Interesting article, Water and Light about John Singer Sargent, the famous watercolorist and plein air painter and his use of photography. I’ve always maintained that artists of all eras used what ever tools were available to them. Some contemporary artists disdain the use of photography as a tool painting. Or claim that the camera gives a flattened image, but of course never explain this statement. In reading this article I imagined that Sargent was making small watercolors in his travels and wondered if he would have used a cell phone camera instead if he had one available. What are your thoughts as painters or photographers about the art of photography and painting and the fusion of both.
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One of the directions I have been exploring is a mixed media approach using digitized watercolor combined with photography and digital painting. The initial step is to complete a watercolor in the conventional manner. To create the initial image, there is nothing that can replace the dynamic and expressive way watercolor develops on paper. Then, it is converted to a digital image. It is quite exciting to see the details in an enlarged format in a digital image. This approach reveals a level of exquisiteness inherent in pigment in water that is otherwise invisible.
Once the image has been digitized, I combine it with a digital photograph, usually one of the images from my “nature’s wonders” series. I, then, break up the photo highlighting design elements of the photograph and integrate them into the watercolor image. In this way, I create the effect of the complexity multiple layers of nature and, if all works well, reveal a level of beauty that is otherwise unobtainable.
One of the digital paintings I’ve created with this process is Hidden Orchid. Here, I have used a spider-webbing technique on the original watercolor with colors that incorporate the light and reflections of an orchid I photographed growing on a tree. The photograph was manipulated also digitally to isolate the blossom and stem. The background light of the photograph was further broken up and moved to enhance design and to integrate that image with the watercolor. The watercolor image was also modified for transparency, and several layers of different sections with varieties of transparency were integrated with the blossom to give the effect of the complexity beneath the beauty of the blossoming orchid.
I have been pleased that the work I’ve completed in this Art/Science series has been well received on Fine Art America and my CafePress Store, Donna’s Art for Everyone As much as I’d love to be seen as the next great artist to collect and have collectors in a bidding war over my work, I truly believe in art being accessible to everyone. So, the fact that prints and merchandise of this new direction has had recent sales encourages me to believe that people are responding to my art. The problem is most of the local venues for group exhibits do not allow digital work, so I am looking into finding venues that do allow it. In my view, this is “the new art” of our time, and resistance to it has to be expected.