When Daryl Wise sent me a copy of his very hot new Secrets of Corel Painter Experts book I was knocked out by the work it exhibits! Wow! We get so wrapped up in Photoshop stuff around here, we often forget about the extraordinary work being done in Corel Painter! Wow. But one particular artist in the book totally swept me away, so I had to inquire if we could get her into the Designing Women issue this year. But before he could even respond, I had connected with Jane Conner-ziser directly. Wow.
The essence of the art
In my first conversation with Jane, I knew we were immediately on the same page. The Photoshop 911 forums continually get requests for help in the kind of image retouching and painting disciplines that really cannot be answered in a forum, or even online. There are a million tutorials out there on the naked web that promise to make you able to create extraordinary works of art. Even the big boys brag about how they can teach you. But folks; I've got bad news. As Jane will attest, there aren't any silver bullets for this kind of expertise. There are no angels who can touch you into truly masterful work. It takes thousands of hours of experience, coupled with just plain hard work. It takes a broad background in the arts, tempered with stack after stack of projects that build the skill set required. Then there's talent. Sure, you can create all manner of cool stuff with a photo and some software. But without some talent, it won't be world class.
Jane Conner-ziser: World Class Talent
I really cannot come up with a better way to explain the art and craft of Jane Conner-ziser. Thumbing through her creations just makes the spirit soar. Her ability to interpret reality into a thing of beauty is unmatched by all but just a select few. Here's an example...
Here's a work that started with a photo that could have been excellent in its own right. But when Jane applied her magic, the image becomes something much more, now, than a portrait of a pretty little girl. (See the two images in rollover comparison!) Jane has taken the essence of the person, verbatim, and injected her own dream-like vision to arrive at a completely transformed statement that transcends a portrait. And, while the subject if faithfully represented, this vision tells a story -- transports us to another place and time! Masterful.
The talent and art is not presenting reality but enhancing reality. Notice the skin tones and fabrics. Jane interprets these into a texture and form that shows what they are while allowing us to feel what they are in a mentalscape. If you want a photo, just take a picture. But the visual suggestion of what it is makes it more important than it is. We're invited to dream the details rather than experience them. The gauzy fabrics in the skirt and slip become a visual feeling rather than real fabrics. Jane says:
The goal for this style of painting is to create a detailed, photo-realistic painting in the cameo area of the portrait (the head and chest area), plus all skin tones, and then gradually add fantasy and a heavier brush technique as you move away from the focal point. The background and clothing usually reflect full brush work -- hence the name heavy oil (as opposed to a transparent hand-colored photo). Every artist develops her own look through her strokes, but the end product is consistent in detail development.
Next Jane transforms some snapshots into a magic vision of childhood...
... continues on the next page!