I love to make music, paint, draw, I even like to paint the walls in my house. I paint every-thing. Furniture, flower pots. There’s something about feeling drenched in color that I can just about taste, that’s how much I like it, and it’s not like work: it’s a rich experience, like melty chocolate.
Digital painting… ahhhhh! It started to become a passion with me in 1984 when I first played with MacPaint on my firstMacintosh, a little 128k machine that I’ve always kept. I could save multiple versions, combine this with that, cut and paste, save and carry around on a floppy disk and take on the road. I haven’t stopped being happy ever since.
This collection of paintings were done between 1984 and 2011 Some paintings started out as paint on paper or canvas. Some started out as a photograph. Some started out as an attempt to paint something with a mouse instead of a brush. All of them contain more than one technique. I go in and out of the wet studio and the digital studio. Paint and scan and print and paint some more, etc. Another thing, inside my computer I can make my digital brushes any shape or softness I need, and my digital paint any colour, and consistency, and any pressure is available to me, just like my wet studio, only with custom tools I can make myself.
These paintings unintentionally represent kind of a history of digital art programs including MacPaint, SuperPaint, Painter, PixelPaint, and Photoshop. None were made as advertisements, but all as fine art: i.e. for the passion of doing it for hours and hours, just like mu-sic, and while you’re doing it you find lots to like, lots of lessons learned.
Sometimes I fall in love with a painting while I’m doing it. Something about the colours, zooming in and out of so many levels, the way that pixels work together to create some colour you never would have thought of… multi-dimensional, like an orchestra of pixels all blending together to create a whole new colour experience which none could do alone. It’s a nice metaphor for building anything.. a world, a family.
For me, both images and music can be full of both philosophy and emotion. Sometimes emotion is the whole point: it’s what powers the vehicle that carries the content. It’s the propulsion, the magnetism, the attraction the listener feels to the song or the painting. I feel it too.
One thing all these works have in common, they all combine layers of different realities as well as techniques - photographic, scanned objects, digital painting, real world painting, and layers of ideas and emotions too. Some of my paintings of elders look shattered, as if we can half-see them like ghosts through several levels of their shattered worlds. Pink Village can make me cry. I felt certain feelings whenever I’d work on it. Elder Brothers too. I felt so honoured to work on that painting, like I was with them and their relatives. I scanned in my own eagle feather fan that Ed Calfrobe gave to me when they gave me my name, as a gift to the two brothers from long ago, passing the scanned image of the real feathers into their digital universe and time. In the image, it’s like they are between their own past world, and our world now as we look at them, and the future world of new technologies enhancing our access to past generations… all at the same time.
Paintings are more or less the same thing as songs. Same brain, different toys. Some have deep meaning, but some don’t. Some are just playing with line and colour and design. Cooking up something with the ingredients you have, sea shells, fishes,paint, ideas.
-- Buffy Sainte-Marie