Layers of Meaning – Photoshop Montage

Layers of Meaning - Photoshop Montage

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance” – Aristotle

Layers of Meaning – Photoshop Montage

Learning to see with one’s inner eye is an asset that can be fine-tuned. I have found that creating Photoshop montages is a way that I can enrich my own ability to better see when looking.

Photoshop is built upon the concept of working in layers. On the most basic level, these layers allow the artist to work on one part of an image without contaminating another. Watercolorists and other painters can do this to some extent; but layering in watercolor is a tricky business that can easily produce mud pies. Since clean, vibrant, fresh color is an integral part of my statement in watercolor, I find myself continuously walking on eggs when digging deeper—or layering, so to speak–in this elusive medium. I have discovered Photoshop to be a way to relieve myself of the worry of making mud—and thus, a refreshing way to dive into the essence or message within my work.

One beautiful feature of working in Photoshop is the ability to hide and to even delete layers—with a flip click of the mouse. This encourages experimentation. In watercolor, experimentation can become expensive and laboriously time-consuming.

As I begin to overlay image upon image in Photoshop—stylizing and filtering in an infinite number of ways—the vision within the image becomes clearer and clearer. I might have some general idea about what I want to create when I begin a new piece in Photoshop; but for my true digital art, I never adhere to my original path. I allow the image to become.

Michelangelo said that his sculptures lay within the stone—that the striations and marbling of the rock itself affected the ways that he made his cuts. As I do all of my work, I have to be like Michelangelo—listening to what the media is saying to me—each step of the way—and then following the course that the media itself has etched.

This intense listening with one’s inner ear is a vital part of sharpening one’s inner eye—and thus, of extracting a piece’s inward significance.

In all of my work, I strive for what Aristotle called the “inward significance;” I have discovered that Photoshop is a liberating way to distill the same.

Harlequin Rose – Photoshop Cs6 – Digital Montage – June 2013

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