artists. I love and do both. For those of you who fear digital work taking over and their own unloved – it may be unfounded because as human beings, we still naturally love the physicality of things. A recent survey has pointed out that there has been a surge online of people buying handmade items because they’re unique, individual and handmade. And anyway, digital artists still have to consider creativity, meaning, composition, values, colours, shapes, layering, 3-dimensionality, texture, pushing and pulling, editing and changing etc. etc. etc. regardless of how it is done. Sound familiar? And no, it’s not done with a click of a few buttons if it’s any good (unlike I suspect the paintings above were done). I also think that people could do with extending their experience of digital art just for the sake of curiosity, because those ‘paintings’ are just one type of work.

From: Patrick — Nov 16, 2012

Rarely does extreme technical skill and extreme creativity come together in one human. These two qualities make up the great painters. One without the other is admirable, but if you look at the great works of painting, they contain both incredible technical skills and creativity.

From: anon — Nov 16, 2012
From: Ben Stein — Nov 16, 2012
From: Richard F. Barber — Nov 16, 2012

From what I see of computer and digital art, it’s no more than what photographers were doing over 100 years ago with less skill. At least the photographers developed their photos and in most cases made their own studio sets to pose their subjects,as well as doing the coloring and double exposures, to create the images they required. Unlike today’s computer digitals that kids can do with very little effort, because it has been more simplified with computer programs changing more or less daily in our ever increasing throw-a-way society. Like most of today’s products they are based on making things easier to the point of devaluing, which I see as pointless. This in turn has created a society that has very little if any sense of values, that it shows in their art, but vocally they can con people into their world of belief enough to fantasize about their inadequate artistic ability. Our galleries are full their junk making it a waste of time going to view them, your time would be better spent walking around a scrap junk yard where the admission is free and more interesting. At least you know that you are looking at junk in the right place and at the right price if you wish to buy it.

From: Annette Waterbeek — Nov 16, 2012
From: Ken Bloomhorst — Nov 16, 2012

Living in Indiana, probably the most prestigious art group is the Hoosier Salon. I remember a few years ago a friend of mine had entered a couple digital paintings and was excepted into their annual show. Some time between then and now it was decided, not to a except digital art. As a traditional watercolorist, I’ve recently found the Mac as my paint brush, and really enjoying it. To me it’s just another medium without the mess of paint, brushes, etc. Granted it wouldn’t work so well for plein aire.

From: Diane Voyentzie — Nov 16, 2012

I have found many new avenues for creativity with the computer, and I am not a spring chicken myself! I paint a lot of monkey paintings for a chain of restaurants. The last one I painted, I decided to set up my point and shoot digital camera on a little tripod, and photograph my painting every five minutes or so. I then put the photos into the iMovie program and added music. It was a lot of fun to do and to show to my friends.

From: Don Lambert — Nov 16, 2012

I am a painter, printer and photographer. I paint in all the traditional media. Had a darkroom, did everything the old timers did to process the film and make a print. As far as the digital stuff goes it might be best not talk about something you have no understanding of, it is embarrassing. When we ( digital artist) talk painting on the computer, that is exactly what we do. The paint we use are pixels the brush we use is a pressure sensitive pen.The colors are the same as yours and how we get to the final image is the same gut wrenching way. I print giclee prints for artist and photographers for a livelihood. My original idea was , to somehow combine the two. The painted feel and impact of the composition was all I was trying to achieve. I do believe every one has a right to think what they like… I served in the armed forces so we could keep that right but like everyone else that is still breathing, don’t much care for the remarks here questioning my ethics or the work I do. My December show will be the first of it’s kind that I know of. It will be 35-45 works in one large gallery, all presented in the best possible way. Because this work is created digitally there is a strict limit on the printing. So there ya go… (1) these are my ideas, these were my photographs or image captures, ( 2 )This was my hand operating the equipment and my brain transforming them into what you see and (3) it is my printing that produced a hard copy for people to view. (Did not build the frames)… What else is there to do but let the public speak. Personally would love it to be wildly successful and create an income that the wife and I could ride away into the sunset, just not counting on it. Don

From: Horace — Nov 16, 2012

This debate sounds like a conversation between marathon runners and a guy who drives the distance in his new Ferrari. The Ferrari guy is not trying to beat the mud-crusted runners to the medal. He just wants to enjoy his machine and pay off the bills. Is it art? You may as well ask which religion is the right one.

From: Horace — Nov 16, 2012

Why bother limiting number of prints – if they sell, just sell as many as you can…you may not have another chance…

From: Russ Hogger — Nov 17, 2012

Hang a few screens on the wall to display digital artwork. That way you can have more than one piece taking up the same space. When I look at my originals on my computer screen I get the idea that this might be the best way to display them.

From: Robert Masla Studios, Casa de los Artistas, Inc. — Nov 18, 2012
From: Ben — Nov 18, 2012

To Robert Masla- Thank you for your reply to my comments though verbose and not quite on point. Although you took my comments to mean I object to new forms of art, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. I applaud new art forms although I don’t necessarily applaud the results nor care to contribute much to what I see which is I feel is lacking in substance and creativity. Mr. Lamberts work is very interesting and probably has its place in the world of art as did Warhol and Kandinsky, Picasso, Joan Miro et al. The main thrust of what I said has to do with the naming this new work; or any new works; made electronically as painting. Now, this may be due to the fact the new genre has yet to be recognized. So, what I contend is that perhaps Mr. Lambert, in trying to find a foothold in the painting market with his new work, should perhaps find another word for his work other than paintings. Art today, in my estimation is in a quagmire with no solution in sight. So much confusion surrounds what is and what is not art, it is enough to drive a person to drink-heavily. The main reason, in my estimation, is due to the abuse art, in general, has sustained since the late thirties through present day. Many art movements have distorted art and I can also say maligned all art that come before. For the past sixty years much of so called modern art is simplistic, unintelligible, ugly and in my opinion pointless and overrated. The art establishment has so duped the public that the modern work cannot stand on its own without extreme obfuscating comments attached to try explaining it. It seems, to be a modern artist; the main ingredient required is lack of talent and ability. So, I say more power to Mr. Lambert and any other person who wished to do his/her art in a new way. But call it was it is and not what has for centuries been a recognizably established and accepted form of presenting ideas through the medium of paint.

From: Robert Masla Studios — Nov 20, 2012

Ben, Thanks for the clarifications, and perhaps it is really more about semantics as I agree with much of what you say. It is much like the use of the term “Realism” by many painters today, which I don’t like to through around as it has so many meanings and various branches in art history to be so broadly applied as it is, better that contemporary artists of such refer to themselves as “Direct Observational Painters”, or “Representational Painters”, “Eidetic Painters”, etc. than trying to redefine or co-opt and dominate the vista of “Realism”, which already has many places in art history. In regards to Mr. Lamberts’ work, which takes incredible technical skill and talent, I agree, it should not be referred to as Painting, it is “Digital Art”, but with fairness could be called “Digital painting”, (with an emphasis on Digital), for it is a new media, (as oils, acrylics and alkyds had been at one time) and though not directly tactile and thus to my own tastes not as satisfying, as with traditional painting materials, they require tools that take incredible discipline and practice to master to produce work that is more than the sum of it’s parts. When producing the particular genre of my own work that is partially digital, (depending on the piece, usually somewhere between 30 and 60% digital and the rest direct painting with acrylic, oil and alkyd, employing techniques as varied as trompe l’oeil to abstract expressionist / action painting, etc. ), I refer to the work as “Mixed Media Digital Collage Paintings”, so as not to create confusion. I am a firm believer in the artist/gallery revealing the full content of mediums in a work exhibited as this gives insight to those interested in the methods of creation, which are admittedly, as you say, both in content and context, today often questionable. Robert Masla Studios, Casa de los Artistas, Inc.

From: Ben — Nov 20, 2012

Robert- Titles are an ambiguous thing, i believe, especially in today’s art world. I’ve struggled with calling what I do with the same consternation. I’ve come up with what I feel describes it best as “Realistic Impressionism”. My work is more an interpretation than an actual replica of the image. I am a firm believer in seeing the hand and mind of the artist in the work. This is where ability, talent and technique, if you will, come into play. I say all this in regards to traditional painting as performed for centuries before the “new age of computer art.” What I find I am unwilling to accept; and where my prejudice lies, if you will, is throughout the course of art history, the changes that took place no matter the “ism”, always involved canvas (or some such support) and paint whether, oil, water or egg and brushes (fingers, rags and the various items artists use) Regardless of subject or context, they were artists; trained in whatever technique that was rooted in classical painting. Electronic works move art out of this milieu to something, that while it still involves the same principles and understanding of art, vise a vie design, composition, form, value, are made without the human hand per say. The machine and of course the mind of the person making the work are now the creators. As such, these works, by their nature, are separated from “traditional” painting (which we know, understand and accept) and should be given a category of their own with no relation to “painting”.

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Evening at Blackie Spit

acrylic painting, 18 x 24 inches by Pauline G Ouellet, Crescent Beach, BC, Canada

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