For centuries, artists have used a variety of technologies to assist them in producing images. Almost as soon as a new technology is developed, it is adopted by forward thinking creatives. An early example was Albert Durer, using a frame with a grid made from wires to accurately produce the two-dimensional foreshortened shape of a three-dimensional object.
A few years ago, the British artist David Hockney published his book “Secret Knowledge”. He set out to prove that Vermeer and other Renaissance artists used the “Camera Obscura”, lenses and mirrors to help them produce accurate townscapes, portraits and other art works. He claimed that Caravaggio, Raphael, Frans Hals, Vermeer, Velázquez and Ingres; all used lenses to trace out their pictures. Some in the art establishment were horrified.
Here are two examples of commercial products available more recently; one in the 1840s and a later version sold in the middle of the last century.
But in 1820s the first photographic images were produced, which made the use of lenses in art far more accessible to all artists; they could hold a two-dimensional image in their hand or even project an image onto a surface to trace. Modern Art began to change things forever, and the development of television and then computers heralded the possibility of digital art.
Many artists today, use photography, computers, and graphic tablets to produce both originals and limited edition artworks. The most popular and sophisticated software is probably “Photoshop”, but there are countless other ways in which images can be produced and manipulated. A work can be “drawn” onto a blank page or individual photographs can be manipulated and/or combined to make something unique and totally original. And, in exactly the same way, that “knowing” renowned Old Masters were assisted by technology takes nothing from their achievement, knowing that artists use modern technology to produce an image makes their products no less engaging.
Here are just a few of the artists on the www.artgallery.co.uk website who are leading this field of digital art.
And Venus Rises Red - Georgina Bowater
The Harbour, Bouzigues, Herault, France - Memories A' broad
Green Man - Michael Aaron
For other artists, the image is produced without using any photograph as a starting point. As such, these are not reproductions of another artwork and they only exist when they are printed.
Tunnel Vision V - Pauline Thomas
Swimming Pool - Steve Palmer
As ever, with any artwork, it is the end product which matters, not exactly how it has been produced. When creating, the best artists know when to stop; when further work would add no more, and possibly detract. It is the amateur artist who tends to “overwork” a painting. Knowing when to stop is what separates the remarkable from the mundane.
To see more of either digital genre, search for “digital art” in the STYLE section of the ADVANCED SEARCH.