Computers in the Studio

The technique I use to create my paintings is somewhat unforgiving, so it’s important to work out a game plan ahead of time before putting paint to paper. Painting in transparent layers means that I will be unable to change my mind later in the process and it can be difficult to correct mistakes, unless I abandon transparency and use a thicker opaque application of paint. For this reason, I’ve found it necessary to make preliminary studies before proceeding with the final painting. Originally I made small paint on paper studies as well as hand colored monotypes. I enjoyed the process but, as my paintings became larger, more complex and time consuming, I found that I needed a different approach.

At that time, I was working with a printing company to produce giclee’s of my work and a light bulb went off as I watched them manipulate my images in Adobe Photoshop to produce a print identical to the original. Using Adobe photoshop, I’m able to experiment with an image by making rapid color and light adjustments to my subject photographs. I use the program to compose my paintings by either cropping a photo or by merging two or more images together. If there’s an object that doesn’t enhance the image, I can remove it or I can cut and paste objects into a scene. I save the images as 300 DPI (dots per inch) JPEGs and burn them on discs as a back-up. I now have a computer monitor on my painting table so I can refer to the subject photo—with the option of zooming into an area when working on detail. I realize that the use of technology goes against the purists way of thinking but I’ve always felt that artists, being creative people, should not be forced to play by the rules but rather with them.

Mark Workman studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology and at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has shown his work at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in New York City and the Lancaster Museum of Art. His art appeared in the September 2007 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.

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