My first landscape painting

My newest Photoshop painting is based on a seascape I saw while visiting the New Hampshire coast last year. As I began work I was going for as realistic a look as possible, but halfway through I started loosening up and experimenting with more abstract shapes and intense colors. Every new project is a chance to try out different things and learn from experience!

I had the finished painting printed on a canvas measuring about 4 feet by 2 feet. The original Photoshop file is over 14,000 pixels wide. I paid a lot of attention to small details, so up close you can see things like the spray from the wave and individual blades of grass.

My only small regret is going with canvas instead of paper, since the texture of the canvas tends to blur the details a bit when you get up close.

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New composition!

I’m very pleased to release my latest composition! This new direction is all about unmooring from the past and creating music that is personal, simple, beautiful, and emotional.

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New painting!

A few months ago as I was planning my next Photoshop painting project I decided to do something big that I’d never tried before: a full-size portrait that could be printed and framed, just like a “real” painting. I was waiting for the right inspiration to come along when a friend posted a great photo on FB. The pose, expression, texture, and colors were all perfect, and she graciously agreed to let me use the picture as a model.

I worked off and on for several months, mostly just putting in an hour or so a day here and there. I used only one PS brush: soft round. I was inspired a bit by the style of Art Deco paintings, especially their elegant mood. I tried to create a realistic facial expression, with the sweater and background being much more abstract so that they don’t take away the viewer’s attention.

The Photoshop file actually covers almost three computer screens when zoomed to full size. One of the big challenges of this project was working on such a large “canvas,” all the while keeping both the details and overall proportions intact.

I had the finished product printed on gallery-grade matte canvas to give it even more the feeling of an oil painting. The texture of the canvas really gives it depth and makes the painting come alive when you see it in person. It’s fairly large and measures about 9×12 inches.

I had an amazing time creating this and I’m already excited about the next project!

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Musings

For me the most incredible thing about painting is starting with a blank canvas, devoid of soul and spirit, and creating life where there was none just a short while before. There’s a point when it stops being lines and colors and turns into emotion and becomes real. It’s magical.

(From an early sketch of a new work in progress.)

Sketch

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Learning to paint, part 2

Yesterday I put the finishing touches on my biggest painting project yet!

I’m a fan of the computer card game Hearthstone and I admire a lot of the art in the game. I’ve been especially enamored by the color and energy of the Auchenai Soulpriest painting by D. Alexander Gregory, so I decided that the best way to learn some new painting techniques and improve my confidence would be to make a copy of it from scratch. If you want to acquire and perfect new skills, imitate the masters.

I started off making painfully slow progress, but as I got the hang of things I was able to work faster and faster. All told I think I spent about 30 hours on the project. If I were to do something similar again I think it would take half that time now that I have a little more expertise.

I had an incredible amount of fun doing this and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. I can’t wait to start working on my next painting!

Here’s the finished product, with an animation showing every step of the process below. (Click on either image to view it full size.)

Auchenai Soulpriest
Animation

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Debussy: Ballade

Here’s a recording I’ve been preparing over the last few days. One of my favorite pieces by Debussy: his Ballade, written in 1890 at the age of 28. The perfect blend of jazziness and Frenchness.

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Learning to paint

When I was a kid I loved to draw. By the time I was in my teens I had discovered music, so I mostly left my interest in the visual arts behind. Over the last few months I decided to get back into painting and teach myself how to use a digital tablet and Photoshop, as well as traditional paint and brushes. I’ve been enjoying myself immensely! Here’s a portrait of a friend I made a few days ago, based off of a picture. The picture caught my imagination because of the beautiful pose and interesting colors.

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J.S. Bach: Largo from Concerto in F minor

Over the last few years I’ve been experimenting with digital musical instruments, including Pianoteq and, most recently, the Miroslav Philharmonik virtual orchestra. MIDI instruments have been around for decades, but it’s only recently that they’ve matured and gotten very, very close to sounding like the real thing. Pianoteq in particular is a stunning technological achievement.

Here’s a performance I put together of the beautiful Largo from Bach’s Concerto in F minor. I played the piano part on a keyboard using Pianoteq, then fired up Miroslav Philharmonik and went back to dub in the strings. I couldn’t be more pleased and delighted with how the finished product sounds. What a joy to be able to play a concerto in the comfort of my studio!

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