Paint Outside the Frame – Digital Painting Comes of Age

If you have been reading along with this blog, you’ve seen posts questioning whether the term giclée is passé, rhetorically asking “What Is a Giclée?” and suggesting the term, “Convergent Media” is more appropriate than digital art. The situation is that digital media and communication continues to take a larger role in our lives. The blog you are reading now is a cool by-product of digital media and Web development. The picture below is the work of Convergent Media Artist, Steven Friedman and is featured on the home page of the Digital Painting Forum.Ballet_folklorico_6

To those born soon enough that life without Game Boys, text messaging and DVRs is inconcievable, I predict the notion digitally rendered art can be construed as fine art will go without question. The rest of us have, or will catch up in due time or let it pass as something we never got. Me, I’ve had maybe four text messages in my life and don’t feel a need for any more any sooner…but don’t think about asking me to give up my blog or Internet connection. And, don’t tell me exquisite art can’t be created from bits and bytes.

Marilyn Sholin is the tireless founder of the Paint Outside the Frame Website, aka Digital Painting Forum. She is a terrific talented artist who is also a teacher, promoter, instigator and shrewd business person. She started the forum as a way to help some friends and associates get more from the evolving tools for digital artists such as Corel Painter. The site quickly grew to a large membership.

Unlike nearly any other board you’ll find for just about any hobby or profession that uses free memberships to lure visitors, DPF has a modest fee to particpate. Just enough to make sure members are serious about their involvement in the online community. Member fees are often the kiss of death for things once given free. As an example, Toronto, Ontario once offered free wi-fi for the entire city and boasted 400,000 users. When the city decided it was too expensive to keep up and put a fee in place, the number plummeted to 4,000.  By contrast, the Digital Painting Forum has more than 2,600 and growing members on its paid site. Those figures testify to Marilyn’s stewardship and the unabiding interest in digital painting.

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The DPF boards are quite active with more than 47,000 posts. You can find numerous other artists free to join community boards that get a fraction of the volume of threads and posts found on the DPF. If you have an interest in pursuing digital painting as an adjunct to your tactile painting or are just looking to start a pleasurable hobby, you’ll find lots of great information and a fun, helpful bunch of folks who you can interact with on the DPF.

I’m not advocating digital over traditional forms of painting and drawing. I think there will always be room for every kind of art. In fact, I think it would be a shame if traditional art lost too many devotees due to involvement with digital painting. There is a corollary with graphic art and the evolving digital art. I’ve seen many so-called graphic designers who were self-taught on Photoshop and other programs, but who lacked a fundamental knowledge of typography, color, and layout concepts. I think it was due to a lack of training on the fundamentals. That this can happen or will happen with digital painters is quite likely and a pity.

Much of the sampled hip hop music that has been popular now for nearly as long a rock n’ roll was is another example. You have talented musicians who sample and borrow as opposed to sitting and Moderntimescomposing on guitar or piano. Some of it is great stuff, but perhaps that old fart who doesn’t text has to admit he misses the singer/songwriter genre of his youth, too. Since I digress to music, there is a valid reason Bob Dylan’s Modern Times got a positive response. It’s a rocking good album from a guy (singer/songwriter) older yet than me.

I’m not saying all digital painters sample and borrow, or just get technical skills on the software and hardware without the basics on drawing, color theory, composition, and perspective. But as in any of the arts, the one’s who avoid getting steeped in the basics will have big holes in their capabilities which will thwart their ability to continually improve their work.

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