When we think of decorating the walls of our home, we may consider different ideas, but buying framed, mass produced art pieces is probably the most common, whether it be something from Macy’s or a giclee signed print in a limited edition of 2000. But what if you want something more unique, more personal? One choice is photographic wall art, which I have written about before, but another choice is a digital painting of your pet.
Some people think digital paintings are simply filters applied to photographs. Certainly there are oil and watercolor filters that can be bought and applied, but the filters are not customized and the “brush” stroke often doesn’t match the subject or changes color abruptly, and the product does not look like a real oil painting. Below are some examples of the photo I started with to make the painting above with different filters applied. ( you can see the original photo here: https://stephaniesabourinphotography.com/gallery-of-dog-cat-horse-and-other-pet-photographs/#jp-carousel-592)
You can see how clumsily the filters are applied to the photo and how the brush strokes don’t make sense. The program also arbitrarily changed colors. Neither of these look like real paintings on close inspection. They also will not print large or well. They are merely meant to be digital fun.
What if you wanted a better version, something available only to people who know how to use Photoshop? After all, this is a top of the line professional program. Let’s look at how that program does in changing the photo into a painting. I applied the oil painting filter in Photoshop to the image and here is the result:
In this case the “painting” looks almost identical to the original photo taken in the snow. If you look closely, you can see a brush texture was applied to the whole photo, but again, not in a way that makes sense compared to what a real painter would do. I prefer this to the filters, but I don’t really see a point in it. Why would someone prefer this to a photograph?
So what happens in a digital painting when it is done correctly? First, it is hand painted image. The artist uses digital brushes to paint the fur, the eyes, et cetera and every part of the background. The brush strokes are painted in the same way an artist working with oil paints would do them. Brushes are selected or created to do what the artist wants. An artist can blend colors, load new colors, or use a dry brush. Different brush sizes and types can be chosen according to need. The colors are selected from digital pallets. Second, the digital artist is free to make the painting into anything he or she would like, like an artist working with paints. The pet’s pose can be changed or left the same. The artist can leave distractions out and add new things in. He or she can create a new world if that is what is wanted and it is the artist’s style. The beauty of digital paints for the artist is that there is no clean up afterwards and no worry about where to store paint or even canvases while they dry.
I painted as a child and then started again as a young adult. The mess and the lack of space became a problem, and I let it go for years. Learning digital painting has given me the opportunity to paint again and to work around a busy schedule. I don’t need to plan for set up and clean up time, so I can paint for half an hour or an hour when I have time and get things done in segments. These paintings, when printed on canvas are difficult to tell apart from a real oil painting. They have beauty and sheen and durability. They are pieces of art that can be enjoyed now and in the future. Of course you can expect to pay more for a painting than for a photograph. Many more hours of work go into the production of these pieces of art.
So why would anyone want a painting of their pet? Many of us value pets like children. Our pets are there for us every day. They are always happy to see us, and they never get mad. They give their whole lives to us and we want to remember what a wonderful gift that was and how much joy they brought into our lives. Each dog is unique with its own characteristics and variations in appearance. Why not create an art piece that allows you to celebrate this wonderful part of your life?
I talked about creating another digital painting in this post: https://stephaniesabourinphotography.com/2019/08/28/not-until-they-are-gone/
More on digital painting: https://www.breathingcolor.com/blog/traditional-vs-digital-painting/