Monday, July 19, 2010

A Change Is As Good As..

First it was America.
An African American President. Who would have thought?
Things change.

Now it’s Australia’s turn.
A female Prime Minister? In a country steeped in bloke’dom?
Yes, things do change.  

So it is with change in the air and another election in the wind, I present my (and in the case of  most Australians) our new Prime Minister, “Julia Gillard” (click on image to view larger).
But I’ll get back to her in a moment.

I like to jump between mediums. I adore the freedom of drawing.
I love the physical act of painting on canvas.
I am seduced equally by charcoal, brush, pencil and scalpel.

I also love new media.
I love drawing with a digital tablet, painting with a digital palette.

Here’s the rub.
In my correspondence with other artists this comes as a surprise to most traditional, natural media artists or illustrators who hold fast to the belief that real artists use real media.
There is no argument here. I encounter my work in both mediums day in and day out in the studio, and a freshly painted oil on canvas is hard to beat next to a 600dpi print, no matter how large it is or what archival ink properties it has for longevity.

I’m keeping the Prime Minister waiting though..
This picture is a digital drawing. It was created using a Wacom Intuos tablet and the software programs Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter.
It looks painted you say? Well yes it is. In a manner of speaking.
It looks painted but the processes to get there are worlds apart. No cleaning of brushes in turpentine for this baby.
No, not you Prime Minister, I’m referring to the painting.. I mean drawing.. no I mean.. oh never mind.

Frankly, I’m over the disparities, debates and the politics (sorry Julia) of natural media versus digital. Of tradition versus modernity.  I make art for arts sake. Work bound for galleries, work bound for publication, work bound for sketch books.. even work bound for the dust bin. I don’t have any hang up about it whatsoever. It is just about exploring and creating work in a different media for me.

I don’t pretend to be a master of any of this, and using an electronic tablet for a drawing seems no different to picking up pastels, pen and ink or doing some collage work. It’s another way of mark making, any way you look at it and for me, another way in.

So this blog piece comes with a little more rhetoric than usual, and I had better remind myself to stick to the purpose and that is my latest distraction, Julia.

She took about five hours to complete and came about whilst waiting for the (real) paint to dry on a commissioned canvas I have been working on in my studio for some time now (more on that in our next chat).
Quite frankly, I enjoyed it. Putting down a brush and picking up the Wacom pen and tablet that is.

With an election just around the corner, I have Miss G here giving Australia a “womans touch” with a metaphoric make over and wielding her trusty Australian Labour Party brush. She’s also wearing an Australian Diggers uniform by the way.
There you have it, a picture with no sign of Dorian Gray and not a single drop of paint was shed.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently and I’m convinced my warmth towards this new medium is because I simply love the act of creating.. of drawing and painting no matter what the medium. What ever road gets me there, and whatever medium I choose to realize the image in.

So, would I ever choose one over the other? Digital or traditional?
I doubt it but who knows.

Things change.


Blogger Pina said...

Hi Leith, I love that you are crossing boundaries and using both traditional and digital art mediums (or is that media???) I love the tactile nature of more trad forms but digital art is so versatile. Cheers, Pina

6:26 AM  
Blogger Maria Wiley said...

Love it Leith and an artist needs to create in whatever form or medium ... variety is the spice of life so they say :-) Great work! cheers! Maria

6:23 AM  

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