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.

Upgrade policy for Emergence

I’ve been getting some questions asking what is the Emergence upgrade policy when a user gets a newer version of Painter.

Here is the Upgrade Policy: If an Emergence user upgrades their version of Painter, please send me a message and I will provide a link to the requested new version.

I sure wish that a single workspace file was compatible with successive versions of Painter. Unfortunately, it seems that each new version renders earlier workspaces buggy. So, my plan is to simply update user requests with the requested new version. Cumbersome, but it should work.

Brushstrokes Reimagined: Emergence is now available!


I’m happy to announce the release of Emergence, a uniquely expressive brush system for Corel Painter. Emergence is available for Painter 2019, 2018, and 2017.


Emergence for Corel Painter represents a unique approach to expressive brushstrokes. Highly customized Paper Grains represent the heart of Emergence. 35 grains are supplied, enabling a wide range of textural possibilities. And by inverting the grains’ dynamic range, a total of 70  variations are available. The result is a rich expressive textural painting environment.

Painting by Karen Bonaker

Painting by Karen Bonaker

Emergence brushes utilize a dab Aperture that is composited together with the current grain. Six variable apertures are supplied, with each aperture providing a distinct stroke style. Random portions of an Emergence seed grain are sequentially selected and gated through the aperture, resulting in a randomly textured brushstroke.

Painting by Deborah Kolesar

Painting by Deborah Kolesar

Emergence is designed for high resolution. Unlike traditional Painter brushes, Emergence brushes use a wide dab spacing to achieve its textural diversity. As a result, Emergence brush performance is not hampered by a high resolution canvas. 

A set of 10 video tutorials are included to show you how quickly get up to speed with the Emergence Brush System. Emergence is available in 3 versions for Corel Painter 2019, 2018, and 2017. Emergence is $39.95.

Visit the Emergence sales page by either clicking here on the Emergence navigation link at the top of the page.

Emergence High Resolution Demo

The Emergence brush system for Corel Painter is designed for high resolution. Unlike traditional Painter brushes, Emergence brushes use a wide dab spacing to achieve its textural diversity. As a result, Emergence brush performance is not hampered by a high resolution canvas.

This demonstration shows Emergence painting on an 8K canvas…that’s 7680 x 4320 pixels. The first couple of resolutions in the video are using brushes that are 5-600 pixels wide.

I recorded this on my MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014), 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB.

A Short Demo of Emergence

This is a quick demo highlighting the utility of Emergence brushes to quickly sketch diverse textural content.

It’s All About the Grain

Emergence paper grains can exhibit a three dimensional photo-like quality depending on the current grain’s contrast settings.

The chart below provides a sample brushstroke for each of the 35 Emergence seed grains, highlighting the resulting dynamic grained stroke. 2 versions of the chart are provided: black-on-white and it’s inverse. A grain has very different quality depending on its polarity: whether it is positive or negative. This duality is expressed depending whether the artwork is painted on a light or dark background. Taking this duality into consideration, there are actually 70 seed grains!

The image below has been scaled down, resulting in a loss of quality. You can download the full resolution here.

An Early Influence Reverberates Today

In the 60’s I was fascinated with NASA’s space program. I enthusiastically scrutinized any articles or images associated with space. By the early 70’s NASA directed some of their imaging system towards earth itself. One such program was the Earth Resources Technology Satellite, later renamed LANDSAT. 

When I first saw a LANDSAT image, I thought I was looking at an abstract painting. It was only when I read the caption that I realized this was the surface of the earth as viewed from 438 miles up.

Brandberg Massif, Namibia • LANDSAT image

The raw beauty of the color and texture impacted me on a very deep level. In many cases, this macroscopic view of earth was surprisingly similar to the close-up view we observe from a few feet off the ground…the earth is a fractal. 

In 1976 as part of the Bicentennial, NASA published Mission to Earth: LANDSAT Views the World. I immediately ordered a copy from the government printing office. It was $14 well spent. 


The multiple levels of self-similarity influenced me greatly in my evolving paintings. I began to utilize a visual vocabulary borrowed from the LANDSAT imagery.

View from on High • Acrylic, 1977

When my career in digital paint software development began in 1985, I had the ability to digitally convert my photographs to the computer for further interpretation and enhancement. I did a series of images that combined photos of graphic elements found on the ground, which I called MANSAT—LANDSAT style images of the ground from human height. 

MANSAT #3 • Digital Painting, 1986

To this day, I still photograph details of textures found in nature…I have thousands of them! It is this unrelenting fascination with the fractal quality of our natural surroundings that I now realize is yet another puzzle piece that has led me to my latest project, the Emergence brush system for Corel Painter.


If you’d like to see a great set of examples of LANDSAT imagery, check out the NASA publication, Earth as Art. It is available as a free PDF file here.