Updated: Jan 31, 2022
digital painting by Allison Pistohl
I stumbled upon the British Library Flickr page a few years ago, when being a mom of two busy young boys took over a lot of things in my life. Between PTA events, homework, weekend birthday parties and school projects there wasn’t much time left for capturing photos for my art, but I still needed them to edit and paint and explore. I turned to the web to see if there was anything I could possibly use in public domain and I discovered something really interesting. In 2013 The British Library released over 1 million images into the public domain. These images were from over 65,000 books from the 17th, 18th and 19th century. Not only did they make these images public domain, but they encouraged people to explore and re-use them however they like. Their goal in doing this, in addition to hoping to find out more about the images, was to “enable novel and unexpected ways of using them.” Perfect.
It’s easy to get lost clicking through the British Library Flickr page. There are so many amazing images. "Remembering" was inspired by a photograph I found there from a book titled “A PHRENOLOGIST AMONGST THE TODAS” published in 1873.
The steps taken to achieve a particular end
Especially great or intense
a goal or result that one seeks to achieve
I don't often have the end in mind when I start a new piece. The best results come when I play around with things for while, creating disaster and confusion first until something better appears. This is why I like the definition of particular as being great or intense, rather than something more specific.
For (PIECE), the first thing I did was make a quick sketch in the app Procreate. Next, I picked a color pallet. I enjoyed the bright oranges and yellows from a previous piece I did titled Foundation Of Healing, and went with something similar.
Then I imported the sketch into my favorite painting app, Art Set Pro. Although this is a very limited painting app compared to something like Art Set 4 or Procreate, it still remains my favorite to use, partly because it was the first painting app I tried out and partly because Procreate has so many options it overwhelms me at times. After the first pass in Art Set Pro, I dropped the image into the app Repix to add a bit of drips, drops and splatters and then into the app Pixlr to mess around with the border. After a few tweaks to the color, the addition of some circles in the empty spaces and a little resizing my digital painting of "Remembering" was done.
But the process isn't over yet.
The next step in my process was to print the digital piece to use as an underpainting for layers and layers of soft pastels. I love soft pastels. The buttery textures, the control you have over where the medium is going, the way the colors blend and change as you layer them on top of each other. As much as I enjoy the endless options and freedom of painting digitally, and the ability to pick it up and put it down in a moment's notice, with no need to clean up!, there's something euphoric about pressing color into paper with your hands and getting them covered in a rainbow of wonderful chalkiness.
When the pastel painting is done, the end result can be quite similar to the digital painting, other times it has moved softly in a new direction.
What is the result I seek to achieve with "Remembering"....
We'll have to wait and see, this part of the process has just begun.
Creativity itself doesn't care at all about results - the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it.