Photoshop Montage is a Way to Explore Oneself from Within


In Retrospect – Jacki Kellum – Photoshop Cs6 Montage

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

 Learning to see with one’s inner eye–the eye of one’s inner artist–is essential for creating any authentic art.  Painting intuitively is not extremely easy–at least not for the beginner.   For that matter, it is not always easy for any painter.

Because everything has to come together all at once in painting, it is a bit like juggling–with about 12 balls circling simultaneously.  A good painting requires some knowledge of color, of composition, of drawing, of brush work, of paper or canvas management, etc.  

Because watercolor cannot be erased–or even corrected very easily,  painting in watercolor, is especially difficult . 

Photoshop is much more forgiving than watercolor.  Yet, it is still a way to explore yourself from within.

In recent posts, I have been talking about the importance of the intuition.  Countless painters speak of an intuitive force that operates within them when they paint.  Everyone is born with intuition; but socializing and educating a child have a way of squeezing the intuition out of him.  Although it would be better if none of us ever lost our inner radar, intuitiveness can be reawakened.

Creating any type of art requires that a series of decisions be made by the artist:  red here?  more grass?  less water?, etc.  When the intuition is fully functioning, the artist is hardly even aware of the questions–the intuition handles the question and answer dialog. Before this can happen, however, the artist must first allow Intuition to get his foot into the door; and then, the artist must learn to trust the decisions that Intuition makes for him.

Creating Photoshop montages is an excellent way to bring intuition back into one’s work habit; and it is also an excellent way to both hear the questions and feel the answers during the creative process.  In other words, creating digital art is good practice for other art forms–as well as being art in its own right.

You may notice that I have placed two galleries at the top of my blog.  One is for my digital art; and one is for my watercolor.  It might seem that the two are totally different; but they actually are not.  My work has a mystical, whimsical–yet Romantic quality to it.  Most of my work  focuses on nature;  and I love the way that Photoshop also brings my love of antiquity into play.

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 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, of providing 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 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.


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