Feb 20, 2015

Digital Bird Painting - WIP4

As I work more on my digital bird painting (Created using Photoshop CS5 and a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet) I'm finding more and more advantages to working digitally. One of the biggest advantages is being able to move things around easily. It's impossible to move anything on real canvas. If I decide I don't like the placement of something on physical canvas my only choice is to paint over the current element and repaint it elsewhere, which can be many hours of work. With proper planning of your digital painting (mainly, keeping all major elements on separate layers in Photoshop) you can easily move things all round with just a few clicks of the mouse. This is helpful in the early stages of roughing out your work to play around with different compositions, of course. But it's a real time saver if you've already spent many hours on an element and decide later you really want to change things around.

Below is a perfect example of saving myself hours of work or, more likely, just leaving things the way they were and not being as satisfied with the end painting. In my previous post you can see the male goldfinch is on the perch of the birdhouse and I was considering having a female poking her head out of the hole. But that seemed too crammed together. So I decided it would look better to have Mommy bird on the perch and Daddy up top keeping a lookout. Because the male was on a separate layer it was easy to just click and drag him up to the roof.

Another thing easily done digitally that's impossible on canvas is expanding. Moving the male goldfinch to the roof meant I needed more room on the "canvas" above the birdhouse. Increasing the size of the background was easy and, because it was on a separate layer from the other elements, it was also easy to fill in the new space with trees, flowers, and sky without having to worry about painting around or messing up the birds and other foreground elements.

Because large images with multiple layers can result in very large files on your hard drive, being able to expand the background only as needed saves on HD space. I'll next be expanding this image to the left to add another birdhouse and more birds, so hopefully you'll see at least a new birdhouse in my next update.

Feb 16, 2015

Digital Bird Painting - WIP3

More work on my Photoshop bird painting. I put the bird back in. (One of the advantage of working digitally is being able to hide and unhide elements to more easily work behind them.) Started adding some flowers too, some dogwood and cosmos.

Feb 14, 2015

Digital Bird Painting - WIP2

Here's my second work in progress (WIP2) post on the digital bird painting. I completely redid the birdhouse after all that. I decided it looked too digital, too realistic. Probably ingrained from all those years working as a video game artist, trying to make things look as photo-realistic as possible. But I don't want that for my digital wildlife art. I want them to look a little more like real paintings. So I redid the birdhouse with less fine detail and larger brush strokes, so you can actually see some of those strokes to give it a more painterly look.

I also started adding some background, the impression of blooming bushes and a field of wildflowers. Another update soon...

Feb 11, 2015

Going Digital

I'm thinking of doing more of my artwork digitally. In other words, I'll create my "paintings" in Photoshop rather than on canvas. I know, I know. Many traditional artists would consider this blasphemy. But, let's face it. It's the Digital Age.

There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages to doing this.The major disadvantage is I won't have an original to sell. But there are also a number of advantages. The fact of the matter is, I sell more of my art on prints and for licensing on products than I do in the form of original oil paintings. It appears more people want my art on their iPhone cases than on their walls. While not the ideal world for an artist, it is what it is.

So, considering that, let's consider some physical advantages of painting digitally:

► No more spending money on paints, brushes, canvases, and frames.

► Less space needed for creating art because I don't have to store all those brushes, paints, canvases, and frames.

► No unsold paintings to try to find a place for.

► No more time spent washing brushes and dealing with paint waste water.

► No need to spend time and money selling, packaging, and shipping originals.

► No more time spent shopping for supplies, stretching canvas, gessoing, or cutting and gluing foamboard.

OK, that's mainly about saving time, space, and money around creating art. I'll talk about some of the advantages during the actual creating of the art for a later post. For now, here's my first Photoshop attempt at a digital bird painting.

I want to point out this is NOT a photo manipulation. There is no photography whatsoever in this image. This was all done by hand, brush stroke by brush stroke, just as I would do on canvas. Even though I'm using Photoshop, I still want my art to be my hand that paints it, not the computer.

This is, of course, still a work in progress. I intend to add a lot more ... background trees and flowers, more birds and birdhouses ... This is just a first glimpse.

Created using Photoshop CS5 and a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet.

Feb 7, 2015

New Bird Garden Party Painting

I got a little out of order in my blog posts here. This is a painting I finished a few weeks ago, before my horse painting in the previous post. But I forgot to blog about it.

This is, obviously, a painting of a variety of birds on a white picket fence in a garden full of colorful flowers. While probably not a scene you're likely to come across in the real world, this is where artistic license comes into play. Pushing the limits of reality can make for more interesting and lively paintings.

The birds are, in order from left to right, a male American goldfinch, female goldfinch, eastern bluebird, black-capped chickadee, female northern red cardinal, and male northern red cardinal.

The background flowers are delphinium and the foreground flowers include calibrachoa and Black-eyed Susan daisies.

Spring Garden Party
18"x24" oil
Original Available

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