Embracing Technology

Hamburger Bahnhof 1
Val Nelson, Hamburger Bahnhof 1, 45 x 60 inches, oil on panel, 2012-2013

In my  September 2012 post on my “In the Studio” page, I bemoaned my boredom with photography as a source for my paintings. Well since then things have changed quite a bit. While photography has limitations, I am once again finding it very freeing, in different ways from working from life. The paintings that “just happen” very quickly are ones that I sometimes prize; but there are also the larger works that emerge slowly, and are an accumulation of “hits” and “misses” that are moves toward the final goal of an image that registers for me something that I hope to call Painting.

The layering of glazes can subtly alter the surface and create nuances of painterly depth that a “premier coup” painting might not. Each approach is just different, neither better nor worse than the other.

There’s also what technology can bring to the process–I’m fairly sure if Velaszquez or Vermeer were here today they would most likely be taking advantage of today’s photography post-production software in conjunction with their painting.

Along with working from reproductions of reality printed on paper or found on my computer screen, I also have been really benefiting from some life drawing and painting in the past while. It’s feeling good to do it all–– it just makes the work richer and I think more informed.

Today we needn’t be And/Or but can easily say yes to Both.

2 Replies to “Embracing Technology”

  1. What I foolishly forgot to mention was how photography allows me to work slowly: the light never changes in the photograph, the model can pose for hours, and I can work on the same image for days and days and keep riffing on it without having to cart all my stuff out to the location! This could be terribly expensive as most of my locations are several thousand miles away from where I live, ie Berlin as in the recent painting above.

    best to you,

    Val

Comments are closed.