Jaycee Shanholtzer Part 3: Art and the Digital Medium

With the development of my graphic design career, I got to a period where I missed doing more illustrative focused work. I wanted to get back into painting, specifically watercolor and oil painting. It was during this time that I decided to get back into creating digital artworks/paintings. Digital art is the best of both worlds; being able to replicate the world of fine art in a digital medium allows for a vast and diverse variety of art (plus less strain on the wallet.) Personally, I already had some experience in the beginning of my art career. Getting back into it was difficult, especially with the further development of technology. There was so much to it and so many layers of accessibility. Thankfully, graphic design and digital art are not too distinctly different and rely on the same mechanics/processes and programs. One of the main programs I have used for digital art and graphic design is Procreate. 

Mushroom Forest, 2021, Procreate, 12×18 inches
Sunday Morning, 2021, Procreate, 20×18 inches

Procreate allows for a variety of mediums, such as painting, inking, airbrushing, etc. There is a lot of accessibility through this program alone, and I have consistently used it for the last year. In the beginning stages of the program, I used a lot of the preset painting tools, specifically the gouache tool. It appears blended yet textural, I used it especially when it came to painting skin. It gave this impression of skin, and it subtly replicated the textures within it. I used this tool consistently and I still use it for sketching and coloring/shading. Digital art was fun to create, and I continued to implement my style in each artwork. 

Romeo and Julies, 2021, Procreate, 18×20 inches

“Romeo & Julius,” is one of my favorite digital paintings I have done so far. I felt inspired once again by Renaissance idealism, I wanted to create another work like my “The Lovers” print. I was inspired by Frank Dicksee’s depiction of “Romeo and Juliet.” Like Rodin’s “The Kiss,” there is this raw and visual depiction of love and affection between the two figures. They were connected and their dynamic was natural, comfortable, and emotional. Making this couple a gay couple, like with “The Lovers,” was done due to my desire for more representational artworks. Including more diversity by presenting more identities, in this case sexual identities. Part of my desire to recreate these old concepts is to present the idea that queer people have always existed throughout human history. It is meant to counteract the idea that lgbtqia+ identities are only recent and a product of this generation. They have been part of our history for centuries. Specifically, with this painting, I wanted there to be both a literal and metaphoric meaning. The clash of dark and light, with their kiss being placed central. The struggle of being openly affectionate as a same-sex couple, the joy of being open but also the fear of being seen. Not only did I want to recognize queer people, but also the societal difficulties that came with it. I was planning to continue this type of artwork, creating a series. I was even considering making this series the focus of my exhibit. In the beginning of 2022 however, I had a sudden change in my creative style. It all started around February, when I decided to start a new series for the Senior Exhibit, which I will tell you about in my final blog post next week. 

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