Yep, this looks pretty different than my regular stuff huh? But it’s not that far off from my photography. Hmmm. Well, in order to learn the new bristle brushes in Photoshop CS5 I decided to just try painting over a photograph of my daughter. As I was painting and experimenting with the brushes I had a few thoughts. Click MORE to read my ramblings if’n you want.
Is digital painting over a photograph, art? That was one thought I had as I was doing this. In general I don’t feel comfortable defining what is and isn’t art (especially the isn’t part), but yep, I’d have to say, sure, this is art.
Was this fun to do? It really was. Although, if I hadn’t taken the photograph, I don’t think it would have been nearly as enjoyable. And for me, it’s still not as enjoyable or as satisfying as doing the drawing as well as the painting. Digitally painting over a photograph does show the hand of the artist; in the brush strokes, in the color choices, etc. But it also lacks the distortions and interpretations that my individual brain makes in defining the forms. It’s less personal and human I guess.
To me it feels a little like motion capture animation. With motion capture you still have visual artists defining the lighting, the texturing, the modeling, etc., but the actual motion is being driven by physical actors. I’m not saying that’s bad at all, it’s just different. So, painting over a photograph is missing me as an artist defining a very important element, the basic forms. The forms are defined by the photographer. An actor is an artist, and so is a photographer. But motion capture and photography are both more direct external representations of the real world, being integrated into a final artistic expression.
So, what does all that mean? Beats me. I’ll probably do more digitally painting over my photos, it’s fun and it can be done really quickly. But it won’t be replacing drawing and painting my own stuff any time soon.