• Carolyn Land

Using Technology

“My contact sheets become a kind of visual diary of all the things I have seen and experienced with my camera.  They contain the seeds from which my images grow.”                                                 Jerry Uelsmann

Technology: love it or struggle with it!  I am beginning to believe that the younger generation is born with a “technology gene”, which those of us over 60 never received.  I don’t know too many people over that age who do not have problems with some aspect of the “digital world”.  My son tells me to “embrace it!”.  Well I am trying!  Its hard, but I am progressing slowly.

Now I must admit, I love my iPhone, and I think texting was a wonderful invention, but please don’t ask me what and how the iCloud works!  It is as distant to my understanding, as the place it exists!   Some things are just beyond my comprehension.  However, I would like to talk about a few technological advances, that can help you with your work.

The best and easiest is the camera in your phone. You can take a picture which inspires you to create, and use it as a catalyst for imaginary or realistic works.

If you take a picture of what you are working on, and look at it on a devise: phone, tablet, computer, it is so much easier to see what is wrong, and where you need to add or subtract something, than starring at your painting.  It seems to show things you don’t see when you look at your work.  When I look at my work on the computer screen, I immediately see where it is off balance, where there is too much dark or light, and if my eye can travel around it, or if it stays in one spot.

Value Photo of Spruce Creek


Your computer is also a wonderful tool for editing pictures if you are a realistic painter. You can get the value scale instantaneously and see how your values flow; if you need to increase the value in one area or soften it in another.  You can crop, so you have the center of interest where it should be, or so the horizon line is not directly in the middle.

Altered photo of Spruce Creek


If you want to move from realism to abstraction, you can put your photo in a program like Photo Shop and amp up the color and use “filter” to change all sorts of things: reduce it to shapes, see what it would look like if it were crystallized, done as a mosaic, or with very wet paint. The possibilities are endless.

AccaView Screen


There are many apps you can buy specifically for art. Two I like are: “AccuView” and iPastels”.   “AccuView” links directly to your photos and gives you various grids, so you can transfer the photo you are working from, to your working surface accurately, after you have edited it. It also has a wonderful value scale. This is great for anyone doing portraits or scenes containing architectural structures.

iPastel Screen


The second is “iPastel”. This app allows you to import a photo, or a photo of what you are working on, and paint on top of it.  You can add something to what you are working on, so you can see how a painting would look if: you changed the sky color, the color of clothing a person is wearing, the background color, or if adding a bird or boat would add more interest. It helps you see if you would like it better if: you added more value, it were a different color, or had some linear elements.

Know that by about talking technology, I am not advocating digital art.  That is a whole different area that I have not personally embraced yet.  These things I speak about are aids; which can help you expand your horizons if you lean toward abstraction, or help, if you are working in realism with some technical issues.

Alternate Surface painting by FL artist Carolyn Land

Man’s Mark


I don’t know where the art world is headed, nor if artists, as we know them today, will become obsolete.  These are questions to ponder in a future blog.  But for now, “man’s mark” and his personal interpretation through the human hand, is still important to a large segment of our society.

“Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.”      John Ruskin       

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