Category Archives: Art/Photography

“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.

Really?

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 Pixabay.com – 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 Pixabay.com, 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,

Chuck

 

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: http://shopvida.com/collections/charles-underwood 

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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.

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I’m really excited to introduce this collection to you. Click on this link http://shopvida.com/collections/charles-underwood to purchase a scarf or clothing item now. Your generous support will be greatly appreciated!

Warmly,

Chuck

 

 

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.

Enjoy!

https://spark.adobe.com/page/scD6w/

 

Changing the Color Scheme of Your Digital Painting

Changing the Color Scheme of Your Digital Painting

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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: https://www.topazlabs.com/restyle

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

Best,

Chuck

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: Pixabay.com. 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.

Chuck

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New Work: Hand – Painted (Digitally) Using a Photograph as a Reference

I have recently been working on creating hand – painted digital artworks using photographs (my own, and occasionally free public domain images I find online from sites such as Pixabay.com) as a reference. I used to be skeptical about this kind of painting as a being a true and authentic method of hand painting since, after all, I am doing it on a computer – digitally. Most people have a knee – jerk reaction when they first hear about this, thinking: Oh, it must be artificially created –  since a computer is involved in the process. But, while that may have been a valid reaction say, twenty years ago, technology keeps evolving over the years and today the reality is much different from what it was back then. There are now many traditional and very accomplished artists who started out learning their craft (using the traditional tools artists have been using for centuries: paint, brush, and canvas or paper) – but who have recently switched to using digital tools such as: a computer with a high -end painting program like Corel Painter, coupled with a stylus pen and tablet (most notable is the Wacom Tablet and Stylus) which when used together allows an artist to digitally hand – paint artworks that are just as artistic and “painterly” as their predecessors – the traditional paint, brush and canvas art.

I am ready to confidently state that this new form of art is not only real and authentic art, but that it is here to stay and will continue to evolve, grow and become more and more accepted by the mainstream “aficionados” as time goes on.

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“Girl With Seagulls” I hand – painted this using Corel Painter 2015 coupled with my Wacom stylus pen and tablet.

The photograph I used as a reference is a free pubic domain image that is donated by the photographer giving anyone full

access and permission to use it for any purpose (including commercial) and without any attribution needed. (I would add here that I typically like to include attribution – that is identifying by name the photographer of the image I used, but in this case the photographer chose to remain anonymous).

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“Monument Valley” This is another painting referenced from a public domain image (donated by photographer David Mark) I created recently. I am employing some newly learned techniques which I acquired from a digital painting workshop hosted by traditional turned digital artist Melissa Gallo. Another well known traditional artist who is now working almost exclusively with digital tools is Jeremy Sutton. Both of these artists are far more advanced in their craft than I and devote a good deal of their time and energy teaching people like me how to become better creators of “real” and “authentic” digital art.

So, what else can I say? I’m hooked. I am a skeptic no more – I am diving in to this new medium with wild abandon and breathless anticipation of what’s next to show up on the horizon in the form of new software, hardware, techniques ect.

Warmly,

Chuck

P.S. I have these and other works available for sale as Limited Edition (1/50) Fine Art Giclee Prints from my Etsy Shop. Click this link to go there now:

http://etsy.me/1FvClM5

The Value of the Photographic Print vs. Online Viewing

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You May Not Know What You Are Missing!

We are living in an awesome age – with new innovative technology being added to our lives almost every day. It can be overwhelming at times to just try to keep up with it all. This is especially true for photographers and the patrons of photography in general.

One thing that is a little unsettling to me as a landscape/nature photographer is the growing number of people who often express an avid interest and love for photography as an artform, but then choose to enjoy and view their favorite photographer’s work only online – on their computer or tablet screen, or maybe on their large high definition TV screen. Yes, High Definition TV’s are here and they are amazing inventions to be sure. But – they are no match to the experience of viewing a professionally output fine art print in person. This is something that any pro photographer, gallery or museum person would tell you, if you were to ask them. The exquisite detail, the subtle nuances of color, tone, and texture are elements that easily visible in a print that you can walk up to and view up close and in person that are just not fully appreciated as pixels on a computer/TV screen. Most people who have never had that experience (of seeing a physical print) first hand will not understand what you are telling them. They most likely think that what they see on their state of the art TV or computer screen is “optimal”.  It’s not optimal. Not even close, actually. It’s a little like visiting and seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time versus seeing a beautiful photograph of the same spot you you visited in person – the photograph may get close – but it can’t match completely the full visual and sensual experience of being there first hand.

There are numerous other benefits that come with a purchased fine art print: It is a permanent (usually signed) archival copy of the original that you can proudly display on a wall in your home or office. It cannot be lost or corrupted due to a failed computer hard drive. In some cases it could become more valuable (as a marketable work of art) over time if the photographer who created it becomes more well known or even famous. And, lastly, I know for me when someone takes the time out of their busy day to buy even a small print from me it is a big confidence booster because I feel that my work is being seen and genuinely appreciated. So, what is the benefit to you? You’ll feel good, of course!

So, to all of the photographers, gallery owners, and photography lovers in general who “get it” – Let’s all try to do a little more to educate the public about this. I feel we (photographers and patrons) will all be much better off in the long run.

That’s my 2 cents worth for today. Hopefully I have helped open the eyes of at least one or two people on the subject and they will at least consider going to an art fair or gallery or museum to see the “real thing” as it was meant to be seen and experienced.

Warmly,

Chuck