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August The Oil Paining-Monthly Project

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

I told myself that because I had so many other projects due this month, I didn’t have to do anything super complicated for this month’s post. I told myself to keep it short and simple... I did not take my own advice, as you can clearly see.

I’ve seen many photoshop creators mimic the styles of artistic giants from our past, and I’ve always thought it would be a cool thing to try. That being said, it means I had to venture into a section of photoshop I know little about; the Artistic Filters. Although I have tinkered around with them before this month's project, I always find them to just look, for lack of a better description, fake and tacky. But I’ve also seen other artists use them in ways that I have never been able to understand, and their results are amazing. So if others can make these amazing tools work for them, I’m sure I can as well.

The Oil Painting “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?.”

― Vincent Van Gogh

Although I cannot say my painting mirrors any particular artist, I would say the closest is Vincent Van Gogh (if you watch the video and watch carefully you will see why.) Even though my end result looks nothing like a Van Gogh painting, I thought about him while creating this. Vincent is my favorite artist. He is an inspiration to me, not only because of his art, but because I believe many artists now can see themselves reflected in the life of Van Gogh, myself included. Van Gogh started drawing and painting at a young age. As a young man he made ends meet by working as an art dealer. Upon moving to London during this period of his life, he began to suffer from depression. In 1881, after feeling adrift and alone, he turned to painting as a way to express himself.

Van Gogh would struggle with depression and psychotic episodes throughout his whole life. He was often drunk, and neglected his own physical health, along with his mental health. He spent time in psychiatric hospitals and even sliced off his own ear in a fit of rage. Needless to say Vincent Van Gogh was the living example of the romanticised “tortured artist”. Van Gogh was commercially unsuccessful during his lifetime, and he was considered a madman and a failure. His work would not become famous until after his death in 1890, (which is believed to have been brought on by suicide). His reputation grew in the early 20th century as elements of his style came to be incorporated by expressionist artists. Today, Van Gogh's works are among the world's most expensive paintings to have ever sold, and his legacy is honoured by a museum in his name, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which holds the world's largest collection of his paintings and drawings.

As an artist who suffers from mental health issues, I relate to Van Gogh. I also often wonder if my work as a photographer actually matters, especially in this over saturated medium. When every person has a camera in their pocket, it is really easy to start measuring your successes by comparing your work to others. But then I think of Vincent. He did not paint because he wanted fame and fortune. He painted because it was what brought him joy and peace. There are two quotes of his that come to mind when I am struggling. The first is “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” This is a great reminder to me that I am my own worst critic, and when in doubt, I should get to work to prove myself wrong. I can do hard things. The second quote is “I try more and more to be myself, caring relatively little whether people approve or disapprove.” Sometimes I create art for all the wrong reasons. Sometimes it's about sales, or creating content, but when I find myself creating art for reasons other than for fun, I find the work suffers and I often dislike it. However, when I make a piece just for me, because I want to and I am feeling passionate about what I am creating, the work always turns out stunning. Being yourself within your work is really important, and learning to create art for the sake of creating art, rather than to please others is a big struggle, but once you get past that your work will significantly improve.

The Oil Painting took roughly 4 hours to create. Because I knew the image was going to become fairly distorted from the Artistic Filter, I didn’t spend a lot of time retouching the skin of the image. Instead I focused on lighting and blending to make sure the added clothing and shadows on the skin matched the backdrop I placed my subject in. I used lightroom to do some simple adjustments, mainly lightening the shadows and toning back some of the highlights. I then used Photoshop for creating the composition, applying the painting effects, and doing any further lighting adjustments. It has 23 layers, 3 groups, and is 439.4 MB. The video is a little different this time. I normally remove any footage that shows sections that were not used in the final photo. When you build composites, sometimes you try something, and it just doesn’t work with the images you have, or it doesn’t match the vision you have in mind for your final image. In this case, because I was playing with the filters and looks so much, I spent a lot of time trying things and deleting things, and then using parts of something I liked, but then masking out sections I didn’t like. There was just so much experimenting this time that I decided to leave it in the video, or else it would have been very confusing to watch. I hope you enjoy this fun little adventure I went on as much as I did. Stock images were provided by and

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