Monday, July 13, 2009

Contemporary Photographers

If you need a source for showing examples of contemporary fine art photographers, who are truly pushing the envelope, go to the Photography Now website (slogan: "a way to connect your creative vision with the world at large...the internet's premiere site dedicated to people seriously interested in contemporary and classical photography.")

My favorite page is the "More Contemporary Artists" page. Check out MaLiang who combines theater, and aged photo effects, and Julia Fullerton-Batten who directs and creates elaborate images that play with scale or movement, or repetition. John Manno has some new ideas for shooting still lifes and objects, and Keven Erickson has found beauty in motion blur.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Another Useful Book--Digital Painting in Photoshop

This book definitely crosses over into the realm of Photoshop as an artform, instead the Photoshop cool tricks (boring!) arena...even though you might think some of the finished examples are a little cheesy. Get past that and the techniques are very interesting and useful.

This book is perfect for educators (as well as traditional illustrators who find their clients can't always pay for the time for traditional media illustrations). Screenshots are extremely effective and this book has a lot of them. Most young people are very visual, and of couse, all artists are. I spend lots of extra hours creating screenshots for my students after realizing how effective they are as a teaching tool.

If you are dipping your toes into painting with Photoshop, this book is a great start if you already understand basic Photoshop. It is much better than searching for online tutorials, which half the time are not clearly explained, and the physical book makes for a great reference to keep going back to.

The techniques described are not what you would find just by applying a filter or two. The author spent many hours experimenting with techniques that now you don't have to spend hours figuring out yourself. Whether or not you think all the finished examples are inspiring works of art doesn't matter. These techniques are very useful and I plan on teaching several to my students.

I also enjoyed the respectful discussions of traditional media. I for one would always prefer to use real pastels...when I have a lot of time, but, it would be a huge mistake to not address this digital art form. After all, it still takes an artist to turn these techniques into exciting works of art.

Don't worry, if you are a well-trained artist, your finished products will not look like you were a non-artist who thought Photoshop turned you into an artist, and I especially think that any serious art student who plans on majoring in illustration, graphic design, animation, or art history really needs to be exposed to this aspect of Photoshop.