That's a pretty shaky piece of reasoning, Jeff.
Hmmm...I don't know, really? It makes complete sense to me. The evolution of technology, materials and methods tends toward efficiency, productivity and results. I kind of look at it as an axiom almost...somewhat like Occam's Razor but applied to the physical world.
I will guarantee one thing...the guys I've studied plein air painting with are hard core and will use whatever techniques, tools, media, etc. to keep them at the top of their game and top of that particular field.
I'm curious as to why that seems like shaky reasoning though?
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Maybe so Tim. I was just basing the premise off the idea that people making their living with a certain set of tools, developing a certain product, are going to use the methods that optimize their success. All of the reasons you list are possible and probable reasons, but they basically prove the point that the way they are doing it is the best way for their market and results. If it wasn't they would quickly adapt and figure out what was the best set of tools and approach.
Edit: I guess to me the reasons you list (with the exception of stubborness and Luddism) are exactly the reasons the traditional approach is the best approach regarding plein air. Just trying to figure out how something which seems so clear cut to me would be considered shaky reasoning.
Anyway, to me it just makes sense and is another way to look at this type of question...what are the top pros in a given niche doing and why? Usually they've got it pretty well figured out and it is worth following their lead.
Last edited by JeffX99; November 8th, 2011 at 09:41 PM. Reason: Just clarifying a bit...
My experience has been that people use the tools they do for all sorts of reasons other than efficiency and practicality. Sure, there are a few who really spend time examining their tools and really optimizing there, but I think the vast majority of people don't do this. And I don't think that pros are necessarily the group doing the optimizing- in my experience they are often the most stubborn and unreasonable about tools.
If I had to take a wild anecdotal guess, I would say most people are using the tools they are using because of some combination of ignorance (of better tools), habit, laziness, and inherited dogma (from a teacher or some other artist influential to them).
Remember that back in the day plein air painting was actually quite a technological advancement- most painting was restricted to the studio until the invention of the metal paint tube. I'm sure there was similar reactionism there of "Why would you go out in nature to paint? It just doesn't make sense. All the top artists today are working in their studios like they've always done. We should all just continue to do the same." It takes away the spirit of adventure and exploration which I find critical to life as an artist.
That's a little different than "Say, the pros have some good ideas. It's probably worth examining why they have those ideas," which is more what I think you're saying. However, I don't think that necessarily means we should all follow suit.
I think I agree with most of that and we're on the same page...just coming at it a bit differently. Actually what you're talking about re: metal paint tubes backs up my point about using the best tools and approach for a given task or result. The ability to pack your studio outdoors opened up the ability to more directly observe and capture the essence of outdoor light and nature. So that approach was adopted...but not because it was new or exciting or whatever...but because it was the best way for a landscape painter to gather information.
And sure, the vast majority of people use tools and materials for all kinds of various reasons...and not necessarily the best reasons and approach. That is why I was using the example of top plein air and landscape pros. Top professional people in any endeavor will use the materials and approach that works best for them and gets the results.
Your example of using digital tools for nocturnes, indoor public places and performances is a great example of using digital tools effectively, and perhaps in a way even better suited than traditional. Though a small watercolor kit may be just as effective and hve some additional benefits.
I just have a bit of a different experience I guess. In my experience the top professionals I admire haven't been stubborn or unreasonable at all about tools and such. Quite the opposite, they adapt, explore and try new things in an effort to gain an edge. Like I was saying...it's Occam's Razor applied to tools and methodologies...they use what works the best, and that is worth paying attention to. Surgeons develop and use new tools, techniques and methods...matte painters don't paint on glass any longer...carpenters use totally goofy looking hammers now...photographers don't do daguerroetypes...race car drivers push the envelope in safety and automotive technology.
The converse argument would be that the top people used methods that were ineffective and did not yield results in the marketplace or arena of endeavor. That just doesn't make sense to me.
Anyway, always fun to discuss and explore various points of view.
There's also a component of people digging their heels in and 'saying things' instead of stopping to hear and understand the other side.
Also getting into the pitfall of black and white thinking, forgetting that there's virtually no such thing as black and white in life.
Lot of people tend to say "This way is better".... whenever I see those kinds of statements I wonder... better for what? What kind of an outcome? What is the goal?
A cinder block makes a shitty bowling ball....and bowling balls make shitty walls. I don't really understand your point Connie. Of course some things are better suited to their associated methods, outcomes and goals. That has been my point all along. It isn't "black and white thinking"...it is reality. A computer is not well suited to going out plein air painting...if it was the best plein air and landscape painters would be using it. Can it be done? Of course...just like a Jaguar can haul gravel. Oil painting sucks as a medium for animation too. Could you do it? Yep. Just isn't well suited for it.
I would love to hear some examples of ineffective, "This way is crappier..." methods and techniques that people at the top of their field use.
Edit: IDK...just a mystery to me how one can take the stance that there are NOT better methods, tools and approaches to doing certain kinds of things...just so counter-intuitive to me maybe I have a blind spot.
Last edited by JeffX99; November 9th, 2011 at 04:52 AM.
People who don't understand that point (when it presents itself in less extreme in life) tend to engage in black and white thinking... or just dig their heels in because of various human (personality related) factors.
Remember Jeff, until someone has any experience of painting outside and selling their paintings in the market place for a living their opinion is of little value on this matter.
If you are a profressional who sells work in galleries for a living there is no question that the products produced 'in the field' have to be physical objects that you can sell.
And accordingly, using trad materials to do this makes absolute and unquestionable sense.
It makes no difference. If you haven't any hands on experience of making a living as an artist you can't really know much about it. Agreeing or disagreeing with someone does not validate your opinion in this matter.
I was just making a statement of fact. You are, of course, free to agree or disagree with whomever you like.
Maybe it's because of its complexity and ability to somewhat simulate other media that people seem to have an issue as seeing it as just another media, rather then a replacement for media it tries to simulate on occasion.
I'm not sure why this conversation keeps steering towards fine arts and selling paintings? The original poster's intentions might be just to practice for concept art, as we're not in the fine arts section, and he might not be intending to sell pictures. As much as I enjoy painting digitally, I see it as such a niche that I wouldn't recommend anyone to do it anyway unless they have experience in painting and drawing outside at least several days a week, which I did before I got my tablet.
Jeff - it hasn't taken over anything because as we already mentioned they are for two entirely different goals, absolutely not mutually exclusive, and the technology like tablets that is only now smaller and lighter than the equivalent in oils is brand new anyway. Everyone is still saying that a laptop is bulky and cumbersome and must have skimmed my reply, because he first asked if a laptop is too bulky and this keeps being brought up, but as I mentioned that is not a problem due to the new slate tablets being much more suitable than the laptops and setup you'd have to have used a year ago.
And if any of you still care to know what dose was trying to explain it was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_populum
The OP was, it seemed to me at least, wondering about the whys and wherefores of using digital media to paint outdoors.
Nothing wrong with it whatsoever, and there's been some interesting answers as to why it's sometimes a practical advantage over and above what our individual likes and dislikes are.
It's just making the point that if you are wanting to find a commercial outlet for the actual work you do 'in the field' it is not a good idea to be using digital media to do it.
Basically I was just trying to give the OP a little different way to look at the question which I don't think people do very often. It applies to anything, not just painting and art. I think looking at and trying to understand what works for top level people in any given field is a valid way to analyze methods and goals. This is not the "ad populum" argument or appeal to the masses...quite the opposite. The masses of unsuccessful artists and methods far outnumber the successful who make a living at it.
In the end, I'm not even talking about selling paintings or the fine art market at all. Even if you wanted to do concept art, matte painting and paint digital landscapes or environments...what would be the best method for tuning your observation, awareness and ability? Would it be what the best people in that field do? Or would it be something else. Granted, you don't have to become the next Clyde Aspevig or Richard Schmid to be able to do concept art environments...meaning the goals and what you want to get out of it may differ...but that doesn't change the fact that what they're doing is the best way to do that particular thing.
Maybe that's black and white thinking or some type of logic falacy? To me it's just common sense.
Not to worry Connie...not upset at all, like I said I enjoy discussion of this nature and have a great deal of respect for all those involved.
(bold part is my main point...this is the question to ask oneself)
digital plein air is super fun! i don't see the point in not even TRYING it.....why not? what have you got to lose? i used to set up my laptop in my backyard because i wanted to experience the beautiful day while working on a project. So awesome to surround yourself with nature while working with a tool that could feel so disconnected from nature. It's great for quick studies, i cut up some black matboard and made a sun shield so there was no glare.
as for having tangible objects and making a living.....giclees are amazing! you can't beat an original, no, but giclees on canvas look good, and if you varnish them and add some painted touchups, people will buy them. You'll sell more because they are more affordable, and if you do paint traditionally and have sold your original, you can still keep selling the image. i sell my scanned traditional paintings and my digital paintings as giclee prints on canvas, and both sell equally as well..
any kind of plein air is great! who cares what tools you use.....there are no boundaries, only ones that you set for yourself.