Friday, 27 February 2015

The singing frog brothers - digitally collaged drawings from my sketchbook


Is digital art 'real' art ?

It quite often happens that people look at my digital art and say things like : that's lovely, I wonder what it would look like if it were an oil painting on canvas ?

My immediate response is defensive. I get defensive in a way because underneath I am slightly uneasy about its validity as an art form. "Art made on a computer isn't real art", and "there there dear, one day you could be a real artist if only you worked in a proper medium", spoken in my head in a truly condescending inner critic's voice.

So I feel that my own digital art isn't  as valid as the art I make on paper...is this some kind of deep seated snobbery? I think it is. After all, digital art hasn't really been around very long. It's a new medium, and because it's new it's bound to be seen as a threat by those who don't want to embrace it. Look at the furore created by photography when it was first invented. And yet now photographs are everywhere. Photography is a tool for creative expression. 

Photography as a tool is used by people to create art, to create records, as an aid to other creative processes. It can be utterly prosaic, and it can be utterly sublime. So why not allow the same of digital art ?

It's a new tool. A tool which is unfamiliar to many people, which demands a serious commitment to learning how to use it. There are as many ways to use the software as there are people who use it. It creates unique kinds of marks. It's an art form which for now can only be seen outside of the computer, iPad etc, if it's printed. 

Digitally based art is  as good as the person who wields the stylus. Just as watercolour is a difficult medium to master, so is working digitally on a piece. It demands the same kinds of aesthetic decision making, the same kind of knowledge of what you can and can't do. The same creative skill. But, and this is the thing I think we all have to really get, it's not watercolour, it's not an oil painting, it's a piece of digital work. It's a medium with unique properties, and I'm going to claim it for myself as a medium as valid as anything else. 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Ideas to Finished piece ?

Ideas to finished piece ?

Just thinking about how when I’m in the flow of things the ideas just come, one after the other, rushing in at a speed that really I can’t keep up with. I probably write down about one in three as I remember them and end up with a HUGE list of stuff to do.

If I embark on one of them, it engenders another zillion thoughts again, another list, and perhaps a lot of experimental play. New ideas spark from one another at a speed which there is absolutely no hope of keeping up with. It just won’t happen.

I used to get quite fed up that there was absolutely no way I could keep up with myself. I thought if I just plod through the lists I would eventually catch up. But there is no way to do that. I’ve had to accept that, and I feel a lot better for not trying to keep up.

I spend a LOT of time at the experimental stage of working. Which is where it joins in with Carla’s chasing rabbits idea. This part of the creative process is the most fun, the most like playtime to me. It’s when I have the thought “I must make a finished piece” that things can go horribly wrong. If I set out to be a serious artist, and do serious finished pieces of work I end up with utterly tight, contrived and stilted pieces which have nothing to do with me except that I made them, and subsequently threw them away.

So why not just play all the time ? Sometimes by accident rather than by deliberation a finished piece emerges. That’s good when it happens, but it’s also fine when it doesn’t. It’s that sparking of “what would happen if I tried….” that’s the bit that keeps me coming back to the studio. It’s a lot like an experimental laboratory. Things happen, or don’t but you keep on going. Never knowing the outcome, but sometimes a special alchemy transforms the whole process into gold. Those are the moments to remember.


an experimental piece on perspex with collage, ink and acrylics. A4

Tregeseal Stone Circle - iPad painting

Friday, 13 February 2015

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Ancient Greeks - two crazy images



Whiter - iPad painting


The last two paintings and this one started out as the same real painting which is gradually being painted and every day I have photographed it and done something to the image on the iPad.