Standing Up And Moving Away From The Screen

I have clearly been having it too easy over the last few years in terms of making art. The vast majority of my work has been digitally generated and has required little more physical endeavour than the hand skitting across a graphics tablet or swiping a tablet or phone screen.

When I’m not sitting in front of a computer screen, I am making small drawings in sketchbooks. Again, very little physical effort required to accomplish anything.

Standing up though for hours on end waving brushes with the arm fully extended is an entirely different ball game. I feel after the last few days as if I have run a marathon. I can’t believe it is so physically demanding, and I can’t believe that I clearly need to get in training to paint. The other novelty is working in the absence of an ‘undo’ function. I have become so used to clicking ‘undo’ and ‘redo’ to gauge progress with digital work that the permanence of mark-making on paper in real world painting is scary stuff. Every mark has to count for something whether it has the effect I anticipate or not. Because I am working on paper with acrylic washes that dry instantaneously in this heat, there is no space for subtlety or attenuating marks. There is no going back at all.

I have been reminded of the old days of letter writing and essay writing and manuscripts. When I first started practice as a lawyer, dictation with no mistakes was a required skill. You dictated communications, documents, and they were typed up. The only way a secretary would re-type would be for (her) own spelling mistakes. Only for really important work would you be allowed to re-draft.

Was there more clarity of thinking and approach and direction in that pre-digital age? I certainly think I should practice more often that buried skill set. And maybe step back from the computer screen a bit more often.



3 responses to Standing Up And Moving Away From The Screen

  1. JBeveridge

    I totally agree, painting in actuality is a very different artform. I couldn’t trade in photoshop for an easel, but taking that intention of approach that comes with ‘traditional artforms’ is important. Nice piece of writing and artwork looks great. @JBevvie

  2. When writing, I handwrite my ideas and play with them. When I have a draft I think that will work I use the laptop and print it out. Then, any changes and ideas are again handwritten on to the sheet. When it gets full I do a rewrite and reprint and the process starts again. I keep the sheets and can see the changes and go back if needed.

    I wonder if the computer has made changes too easy maybe. I use Photoshop for web photos, so the undo is a big thing. But I do, perhaps like you and your sketchbook, always have a notebook with me. For ideas, images anything I see that may work as a piece of writing.


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