Artists who have been working for any length of time will eventually run into an issue with storage. Art supplies, sketches, half finished work, and unsold work – it’s a lot of stuff all needing careful handling. Having just combined houses with my new husband and dealing with the inevitable storage challenges that have ensued, I’m left wondering, where does this end? Does any artist ever sell ALL their work? Will I ever have enough art supplies? There’s an awful lot now, and if no changes are made, the volume will continue to expand. Golly, that’s a sobering thought.
Digital vs traditional
My day job is in graphic design so I am no stranger to using software to create images, so what about going digital? I’ll admit, I’ve never taken digital painting seriously as a fine art medium. Nothing compares to the immediacy of paint on paper, plus painting takes me far away from my work-a-day activities, even if it’s only to the next room.
Question: is a painting created in a digital medium given the same credence in the art world as painting in oils or acrylics? Speaking as an art consumer, I’ve wondered about this question before. If an art piece blows you away, does it matter the medium? Or will the most amazing digital artist in the world still be perceived as a few pegs below a middling oil painter, just because the world at large would (right or wrong) attribute more skill and dedication to the artist working in the traditional medium? And in this same vein, what is the relative value of a limited print made from a digital painting versus buying or selling a one-of-a-kind original work? Not sure there’s a definitive answer to this. It is likely a shifting paradigm.
It all begs the question: why do I paint? Is it to make money (ahem, what money?) or gain the esteem of the art world at large – or is it how the act of creating makes me feel? And if it’s more about how I feel, then why on earth am I amassing so much stuff in my house?
Pixels take up no shelf space.
In 2019 I invested in an iPad and a digital pencil and downloaded a number of different painting and sketching apps. I am still squarely in the experimentation stage, but I am really starting to have fun with this. The multiple software apps I’ve been trying out are all incredibly deep – so many options to explore. Hundreds of different brushes, pens, pencils, different settings for each, even different kinds of surfaces to paint on. Oooh (clapping in excitement) lots of new stuff to learn!
Below are some of my first digital works. I can say that the rush I get from creating on the iPad is every bit as good as the when I work with traditional mediums. I can sit anywhere and paint with my iPad – curled up on the couch, on vacation, waiting for a train – wherever. The practice of painting digitally informs my traditional work – it’s all a study of color, line, form, composition, volume, etc., doesn’t matter the medium. And working digitally means my ongoing storage problem has begun fading away in a pixelated haze. iCloud, here I come.
I don’t foresee giving up traditional painting – that has its own rewards. But digital painting solves a lot of issues and is remarkably convenient. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up creating a series of prints or greeting cards, or something else for sale.
Anyway, who cares? It’s fun.