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?

 

What to ask

ColorPlay

I’m sure I’ve mentioned lynda.com before. It is my favorite site for learning software, but it has even more. I just finished a course called Foundations of Color taught by Mary Jane Begin. I took a course in Color & Design in college, and I remember we had a lot of assignments and I enjoyed them, but beyond learning that some colors “vibrate” when put next to each other, and that context can change a color dramatically, I have just discovered through this course that I really didn’t learn what I needed to learn.

I wonder if this is because I was not a good student, or if the class wasn’t effective in conveying the point of all the assignments we did. Either way, I have been using color in my artwork for all these years, choosing them by what seemed like a good idea to me, but with no better understanding of why.

This came to light when I was doing the color week of the Coursera class on Graphic Design. I found that I was choosing color pretty much at random —only knowing that certain colors did not look good together— and I was unclear as to what the point was. I didn’t even know what to ask.

After taking the Foundations of Color course, I realize how much there is to learn about color. In fact, I’m going to have to re-watch several of the lessons because I know I am still not grasping it completely. But at least I now know what questions to ask. And that is a very good feeling!

Automatic Drawing

I got the book, Expressive Drawing: A Practical Guide to Freeing the Artist Within by Steven Aimone from the library. My hope is to work my way through it. The first practice is called “automatic drawing.” The goal as I see it is to focus on the act and the process rather than the outcome. You go into it with no plan. I used a piece of white paper that must have been used for packaging. It’s wrinkled, but it was such a nice big unmarked piece of paper that I couldn’t bring myself to throw it into the recycling. Also, black acrylic paint and a wide (1-inch?) flat brush. The size is 24″ x 32″.
AutomaticDrawing