Sunday, November 21, 2010

Figurative Painting: Best of the Best

Great American Figurative Artists Exhibition 2010

Waterhouse Gallery of Santa Barbara, California is currently exhibiting the Great American Figurative Artists Exhibition 2010. This exhibition highlights the best in American figurative painting.

It's a highly instructive show for taking in the applied techniques of figurative painting. Be sure to click on the thumbnails to view a larger image...and prepare to be humbled!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

John's Dry Media: Railway Express Agency

The Union Pacific Railroad Museum recently sponsored the 50th Anniversary Special, a commemorative excursion of the Union Pacific's legacy steam engine 844 and historical equipment. The excursion made a swing through Council Bluffs, Iowa to pick up lucky passengers for an day-long roundtrip on the legacy train.

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I got the chance to shoot some photos of the engine and train while it was on display in the Council Bluffs UP rail yards. The classic UP yellow cars caught my eye and I ended up doing a pastel interpretation from one of the shots:

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I used my Dry Media brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5 to create the pastel. Below are a couple of 100% scale close-ups to provide a sense of the brushes' texturing capability:

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John's Dry Media for Photoshop CS5 are available for purchase at $19.95. Enjoy chalk and pastels without the dust!

John's Dry Media for Adobe Photoshop CS5
If you have an image created using John's Dry Media, send me a JPEG and I'll feature it here on the PixlBlog!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Map Photoshop CS5 Functions to the Wacom Intuos4 Control Surface

Click to download PDF

I've put together a PDF file that details my setup for mapping Photoshop CS5 functionality to the Wacom Intuos4 control surface. The settings primarily focus on maximizing control of the Mixer Brush, as well as shortcuts for Photoshop's color selection tools.

For example, you can use the pen's barrel buttons to switch the Mixer Brush between opaque and blender behavior, as well as load your brush with multiple colors. You can set up the ExpressKeys to display the HUD Color Picker with a single button press. You can set up the Touch Ring to scroll back and forth through history—hey, let's go back to the future!

You may not want to use all of my settings, but they will act as a good starting point to evolve your own preferred workspace. You can download my CS5/Intuos4 PDF using the link below:

Intuos4 Mapping_PS_CS5.pdf

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Adobe MAX Class and Digital Painting Session

Last week I was at the Adobe MAX Conference in Los Angeles, I co-taught a class, From Reality to Renaissance, with Russell Brown.

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I taught the painting component, in which the class (70 participants)—using my Artists' Brushes— interpreted a photograph of a recreation of a famous painting as an exercise. Wacom provided an Intuos4 tablet and 6D Art Pen for all of the workstations.

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Yes, that is Russell as Whistler's Mother...

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Artist Bonny Lhotka worked with students to prep and output their artwork via multiple methods. Art could be printed out on canvas and and then embellished using media provided by Golden Artists Color.

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Bonny instructed students on her image transfer technique. This technique results in an image on paper with an appearance similar to polaroid or dye transfer.

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Students also got the opportunity to utilize some technology normally out of the reach of most artists. Russell came up with a technique for extracting 3D height data from images (as well as adding it) and then use the information to drive a Universal Laser Systems laser to etch the image into wood.

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The resulting etched wood is then run through a Direct Color Systems Direct Jet flatbed print. The color image is printed in registration with the 3D-etched wood image. You can see some of Russell's test examples below.

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The students' resulting prints were exhibited on the MAX exhibition show floor.

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Below is the example I did for the class. Russell and MAX class assistant Monika Wolff posed as Grant Wood's American Gothic couple.

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On-demand printers MagCloud created a full-color catalog of the exhibition. You can view a PDF of the catalog using the link below:

From Reality to Renaissance catalog

I also did a session on Painting with Photoshop CS5. You can view a video of the talk on AdobeTV using the link below:

Painting in Photoshop CS5 with the Master Painter