Photoshop painting

It’s hard to know how to even get started with software as powerful as Photoshop, but I’m determined to learn how to paint with it. I’ve been working in Illustrator so much that I’m having trouble remembering Photoshop again. It’s time to refresh my memory.

Here is a drawing I did (digitally) in October. I just added a new layer of color to it. I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m having fun as I go.

 

Thoughts about What Should Be vs What Is

Two things: writing like you think writing is supposed to be and creating artwork like you think it’s supposed to look. It is very hard to catch yourself being inauthentic, because really, where is the line between trying to make it good and making it in your own way? I suppose some people call this your voice or, in the case of visuals, your style. That is a very complicated thing, isn’t it? Because when we share what really sounds like us, or what really comes from us visually, it is imperfect, just like we are. Who wants to show how imperfect they are? And yet, I’m just beginning to see that those imperfections are what makes it interesting and unique and here we are struggling and struggling to make things perfect before we share our work with others.

I don’t have an answer as to when to share. I mean, there is that quote —who said it?— about a painting never actually being finished, but just stopping in interesting places. I’m beginning to understand this.

Now design —that’s a different thing. Or is it?

 

Just Do, Don’t Think.

I cleaned up my drawing table and have a stack of cut-up Panera boxes from a work lunch a while back. (I hate the amount of garbage and waste one lunch can produce.) I’ve decided to assign some parameter or limit to what I’ll create on them. The parameter is there has to be a man and a woman. That’s all. Not having some parameter before is why this stack of blank cardboard has been sitting here so long.

So, make and move on. And don’t think.

This is called “Women Point the Way to the Future.” (Funny how sometimes it’s very clear what the title is. This title was just there in my head when I finished. Most of my pieces have no titles unless I force one onto them.)

A Little Spring Break

I was lucky this spring break: I got to spend some time in Portland, Oregon. On the way there, I had a layover in Los Angeles. Once back in my town, I went to my favorite coffee shop. Although I didn’t do nearly as much drawing as I’d have liked, it was a good break and I have these two sketches from the beginning of the week and the end.

one-line pen sketch


Pen Sketch

As always, excuse the poor quality of the image. I take these photos with my imperfect camera in my imperfectly lighted studio.

Getting Political

I would say that I’m about the most non-political person around. I really don’t like spending time on the news and I hate politics and greedy, power-hungry people. But it’s hard to ignore politics these days. My fear and outrage are strong enough that I thought I should do something through art. I didn’t really know what to do, so I just started with an image of a certain public figure that’s been in the news a lot.

Significant Object Project

I read a book (I forget which) a while ago about de-cluttering your house. The problem of objects with sentimental value was discussed and the author suggested taking a picture of them and then getting rid of them. (The ones you can, anyway.)

I liked the idea of having the picture, and I don’t know if it was my idea or the author’s to write the story of where the object came from and why it was significant, but I decided that that’s what I should do with the things in my house. Well, as good as the idea was, I didn’t do it. Then recently, I had a mini-revelation: I could draw the objects. That way, I get some drawing in and I have something to share with my children about the significance of the objects around us. (I have not gotten rid of any of them!)

I’ve just finished Object #13.

handmadebird steiffanimals

Latest digital work

I am still learning and playing with my new Wacom tablet. I’ve been re-watching lynda.com tutorials on Photoshop and playing around in the program so that I can recall how to do the things I’m learning. But oftentimes, I find myself drawn into whatever scribble I’ve begun and it gets more and more layers and more and more elaborate. Here’s the latest:

No Title

Working digitally is a bit like those boards that you can erase so easily: a little pen that draws black and you swipe something across it and it disappears. The good thing about it: you’re absolutely care-free —no fear of wasting art materials, no worries about mistakes.

As I’m looking at this piece, I have to admit, I’ve really not analyzed it at all. Does the easy spontaneity overwhelm good judgement? Or will good judgement come later? Honestly, I have no idea if this is “good” or not. At this point, it’s the process I care about, so I guess I’ll just have to trust that skill will come with more and more practice.