Archive for June, 2006

Digital Painting: Kitties

Friday, June 30th, 2006

learning the language and capturing spirit

Kitties - digital painting / art prints - Dan Beck 2003

Kittiesdigital painting / art prints – Dan Beck 2003

Prior to doing this piece, I had done digital paintings which did not require the drawings to capture any sort of figure. In general, the subject matter was more forgiving.

Using a mouse is a bit clumsy – though I must confess, I have gotten to enjoy the movement when drawing. One of the tools I use, puts the color on the inside of every curve. Drawing figures like this is not like drawing using pencil, pen or paintbrush.

Like any artistic medium – it is a learned skill. I have become quite comfortable with the language – creating figures and even specific people.

The kitties are so not literal, but I somehow was able to capture their spirit like I did my previous dog, Max. as found in original outhouse studios logo

I am never sure how it happens, but I am pleased that it does.

See Also

  • Kitties
    availability of art prints for digital painting – Kitties
  • The Painting Environment
    a dated and naturally incomplete look at the appleworks painting program – still a good intro though
  • Dog Gallery by artist Sarah Theophilus
    a more literal look at capturing spirit – as she describes in about artist section – 2nd row up/bottom right Autumn looks a lot like Max

Digital Painting: Work In The Dirt

Friday, June 30th, 2006

richness in the soil, feeling the fog, blowing the earth

Work in the Dirt - digital painting / art prints - Dan Beck 2004

Work in the Dirt – Digital Painting / Art Prints – Dan Beck 2004

A piece found in the original art-chives, I never thought it caught on much. And I am not exactly sure why I picked this digital painting to feature today.

I think the main reason, it that I feel like the piece expresses a state of weather and state of being that is pretty fascinating.

The way the fog/overcast is merging with the land – blowing the soil – is a common occurrence here.  Like Mark Twain’s coldest winter being summer in San Francisco – summer here tends to see the fog roll in early.

I gave it a title of "Work in the Dirt" because after completing it, I noticed figures seemingly working, subtly, almost imperceptibly in the dirt – maybe a bit like the reality.

I also like that the dirt had a story to tell – and that phrase I recall that "organic farmers don’t treat their soil like dirt".

All these things give the art prints from this digital painting a richness that could easily be overlooked. As for me, I mostly like it, because it captures the way it frequently feels here while still being abstract.

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Observing the Creative Project

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

gaining perspective by walking away and coming back fresh

Admit One to Outhouse StudiosTicketOuthouse Studios

Digitally created composite image from digital paintings – 2003

This morning I started writing a song – if I had finished it – I might have recorded it to share it; but like most creative endeavors it requires my walking away and coming back to it.

I was in my kitchen making coffee – enjoying my dog’s company – because no one else was home – besides the cats. I heard words and music – yes I admit it – in my head – together.

To me this is not strange – but it was quick and could have easily been missed. I had no intentions of writing a song today. I diverted not so much because I wanted, but because I had to – a gift perhaps – words and melody to take where.

I do believe it is going to be a good song – their are difficulties to still work through – and as much as I want to have it complete, I can only finish it by walking away for a while and coming back to it fresh.

The same goes for art or any difficult project – we must get some perspective to see how to proceed.

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Large Art Prints

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

size of print can help you to feel the scene

Wave Spray - digital painting / art prints - Dan Beck 2004

Wave Spray – digital painting / art prints – Dan Beck 2004

As I look at this piece, I realize I have not been taking advantage of the close proximity to the beach. I know I am not alone in this – but I hate to think of myself as taking things for granted.

The above piece works beautifully large – no really large – where you feel the spray and imagine the smoothness of the sand.

This is both the beauty and the disadvantage of this medium. For some landscape art – large is what makes it work. The above digital painting is an all right enough composition – but it isn’t that exciting – but large and you have the impression you are there.

Well almost, I think I need to make my way to the beach soon – if you don’t live close to one, I am sorry – but more reason for me to not squander it.

See Also

Depth of Field

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

another digital view of strawberry harvesting

Harvest Depth - digital painting / art prints - Dan Beck 2006

Harvest Depthdigital painting / art prints – Dan Beck 2006

I don’t know if it’s as much about trying to get it right or trying new angles at the same thing. This year, there are more strawberry fields around my house since I moved here about 6 1/2 years ago.

I am struck by different views of essentially the same thing each day. In the above piece, the orange flags which I understand to mean the field has been sprayed, caught my gaze.

The berries require being harvested every 2 days or so depending upon the weather and they did spray in between – but the flags winding their way back to the second crew intrigued me.

It also intrigued me that once again – the crews appeared to be lined up and bent over like a team – which they are – but when the flat is full the picker boogies – I suspect piece work incentives and a little bit of everyone for himself.

If you are interested in art prints for this digital painting, please email

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Painted Ways of Jazz

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

same song, new interpretation, abstract and back

All That Jazz - Digital Painting - 2006 - Dan Beck

All That Jazz – digital painting / art prints – 2006 – Dan Beck

Though in some ways, this is the same type of piece as Jazz 1 – perhaps even just a different version of the same piece. It is conceptually the same thing – an abstract collage of instruments – a hand or two playing and a backdrop with the energy of jazz itself.

In another way, it is appropriate to be so much the same – since jazz is frequently about playing the same music in new ways – making it a new piece each time – if successful.

This piece is more sophisticated in its use of texture and digital painting technique, but it also has a nice balance between abstract and representation – again almost like jazz itself – coming back to the melody and tone centers no matter how abstract it tends to get.

For art prints for the above digital painting, All That Jazz, please email

See Also

  • Minimalist Jazz
    another new digital painting in this genre by Dan Beck
  • Jazz – Wikipedia
    good discussion of origins and history or jazz itself
  • JSO – Review
    Review had me chuckling and shaking my head – quite the name to this publication – Jackson Citizen Patriot – to top it off – plus reviewed program named “All that Jazz”

About a Digital Painting

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

appreciating the place of inspiration along with results

2theBeach - digital painting / art prints - Dan Beck 2003

2 the Beachdigital painting / art prints – Dan Beck 2003

I said recently that I find myself balancing between creating new works and appreciating others – being creative means also being an audience and particularly an observer.

The piece above was painted after going to the Salinas River State Beach.  It is the closest beach to where I live, but it also it quite a nice stretch of beach with people on horseback.  At the time of this painting, it was also a great place to take one’s dog.

I can’t locate any photos online of the entrance to the beach – but the fun thing for me – was that this abstract take on the landscape around the wooden walkway – somehow captured the location.  Two people I know, who were familiar with the beach – recognized it immediately from a 4 by 6 inch art print.

When you walk to this point – and spy the ocean – your whole being goes "aaahh"…

See Also

Looking at an Art Print

Monday, June 26th, 2006

prints more revealing than monitor – seeing more revealing than photos

Wheel of Fields - digital painting for art prints - Dan Beck 2006

Wheel of Fieldsdigital painting for art prints – 2006

At this writing this is my most recent digital painting. I have already featured it last week from a different aspect.

I was looking at an art print of it today and noticing the complexity of color in the strawberry rows and the way the figures harvesting kind of look like they are in a green lake swimming.

It does look like the fields swallow up the work crews – the combination of the rows being elevated and how bent over everyone harvesting really is – I paint it and even find photos, but I think it would shock you if you saw it in person.

For various size art prints of this digital painting – please write

See Also

Creativity and Discipline

Monday, June 26th, 2006

carving out time, taking on challenges, and balancing with known success

Sunset Seen - digital painting - Dan Beck 2005

Sunset Seendigital painting /art prints – Dan Beck 2005

I was thinking about one of the aspects of being creative which doesn’t get talked about much – discipline. I have talked about needing structure to be free in – but discipline is something different. Many even feel that discipline and being creative are rather opposite.

As for me, I think that one needs to be disciplined first off in just doing one’s art. I am not the first to say that if you want to write – you need to sit down and write. Writing music, creating art, etc. are the same way. One just can’t be creative unless one blocks off the time to do so.

Perhaps this is a bit obvious, but discipline can be found in other ways too – because every creative experience can take the easy way or one which is challenging with potential pitfalls and unknown solutions.

Part of being disciplined is taking enough challenges to keep the skills and work growing but knowing how to balance that with known paths of success.

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Digital Painting: Monterey Miway 1

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

humanness of trees through digital art setting

Monterey Miway 1- digital painting - Dan Beck 2004

Monterey Miway 1digital painting / art prints – Dan Beck 2004

I thought I would feature this digital painting today. It is inspired by Highway 68 between Salinas and Monterey – looking back over my shoulder up at the hills and spying what are most likely live oak trees on the hillside.

Unlike the majority of my computer art work, this piece clearly looks digital – it isn’t the kind of look you can imagine one doing without a computer kind of palette.

The world looks a little other planet – but then again maybe just hot – not a common occurrence here – but it does happen.

More than anything else in this piece, I like the character of the trees. They all appear to be kneeling or reclining – and have a strong human quality in the midst of an almost science fiction background.

This particular piece was intended to be large and sold no smaller than 24×30" – which is the way I have it on my site. I would consider selling it at the smaller 13×19" size – because I recall that it was one that worked that size.

Please email for special sized art prints.

See Also