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Martha Jane Bradford

Martha Jane Bradford

Martha Jane Bradford

What made you inclined towards digital drawing?

As a photorealist used to working with projected slides, I first became interested in digital drawing in Painter as a way of playing with the composition of my reference photos, cropping, moving or removing objects, playing with color and contrast, all things you can’t do with a projector. As I gained confidence about what I could do with Painter, it occurred to me that it would be simpler to do the finished pieces in the computer rather than translating them to charcoal or pastel and that I would have the tremendous benefit of working as if I were doing unique pieces but of ending up with editions, which would enable me to reach more people with my work.

Apart from the medium what difference you found between the traditional painting & digital drawing?

Digital drawing encourages experimentation, both because of the "Undo" feature and because of the ability to save variations. Working on "Layers" allows a great freedom of gesture even in highly realistic drawings: if you mess up the tree branches, you can erase them on their layer without spoiling the sky on its layer. You can also draw negative shapes as positives in a seamless way, whereas with traditional drawings if you try to draw little white details on a charcoal background, you get gray.

You have amazing photorealistic artwork. Is it only digital drawing? Can we call it digital painting?

I call my pieces digital drawings because I tend to use the dry media brushes (charcoal, pastel) rather than the liquid media brushes.

Do you find it essential to know the traditional art before starting with digital drawing?

I don’t see any difference between making traditional art and doing digital work. The computer and the drawing software are powerful tools, but unless you learn the fundamentals of making art, you will just make a powerful mess. You could equally learn those fundamentals traditionally or digitally.

If you are using Photoshop or any image processing software, do you find it essential to use third party plugins for digital Drawing?

I work on my reference photographs in PhotoShop, but I do all my drawing in Painter because it has "natural media" that imitate the look of traditional media. A light stroke of charcoal picks up the peaks of the paper texture; a heavy stroke sinks further down into the valleys, etc. I don’t use any 3rd party plug-ins.

As an artist how much satisfied you are with computer and the tool provided by software?

Since I do all my work on the computer with no inclination to return to traditional media, it looks as though I must be 100% satisfied.

There is a debate since long time between, art for an art's sake and art for life. What are you fit into?

Let’s say I make art for the spirit. To quote from my artist’s statement:
The subjects of my landscapes are ordinary scenes transformed by light in a way that suggests a spiritual narrative. My style is highly realistic in order to present this numinous quality of the phenomenal world as truly existing. I hope to share both the individual experiences and the whole way of looking with the viewer.

There is a stream of an art where the artwork is difficult to understand for a common person, which sometimes called modern art. Have you tried that with digital drawing?

The beauty of realism is that it speaks to everyone, although it may not say the same thing.

Do you follow some tradition with digital drawing?

For the last ten years I have focused on proving that digital media are the equal of traditional media. My digital charcoals, for example, look exactly like my traditional charcoals. Having satisfied myself on that score, for the next ten years, I think I may focus on how digital can be different from traditional.

Many artists has some philosophical base, like Zen or Chinese Taoism. Do you think its necessary to have that type of base for an art?

It’s my choice to have my work grow out of the spiritual side of my nature, but I don’t think that has to be everyone’s approach.

What's your philosophy as an artist representing the unique style of digital drawing?

I believe that eventually drawing and painting digitally will become as common as writing on a word processor is today, and it is my aim to help make that day come sooner.

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