Susan Oakes recently took an award at the Photography exhibit at A Unique Art Gallery in Jupiter and is one of the artists at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre’s 18th Annual Member’s Juried Exhibition. The Opening Reception is on June 11th. In addition, Susan’s work will be displayed and selling at Palm Beach Home Interiors in Lake Worth. The Rickie Report urges you to stop by and see her artistry. Susan also explains bitmap images, digital painting and vector graphics as we believe an educated art lover becomes an informed art patron.
Palm Beach Home Interiors
716 Lake Avenue Lake Worth, FL
Begins June 2nd
Palm Beach Photographic Centre
415 Clematis Street W.Palm Beach, FL
June 12 – August 2, 2014
Wednesday, June 11 – 6 to 8 pm
Susan Oakes’ photography recently took an award and cash prize at the Artists Association of Jupiter at A Unique Art Gallery. Her wonder filled work can be seen at Palm Beach Home Interiors, Lake Avenue in Lake Worth beginning June 2nd as well as at the Palm Beach Photographic Centre for their 18th Annual Member’s Show. The Opening Reception takes place on Wednesday, June 11th from 6- 8 pm. The Centre is located at 415 Clematis Street in West Palm Beach. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
This year’s MEMBERS’ SHOW is being judged by internationally renowned photographer Vincent Versace, a pioneer in the art and science of digital photography. Hailed by Nikon as “one of the top photography artists and visual storytellers in the world,” Versace is a recipient of the Computerworld Smithsonian Award in Media Arts & Entertainment and the Shellenberg fine art award, and his work is part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of American History.
Bitmap Images vs. Vector Graphics
Susan explains, “Bitmap Images- also known as raster or pixel based images, are based on a grid of colors known as pixels. You edit groups of pixels rather than objects or shapes. They represent subtle gradations of shade and color, they are appropriate for continuous tone images such as photographs or artwork created in painting programs”.
“The disadvantage, Susan shares, is they contain a fixed number of pixels and can lose detail and quality when scaled up. If you’ve ever downloaded an image from the internet (low resolution) and then tried to print it (high resolution) only to discover that it looks awful, you demonstrated this fact”.
“Vector graphics are made of lines and curves defined by mathematical objects called vectors.They retain their crispness if they are moved or resized. They are appropriate for illustrations, type, and graphics such as logos which must be scaled to different sizes. So a logo designed for a business card can be enlarged to display on a store front or billboard without any loss of quality whatsoever. If this is tried with raster or bitmapped images they become blurry or pixelated and fall apart”, Susan shares.
TRR: Tell us about your background
I am a well fed ‘starving’ artist. I tend to inhabit a nether world between digital painting, photography and illustration. Although I have a background in traditional media (anything which uses hands, artist tools, and pigments, without the aid of computer hardware and software), I now work mostly in digital media, although I regularly get the yearning to get my hands back into charcoal, paint, clay, etc. There is an tactile immediacy about traditional media which is removed in the digital world, but on the other side of the coin, the digital world presents tools, methods and capabilities which are impossible in traditional media. There are, however, many commonalities, including basic composition, form, color theory, etc. which are fundamental to both. I prefer to dwell on these commonalities rather than the differences…..
TRR: How do you explain the complexities of your work?
I find that many people don’t really understand what they are looking at when viewing my work. Recently at one of my exhibits, one of the gallery owners looked at my piece and said to me, “It looks like you ran a few filters.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. There is nothing “automatic” or “mechanized” about my art. The kiss of death is usually when I admit to doing “computer art”, “digital imaging” or <gasp> “Photoshop”.
Now I know Photoshop has gotten a bad rap lately, what with women’s bodies “Photoshopped” into ideals of impossible-to-obtain “beauty” fueled by the beauty/fashion and Hollywood worlds. I am a Photoshop teacher, and although I demonstrate how to do these questionable things, I always implore my students to retouch responsibly. Just because you can do something does not necessarily mean you should do it. I teach not just the What and How, but the Why.
TRR: So, many people assume that because your artwork has a computer component, it is less valued?
Just because I’ve used computer hardware and software to create or enhance an image doesn’t mean that I pushed a few buttons and I was done. On the contrary this is a double edged sword. When working in traditional media, say oils, and you change your mind too many times (depending upon the pigments used) you will make mud on the canvas. In watercolor, you may wear a hole in the paper. But working digitally, you can undo and redo countless times, even start over and ….. eventually ….. you grow old and die! I find that I must discipline myself to recognize when I’ve learned as much as I will learn from a piece and that it is time to finish and move on!
Note: This was included in Art Ascent Magazine June, 2013: Link is here: http://artascent.com/emergence-winners-june-2013/
My photography starts out with a digital image which is then enhanced with software. This may entail special effects, yes, but it is applied by hand with a graphics tablet, so I am simulating the action of drawing or painting with the stylus. When I say “digital painting” I mean it. I use one stroke at a time in many instances to build up the effect I want. A typical photo will include many layers upon layers with different effects which interact with each other to create different looks.
My vector illustrations many times will start with a base photo I’ve taken, but when I’m done the photo is not visible at all. Vector illustrations, by their nature, have a crispness, a clarity which is not typical of pixel-based images.
Another area I love to explore is photo collage, of which I have provided a few samples. The large one, “Aqua Vista” is a composite of thirteen different photos essentially melded into one composition. Here, I look for how the individual images relate to each other and then use the tools and methods in Photoshop to create the composite. Again, they contain a multitude of layers and effects, not unlike a multi media piece. Often times when I take photos it is not to use them as stand alone images, but as part of a composite.
Digital Photo Painting: My latest exploration is with vegetation which is past its prime. (Sounds better than dead leaves.) I am seeking to reveal the structure and intricate detail of these specimens when they have started to wane. I see a beauty in this phase which is the opposite of the start of the life cycle. Many times I am astonished at the detail which is captured in the file, but is not evident until I tease it out with the methods I use.
Susan’s website is filled with information as well as her many pieces of art work. In addition, she offers classes and workshops.
For more information about Susan’s artwork, please visit Susan Oakes SuOakes Graphic Design http://www.suoakesdesign.com http://www.suoakesart.com or call 561-432-4633