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Post #690 • December 20, 2005, 8:54 PM • 30 Comments

Clement Greenberg once said that the natural inclination of mediums was to separate themselves from other mediums, eliminating shared properties, and arriving at essential ones. I think the essential property of computer art is interactivitity. And I think Greenberg would have rather enjoyed this.

I know Kerry's going to.




December 21, 2005, 1:07 AM

oh yeah, franklin--i think kerry will be on that like white on rice...



December 21, 2005, 4:42 AM

Here are my new paintings.



December 21, 2005, 5:53 AM

Ware makes handsome art objects. I'm looking forward to seeing his new work at Dorsch's in January. Paula's yellow painting really sings when viewing it in person.

Chris Meesy and I are co-organizing a show for Jan 14th titled 'quiet' - this is in response to all of the visual noise we witnessed during Art Basel. If anyone is interesed in participating then please send Chris or I some pics or comment here on the blog. Please remember, 'quiet'.



December 21, 2005, 6:42 AM


i'm thinking one or two of my new pieces may be quiet enough for your forthcoming show. they're not on my site so if you're interested email me.



December 21, 2005, 6:47 AM

Excellent paintings, Paula, and a real step up from your recent ones, good as they were. They are put totgether better and you are making good use of a few hot colors intruding there and there.

Good idea, Jordan. Unfortunately everyone around my neck of the woods is away for the break.



December 21, 2005, 7:37 AM

Paula - just an idea - you might want to increase the saturation a bit in photoshop because your colors are off - your yellows are too green etc. The colors are so rich in person though.



December 21, 2005, 9:49 AM

Before you go to Photoshop, get more light on the pieces when taking the picture in the first place. More light is better when it comes to shooting digital images of work. That will take care of the saturation. Trying to address it in PS after the fact can produce garish results.



December 21, 2005, 9:52 AM

Also, note to all: I am allowing Paula to post a link to images of her work because we were previously discussing it, and because some of us know her personally. This is not a signal that I am waving the No Ads guideline, specifically the "hey, come look at my site" clause. Far from it. Just so you know.



December 21, 2005, 11:03 AM

The reproductions are generally OK, though the first (yellow) image is overexposed, and at least a couple of the other pieces (Archaic Splatter and Orange Pulse) look rather different, and better, in person--not that they look bad reproduced.

For those wishing to see the show, it's probably a good idea to call first for details to make sure you don't waste the trip. The PR director (Alex Madeja) can be reached at 305-428-5676.

This is the sort of show that, even though it could be better publicized by the host institution (just like shows at UM, for instance), is worth the extra leg work involved in finding it and seeing it. The "right" people may have supposedly bigger fish to fry, but I'll pick my own fish, thank you.



December 21, 2005, 11:12 AM

During the break, the school is opened from 7 am to 8 pm from Monday to Thursday and from 9 am to 5 pm on Fridays. The entrance is from the parking space on 15th street.


sanchez sucio

December 21, 2005, 11:51 AM

THOSE are some godawful paintings. i know you paint-pusher types dig the colors and forms (even the "titles" which are reminescent of icecream flavors minus the soul.....) but, some things,like poor titles , just should not be encouraged .
Painter: You color is drab and state-fair like.(think do-it-yourself frisbees at the dcyf.)
Your forms are blobs which rarely even use edges as a technical element . It feels like you're dabbling rather than painting.
My suggestion: look at turner atmosphere , dekooning for edge and physicality(note that he rarely dabbles),pierre bonnard for color,Tapies for composition, Guston for sheer looseness co-mingled with acute precision,wit to boot,and the ceaseless experimentation .

For starters

happy painting .



December 21, 2005, 12:44 PM

Sanchez, I will be merciful and withold comment about your characterization of the work of recent painters, but I will advise looking again at both the work and the descriptions. I half expected you to finish up with "look at Pollock for smooth, flawless finish and perfect modelling"

Franklin, no need to justify Paula's posting - We had discussed them, they were posted recently, and I had asked specifically to see them.

Simple autolevels (Photoshop) brings pictures back closer to original colors 9 time out of 10. When it does not work it is immediately evident (and usually wildly garish - try it on a Rothko, for example)



December 21, 2005, 1:22 PM

In my experience, Auto Levels makes work overly saturated and contrasty nearly every time. Manual levels works well, sometimes with a little help from Curves and Color Balance. Curves is great.



December 21, 2005, 1:45 PM

I have never understood oldpro's confidence in Photoshop's auto levels with respect to art. It amounts to trusting a computer, something I hate to do. And I have to agree with Franklin, auto levels almost always gets it wrong. The only way to tweak a digital image is by hand, with either a good memory of what the real work looks like, or better yet, the work sitting in front of you for comparison. I guess a good photograph would work too.



December 21, 2005, 1:57 PM

I just opened a copy of the "Real Painting" catalog. It rocks and socks big time.

I could do without all the "artist statements" but it is very easy to ignore them, the images are so strong the type just looks like gray filler on the pages. (Bannard's overview was plenty enough wording.) But I know the overwhelming majority of art lovers relish such statements, so what the heck?

Amazing cover too. There must have been a real graphic designer to go with all the real painters.

Bravo for whomever put this catalog together. It's a humdinger.



December 21, 2005, 9:31 PM

Merry Christmas everyone.

Paula, your paintings look great. Regarding the above comments about the color in the jpegs on your website. In looking at the jpegs it appeared to me that a couple a tad were overexposed but otherwise ok. I worked up a webpage with some examples of how this can be corrected fairly easily using Photoshop. Go here



December 21, 2005, 9:33 PM

Glad you liked the catalog, Catfish. Kathleen Staples is the one who organized the show and designed the catalog.

The cover was the card announcement simply doubled, with a Skia type face. Better than most minimalist painting, I thought. And it hangs on as a good design.



December 21, 2005, 9:35 PM

If you are a perfectionist autolevels will not do it, I'll admit. I just feel that it usually helps.

I have never been able to use curves; probably that's just a deficiency of mine.



December 21, 2005, 10:00 PM

no, i wouldn't recommend Pollack to anyone for any reason,other than how NOT to do things.



December 21, 2005, 11:49 PM

Yeah, I know, ss. Just another dabbler, like Paula.



December 22, 2005, 12:02 AM

Geoerge thanks for taking the time to post the excellent photoshop instruction. This is the kind of thing a blog is good for. Others may already know all this but I am going to check it out carefully because my pshp skills are still relatively rudimentary.


J.T. Kirkland

December 22, 2005, 12:42 AM


Thanks so much for pulling together that page. Very helpful.

What do you recommend if your images contain a black background? Won't that skew the histogram?



December 22, 2005, 1:40 AM

JT. The histogram is like a Pachinko machine for pixels. Photoshop does a count of each level and then plots it like a bar graph with 256 slots. If you have a 10x10 pixel image that is all black, you would have 100 pixels with a level of 0, the histogram would be a big spike on the left side.

Because the pictures of Paulas that I used were actually composites of her painting photographs and a gray background, the histograms all have a spike at that gray value. What I didn't mention was that adjusting the Levels will change the lightness of that gray and since I assume she wants it to all match up, the adjustments should be made firts and then composited onto the gray ground.

In a case like you describe, a picture with a lot of black, or a dark picture, the hump in the histogram will be shifted to the left. When possible, it's best if the initial image has a histogram which is not clipped on either the left or right. A properly exposed image, made in decent light will have this characteristic. If an image has a lot of black in it, usually the camera or scanner will record the 'blacks' with RGB values like 40,38,37 (slightly reddish but not perceptible) or 37,38,40 (slightly bluish...) Almost no camera will record 0,0,0 for black or even 30,30,30 (whatever, all the same=totally neutral) In the first case, the 'black' is being clipped to 0. In the second, it's just luck as most CCD sensors are very noisy in low light situations which means the RGB values fluctuate from pixel to pixel on the same 'black' area. Black isn't black.

If you had a neutral gray painting, the hump would be biggest in the middle of the histogram. Trying to pull in the end points will make the image appear more saturated and contrasty. In all these cases, you need to make the adjustments visually because there is no hard and fast rule on what will work. Moreover, monitors are not all the same and what may appear correct on your monitor may look slightly off on another.

In the diagrams I adjusted the left slider towards the hump in the middle because of what people said about how the painting looked relative to the jpeg. The amount of adjustment on my part was a wild guess based upon what I know about the numbers and how the histogram generally looks in different situations.

There are a number of ways to adjust the image in Photoshop, all of them essentially do the same thing but with a twist and a different interface. I just tried to present a very simple solution which might improve the image even if it wasn't perfect..



December 22, 2005, 1:56 AM

George, thank you!
I was working so much with the yellow picture I don't remember how it looks like anymore. Once the sun comes back I'll take the picture again. I'll correct the others now though.



December 22, 2005, 8:44 AM

i use phoshop everyday. please do not color correct a rgb jpeg. convert to cmyk. make file a psd. use curves. when you convert back to rgb to post on the web, make sure your image profiles are correct. george may have covered this already; i did not read his link.

i am currently re-designing packaging for office depot private brand. you will see their whole identity change early next year. i have a very lucrative graphic design business, but my tru love is fine arts. that's why i chirp in here from time to time. i am trying to keep the bug alive and the studio buzzing.

happy photoshopping. there is a lot you can do with the program if you know how to use it correctly.



December 22, 2005, 9:39 AM

Mek I understand everything else, but what is an "image profile" and how do you make it correct?



December 22, 2005, 9:48 AM

Regarding conversion to CMYK - this is incorrect information, don't do this.

CMYK is a print color space which is totally dependent on the inkset used for the printer. CMYK comes in several flavors, SWOP (US), DIN(EURO), TOYO(Asia) are some of the better known commercial ink standards, note they are different in each region. The printing inks have a smaller color Gamut (the map of available colors) than the RGB display space. Additionally, the colors in the CMYK map don't all exist in the RGB map. For example there is no ink color which will match the Cyan on the screen (RGB0,255,255) and conversly there are ink colors (and I'm sure you have all noticed, paint colors) which cannot be displayed on a monitor. On the otherhand, grays, and all fleshtones can be reproduced in both colorspaces and typically CMYK printers adjust the press to make the grays neutral and the fleshtones accurate, it's an art.

As a result, when RGB files are converted to CMYK, color data is lost and cannot be retreived even if the file is converted back to RGB.

Technically what occurs when you make a colorspace conversion is this:
Say you make a RGB to CMYK conversion, Photoshop does this.
First, converts the RGB to Lab using the RGB workingspace
then, Converts the Lab to CMYK using the desired CMYK profiles.

The Lab colorspace is the interchange space (Lightness, a=red-green, b=blue-yellow)
It is the only colorspace in Photoshop which for practical purposes is completely device independant. It is counterintuitive to work with so we use RGB which is the display colorspace. Even RGB colorspaces vary, the web standard is sRGB, most Photographers who make digital prints prefer Adobe RGB. It's as confusing as can be.

Needless to say, for jpeg files which are to be displayed on the web one should work in the RGB colorspace (normal Photoshop). In the world of commercial printing, the layout artists will use CMYK files but in this case they know what their inksets are and how the files will be printed. Some of commercial artists I know, now do the majority of their color correction in RGB and only switch to CMYK at the end.

If this is your job keep doing it the way you have but as a consultant I reccommend to all my customers to keep all their files in RGB.

I spent 10 years in the digital software industry as a developer, color management consultant and providing technical support for wide format commercial digital printing. It's an area with more voodoo and misinformation than you would believe

I suspect this is too much information for most but it's complicated subject..



December 22, 2005, 11:53 AM

i stand corrected. i am thinking print not web. in addition, when saving a file that is to be posted online, saving a true RGB file (Abobe RGB 1998 icc profile) will provide the most vivid color. most photoshop users will use the "Save For Web" feature and what most people do not realize is that particular feature saves the image in a sRGB color space. the difference beween sRGB and RGB is vast. sRGB basically is a RGB equivalent of CMYK-- meaning that your color space is significantly reduced. while retouching in RGB is now the preferred method, it used to be the norm that you color corrected in the final output mode-- therefore you got no surprises for the final output. while correcting in RGB gives you full acces for all your filters, in the end what you think is normal will be quite different when you switch modes to CMYK.



December 22, 2005, 12:28 PM

Mek, no sweat, it's a devilishly complicated subject. Where I worked we had a whole bookshelf full of books on nothing but color theory.

You are correct in choosing Adobe RGB as a working space in Photoshop. Stupid sRGB was foisted on us by HP and Microsoft. I still let Save for the Web do it's thing.

One little screw up drove me nuts for awhile and I ended up having to re-correct all my digital images of my artwork awhile back. I didn't realize that my Sony camera used sRGB and it didn't tag the files. So when I opened them in Adobe RGB they were oversaturated. When I discovered my error I used the Assign Profile (sRGB) and Convert to working space (aRGB) in the file open dialog which fixed everything and eliminated 90% of the fiddling after the fact.

Finally, if readers have a digital camera which allows you to set the "white point" manually and a reasonably controlled lighting situation. Following the camera instructions on how to do this and using a couple of sheets of high quality copy paper taped together will usually give results that are very accurate. This worked for me even with a mixture of flourscent and quartz lighting

Ok enough of this I'm sure everyone who isn't confused is bored.


that guy

December 24, 2005, 2:32 AM

Thanks for the link Paula, Archaic Sun is my pick for being the best of this group. But I'll admit that your photographs don't do them justice. Formating photos of art can be tricky, but it is worth the time it takes to learn.



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