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How is Digital Painting different from image manipulation?

May 27, 2016



The difference is mostly in the mindset of the artist but the results will probably be radically unlike each other. Here’s what I mean:

When someone manipulates an image, she will probably want the image to remain easily recognizable—what the thing is and looks like. But, in Digital Painting, the image is simply a starting point. Perhaps a non-representational shape will be used. The important thing is the way a Digital Painter utilizes color, space and visual movement in her work. There will usually be no attempt to create “a picture” of something. It will be more a matter of the visual relationships within the image. Art is not about creating a facsimile of something. As the great art writer and curator, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy said, “Art imitates nature in its operation, not in its appearance.” Gerard Manley Hopkins spoke about this same idea in poetry as “inscape” and “instress.” These ideas are not about appearance but about interaction and effect on the viewer/listener. This is not to say that art should not be representational. But the visual relationships within the image must enhance the qualities the artist wants it to  have. They should not merely be decoration or to create a likeness. It should be a dynamic interaction within the work, an interaction that can also involve and be intelligible to the viewer.

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