2020 Self Portrait Project: Half Photo/ Half Painting

I’m thinking about writing in the near future something to do with the philosophy of digital art vs. traditional art, but in a nutshell, I want to expand my knowledge and artistic ability as much as I can, so lately I’ve been learning more about how to add “digital artist” to my arsenal of titles.

Now any digital artist worth their salt knows that mastering masking layers is the key to creating the best digital art there is… at least when I’ve been watching tutorials by guys who do this sort of thing for a living, that’s what they say.

I don’t use Photoshop, I use Paint Shop Pro, which is less expensive than Photoshop, but still more intuitive and user friendly than Gimp. Even so, knowing how to use masking layers is not as intuitive in Paint Shop Pro as the other more expensive program, so I spent the whole morning at my computer learning how to make masking layers.

On a slightly unrelated note, there’s this new self portrait trend on Instagram where you take a photo of yourself and paint half of it. Here are a few examples below:

Now, it looks like a fun challenge, of which I definitely want to take part, but there’s a teeny-insie-beensie little problem.

AshMeyerArt has a very VERY strict policy of not having any photos of the artist!

Self portraits, yes, but no photos! Darn!

However, I figured out a way AROUND this problem- inspired by Caravaggio. I have taken a photo of myself in a dark room, and have a light source on one side of my face. You can barely barely BARELY see the half of my face where the photograph is.

So, I have the photo getting printed (I do not have a good printer at home), but while I’m waiting for that, I used the photo for my learning how to make masking layers.

That was when I discovered Paint Shop Pro has this fun little plug-in called “Pic to Painting” where you can take photos and put a painting filter over them. I had a lot of fun playing with it this morning, and I also used the masking effects to give that painting to photo transition:

So yes! That was a lot of fun! I’m still going to use a traditional medium (I thought oil paint, but I realize watercolor would also be interesting, especially with the pretty pastel light effects that this image inspires), but I really think that digital art can help enhance traditional art, and vise versa. I’ve seen oil painters use Photoshop to create their references, play with color pallets and almost work as a way of practicing making the painting before they use those expensive oil paints to make their finished product.

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