When Judy asked me why I chose to produce art the old fashioned way instead of digitally, the first thing I thought was 'Well just because I can'. Because thinking about it, digital art is not a shortcut, the little I know about my graphics program makes me convinced that to produce a good image takes far longer than drawing it by hand (assuming you can draw). Which makes me ponder on digital art. For some it is a way to enhance their talent, a medium in its own right, but others use it to obtain a career in art without natural artistic ability. This really puzzles me. For example I love music, I love to sing, I would love to be a singer... alas I am confidently informed I sound like a cat being ironed. So I will stick to what I am good at. Ultimately I draw and paint because I enjoy it, and it has always just seemed the right path for me. There is a calmness to painting that is seldom found when I am swearing at 'Paintshop Pro' or kicking my printer.
I find digital art can be very appealing but at my age I don't want to invest to learn it properly. I tried when the first computer programs came out but when they kept changing and I had to keep relearning even simple things such as where to find things, I gave up.
Also, I enjoy working with my hands and find it relaxing, whereas working on the computer raises my blood pressure which is another good reason not to do my art digitally.
I think it's partly an age thing. Younger people have grown up using and knowing computers from kindergarten. Something we never did. A part of me feels that digital art is cheating. If you can't really draw or paint -- go digital art. I know that may be unfair; I've seen some wonderful digital pieces that are very creative and well done. They combine original artwork and enhance digitally. Bob Salo on FAA is a good example.
Diana Ting Delosh
I suppose the simple answer is that I have never learned, but in the end that is because I am not interested. Digital art has it's place, but for me, the art I want to create as well as the experience I want to have while doing so, is not possible through a computer. I love my tubes of colour and choosing which ones I will use for a project. I love the smell and sounds that go along with painting. I love the feel of mixing the paint on the palette. I love the work and physicality of traditional art. Besides these things, I love painting en plein air and I get a kick out of finding bugs in my medium and having pine needles drop on my canvas. The experience would not be the same sitting in the forest with my laptop! I think when painting the traditional way, the viewer can see the lumps, scrapes, movement and texture the artist left behind; almost like a fingerprint. Perhaps it is these imperfections that can bring the viewer closer to the artist and his process. With digital art the viewer (to my mind) is one step removed from the artist- the computer is the middle man. For me, at this point, I am having so much fun with traditional art and have so much to learn, that digital art just doesn't hold an interest right now.
As an artist, one trains early on to be able to produce a faithful image that imitates life, in perspective, colour and tone, and a ‘good’ artist is often a term applied to one who creates a lifelike picture. And yet, at my exhibitions the most popular side show is my open sketch books. These contain ‘rough’ drawings and quick colour sketches, yet people like the liveliness of these. It is the very inaccuracies, the ‘suggestion’ only of what is being portrayed, perhaps the economy of line that appeals. An example of this is this little sketch of older people sitting waiting for a bus in Cirencester. Done from a photo, I painted the colour on first mostly, without drawing, then with a pen did the outline after. This is traditionally the wrong way round, and so the whole thing is a bit wonky! But guess what – I really like the result! There is a natural humorous quality – can you get that in computer aided design?
I'm really grateful to these seven busy artists who took the time to think about why they prefer not to make their art digitally - and then to write it down!
In the meantime, I persuaded myself to have a go at making a picture using the brushes in one of my photo-editing programs. It was quite fun and I found it easier as I got used to using my graphics tablet. But it was strange that even though I was fairly happy with the image I produced, I didn't feel that I wanted to save it. Maybe it was because I felt rather disorientated, knowing that the colours would look different when printed out on paper because on the screen they are backlit. Maybe it was the lack of physical contact with the 'painting' because it felt as if it was 'behind' the screen on my monitor? Somehow it didn't quite feel as if it was 'mine'.
Whatever it was, I'm certainly not against new technology or learning new things; but I don't think I'm likely to abandon my delicious soft pastels or my scrumptious watercolour papers any time soon! Playing with the materials, smudging the charcoal and pastels, spraying my watercolours with a plantspray and sprinkling with salt....all that's at least half the fun and I'm not about to give it up!