Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Use of Technology in Painting

Technology according to Webster’s dictionary is “The study of mechanical arts and applied sciences”. Technique is “method of performing or doing something”. So to study technology is to learn how to use mechanisms to create art, and the technique is the way it is done. This is interesting, it would create the basis for an argument that to use the latest technologically advanced tools is to use the most advanced techniques available. Is this true? When one uses his own eyes and hands to create something is it not a better result than when one uses advanced computer technology to create the same thing? Is it even the same thing?

What is most important to me is that the artist creates an idea which is only available to him in his head, an image which can only be called imagination. When this image is clear, then the artist has a myriad of possibilities to make the artwork come to life. I would argue that it is important that the artist have at his disposal every possible type of technology that he can afford to create his image. That means that if he makes a digital photo, which then goes into the computer, which then gets digitally manipulated by the artist, so that he can see what the image may look like in an eventual painting, well then, he should absolutely take advantage of this technology. The other option is to not take advantage of this technology and to sit with a canvas and paints in front of the subject and simply paint what he sees. This may be a problem, some subjects are fleeting, sometimes it rains, or is windy, or a thousand other things that will never happen in the calm of the studio. But most of all, it is the creation of the idea that must be preformed, before the painting is started. I have found that when I have a computer work up, I have done at least half of the actual work in the creation of a piece of art. The painting becomes a physical exercise to complete the idea on canvas. Also the painting is the material expression of the non material idea which initiated in my head. I love the way that a painting takes on a life of its own. The idea becomes less imaginary, and more real. To finish a painting is to complete an idea.

Matthew Bates, Firenze

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