The Art of Digital Painting
by Ford Weisberg
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All my life I have been an artist. Music was my first love, and I've played and performed on wind instruments and guitar since childhood. At first it was folk and ethnic music, influenced by my father's mandolin playing. Later, I trained in classical music and performed Baroque, Renaissance and Medieval music on Recorders and original woodwinds. Along the way I became interested in Irish Traditional music and played my Tinwhistle, Flute and Recorder with pipers, fiddlers and banjo players, and wrote original Irish dance tunes.

Equally important, I was always drawing throughout childhood.

Drawing led to photography, and then to photo-based artwork incorporating drawing in the computer. Now, I create full-fledged Digital Art and Digital Painting, using a tablet with a pressure-sensitive stylus, and computer software to make it all possible.

My latest work involves acrylic painting and mono-printing. These are all one-of-a-kind originals. I sometimes use digital means to sketch preliminary ideas, or test ideas on works in progress, as I work towards finishing the actual painting or mono-print. Prior to working in acrylics, my main efforts were in Digital Art and Digital Painting (earlier work was photography, photo-collage and photo-based art). This is Computer Art, dependent upon computer software and the use of a tablet with a pressure-sensitive stylus. I create organically inspired imaginary forms, real in the sense of tangible, but non-existent.

When not using related colors, I create these forms in near-complementary or other sets of high-contrast colors. When I do use high contrast color sets, I choose ready-made colors from a chart or wheel, only occasionally mixing colors on a (digital) palette.

My work is involved in a dialog with art of the past and present. Although my pieces may appear highly structured, my working method begins as pure play, and remains as unedited as possible for as long as possible. Only later is the work tempered by conscious composition, when a period of re-working begins. In this way, I feel I owe much to the Surrealists and Abstract Expressionists, as well as to Matisse and others.

Digital Art and Digital Painting and its software offer me an ideal means for experimentation with new techniques, and aid in the search for a new means of expression. Since the software can make 'paint' do things that paint can't really do, I have been forced to rethink every aspect of the visual and plastic process.

One component of my art that contributes to its ultimate synthesis is the inspiration I derive from Nature, not only its flora and fauna, but its sounds as well. This combines with the musical part of myself, and a partial synaesthesia, which in my case includes some sounds and colors, as well as some shapes, letters and words. It is difficult to pin down exactly how these components inform my art. However, using a creative working method that relies primarily on play and a minimum of editing, I am also accessing my inner life as a source of content.

Some of the work explores the idea of updating Cubism by taking further some artists' attempts to organize it more by color than by form. I have also been working on the mutual influence of painting and music.

Selected Exhibitions:

Agora Gallery, "The Synergy of Movement" Show, Chelsea, NY, October 2011
Mamaroneck Artists Guild Group Show, September 2011
Agora Gallery, "Labyrinth of Color" Group Show, Chelsea, NY, May 2011
Focal Point Gallery, April 2011
New Century Artists Gallery, October 2010
Media Loft Gallery “Spring Art Show” Group Show, May 2010
Woman’s Club of Katonah Annual Exhibit, May 2010
Climate Gallery “Never Think Small” Group Show, April 2010
New Rochelle Art Association Dermot Gale Awards Show, First Place, April 2010
Solo Show “The Art of Digital Painting”, Mamaroneck Artists Guild Gallery, March 2010
“Utopioptix, Visions of the Future” Juried Show, New Rochelle Council on the Arts, March 2010
Climate Gallery “Zeros & Ones: The Digital Era” Group Show, March 2010
Los Angeles Center for Digital Art "Snap to Grid" Show November 2009
Barnum Gallery Group Show, White Plains, NY November 2009
Scarsdale Art Association Winter Exhibit November 2009
Woman's Club of White Plains Annual Exhibit October 2009
Mamaroneck Artists Guild Awards Show, First Place (Works on Paper) October 2009
New Rochelle Artist Association Annual Show September 2009
New Rochelle Artist Association May 2009
Matters of the HeART Juried Show April 2009
Scarsdale Art Association Spring Show March 2009
Mamaroneck Artists Guild "Spotlight on 11" February 2009
Scarsdale Art Association December 2008
Mamaroneck Artists Guild November 2008
Woman's Club of Rye November 2008
Woman's Club of Pleasantville November 2008
Scarsdale Art Association Awards Show November 2008 (First Prize)
Los Angeles Center for Digital Art "Snap to Grid" Show, October 2008
Pomona Cultural Center (NY) 3-Person Show “The Nature of Things” September 21, 2008
Mamaroneck Artists Guild Group Show “All That Jazz” July 2008
Greenburgh Arts & Culture Committee & Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation (NY) Group Show “Matters of the Heart” April, 2008
Scarsdale Art Association (NY) Group Show March, 2008
Mamaroneck Artists Guild “Large Works” Show, July ’07-Jan. ‘08
Scarsdale Art Association (NY) Exhibition Nov. 2007 (First Prize)
Pleasantville Woman’s Club (NY) Exhibition Nov. 2007 (Honorable Mention)
Teatown Lake Reservation (NY) Show “Nature” Oct. 2007
Woman’s Club of White Plains (NY) Juried Exhibition Oct. 2007 (First Prize)
Mamaroneck Artists Guild Group Juried Awards Show, September 2007
Los Angeles Center for Digital Art “Snap to Grid” Show, September, 2007
Mamaroneck Artists Guild (NY) Group Show, May, 2007Westchester Arts Council (NY) Group Show “Nature As We See It”, March 2007
Color Camera Club of Westchester (NY) Group Shows 2003-2007
Museo De La Fotografia (Argentina) Group Show 2005
Westchester Photographic Society (NY) Group Shows 2001-2003

Awards in Competition:
Scarsdale Art Association, Best in Show November 2010
Womans Club of Katonah, May 2010 First Place (Graphics)
New Rochelle Art Association Dermot Gale Awards Show, First Place, April 2010
Assembly of the State of New York Certificate of Merit for “The Art of Digital Painting” exhibit, Mamaroneck Artists Guild, March, 2010
New Rochelle Council on the Arts “Utopioptix” Show First Place April, 2010
Scarsdale Art Association Annual Awards Exhibit November 2009 First Prize, Graphics
1st Place Mamaroneck Artists Guild Works on Paper October 2009
1st Place Scarsdale Art Association Awards Show November 2008
1st Place (Graphics), Westchester County Federation of Women’s Clubs Beaux Arts Finale, June 2008
1st Place, Woman’s Club of White Plains Oct. 2007
Honorable Mention, Pleasantville Woman’s Club Nov. 2007
1st Place, Scarsdale Art Association Nov. 2007
Numerous 1st Place Awards, Westchester Photographic Society

Related Activities:
“Painterly Photography: Techniques and Styles,' lecture, at New England Camera Club Council, University of Mass. (Amherst)
Maintain active schedule of lectures on “Painterly Photography” and “Art and Photography” to camera clubs and art associations in NY/NJ/CT area
Frequent competition judging at camera clubs in NY/NJ/CT area
Judge: Pascack Art Association Exhibition,

Education:
Queens College, C.U.N.Y. (Music Conservatory)
Private Training in Fine art


Membership:
Mamaroneck Artists Guild
Scarsdale Art Association
New Rochelle Art Association


Ex-Officio:
Color Camera Club of Westchester (Vice-President 2004-2009)





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