Jane visited us last summer to show us how to include textures in the post-processing of digital images. She Zoomed in again from Barnsley to explain this time how the works of some of the great masters of the art world provide inspiration for her fine art photographs.
Once more, Zoom conferencing has enabled us to “share the screen” of a great speaker based too far away to visit.
Jane has a degree in Fine Art and was a professional painter for over 25 years (these days she paints mainly as a hobby), so she obviously knows her art. Her favourites painters are:
- Caravaggio – notable for his single-source lighting, jewel-like colours, dark shadowy backgrounds, pale skin tones, chiaroscuro (broadly, graduations between light and shade), storytelling, and religious symbolism;
- Rembrandt – notable for his off-gold lighting from oil lamps and candles (“Rembrandt lighting”), baroque style, chiaroscuro, realistic portraits, details/textures, and brushstrokes;
- Gustav Klimt – notable for femme fatale subjects, fashion designer patterns and textures, gold leaf, and other decorative elements;
- Alphonse Mucha – notable for his posters, Art Nouveau style, decorative elements, pure fairy tale, and draughtsmanship;
- Edgar Degas – notable for his ballet dancer subjects, lighting, composition, and use of photography (one of the first artists to use it as a tool);
- George Stubbs – notable for his horse subjects, study of anatomy, landscape backgrounds, strong poses, and the separation between subject and background; and
- The Pre-Raphaelites (all of them!) – notable for subjects not looking at the viewer, pale skin tones, drapes, storytelling, use of legend and myth, naturalism, colours and textures, romance, and decorative styling.
In the first part of her presentation, Jane showed us a selection of each artist’s works followed by some of her own photographs. She described how elements of each artist’s style have often contributed to her own creative process.
Jane is not trying to imitate or copy these artists, just draw inspiration. She may start with stylistic elements from one artist and then move towards another. Or she may combine two artists. It is all part of the creative progression!
For some of Jane’s images, the artistic inspiration contributes mostly to the “set ups”. For example, she will put together elaborate scenes in the style of the Pre-Raphaelites. For other images, though, it contributes more to post-processing. For example, trying to add the lighting and baroque style of Rembrandt into a horse portrait.
In the second part of the talk, Jane demonstrated – live on screen in real time – some of these artistic post-processing techniques as she transmuted relatively straightforward photographs into works of art. She emphasised that while Photoshop is a complex tool, her techniques are in fact pretty simple and straightforward.
Jane’s first demo was a dancer being given the Degas treatment. By adding textures with some masking, adjusting the Blend Mode and Opacity, and then applying some motion blur and the “Rough Pastels” Artistic filter, Jane turned a photograph into a “Degas”. (Note: Artistic filters are available in the Filter Gallery, but only if the image is in “8 Bits/Channel” mode.)
Similarly, Jane then transformed a horse photograph into a “Stubbs” using textures with some masking and adjusting the Blend Mode and Opacity.
All before our very eyes!
This was another excellent Zoom presentation from Jane. The information and explanations of the first half, with plenty of Jane’s gorgeous fine art images by way of illustration, led perfectly into the practicality of the second half. Jane is a fluent and entertaining presenter and this talk was helpfully instructive and most enjoyable.