Emergence User: Michael Cetta

High Line • Artist: Michael Cetta

Upon retirement, Brooklyn born & raised artist Mike Cetta immersed himself in photography, focusing on people and street scenes. Fast forward a few years when Mike encountered digital artist Tim Shelbourne and his school, The Artists’ Quarter. Mike says:

I knew immediately that this is what I was looking for: a way to paint using my photos as the reference images…I paint in a style that is true to how I experience the world around me.

Mike’s paintings exhibit a refined style that he has developed over the years. It’s an over-simplification to describe these works as cloned photos. Cloning techniques may act as a catalyst in Mike’s overall style, but it is merely a tool towards realizing a vision in the mind’s eye. Looking at Mike’s portfolio at his website, the last thing you’ll think of is cloning.

Mike has a particularly convincing way of relinquishing the photograph’s natural proclivity for fine detail and replacing it with simplified compositional blocks filled with painterly texture. Detail is minimized, with each stroke defining no more and no less required in support of the imagery.

Beyond the formal elements, Mike’s paintings provide an entree into real places populated by real people. The viewer can easily get caught up in the variously depicted human interactions and emotions. What Mike has accomplished is a pleasing balance between technique and subject.

Mike recently added Emergence to his painting toolbox. He finds Emergence’s textural brushstrokes fit right into to his stylistic workflow:

I used your brush at full size and with added paint no cloning....wonderful to use and it works just as well in cloning mode as it does with adding paint. I will definitely be integrating these into my workflow....you’re definitely on to something here and these feel like the most natural brushes I’ve ever used.

In the closeup detail below, you can see how Mike has utilized the random brushstrokes to apply an overall gesso’d surface to the brushwork. Additionally, by removing the curved horizontal lines normally created by lens distortion, Michael is further acknowledging the surface plane of the painting. The result is an interplay between the three-dimensionality of the subject and the flat surface of the digital canvas.

High Line Detail

Looking to add some new spice to your digital paintings? You may be interested in Emergence, available here. If you are already using Emergence, send me a JPEG and a short description of your work and I’ll feature it here on the pixlblog.

Emergence User: Linda Griffiths

Artist: Linda Griffiths

Artist: Linda Griffiths

Artist Linda Griffiths sent me this reworking of a photograph done with Emergence. The original photograph was taken by Dutch travel photographer Alfons Taekema. You can see the original photo here. Alfons’ photo is on the free photography site, Unsplash. I had not heard of Unsplash before Linda alerted me to it.

The premise is simple: Beautiful, free photos. Gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers.

In exchange for using the image, all the photographer asks for is credit. Once I started looking around the site, I was pleasantly lost in it for an hour. It is full of the kind of high quality photography that usually has strings attached to it. I highly recommend it if you’re in need of quality source photograph for a project.

Emergence User: Richard Okun

GoldieLocks  Artist: Richard Okun

GoldieLocks Artist: Richard Okun

Author and illustrator Rich Okun uses Painter as a primary tool in his work.

I've been painting all my life and since I discovered Painter and digital media - I'm never going back to traditional media - I do not miss the mess, stench, toxicity, expense etc. at all - I think if Corel Painter, Wacom tablets, and digital painting were around back then, Leonardo would be playing all day on his computer.

Rich recently purchased Emergence and sent the above painting.

I purchased Emergence the other day and wanted to tell you how happy I am. My subjects are typically portrait and/or animals - less so on backgrounds and landscapes. I've played around with Emergence for a while and did this painting which I love. I used every single one of your brushes and several papers in this painting. I think your system gives it a dimensional quality that I have not been able to achieve digitally. 

You can see more of Rich’s work at his website: The Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and Maya.

Emergence User: Sabrina L. Greene


Sabrina L. Greene is an emerging painter in the portrait world and created her first portraits of her children three years ago. Today she is continuing her studies by practicing faces in Corel and traditional media.

“I was recently told by someone that if I can get painting faces down pat, I can paint anything. And this year I decided it was time to get serious about my art studies. But sometimes a face needs something to help it ‘meet’ the background. I knew as soon as I installed these brushes that I wanted to create some backgrounds with them like this one.”

In this piece, Sabrina used Emergence to create a subtle texture behind her study of model Shelby Lynn. I asked Sabina what she likes most about these brushes since she purchased them.

“The embedded textures make creating a background so easy! And I love how soft they can become for slow building up of color. Then again if I want to create something bold, I can build it as quickly! At the moment my favorite brush is the combination of Arabia Texture + Flower Aperture + 40 or 60 Spacing. I can mesmerize myself with just pushing the paint around and watching it. I really look forward to seeing what I can create with the many different settings!”

You can see more of Sabrina’s art and photography at her website, sabrinalgreene.co

Emergence User: Karen Bonaker

artist: Karen Bonaker

artist: Karen Bonaker

Painter Master Elite Karen Bonaker is well-known in the Painter community and beyond. Karen founded the Digital Art Academy in 2007 to help students achieve their artistic goals. Prior to launching Emergence, I asked Karen if she would be interested in trying it out. After receiving it, she emailed me, “I have not had this much fun in painting in a long time!” with the above image attached. Me?…I was floored.

Karen’s painting proved to me beyond a doubt that Emergence allows an artist’s style to dominate its medium, rather than the other way around. As an artist myself, this is crucial to me. I’m aware that Emergence can be very aggressive in its look, but properly handled, it becomes subordinate to style…just like other expressive media.

You can learn more about Karen and the Digital Art Academy here.

The Emergence Brush System for Corel Painter is available for $39.95. You can purchase Emergence here.

Emergence User: Kari Nanstad

Artist: Kari Nanstad

Artist: Kari Nanstad

Artist Kari Nanstad works in multiple styles. I like to refer to this style as whimsical illustration. Kari often balances her illustrations against textured backgrounds. Her use of Emergence here demonstrates how it doesn’t need to be in your face. Rather, Kari used it here as one element of many. And as a result, her style shines through.

Emergence, like Kari, has a wide range of expressibility. How you use it is up to you.

You can see more of Kari’s art at her website: Kari Nanstad Fine Art.

This is the first of what I hope will become a series of Emergence users’ work. If you have utilized Emergence in your artwork and have a sample you’d like to share, send me a JPEG and a short description of how you used it and I’ll feature it here on the pixlblog.

The Emergence Brush System for Corel Painter is available for $39.95. You can purchase Emergence here.