By Lew Bedell
I remember a few months ago a particular piece of art making its way through production here at Artistic Photo Canvas that caught everyone’s eye and created something of a buzz. It was a digital “fine art” painting that was beautiful, contemporary, and truly striking. We knew the artist was exceptionally gifted. What we didn’t know at the time was that the origin of the piece was a digital photograph.
The photographer/artist that created “Chiara Bride” (shown here) – which, incidentally, made for a truly stunning stretched canvas print – was Melissa Gallo. It turns out that we’d unknowingly created something of a mutual admiration society because Melissa called our offices a few weeks ago to let us know that she was just blown away by the customer service she recieved and the quality of our work compared to other labs she’d tried. She was thrilled to have found both a medium and a vendor that finally showed her work it in it’s best light.
I later learned that Melissa was creating a webinar to teach her photo painting techniques to others. As you might imagine, I’ve seen a huge number of “photo paintings,” but I’ve never seen anyone who’s work so resembles a “real” oil painting. In fact, until Melissa told me, I had no clue that her art was the result of digitally painting photographs. I was on board for this webinar. I’m really looking forward to seeing exactly how she does it. I told her I would definitely give her webinar a plug on our blog. (It would really be a joy to see more digital art of that calibre coming through APC!)
Melissa’s webinar, “Turn Your Photo into a Classical Oil Painting,” will be hosted by Marathon Press and conducted live on December 7, 2010 from 8PM – 9PM Eastern. The cost is $34.00. Purchasers of the webinar will have permanent access to the taped version to review again and again. Click here to see more of Melissa’s photo paintings. After seeing the the exceptional results she achieves with her approach, I think you’ll agree that this webinar sounds like a great investment.
I asked Melissa if she’d share her thoughts with our readers about the trend of transforming photos into paintings and her upcoming webinar…
What is your experience with traditional painting and what attracted you to the digital medium?
“I was a paperback romance illustrator for 22 years-back in the day when there were no computers! Using acrylics, I worked in a very tight realistic style. It was tedious and hard work. A painting would take me a month to complete, working with a brush that came to a point of one single hair. I could not make mistakes-what I put down on canvas was final and there was no “undo.” By the time my last child was born and I had put my husband through veterinary school with my work, I was ready to quit. I had had it! I vowed I would never paint again! Then several years ago I fell into photography and started a photography business. One day, while flipping through a Photoshop magazine, I saw what I thought to be a traditionally painted oil painting, that they claimed had been done digitally. That painting transformed me. I couldn’t believe it and I had to find out how it was done. I delved first in Photoshop and then found Corel Painter – and I was hooked! It was SO wonderfully easy and fun – and mistakes could be done away with the tap of a key.”
How would you describe the differences between “autopaint” and “filter” techniques and a “true” digital painting for photographs?
“There is a TREMENDOUS difference between auto painting/filter techniques and true painting! First of all, I do not like auto painting at all! You are not doing the painting – the computer is. This is not what we are trying to achieve. Instead, we are hoping to facilitate the art of painting using the computer. When we paint, our brains interpret what we are seeing based on our own physiological makeup and all of our experience. If you leave it to the computer, then the computer will do the interpreting for you – without the element of human emotion. That is why a painting can be so moving and magical – it is not “generated” – it is thought over, fought over and imbued with our feelings… Why would you leave your painting process to anyone – or anything – else? I want to demonstrate how we use a photograph as a basis only for our painting – but then take off from there.”
What types of photographs make good candidates for digital painting?