Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fathead says "hello"

Fathead digital painting

This is a painting I made a while ago when I first downloaed ArtRage2 which I affectionately call, "Fathead." It really is a fun little program, especially if you have a graphics tablet to draw with. I really enjoy the "feel" of the digital oil paint, much less messy than real oil paint, and you even have an "instant dry" option. Years ago when I stopped painting for a while and focused on learning photography I became really drawn to the instanteous aspect of image-making, which was kind of silly because the kind of photos I would end up making involved lots of time consuming set up or post-production. Still, once you capture the image within your frame, it's pretty much there and you can shoot extras to get the shot you want.

When I came back to painting it became so much more of a chore to create the kind of image I'd want, all this sketching, and then the process of mixing paint, applying it, becoming frustrated with whatever was wrong with it color or composition wise, painting it over, and just continuing to rework it 'till it was good. Hours and hours of soul-eating work. For me it's almost a masochistic thing to do, painting, because of this process, and I'm pretty sure it's what Walter Benjamin was getting at in regards to there being an "aura" to painting as opposed to mechanically reproduced work.

And I've been thinking how painting is such an archaic art form, I mean, not only does it take a long time to actually produce one, but to be a really good painter, that takes YEARS of training and practice, just like any other skill, you have to do it over and over and over again to get better at it. And who has time to do this time consuming-practice? Our culture is so accustomed to instant gratification, internets, frozen foods, automobiles, etc, these things exist in one time zone and doing things like, knitting, cooking a really great meal, or painting exist in another.

Maybe that's part of the reason why I like it so much, this weirdly old process provides a contrast to everything else I do. I guess for me it's always been about balance, contrasts, and juxtopositions. I'm kind of in love right now with a certain brand of frozen dinners (which I ate 4 days in a row), but I also enjoy cooking spaghetti with Michael. I love shooting digital photos and I love painting things with lots of detail (even though I grumble about it while I'm actually doing it). When I was still in school people there used to be a lot of that digital vs. traditional debate, but it really doesn't matter anymore, if it's good, it's good, you can't resist technological change, but you can never get rid of traditional practices either.


Blogger amenthyst said...

haha.. like that painting.

3:51 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home