This was my wall at Artomatic 2017. Prints are available here.
It really started out as just folk art. I do have formal training as an artist, but its the emotional and fun connections that I make with people through my art was important to me than being accurate with my painting. I don’t paint purely for me, I consider people viewing it, their reactions, and even how it would look in someone home. But mostly I’m painting for me. I always think, “this will never sell, so I better be happy with it hanging on my wall for a long time.”
One of the great challenges I have always had is that I love so many different styles of art. So, I do some primitive style, some modernist, some cubist, some simplified, some graphic, some paint marker, some digital and some realistic. My work has always moved between styles. Changing one thing into another, evolving, applying one idea to another thing, that’s what interests me most.
My most recent works have been about evolution, distortion, decay and rebuilding into something else. The new series has been created entirely on my iPad.I do love the feeling of real paint, but having this amount of control, and to be able to work on these pieces in any spare time I have has been great. In the past I mostly used the iPad as the sketchbook for working out the ideas before executing them, but this new series… well, it’s just working on the iPad for me right now.
Conceptually, I’m painting family and friends. With the people in our lives, our mental image of them is not as everyone else sees them. We add years of memories, problems, pain, joy, history and so much more. And all of this distorts, and clouds our vision. So, now I am painting these people with love, and scraping off the layers, adding my own issues, painting the problems, paint and joy, and in the end you may not even be able to see the person in the image, but what I see is a kind of patinaed beauty.
I get asked about it a lot with these portraits. My process is almost never the same way twice when it comes to the details, but the over view of it is pretty consistent. I find or take photos of people. There is a lot of emotional and “artsy” thinking and squinting until I see how to frame it and understand the subject. I bring the image into ArtSet. Most times I sketch and paint over the sketch in Artset. but sometimes I just import the photo and start building up the paint over the image until the original image is gone and only digital paint remains. Once I’m happy with the composition it’s back to that “artsy emotional”stuff. It’s tough to do a painting and then scrap off the face of so many key features, but this is part of the process of seeing the subject thru all the layers we put on people and all the stuff we take away from them. So, in Artset, and in Procreate there are tools; sandpaper, turpentine, smudges and paints, to use to create the effects. Once satisfied with the composition, I bring it into Google’s SnapSeed app for fine tuning and more distortions. Lastly, I add a digital border or frame to the image while still in SnapSeed.
This whole process is more like illustrating than fine are as far as the process goes, but the idea and emotion behind the concepts and what each image means to me brings it into a new area of digital fine art.
As for all my older art work, the iPad has played a big part as a Sketchbook and as a creation tool. I still love to paint, but for this moment in time, the iPad is my canvas.