The Idea

Three days ago we still had a Summer temperature in Montreal but yesterday it finally sent autumn our way. I love the light, it drives me crazy with joy. We took a long bike ride and though the air was chilly and my ears hurt, it was lovely. The water along the river is almost sea-blue. Every color is sharp and saturated.

This weekend I watched the documentary Tim’s Vermeer, one could argue that the guy couldn’t actually paint a Vermeer, but what got me thinking is his point about the intersection of art and technology. Why people get so upset when they see artists using other tools than canvas and brush or pencil and paper. I remember I was very upset years ago when I ran into a projector that allows you to trace an image in a large scale. In my head I kept seeing images of Diego Rivera and Orozco, the great Mexican muralists and I couldn’t accept that someone would use a projector. Then when I saw the Cintiq (the incredible drawing tablet) I was dismayed: that’s a trick! you can’t use a Cintiq, if you have the undo button that’s cheating!

In the film, Tim Jenison and his producers argue that Vermeer used technology to capture the perfect light in his paintings.

The Astronomer
Vermeer’s Astronomer

Tim Jenison builts a contraption to try to prove this. They mention how art historians are deeply offended by this notion, they don’t accept it. The contraption offers, supposedly, a lens view, like a camera, that the human eye could not be able to capture and with this ancient lens and some mirrors they set out to “prove” that painting a Vermeer without being a painter is possible. The documentary has been severly criticized, and I must admit that I found it entertaining but not entirely plausible. However the idea that we reject technology when it comes to art stuck with me.

I recently bought a lightbox to trace over my own drawings. I was very reluctant but since I still have problems with using nice paper I thought it was easier to let go using scraps and then once I’m satisfied I can trace the sketch into better paper.

Original Sketch

The original drawing in pencil was made on a scrap of paper from last year. If you could see what was on the other side!

The lightbox is great because it allows me to make endless variations, but oh man… I think I am a purist and this blocks me a lot.

The idea

Finally, after pondering a lot about the documentary, about the Cintiq, about the lightbox, everything came back to The Idea. You can use all the advanced techniques and the latest technology to create your art but if you don’t have a good idea or your work doesn’t produce an emotion on the viewer, nothing matters.

In my head there are many scenes, strories, faces and elements I want create but my technical skills not quite yet accomplished so I help myself with a few gadgets, like my lightbox and Photoshop and try to make more effort at the creativity level.

In the next few weeks I’ll be taking a comic book workshop. After all these months of “suffering for my passion” I concluded I will go where I’m naturally inclined to go. Before I started to draw I wrote a lot… and by a lot I mean… a LOT, but I got burned out, then I almost burnt myself out with drawing. Comic Books and Graphic Novels are not part of my obsession, however maybe because of this I might be able to marry the two things that are. Who knows. It’s only for the joy of it.