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.
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.