Mixed Media Digital Hand Painted Art

mixed media digital hand painting, monterey bay, cannery row
mixed media digital hand painting, monterey bay, cannery row

A few years ago I watched a seminar online with an artist who turned a digital photograph into a hand painted work of art. With my background in acrylic painting, (teaching it for many years), this was so intriguing to me! I had to try it! There are software program filters that will, with one press of a button, transform a digital image into something that resembles a painting. But the technique I'm referring to creates the painting with traditional techniques, stroke by stroke, just with a hand-held stylus on the computer rather than a paintbrush on canvas.

The image above is an example of this style of art. My original photo, straight-out-of-the-camera, is on the left. With digital hand painting I was able to re-imagine the scene how I wanted it to look  - in vivid color, and with all the unsightly power lines removed.

You might think this technique is easy to do since you aren't using real paint and brushes. But with all my experience in acrylic painting, I can tell you digital painting is anything but easy. It is just as difficult and time consuming to do.

This one image alone took me many, many days and hours to get all the details just right. You can't just quickly 'paint' over the original image the way it is, you have to use many different brushes, brush techniques, and colors to bring the photo to life.

In the end, I was thrilled with the way it turned out! So much so, that I went ahead and printed the image on a large canvas where you can really see all the detail in the digital brush strokes. It's amazing how realistic they look close up!

To add even more dimension, I applied a gel medium with a real paintbrush to the entire canvas which created textural, raised brushstrokes. If you didn't already know most of the work was completed on a computer, you might not ever guess it was anything but a traditional painting. ;-)