Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Arch Duo

This digital painting is based on an original ink wash drawing on paper. The imagery is entirely imaginary.

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I offer a representation of the final picture and a video animation from drawing to finished image in 2 minutes. Loading times may vary!

All images are copyright Michael Velkovich and my not be reproduced without permission of the artist.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I have found a method.

It’s a method of picture making that is personal, intuitive and sustainable, a method that is productive and engaging. Engaging for me because it includes a mental challenge, a visual game and technical skill.

This is a journal and a letter to friends who have shown me support. It's an effort to repay them for their interest in my work.

The method begins with drawing. With a familiar tool like a pen, soft pencil or ink and brush, I rapidly mark up pages in sequence. It’s the mark making that releases the flow of visual juice. As the marks evolve to forms, many qualities and elements arise: the quality of a line as it grows across the paper to be met by another line that forms a shape. The shape has associations to the visual world that brings up images and words, labeling an idea from memory. The gaming element is that specialized thinking that can includes visual experiences, art history, training, and technical skills. Now imagine all this condensed in an instant as the pen stops, lifts up and begins anew in some other direction.

Within an hour or two I’ve got a small collection of drawings, some only taking a moment. The decision when to flip the page and move on is part of the game. I don’t go back to alter anything. One or two will be much more developed beyond the spontaneous sketches. It’s within those more complex drawings that the visual game plays out. During this drawing phase my awareness is focused and perception of time is altered. As soon as I realize that I am following some conventional form or direction I abruptly change it. When the free flowing line begins to depict a form I can label with a word, such as a head, flower or landscape, I make a turn that denies that recognizable thing from becoming.

I choose a drawing with the most potential. It has to be transformed to a fully colored picture. It’s quite a leap for a black line or gray shade to become a form in full color. What colors to choose, how they will relate to the whole composition and what qualities of light will they depict? I’ll photograph or scan it to a digital format. With a computer I can adjust it. Brightness and contrast are altered and some elements may be erased. It’s possible that the drawing may be cropped or stretched. I use software that simulates painting using a stylus and small tablet. The drawing becomes an underlying image, a map of the painting to come.

This digital painting process has some attractive qualities. Some are an enhancement compared to paint and canvas. Some are a remarkable simulation of the visual and tactile qualities of brush painting. I enjoy the ability to zoom in to a detail and zoom out to view the picture as if from a distance. I often rotate the picture. This aids the judgment of composition and form. The pen and tablet method are awkward at times. After all, you are disconnected from the image, viewing the cursor on screen while doodling on a small pad. It takes practice at a new skill. Rotating the image on the screen allows me to align the stroke to a natural, comfortable angle aligned with the gesture from my wrist.

Mixing colors is much faster digitally. Colors and palettes becomes more organized and easy to save. A color can be matched from any source including earlier paintings, photos or saved color samples. But the traditional color mixing of paint is remarkably well simulated. Digital color mixing gives me choices I don’t get from a tube. One more quality trumps the paint and brush method. Use all the color you wish and it’s all free!