Archive for November, 2005

Final Stage of Painting: Declaring it Done

Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

Finished Work, Intention, Nothing More to Add

Toro Tutor - Dan Beck - Digital Painting 2005

Toro Tutor – Digital Painting 2005

Above is the finished piece to a series of images showing the creation and steps to this work.  This is the fourth part to this series: Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 can all be seen by following the links or rolling down the page where appropriate.

The changes from the last version shown are minor, but then again seemed essential at the time and from my perspective pull the piece together that much more. The shadow has been darkened, the plow is in a small dirt cloud, and the piece has been signed.

The most interesting and/or difficult question for the artist is when to stop. When is the piece finished?  Though I make that decision for every piece, I am not sure I have a clear answer.

But I can say it is not finished until it looks right – ’til adding would not make it better, ’til what was intended to be said is said.  One quits hopefully not because one is tired of messing with the piece, but rather because it finally feels like you’ve got it.

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Stages of an Artwork: Painting the final layers

Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

visual clues, size, depth, shadows, and pizazz

Toro Tutor - stage 7 of painting revealed

The trees and shrubs have now been defined better and the fields in front now have a deeper color with some more imaginative tones in the green fields – perhaps hidden in normal viewing, perhaps imagined – such as we might have seen from Van Gogh, Cezanne, or Monet to name a few.

Stage 8 of digital painting demonstration

This is the last image before the final finished piece.  A number of things have been added to give the piece more of the "mmph" I was looking for and more of the sense of space.

First off, there is a tractor added. Its size gives the mountains and everything else a greater sense of space and grandeur. There is also a rather large shadowed area in the crease of the hills as well as the forefront of the left hill. My feeling is that this creates some movement within what is generally a pretty peaceful and still scene. The shadow enhances the depth and promotes eye movement around the piece.

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Painting Stages: a second look at creating a work of art

Friday, November 25th, 2005

Adding color, texture, adjusting composition for balance

Toro Tutor4 - digital painting development

At this point in the piece there is more color added to all the fields in the foreground, giving them more solidity and believability.  The sky has been filled in using a gradient blue and some texture has been added to the strip of land behind.

Toro Tutor 5 - Digital Painting Stages

This next phase of the piece has more color and texture added to the foreground hills and the shape of the green mountain in the rear has been altered slightly to make a nicer flow.

Toro Tutor 6 - phases of a painting

The main additional ingredient here is the additional shrubs and trees.  It felt sparse as compared with the original scene and also seemed necessary for the aesthetic balance of the painting.

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Stages of Painting: A Look at the Creation of an Artwork

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

Views of art development and digital art painting

Toro Tutorial 1 - Painting on the computer

Stage 1 of Digital Painting

It was suggested to me that I give a demonstration of how a piece is created. This particular piece was painted with that intent. At various stages of its process, I saved the piece so the development and change could be seen readily.

This scene comes from a section of a descending road coming to the base of Toro Mountain. It is not particularly literal though it takes aspects of that scene and puts them together. The end result is intended to have a similar feeling.

Stage 1 is simply a sketch, I have used mostly overlapping gradient colors to gain the initital layout.

Toro Tutorial 2 - Painting in action

In the second stage, I have started to lay in more color and the mountains in back with the ascending hills are starting to take shape.

Stage 3 - Painting Tutorial

The third stage, which is all I will share for today, has the trees added in layered colors and the mountains have more texture and color – again giving them more shape.

More alterations, color, and additions will follow – but like myself creating it – you will have to wait to see how it unfolds.

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Jazz 3: Exploring the Art Music Connection

Thursday, November 17th, 2005

Music Conversation, Embellished Themes, Shared Record

Jazz 3 - Art Music Connection - Digital Painting

Jazz 3 – Digital Painting 2005

Unlike the previous explorations of portraying jazz, this one does not reference instruments. It does, however, attempt to reference music.

When it was created, I was listening to jazz, I was creating with the music as a fairly active listener – to the extent that is possible while painting.

As I am looking at the piece now, I see that perhaps I did create a conversation.  There are several key players – the cross-hatched black, the blue tablecloth patterned ribbon, the orange shapes. 

But what I see mostly that is similar to music is how everything is built upon each other. There is a theme and it is embellished upon and everything leads to something grander where everyone is contributing and it is bold but then it is done – contained in the space and/or time allotted.

The similarity between art and music is found in composition:  in the space not just the subject,  in the sense of being built upon within the piece, in the sense of building upon other art or music.

There is also the need for audience (even if it is just the author), and though much is unsaid – ideally it is a record that someone found something new and most likely wanted share it.

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Jazz 2: Exploring the Art Music Connection

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Communication, Improvisation, Uncharted Territory

Flipped Out Jazz - Dan Beck - Digital Painting 2005

View Flipped Out Jazz – Digital Painting – 2005 

Like my first attempt at portraying jazz (Jazz 1)in a visual medium, I used the obvious references to jazz instruments, sun glass coolness, and fingers and strings.

What I did in this piece which is actually a bit more jazz-like is that I went somewhere with the piece I had never explored before. I landed upon some uncharted territory which is the ultimate in improvisation.

Jazz pianist McCoy Tyner is quoted in the Telegraph Arts  "I can’t predict the directions my music will go. For me, all music is a journey of the soul into new, uncharted territory." Whether that comes through in the above piece without having said so is probably no more clear than whether a listener will recognize new musical space.

Part of my hope in portraying jazz was to touch on the type of communication used by musicians. The instrument clues provide a starting point for conversation, but there is an energy of play found clearly as well.  The final thing which was new to me and the uncharted territory in this case, was to let the computer flip over and/or reverse certain sections of the piece – thus the name Flipped Out Jazz.

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Jazz 1: Exploring the Art Music Connection

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Music & Art Similarities – Jazz, Abstract, Color & Sculpture

Jazz1 - Dan Beck -Digital Painting - 2005

(larger View) Jazz1 – Digital Painting 2005

Within the last couple of months I produced a few pieces of specifically jazz related work. They are a bit of a departure from most of my artwork, but were fun to create. There was a competition in conjunction with the Monterey Jazz Festival – at least held at the same time and proximity and I was urged to participate.

My tact was rather obvious – referencing instruments and their being played and placing them in an abstract, multi-leveled, multi-colored sculptural kind of way.  As a result, these are the areas of connection I am going to touch on today.

There is such an obvious connection when art references the playing of music that the only thing worth pointing out – is that it is intended to make such an obvious connection – garnering support by the connection itself.

Music and abstract art seem very connected to me. Neither has to be about anything other than what it is. Being multi-leveled, multi-colored, and sculptural are also shared by music and art.

Sound gets layered upon sound upon sound and changed with each addition as the layers of color or paint would change a painting.  And the building of music requires not only beat and sound but space – just like a sculpture’s empty space is every bit as important as the solid.

To be continued…

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Artistic Development & Art Critique

Saturday, November 12th, 2005

Technique, Composition, Form, & Feeling

Boat-on-an-Ocean - Digital PaintingBoat-on-an-Ocean – 2000

SeaFogged - Dan Beck - Digital PaintingSeaFogged – 2005

There are lots of ways one can develop as an artist. One of the most obvious is technique. It is incredibly apparent in the two pieces above that the technique in the second piece is much more developed. If you look at the enlarged versions(click title links above), it is even more obvious.

The first piece, though quite dynamic is not particularly subtle. The lines are big as well as the bold overlapping colors. I still think it is a wonderful piece in the way it makes you feel like the ocean is rocking, but there is no attempt at any sort of illusion to reality, nor did I understand the medium well enough at the time to be able to produce something like the second piece.

Now the second piece, Seafogged, is not as interesting a composition or as vivid, though it is much more sophisticated in its technique. I chose this as a comparison piece because it is also a painting of the sea and the difference is so startling.

This piece does capture the feeling of the ocean on that day and that sunset time. I was really happy with it on completion because I did exactly what I set out to do. I painted what I had seen at a particular time for a small amount of time – held it in my mind and rendered the feeling I had into the piece.  It doesn’t always work like that.

So besides technique, I have touched on composition and color in my own artistic critique.  There is also balance, the way one’s eye moves through a piece, how much of the piece one is captivated by, and of course the subjective most important aspect of artistic development, how the newer work makes you feel.

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Buying Art

Friday, November 11th, 2005

Art Prints, Reproductions, Original Artwork

Rolling Fields - Digital Painting 2004

Rolling Fields – Digital Painting – 2004

There are many reasons for buying art. My own feeling is that one should buy work that speaks to you. One of the ways of knowing is if the work stands the test of time. The above piece is such a work for me.

As an artist, one of the ways I know a piece is as good as what I originally think, is whether it continues to grow on me – whether I look at it with joy when I come back to it.

Though occasionally one finds a piece which just completely mesmerizes – it is probably the exception rather than the rule.

As a purchaser, one will probably not want to take months or years to decide, but most of the time one can come back to the work at another time and see if it evokes the same response.

Whatever one chooses to live with – requires this kind of test. Even if one is on a budget buying poster art, we go through some of this process -even though the work can be changed and/or removed without much guilt. Actually, I change my walls several times a year because I have a lot more art than walls to put it on.

To me – I would always prefer to have original art over a reproduction though I own both. Something original and possibly unique is more special – possibly, because a lithograph, serigraph, or etching is original but not necessarily unique.

Outhouse studios offers a new alternative such as above – it is what I see as the modern day lithograph – the work is created on the computer and each archival giclĂ©e print is an original.

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New Abstract Art

Tuesday, November 8th, 2005

Taking a New Path Can Lead to Something New


Shape of Something New – Digital Painting 2005

I haven’t shared a lot of my abstract art in the last year or so. I have done some, and actually have a series just entitled "My Series". I found something I really liked – this mix of color and textured background and shapes slightly suggesting other things.

However, my focus has been more on producing a series on the world around me – agriculture landscapes and Central Coast beauty – still using some of the abstract techniques, but more representational and probably more accessible.

The above piece is a departure perhaps somewhere new to go and perhaps not – I am undecided. I took the below piece which I had decided was finished and looked at the suggested figures and decided I would pull them out.

My Series 14 - Abstract Art

Enlarge – My Series 14 – start of what’s above – Digital Painting 2005

I outlined the figures I saw and copied and pasted them – creating something very reminiscent of Duchamp’s "Nude Descending a Staircase". But too many figures made the multiples even more confusing to the eye and I opted for a little black line work to enhance what I was trying to bring out.

Though this may or may not be a new direction for my art – there is nothing totally new – notice this work "Violin and Palette" by Georges Braque who along with Picasso is credited for inventing cubism.

There are plenty of departures, but we all perceive using human eyes and processing.

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