LUMEN 9 (2013) by Michael Whelan

Acrylic on Canvas – 36" x 54"
This image originated from an idea that I brought home with me from the hospital in May of the year 2000. When the idea came to me, the only thing I had to draw on was an advisory pamphlet for patients, so I used the back of it for a rough sketch of the composition. I carried the idea in my head for years afterwards and didn’t get around to executing the painting until ten years later. As in all my Lumen works, the essential metaphor is that of a figure making his or her way past great obstacles towards an opening, a source of light.
(snipped from website)

That girl right there?  That's me.  All that long slog is over.  The climb is complete.  And the light is shining right on me.  Let's go see what is out there.  This is the breath before the adventure.

(And no, you won't get any explanation at all why it's a metaphor for me either.  Imagine what you want – maybe someday it will all spill out of me, but not right now and never on G+)

I imagine that girl is a lot of us.

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41 thoughts on “LUMEN 9 (2013) by Michael Whelan

  1. sry, but no. there are worlds between painting a real picture and painting in photoshop. painting with real colors is much harder (for a picture like this), while digital painting gives you tools and possibilities you can hardly realize with real colors. in photoshop you can finish a painting in half a day that would take at least some weeks in oil. to become a good digital painter takes about 3-4 year. to become a good "real" painter takes around 15 years (for oil). 

  2. Sorry +Olivio Sarikas but many, many pro painters will disagree with you.  Todd Lockwood for one.  Just because you have to wait around for oil to dry doesn't mean you don't have to learn about how paint blends together in Photoshop.

    Then again, you're probably one of those people that just thinks digital painters press a few buttons and voila, painting.

    I understand and am well acquainted with this type of.. prejudice. It's just entirely misplaced, like due to ignorance (most often) or just a personal vendetta against digital art for one reason or another.  Seen it for years.  

    (Honestly your prejudice and bias shows with how you call it a "real" painter, anyway.)

  3. Sure, i know nothing about art. I just studied fine art for 10 years in munich and vienna and finished with a master of arts. 
    Blend colors digital? maybe in artrage or similar software. While in oil you need to have a very good sense of color and color mixture, in photoshop you actually press a button to pic colors from a photo, palette or sketch and to blend you simply regulate opacity or flow. in photoshop color does neither mix nor streak, it simply fades. any mistake? no problem, press undo or cut-pace or transform or delete. in oil that is a major rework of your art piece in photoshop it is a 5 seconds rearranging of that area or layer, plus some seconds to re-blend it. 

    i applaud you if you can paint on canvas as easy and quick as in digital. but most can not and as such is has become a standard in the industry to paint in photoshop and push out 3-4 renderings a day

  4. Ack sorry Oliver but paint can and does mix and streak in Photoshop but you need to know and use the right brush settings to get it to. You can mix new colors in Photoshop easily this way. Corel Painter has been doing that forever as well.

    Most painters that I know that use Photoshop use one layer as well as it aids in the traditional feel.

    Speed of production due to ease of tool does not negate the need to have learned all the skills necessary to be successful with either.

  5. +Jennifer Bailey that is what i said from the start. you just somehow assumed i despise digital paintings. 
    you can get colors to mix in photoshop like on canvas? really? i know you can do that in ArtRage and such, but not in photoshop. do you have any links on how this is done?

  6. i totally agree with Mr. Olivio Sarikas. but both painting should have creativity and should know at last the picture how it looks…so photoshop will make that very easier than real painting..if someone wants to become an artists(painter) , he/she will start the art with paint and brush in a canvas but not with photoshop. 

  7. +majus hassium Just how do you think painters paint in Photoshop? Did you read none of my comments?  Apprently not – as every digital painter I know who paints well begins with a blank canvas just like a "real" painter.  So really, leave off the argument.  I'm sick of the ignorant prejudice.

  8. some people in this thread need to learn the difference between "easier" and "easy". They are not the same thing. It is easier to send a man to the moon, than to send a man to mars. that does not make sending a man to the moon easy. painting digitally is easier than painting in oil. that does not make painting digitally easy. get the difference? good

  9. That's your opinion Olivio but I know plenty of traditional painters who have either learned digital or tried to learn digital.  They disagree.  Learning Photoshop well enough to master it to achieve indistinguishable results from traditional painting isn't easy or even easier.  Photoshop is a tool.  It's a difficult tool to master.  Easy enough to download sure.  But you have to spend years really learning it to master it.  It's six of one, half a dozen the other.

    You need skill to paint, with any medium because the things you learn, despite the tools you use, are the same things.

    I'm very used to this prejudice though.  It's really no skin off my nose.  I'm just glad that I don't have it, so I can enjoy a good painter regardless of the tools he uses.

  10. +Jennifer Bailey look, i really do NOT fight you or the worth of digital painting. art is defined by what it is and not by how it is made. there is found footage art – the artist didn't do anything with the object, yet it can be amazing art. it would be insane to say a digital print is as complicated has the art of Japanese printing in the edo time (they mastered printing on unmatchable level). yet there is great art made with digital prints. jenny holzer uses lcd panels for her works – it´s really simple to do, yet it´s really great art. i really don't see your problem. i´m really not sure what you are fighting here or which "honor" you try to uphold here. just relax. 
    i´m sure you tried both art forms and came to your own conclusion. so if that is what your experience showed you, that is great. if that is so i really envy you skill. 
    personally i came to a different conclusion – that it is technically easier to paint digital (and a lot more affordable). yet i still want to paint digital and not in oil. why: because i actually like digital art better. ha! you didn't think that, did you? luckily i live in vienna and have the ability to study some of histories greatest painters and their signature works right here in original (vermeer´s "The Art of Painting") is here in vienna – what a wonderful work. but i use it to learn digital painting – because i think oil is just too complicated, money and time intensive. and i really love the work of feng zhu and scott robertson – they are the hokusais of our day and age. 

  11. Not trying to start this back up, but to chime in on the canvas/digital discussion, I think there are pros and cons to both techniques. For one painting in real time or with canvas the biggest thing is that there's no back or undo button which makes it much more difficult to plan your attack before executing strokes etc. On the other hand working with a tablet took a while for me to get the hang of even with the more I used the thing. I never picked up a pencil or brush and had to reteach myself every time haha. 

    I think Jennifer and Olivio both have solid points, but the fact is you can't really compare the two. They both take a great deal of talent to master and some people who are excellent at canvas will be terrible at digital art/painting and vice versa. We should appreciate both techniques and not try to compare one to another. If you have already mastered one why not give the other a shot, at least then you will have a better appreciation/understanding of the latter.

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