About Our Art
A little about what we do, where it comes from, and how we do it.
It's complicated. But as life is, it's also been so truly amazing, and in many different ways. We are two individuals, who happened to meet one another and become good friends. We soon discovered common ground. Janice being a photographer, whose work I greatly admired and respected, and her discovering my work as a painter and having the same regards for it. A concept emerged, and through the wonderful purity of no competitiveness existing whatsoever between us. Just coming from the common ground of mutual admiration for each others work, the passion for creating visual art, and imagery about the world we live in. We asked ourselves the question: As another way of creating art, what if we melded each of our individual skills together, and through the new 'medium' of digital art? Not necessarily a unique idea at all, but for a photographer and a painter, I would say not very commonplace. And I would also say, that as it is with all unique variables, as individuals who have merged their skills through this 'what if' idea, the art we create is in fact uniquely our own. Both of us being serious artists, and our own greatest critics, we feel very pleased with the results of our combined skills and efforts, the finished art you see here.
Long before we met, Janice and I both became pretty familiar with the 'new tools' of the digital age and computers after they began emerging. Starting as a 'traditional' artist and painter from college in the early 70's, up to when computers and the 'digital age' started showing up in its possibilities regarding visual imagery, the tools and methods of traditional art was all I did, and was how I made my living. At the advent of the digital age, initially I was adamant about the idea of ever even touching a computer, and the notion of using it in any way to do any of my art. I was concerned that I could not let a machine come between myself and my art, that to do so would ruin my art, my long and hard worked for developed skills, and perhaps...me. Thankfully, it didn't take too long for me to realize that my concerns were completely wrong. And I slowly began to understand that the possibilities were not 'threats' at all, but instead, incredible new tools that could be used in conjunction with my traditional painting skills. I began exploring the possibilities, albeit limited at the time compared to now, and for many years with the very limited resources I had to work with. While continuing to do my 'traditional' work, I slowly became more and more familiar and experienced with the digital end of things. I never had the luxuries of having the greatest computers, all of or the latest software, or anything else interconnected. But, what I did have was my passion for art, my interest in the new technological possibilities, and I made the best of what tools I did have. Eventually, I was able to begin exploring the use of the new digital 'tools' as a medium in and of itself, and coming to where I am now with it. And as it is with traditional painting for any serious artist/painter, I'm still exploring it, and likely always will be. It's all been a journey. Amazing, intense, hard, rewarding, time consuming, enlightening, hard some more, and so amazing again.
In the beginning of my awareness to the tools of the digital age, I had so much concern that if I became involved with it, that all of my traditional skills would become muddied, or lost, via these 'new tools' getting in the way. What I discovered was that nothing could be further from the truth. I discovered that all of my 'traditional skills' which I'd been educated in, continued to develop and make my living with for over 30 years, were in fact...a perfect interface with this 'new medium'. And along with having acquired a reasonable facility in the use of the new medium, the traditional foundational skills in painting and art, (all of the elements vital to any medium -- Compositional design, rendering form, color, light, and an understanding of a plethora of other things important in nuances and esthetics, such as contrasts, texture, brush stokes, the look and feeling of the paint, and finally, the expression of emotion and feeling through the handling of all of it) have all been a vital part of doing what I do in digital painting, just as it has been in other 'traditional' mediums I have worked in. When I realized that, it was an amazing thing. So on the question... 'How do you do it'?, regarding what Janice and I present to you here in our combined art pieces; As I mentioned at the beginning, the answer is complicated. Because along with what are usually many days and typically hundreds if not thousands of moves in the use of a computer and software used as another kind of 'brush, canvas, and paint'... the far greater part of it involves all of the prior study, experience and past history noted above. That enabling backdrop, to doing the art we have created and present in O&S Arts, is equally pertinent as well to fellow artist/partner Janice. Having the same passions about art and her work, her skills and talents in her medium of photography being honed over many years of effort, her talent and input is an equally integral part in the art we have produced and present here.
The time, effort, and care that we both put into the art we produce, is major. By no means does it come about simply or quickly. In the first important half of the work, Janice spends time searching for, planning out, going to locations, and waiting for exactly the right time of day and light to take her photographs. That, along with scrutinizing all else that a great artist/photographer does: composition, design, light, color, and just as importantly...mood, emotion, and what she feels moved to want to depict in her photographs. From there, her work is not done until she goes through her own extremely discerning process of culling out those that are not up to her expectations, and from there often times making fine tuning adjustments with software on a computer. Then comes my part in the process. From her photographs, I choose which ones I'm attracted too, and that I believe I can translate into our goal here of finished images/paintings. I go through many series of steps, sequences, moves, modifications, choices, decisions and procedures in the process of doing the paintings. Just as I would do in traditional painting, but in different ways/methods, with a different 'brush and medium'. It usually takes me days, sometimes weeks, to get a piece to the point where I'm satisfied with it. Sometimes if the process is not working out, and regardless of how much time I've already spent, I will start over. Sometimes, if the resulting art is not up to my own expectations, even if worked on multiple times, I will trash the whole thing, and move on to another piece. That too, is exactly how it works in traditional art painting, as it has been for myself, as well as all artists I know of who are serious about producing only the very best of their work, and without exception. Once I've completed a piece, Janice and I both take a look. If any further changes are felt to be needed, I make those. Once we mutually agree it's ready, we then go into making test prints, to make certain the painting image on the computer is being represented correctly in all ways in the print. Sometimes we have to do numerous corrections/test prints to achieve that requirement. We are both relentless about our art coming from only the very best we each have to make it happen.
So in the answer to 'how do we do the art?'. It's all of the above, and from both of us. What with all the time and effort I've mentioned that we both put into the doing of our work as individual artists, and that we both put into our collaborative art, it is by no means time and efforts of 'drudgery' to either of us. Both of us absolutely love the doing of all of it. For us, the process from start to finish is fun, exciting, and along with the final paintings being achieved, incredibly fulfilling to each of us. It all starts with a "Wow, look at that" moment, first with Janice in her pursuits out in the field of possibilities with her photography, then with me saying the same thing. From there, working through the process to our mutual collaborative goal, the finished art/painting. Which is all about who we are as people, what we are driven to do, explore and express as artists, and the results here coming from all of it coming together. For both of us, what process, medium, or technique used is not as important as the final goal: a fine piece of art. A statement of what we saw and were moved by, what we felt compelled to interact with in the process of doing the art, and finally, as a way to share these things with others who might also find the same kind of joys in what we've seen, and have done with it in our art.
Our very best to you,