Mixer Brush and Bamboo!

This is actually attempt number three I think…for some reason I’ve gotten mixed up (I’ll upload the first attempt later).  So actually my second shot at another traditional subject…bamboo.  This is another one that I submitted to the Adobe Tech Summit Art Show.  This one definitely involves heavier use of the Mixer Brush.  I threw some green in there for good measure, as my eyes were growing tired of looking at black and white during all of my practicing.

I spent a lot of time again beforehand just practicing the brush strokes – before I even tried to put a composition together.  You have no idea how hard it is for me to draw a perfectly straight bamboo stem.  If you look at pictures of bamboo, it is oddly straight, and for some reason my clumsy hands just can’t do it on my tablet.  The stems are segmented and thus require multiple brush strokes to perform…for me, it seems to go…I make one segment, then the next I seem to always go off in some wild direction.  Many times I end up with these bizarre zig-zag bamboo, that look ridiculous.

For the blending…took me a while to figure out that most often times, I mostly wanted to blend all of the colors from multiple layers together.  Fortunately, there is a setting for that on the mixer brush that can be toggled on/off:

With it on, I can blend from all layers including the background layer.  With it off, I can only blend media within my currently selected layer…very handy sometimes, for when I don’t want to pull what’s underneath, but want to move around the “paint” in my current layer.

Here’s the final product:

I think that I’m kind of happy with some parts of the painting, and not so happy with other parts.  I did get some nice blending in places, and some nice examples of the natural media bristle tips being pulled across the virtual canvas, that looks/behaves very much like a real painting.  I don’t think I did a very good job in adding depth to the image though.  Did not really follow the rule, “the closest, the darkest”, so the image comes out with somewhat of a flattened feel.  I don’t care as much that it isn’t super detailed.  I like the idea in sumi-e that you let your mind complete the picture.

Sounds perhaps overly sentimental, but this art (dare I call it that) is definitely a form of expressionism, where reality isn’t as important as the mood, and emotion being depicted.  Or maybe I’m just full of baloney…either way, I enjoy sharing this.

Again, let me know what you think about my paintings, or painting in Photoshop in general.