Author Archives: Fine Light Arts (Chuck Underwood)

About Fine Light Arts (Chuck Underwood)

Born in Pittsburg PA in 1952. Now living and working in Austin, TX. Took a year of college - mostly Art classes - at St Thomas University, Houston, TX. Graduated from the New York Institute of Photography in 1997. As an artist and phtographer I am drawn to the timeless beauty of nature, in all of it's majesty, honesty and simplicity. This is essentially what I attempt to convey in my work.

“Covers” in the Visual Arts

Original Photograph                          My Interpretive “Cover”


Why the Double Standard When Comparing a Musical “Cover” with a Visual Arts “Cover”?

Why do so many people react with revulsion when an artist “re-interprets” another artists’ work (with their expressed permission, of course!)  by creating a new, unique version of it? In the music world this is, and has been for quite a long time a widely accepted practice known as recording a “cover” of an already published song. I know most everyone reading this piece is familiar with Joe Cocker’s exceptional cover of the Beatles “With A Little Help From My Friends”. Do a quick search on the internet and you will find a wide variety of covers of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, or how about Linda Ronstadt. Her highly successful singing career was from mostly doing covers of other artist’s songs.

No one gets upset about these reworked songs – but when an artist wants to use another artist’s work – say a photograph for instance,  to create a new, unique version or “cover” of it in a different medium they are commonly barraged with negative comments like: That’s “copying”; it’s fake art; you are stealing; ect.


Now, please, be frank with me. When you saw the two images at the top of this blog post was your first gut reaction one similar to the ones I mentioned in the previous paragraph? Something like: how dare he do that! He’s copying another artist’s work! Or are you one of the few who honestly have no problem whatsoever with what I have done?


Working in a different medium – digital painting –  I’m actually creating my own “cover” of that photograph – which was, by the way freely given to me by the photographer to use as a reference for my work. (I would never think of covering  another person’s art or photograph without their explicit permission). I source most of my covered works from – which is a website that allows photographers to upload their work to be freely used by anyone for any purpose, including commercial uses. No attribution is required from most of these generous photographers, but I always include their names anyway as the reference photo’s owner when they are known to me. (The above photo was donated anonymously on, so I am unable to display his/her name).

I’m wondering if anyone else out there feels the same way I do about this seeming “double standard” that is based on no valid foundation that I can find. Please feel free to add your comments if you have any.

Thanks for reading this far!

Warmest Regards,



My New Vida Collection

So I received an invitation from Vida the other day to submit some of my artwork/photography to be considered for inclusion in the designs of their clothing line. This was something completely new and foreign to me so I looked into it to see if it was for real. It looks like the real thing to me. Turns out VIDA is a global partnership of creators, pairing designers from around the world with makers in Pakistan in accordance with high ethical standards, to create original, beautiful products.

Your purchase gives back: Using part of the proceeds from the sales of the products, VIDA creates literacy programs for the makers, so that they have opportunities to learn reading, writing and basic math that they would not otherwise have. Making the world a better place by helping the less fortunate help themselves – that’s something I can wholeheartedly get behind and support.

The image below shows some of my current Vida collection of designs. I am adding more when I can find the time so feel free to check back often. Here is my Vida Collection Link: 



I Need Your Help!

I’m reaching out to you, my friends, family, and facebook friends to help me get to Slate Status with Vida so that my collection of designs will be featured on Vida’s social media pages. I only need to sell 10 pieces to get to that level. I can further advance my Vida status and overall visibility by selling 25 pieces, or 50 pieces to get to Steel or Gold.

There are perks for you as a patron of my Collection: Anyone who purchases one of my first 10 pieces will receive a 25 USD Vida Gift Card. Anyone who purchases one of my next 15 pieces will receive a 20 USD Vida gift card. And, anyone who helps me to sell 25 more pieces with a purchase will receive a 15 USD Vida gift card.


I’m really excited to introduce this collection to you. Click on this link to purchase a scarf or clothing item now. Your generous support will be greatly appreciated!





Meet Adobe Spark


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I just created a new promo using a new app from adobe called Adobe Spark. It felt a little strange to me to be referring to myself in the third person, but if you don’t have another willing person available, or simply can’t afford to hire someone who can do the copywriting for you (my situation), you will have to do it yourself.


Anyway, Adobe is currently offering a free 30 day trial of the app on their Creative Cloud site. Might be fun to take it for a spin just to see what you can do. There are three different ways to create your promo: Spark Post; Spark Page; and Spark Video. The first one is setup for posting on social media like Facebook. The Second is for creating a magazine like web page which can be shared on any device. The third, Spark Video, is for creating videos with sound and photos, using cinematic motion to give it that professional touch.

The one I created (click on the link below) is created from the second publishing option – Spark Page.



Changing the Color Scheme of Your Digital Painting

Changing the Color Scheme of Your Digital Painting


Screen Capture of Topaz Restyle (as a Photoshop Plug – in)

One of the unique and often overlooked benefits of working in the digital painting medium is the expansive array of editing options that are now available to digital artists (and new ones seem to be cropping up every other day). Today I am focusing on a great little gem of software genius called Topaz Restyle. This is a great way to make changes to the existing color scheme of any digital artwork giving you, the artist a huge number of presets to start off with that you can tweak to your heart’s content until you get exactly what you had in mind.

Some of you may ask – why would I ever want to change the color scheme of my painting? Well, maybe the main reason might be to please a potential future patron of your artwork such as an interior designer who likes your art piece or pieces, but they don’t fit the color scheme of the home or office interior she/he is trying to decorate. If your work is digitally created you can tell them up front (as selling point) that you can custom match any color scheme they may be looking for. Maybe then show them some examples to bolster your statement. That could potentially be the key to at least getting your “foot in the door” to a future sale, or even a lifelong devoted patron of your art.

Here are some examples I have just created for the purpose of this article. The first (top) image is the original painting with no changes to the color scheme. The next four are new versions using different color schemes that I created from the Topaz Restyle plug – in for Photoshop.

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Another side benefit I have found with using this software is to just “see what is possible” when I am in the middle of creating a new artwork. Sometimes it can be a great way to get new, fresh ideas for the painting – not just for the color scheme, but for other variables such as contrast, specific hues in specific selected areas of the work, ect. With digital art the possibilities are endless! If you are interested in try Topaz Restyle out they have a 30 day free trial available on their website:

Thanks! I hope that was of some benefit. There will be more to come.



Welcome to FineLight Arts

Hello and welcome to my new (and improved!) blog with which I will be featuring articles and free tutorials among other things of interest to anyone who has a passion for art/digital art/photography – did I leave anything out? I am truly looking forward to making the best of this opportunity to share and (hopefully) inspire all of you aspiring new artists or photographers as well as possibly some of you seasoned pros – who. I hope, will on occasion kindly share some of your own proven tips and wisdom with the rest of us.

Today I would like to share my most recent photo – painting (below) and give a big shout out to the amazing digital artist and teacher Melissa Gallo – who’s superb online video workshops on digital painting have inspired me immensely and greatly contributed to taking my digital painting abilities to the next level. (No, I’m not affiliated with her in any way, other than being one of her many students – I just really like her painting technique and teaching style, and I always believe in giving credit where credit is due). You can click on her name to go directly to her website/blog to see some of her amazing artworks. Another thing I greatly admire is her ability to create a digital artwork completely from scratch – which is a testament to her talents as a traditional painter in her earlier years before she embraced the new digital art medium.

For me, I still need to rely on the use of a photograph as a reference – especially for portrait paintings like the one you are seeing here. The reference photo I used for this painting is one that I sourced online from a freestock website: This site features photographs that have been freely donated for use by artists, web designers, or really anyone who chooses to use them for any purpose including commercial uses. It’s a great resource ( one of many) for artists to find high – quality reference photographs for their artwork – whether it is for practice and experimentation, or for pieces that will be sold in the marketplace. Another good source I would recommend is on Facebook. There are now groups that you can join that provide reference photographs uploaded by individuals who have freely given their permission for their use by artists looking for that perfect, inspiring photograph to work from.

So, that’s it for today. A short and sweet one. I hope you have enjoyed it – and hope you will keep following me for more to come on if not a daily, then at least a weekly basis!

Best to all.


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What is Digital Painting? (A great blog post by Artist Melissa Gallo)

Artist Melissa Gallo explains what digital painting really is…and what it isn’t.

I wanted to share this great blog post by this exceptional digital artist and teacher (who, by the way, started as a traditional artist and illustrator and worked as a pro for years before she discovered and switched to the digital medium). Enjoy!