Friday, May 28, 2010

About Technology as Tool

I can make beautiful paintings using customary painting materials plus Photoshop and my computer and printer. I have a great computer and a fine archival printer and in my studio, I have most of the traditional materials of the artist. I use it all. There are many variations to the process but mostly it's about painting something to the best of my ability and then scanning or photographing it and taking it into Photoshop. There I do what I cannot do with acrylics and pastels and collage and other time-honored media. The additional tweaking provided by the technology is magical and wonderful. While I am still learning and hope to do so forever, the power I can wield with these tools is fabulous.

The resulting works look as good (or better) as those I fashion from conventional tools; they last as long (or longer); they take as much attention from the creator (or more) and the pricing makes them easier to acquire.

Come and see for yourself. For the first two weekends of next month I will open my workspace to the public as part of our North Coast Open Studios event. I plan to show original paintings in one area of my studio and the digitally enhanced work in another. I daresay no one will be able to identify the process in any of them. They are different because they are not made with the same materials but I cannot think that because technology played a part in the production of the giclées that they are less "authentic". While I am captivated by what I can do with my contemporary tools, they are no easier to produce than with a brush and easel.

Helen Frankenthaler said: Whatever the medium, there is the difficulty, challenge, fascination and often the productive clumsiness of learning a new method: the wonderful puzzles and problems of translating with new materials.

The image above is made with the process described above and available in several sizes. It is still untitled as Detail 2. For information about any of the images on this blog please contact Joan at

For information about North Coast Open Studios, please visit


  1. It's a pleasure to see an open-minded embrace of the new, without relinquishing love and use of traditional media. So often the boundary between the two (which is always moving) is seen as something rigid and absolute.

    Wish I could make the event...

  2. I like the rumination about art work. The whole idea of an 'artist's statement' seems to me rather silly. But your weblog eschews the sappy attempts at capturing what an artist is trying to do in one paragraph, and instead muses and confides.