3DValley Featured 2D Artist for March 2008 – René Blom. René is a fantastic digital painter. She works exclusively with Painter X and it didn’t surprise me that her work was chosen by Corel to be represented within the program itself. She owns her own local studio where people can rent time to work on there own art but she also teaches art to people who are interested. She loves to work with various materials and is also a certified jewelry instructor. Please read our interview with René below to get to know her and her work a bit better.
Christa: Can you tell us a bit about yourself: Who you are and what you do in your daily life?
René: I’m an artist from the north part of Sweden. I’m educated in photo – digital and graphics and in traditional art school. I’m one of the old wolf’s who started with digital art in the beginning of the early 1990’s. I started out with a Commodore 64, in a program who had the name of “brilliance” or something like that. So when time goes I ended up working as a web designer and later as an AD. I also teach digital graphics’ and software for new students. Adobe – Corel – Macromedia things to make a long story short 🙂
When the computer firm I worked for closed, I decided to do what I really burns for and that’s art in different ways; traditional and of course digital. So I went to art school again. After that I went back to teaching. I teach in art craft and also have my own studio where I make my own art and also digital illustrations – art. The art craft I teach is in Jewelry. I use material as PMC Silver clay, ceramic, glass, enamel, porcelain, etc. Jewelry art craft is something I never will be bored by because it got so many different materials to work with and it will always be something new and fun material to work with.
I also make digital art, that’s how most people know me on the net. That’s the art that comes up most. I don’t teach in this even though many want me to. I do some commission works as book covers and illustrations. Newsletters and advertising etc. depending on who comes with the commission. My passion however is fantasy art and especially character designs 🙂
My latest book cover is for the Djingis Khan series from Swedish writer Anders Widén. Anders did find me on the net, we found out that we work perfect together making his covers. It does has a matter from several points of view to make the covers fit the historic correct and that’s really interesting to do. Anders got 4 books out now and it will probably be 8 in the end or something like that. So that’s one example of the things I do.
Cover illustration for book 3
Then I have my studio, where everything happens 🙂 I got people who rent time inside the studio, where I am a teacher if they need help in there own art/ craft work. We got several masking tools in the studio that makes it possible for anyone who wants to make there own art to have a place to go to. Not al people have a place to go if they want to make art, so I was thinking – well let’s make it possible then 😉 And we did 🙂 now there is a place for creative persons to go, meet others with the same interest and have the “Big” tools they don’t have at home.
So I teach art craft, make digital art, and have a studio for me and other artists. Now I will not get to be a millionaire 😉 but I make a lot of people happy and that’s what makes my life good and gives me a good day every day. I have worked hard in the web design- computer bizz but that didn’t make me happy, so I rather work with things who give me a happy life instead.
Christa: Which software packages do you use for your digital paintings?
René: Corel – Painter 🙂 exclusive my baby 🙂 I have worked with painter from the start. I don’t say that Photoshop is bad – I have PS too, but I use it for photo work only. Corel Painter is for my artistic side, I paint in it. When I say paint it is really like painting. Painter is the program who has the tools a traditional painter would use. Acrylic brushes, oil brush, air brush, watercolors etc. All the tools that makes a traditional artist happy 😉 I have always painted on the computer from the start, which was also what made me want to use the computers for in the early beginning. I could not understand why in the world I should use a computer for it I could not be artistic with it. So my husband knew what I wanted. (He is a computer programmer). He bought me my first graphics programs for the computer, and well I was hooked. Now the computer did make sense for me 🙂
The computer is nothing else but another tool for me to use for artistic use 😉 I ended up becoming a web designer and later an AD. But as we all know its hard work, nothing else makes a good graphics’ master to be. Painter is a pretty easy program to understand when you get to understand the user interface. I love painter 🙂 I have Painter X now, and I’m in the portfolio presentation for inspiration to new and old users of the program. I am proud to say that it’s a huge honor to be a small part of a program that I have always loved from the first moment I got it.
Christa: Where did you go to school and how did they prepare you for your career?
René: I went to a regional photo school here in Sweden it was a 2 years education old fashion way with a proper dark-color rooms and photo studios. When I started working I received training within the company I worked for in web design and graphics’. I walked the long way, there was no education for that back then al was so new, I ended up being one of the first teachers’ in the web design and program educators’ from the start. We had to make al the student materials etc. from scratch to teach others. We also didn’t have much personal time – we worked – got home made dinner – and went to study all the new things that where happening on the net to be able to be on the fast train when it comes to be a part of the fast developing around the net. It was hard work. Well I was also around my 20-30 so I could stay up and study hard. But that was also the only way to be able to work with those things, its still the same today, but people do seem to have more personal time today…
Then I was pretty fed up with the computer bizz. Al stressed out, so I was actually happy that life give me another opportunity to go back in the school again, giving my self a complete break from it all. I went to Art school 🙂 That’s something I always wanted to do so I took my change and go there. I learned how to work with traditional materials and loved every bit of it. It’s a good way to learn art fast. And I can use it in everything I do.
But… whatever I do I end up being a teacher for others… It’s so strange but it is probably something within me who makes me end up there 😉 Anyway I graduated art school and not long after I was back teaching art teachers and students who will end up as art-teachers. I did find the art school had a big hole in the program and that is; how will art students go forward with there art, how will they manage to make a living of there art. Well you can see where this goes, I’m back as an advertising-art director and also having the understanding of what they need to get there foot out in the real world. I do tech computer design – advertising – web design – prepress stuff again.. But this time for art students and teachers within art school.
Christa: Do you remember the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
René: I have to smile, probably from the time I was born 😉 One of my earliest memory is that when I was 4 I get to know a painter who lived upstairs from where we lived, she started to give me tools to paint and show me how to… It was like paradise for me, and that is where I’m born for 🙂
Christa: Can you tell us a bit of the way you work on your art?
René: I start with an idea in my head something that has triggered me; it could just be a form, a structure or a color. Then I either throw up a bunch of colors, or shapes on the canvas (computer) and start to paint. Sometimes it will be a face or a creature or a shape. It all comes along when I paint. It kind of grows on me. It’s so hard to say what it is that makes me to do these things. Its like a good “Painter mood” and I have to be in a good mood, otherwise it will not be a good one. I can paint on demands and after specific order from someone else, but when an artist gets “freehand” it will be the best way of something, and no rush or time limit. That is the best time when I do have time. And it’s funny to say this but I do paint best when I’m in a down mood period 😉 So what ever pops up in my head and I love to paint in the mood I feel at that moment, it gets to be creatures when I’m angry and lovely ones when I’m in a better mood.
So I start out with colors pretty rough and paint from inside out = brush strokes to fine details in the end. Layer by layer. If I find something difficult to paint I use references’ as my own photos. An example is a special pose that is hard to paint, an angel or a mirror is good to use too. Live models are hard to get if you work with computer graphics’. But I find creatures to be more fun to paint and more forgiving if not the eyes ore nose is perfect 😉 And you can use your imagination in a whole different way.
Christa: Do you have a favorite piece of your own artwork and why?
René: Yes, my daughter “Tina” at the age of 4. That’s also the painting many remember me by. It’s a portrait I made and I am still not tired of it. I don’t know why but I use to get pretty tired of my own art… When I have done something and am finished with it I’m pretty fed up with it. But this is a painting I don’t get fed up with, could b because it’s my daughter on the painted portrait 😉
Christa: Who or what would you describe as having the most influences on your work/ style?
René: Aw hmm there are so many but I do love Don Seegmiller 😉 He makes me smile and I find he’s art to be those things I like to do to. Otherwise there are the old masters I love. I know it’s not “Modern” to like the old masters 😉 But I don’t care they are not masters for nothing what ever ppl say these days.
Christa: Your work is chosen by Corel to be represented within the program Painter X. This must have been a great honor for you. Congratulations! Can you tell us what is you like at Painter and why you prefer it to use above for example Adobe Photoshop.
René: Ah yes 🙂 it was huge I am still surprised that they choose my art for the portfolio. I’m so happy to be a part of the program I have loved such a long time, so it’s a huge honor to be a part of that 🙂 As I have spoken about it before it’s the tools and the similarity to traditional tools what makes its so fabulous. I don’t need to be a computer wizard to make forms and shapes that takes more time out of me to just “Paint” it. You only have to pick your tool and start paint it 🙂 That is how I want it to be, it should not take me more than 1 sec to make the form I want to do, just like paper and a pen 🙂
Photoshop is also great in his own way and I am pretty impressed that there are artists who can actual “Paint” in it 🙂 But I am more of a traditional painter then a computer painter so that’s why Painter fits me more then great.
Christa: Besides a fantastic painter you’re also a jewel designer and you work with many other materials to create art. Can you tell us a bit more about the other projects and your passion to work with various materials?
René: Ah well as an artist I use to say that to be an artist it’s not the tools or the material who makes a artist. The tools are just as it is. They are just tools. Materials also, it’s your imagination or what you can make from it that makes you an artist. Learn to understand the tools and what you can do with it, same for the materials, learn how it works and what it can do and become one with it 😉
Let’s say you work with glass. To master glass you have to melt it to be able to master it into the shapes and format you want it to be. Glass is like hot honey, it runs slow and when it gets cold it gets hard. You have to learn to understand in what stage or what temperature you can form it, and master it. And the only way to master it is to learn to understand and become friends with it. You can not force it to become something it is not, but you can learn to understand its power and from that you will be able to make fabulous shapes.
Metal – silver is same, also paint or watercolors. It’s to understand the materials you are working with and not to be afraid of trying new things with it. Sometimes its also better not to know what you can do with it 😉 When you have learned to understand the materials you will be able to work with several materials together and that’s what makes things work. Use soft against hard. Or cold – hot, the opposite attracts each other. Same goes for structures, materials, and colors etc. That’s what makes us to be interested in something; your eyes will be pleased by the appositive areas.
Ring – Love posion
That’s why I love different materials you can work with almost anything and the best of all is that I always have questions inside me when I meet new things or materials, like what if? Let’s say I find something on the beach; wood or stone… I look at it and then my question pops up in my head – what if I put this with – say wood against metal = soft against hard. Put it inside a shape – design and if I am lucky to make a message for the user in the art piece I come up with. Ah lets say I use this wood with metal put it in a Jewelry design and make a ring out of it. Name it silver-wood or something. It makes a purpose for the user to wear, the materials will trigger something within this person, maybe it triggers a memory or just that the person likes the softness by the wood against the hard metal.
Things we forgets when it comes to art is that the artist creates out of his or hers feelings or likening, or what other takes it’s up for to his/her own likening, its interesting to see what people have for respond on the art in that way. Many artists are afraid of what respond you can get by the “Personal art” he or she does, but that’s nothing to be afraid of, it’s most likely you didn’t do the art for that purpose. So by working with different materials is just another way to express yourself because different materials will have different things to say to the people it meets. Different materials is a challenge and a joy too 🙂 I love working with different materials also because every material demands the artists attention and it challenge the artist to make the best art it can out of it 🙂 its fun.
My project for this year will be to focus more on my own work, I have an exhibition which will be held for the local area and I have a goal in October to make it to an art craft show where I will be showing of what we do out here and invite more people to come and make art in the studio 🙂
Christa: Is there a painting or illustration out there that you wish you had painted/ created?
René: Ah many 😉 I think there is a lot of great work out there and I wish I could at least be a fly on the roof just to watch and see how things was done especially among the great masters back then.
Christa: The colors in your art work always look very rich and warm. Can you tell us some more about the way you choose the colors?
René: Earth color, dust colors not all too bright ones, but I can use those too 😉 My role is to use not more then 3 head colors, there can be many variations between them though. 3 is a good number of colors that pleases the eye. If you throw in a lot of colors the eye and head get stressed, I want harmony in my paintings. Earth colors don’t scream at you and don’t make a threat to you. Many are sensitive even if they don’t think that, how colors do make an impact on you and on how you feel. A person can walk in to a room which is painted all red and feel like you want to hurry out because the color screams at you “Danger” or “be on one’s guard”. It’s the way we are raised to read signs that tell you “don’t pass this area”.
You can walk in to a room which is blue and feel totally calm and relaxed; blue = ocean. So you can actual speak to another person by the way to choose the colors, what do you want this person to feel?
Well why my colors then, I don’t like being shout too, I am color sensitive 😉 so its natural for me to pick colors that are more down to earth.
Christa: Do have tips for beginning digital artists?
René: Paint what you like to paint, do your thing. Don’t copy other artist then you will end up just doing that and cripple your own imagination. Paint simple things to start with, take a flower learn to see with your own eyes what shape it has and what colors it has you will be amazed by its color scale 😉
Lady of mystery
Christa: How did your personal website/ portfolio help you to promote your own art?
René: Oh my… well if you want to be on in this computer age, well you got to have a website. That’s where ppl will find you if they want to find you. To promote yourself, you need a website, also advertising (ordinary things) as a card, brochure and to talk and tell ppl where to find you where ever you are. You can not only promote yourself via a website you have to be active. I have had a website for so long now it changed many times, it has to be an active site or it will die..
Christa: Are you currently working on something that you can share with us?
René: I got a lot of student and art craft courses – classes so I’m pretty busy with that and my upcoming exhibition and art craft show.
Christa: Besides 3DV, which other graphic sites do you visit regularly?
René: Many 😉 where ever there is art, I will be looking 😉
Christa: Is their something you can’t work without?
René: Painter / wacom / coffee / silent nights 😉
Christa: What do you do when you’re not working or creating something?
René: Taking care of the family and mother-father-in-law. Being with my other creative friends. Go looking for new things- materials and tools.
Christa: Thanks for your time and the interview René!
René: Thanks and love for reading or being interested of an old wolf like me 😉 *hugs*