Visitors Book 3
Visitors Book 3
Pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,

1 January 2007 Hello David, Happy new year to you and your family. The new year 2007 starts very well since I have discovered your site after you have answered my question on Wacom tablets on DP forum.  Thank you for that. I have been on your site but will have to review it in details and read all you have already explained to people like me who want to learn the digital manipulation.  The least I can say is that I am very impressed by the mavellous "digital paintings" that you obtain from photographs. I had seen one example (watercolour) of digital manipulation in the book of Katrin Eismann (Retouching Repairing) but I did not know that such a "nice painting effect" could be obtained with a computer (and a lot of practice).  Thank you for sharing your experience on your site.  With best regards.  Bernard Pirenne

Thank you Bernard. Happy New Year to you too. You don't say whether you are using Photoshop and/or Painter. I find these are good for different things. You mention watercolour, and so far I have not been able to get a decent watercolour effect from Painter in colour clone mode and prefer Photoshop for this. Painter is great for opaque media simulations. Let me know how you get on. David


21 December 2006 I originally saw your post on DPReveiw and went to your website Your work is absolutely beautiful and exactly what I am looking for. Unfortunately l am having a difficult time converting an image to look something of an oil painting, very similar to what you did for titog at dpreview with the butterfly on the flowers. I was wondering if you might share a down and dirty technique for me to use it link to a Photoshop tutorial. Either would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks Houston Brown

Thanks, Houston. I can't remember the exact steps I took on the butterfly picture. Each picture evolves as it goes, However, broadly it goes like this: I prepare the photo in PS - simplifying where I think necessary with the buZZ Simplifier so that there is a centre of interest and not too much distracting detail. I will also usually increase colour saturation. Then I take the photo to Painter 9.5 where I brush the painting in Colour Clone mode. I try to use the biggest brushes I can. There is a lot of additional hand painting by eye where I change colours or tone values to suit my taste. I like the Artist Oils, Oil and Sargent brushes but I use mainly brush versions I have customised. Then I take the picture back to Photoshop to add a little sharpness and further colour saturation and usually also do some brush work to further refine the image. I use some of the Natural, Wet Media and default brushes - I also use a handmade bristle brush which has a dry brush look. That's it really. I have come to the conclusion that your final painting will only be as good as the photograph you start with. This may sound obvious but I do think it helps a lot to begin with painterly looking photos which have interesting lighting and shapes. Good luck. David


20 December 2006 Hi..I really like the way you did your web site.. I am working on doing mine.. also your work is fantastic.. I love your artwork expecially artwork3 because it is a people art.. I am just trying to learn how to do this as I was a portrait photographer..I looked at all your work ..very well done. Mike Winn

Thanks, Mike. I am glad you like my website layout. I recently had to remake it from scratch using Dreamweaver instead of Frontpage. It was just a question of learning as I went. My site is straightforward to use I hope. I do wish I could implement a simple feedback form for my Visitors' Book instead of having to ask visitors to send me emails. On artwork, I'm sure that being a portrait photographer you'll be off to a flying start on making paintings from your photos. David


21 November 2006 Love your new web pages and it's format.   As you suggested, I purchased both the Painter IX and J Lyons book. I have been attempting to apply the software and instructions they provide,, having fun.. having some success.. but still struggling to re-create some of your techniques..with so many options available and so many directions to go. If you can share and start me off along in the right path, using the major steps of how you created - for example:Tulips against the yellow walls - Art Work 2 .. I would be really appreciate it.. Photoshop? Painter IX, clones, water colors? oils..Best Regards, and thanks again... your art is really inspirational ! Barry

Thanks. That picture was done mainly in Painter I think. I can't remember which brushes I used but they will have been quite large as I was unconcerned with detail. It was done in Colour Clone mode and I probably used a customised Oils brush. I can't remember if there is a brush which approximates my own - basically it was made in the brush creator with a Static Bristle dab in Single mode, and using Grainy Hard cover with grain set at about 24%. The texture I used was Artists Canvas. The trick is to keep your brushes as large as you can - the smaller the brushstrokes the more detailed and photographic the final look. Good luck. David


30 October 2006  Hello, These images are fantastic, where can I learn to do them??  Also, do you know how I can make the outside of an oval vignette transparent so that it can be transferred on top of another image to show just the oval?  Thanks again  Stuart Garfoot, England

Thanks, Stuart.  Have a look at my response to Barry, USA on 18 October.  I recommend a couple of books there.  I'm not sure I understand your question - if you make the area around an oval transparent and transfer that rectangle or square on top of another image, you will see everything below except the oval in the middle. If you want to take a rectangle or square and cut out an oval in the middle and have it (the oval in the middle) retain transparency that is very easy in Photoshop. Assuming you have Photoshop, just select your image, duplicate it into a second layer, fill it with whatever colour you want, and use the elliptical selection tool to make your oval vignette.  Then just "Clear" the selection in the middle.  You will see the original image only in the oval window.  You may have meant something different, if so, let me know.  David


19 October 2006  Hello David - thanks for the new pictures. It was a treat to see your version of Ms. Cole's photo of the hilltop town on the water. Most excellent. Got to say you keep getting better. And its a lot of fun working through Photoshop and other plug-ins to try to emulate your success. Have you worked yet with digital art versions of any High Density Resolution (HDR) images, that became possible with Photoshop 9?  Hope you make millions of dollars through all this.  Take care, John

Thanks, John.  I haven't done too much in the last week or so because I am having to rebuild my (Frontpage) website as a result of Microsoft and my web host ceasing to support Frontpage Extensions - these are bits of software MS provide to make things happen on one's website. Frontpage is disappearing and being succeeded by something much more complicated.  So I am having to try to replicate my site in new software, learning the software as I go.  This is taking time and so far the only thing that will flummox me is that I cannot - do not know how - to reproduce this little visitors' book on my new website.  Should be easy but it's not.  So will probably have to just gather comments by email and type them in here as now.  Anyway, not much painting being done but I'm glad you like the New Artwork page.

I haven't used the HDR facility in CS2 because I think it requires a number of photos shot at various exposures.  Haven't got sufficiently organised to do this.  I have experimented with a plugin called Photomatix which can do the full HDR type process but also allows you do something like it using a single photo at 16bit using Tone Mapping.  Frankly, I find the Shadow/Highlight feature in PSCS2 pretty good for widening exposure.  David


18 October 2006  Loved what you doing with these images.. Would love to learn a few steps to create some of what you have learned... any suggestions??  Please advise.. I have Photoshop on my laptop.. Barry, USA……

Thanks.  I think you should get Painter 9 too.  There’s a bit of a learning curve -  don’t be put off.  I recommend Jeremy Sutton’s “Painter 9 Creativity”.  This provides very good straightforward advice about using Painter and also some good ideas  - and inspiring too – for doing brushed simulations.  The watercolours in his book are not very convincing but for them try 'How to Wow, Photoshop for Photography' by Jack Davis and Ben Willmore – this has very clear guidance on getting watercolour effects.  There are of course many, many approaches and that’s the fun of photoart.  You need to get a digital tablet too – I use a Wacom Intuos 3 6”x8".  I am sure you know this but it’s really important to look at real natural media if you want to get decent digital simulations of them.  This is very enjoyable I find and brings a new interest to looking at great art.  David


19 October 2006  Thank you very much for your response..  I'll purchase the Painter IX and attempt to re-create some of the changes and techniques you have discovered, learned and used.   If you ever decide to make a tutorial please let me know.. I would surely be interested.   I greatly admire your work. Thanks again, Barry


30 August 2006 Good Morning David  Thank you for your reply regarding the brush for showing canvas texture. I have Painter 9.5 (latest version) and I haven't been able to locate the brush you spoke of so I am wondering if it is a custom brush. I am new to to digital art as well so it just may be my inexperience in locating the brush (it doesn't appear in the list of oil brushes). Thanks again, and I am looking forward to seeing more of your work. Regards, David

There are some in “Artists Oils” and “Chalk” but I can't see any in "Oils" - sorry for the bad steer.  I set out below how I make my own Grainy brush in the Brush Creator using a standard Oil brush.  I strongly suggest you rummage round the Brush Creator and make it your friend - get used to customizing brushes yourself – this is a very important element in getting the most out of Painter.  The following assumes you are using a pressure sensitive pen tool:

In “Oils” open “Thick Wet Camel 10”.  Open up the Brush Creator and the "Impasto" function, and then change "Depth and Colour" to "Colour" unless you want a 3d brush effect.  Then open the “General” function.  Change “Soft Cover” to “Grainy Hard cover”.  This will enable the Grain function for the brush which you will see below the “Opacity” function.  Set Grain to 20% (remember that Grain strength decreases the higher the Grain value).  Set “Expression” to “Pressure”.  Make sure you have a texture selected in the “Paper Selector” which is the top left hand little square at the bottom of the Tools Palette (I use “Artists’ Canvas” mostly).  Have fun and experiment.  David


30 August 2006  Hello David: I really like your new paintings...all of them. I have a question about the one of the gentleman with the glasses. I like the effect that you have created with some of the canvas texture showing through in places. Is this effect created with a single brush or is it from painting over the texture itself?....the effect however it was created gives a very convincing oil paint effect.  Looking forward to more of your work.  David

The canvas texture is produced in Painter by using an oils brush with the word "Grainy" in its name.  In the brush tool bar set the graininess to about 16% which gives a good effect.  I don't use any overall canvas texture in Painter.  I occasionally add a little in Photoshop, but Painter can do a better job. David


24 August 2006  Hello David, The new releases are so nice. Maybe you don't need to do a tutorial; just working through the differences between the photo and final result are good tools. Your canvas technique nails it down for me. Oh, and also, the sketch technique of the building with the sort of woven cross-hatching and a breath of blue for the sky is a fun event to look at. Any chance you could tell us if you worked through Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro with that one and maybe a hint about your approach? Okay, thanks for lending your sensibility to the world. Your pictures are so full of surprises. Looks like you've recovered the lost brushes and then some. You are the best.  Kind regards, John

Thank you John.  The Chelsea Harbour (actually on the river Thames) scene was done in Photoshop using a small brush in Pattern mode.  First I made a pattern out of the photo and then, using a small brush and lots of patience. the scene was brought back to another layer filled with white with loads of cross hatching.  Generally, I use Painter for oil and acrylic simulations and Photoshop for watercolours and pen and pencil drawings. I don't use PSP at all.  Hope this helps.  David


23 August 2006  David, I stumbled into your website in my pursuit of the Buzz set of filters by Fo2Pix. I already use Art Master Pro in conjunction with Photoshop CS and have been considering Buzz as possibly a useful addition. I also have Painter but as a beginner (in terms of artistic manipulation), have not found the software very user friendly. I find your style and artistic interpretation very appealing.  This is very close to what I am trying to (with many a stumble), work towards.  I have a considerable collection of, dare I say, good quality photographic images from a wide range of countries and have been keen to explore artistic interpretations which may revitalise the work and perhaps enhance the commercial potential. After many years of travelling and working internationally I am now based in Cornwall.  Your site is a mine of useful information and now that I have found it, I will certainly be returning regularly.  I will particularly value learning more about the Wow brushes to which you refer.  Paul McCullagh

Thank you.  I am glad you like my pictures.  I thought that Art Master Pro already had the filters that buZZ Pro has – it is very much more expensive.  The most useful buZZ filter is the Simplifier and Art Master Pro must have this – it was this filter that really put buZZ and its original producer Segmentis on the map.  I would be very surprised if you had to buy buZZ.  I should check this before you spend any money. It is a helpful filter but needs to be used in combination with other techniques as it has such a strong tell-tale look.  You are lucky to have a stash of good photos -  I am scraping my photograph barrel now and must get out and find more images that interest me to work on.  Good luck with your own picture making.  Thanks again for contacting me. David

21 August 2006   I really enjoyed your work, which I happened upon in Google images.  Excellent.  Ian

16 August 2006   hi David:  I just reviewed your marvelous paintings again and found myself wishing that you would produce a CD tutorial of both your oil and watercolour techniques. I am sure there would be a market for them since you definitely have the skills and I know many would love to learn your techniques.  Once again, I love your work. Regards, David Gray (Canada)

Thanks. That’s very kind of you.  I must try to do a cd.  I do have the software to do it.  My problem is that I do not always follow the same steps and I can by no means be sure that every picture I begin will have a successful conclusion!  Which pictures on my website do you particularly like?  There are a number of different styles there. David


Hi David  As to my favorites that's difficult because I like them all, but that being said, my absolute favorite is the painting of the two boats (next to the barn painting which I also love) in Artwork 4. Also high on my list is the canal painting (#9) in Artwork 1 (this REALLY looks like a watercolour). I also really like the sunflowers (these would make a great tutorial because of their simplicity) and bowl of fruit in  Art 2. I guess my preference for watercolours is obvious but I am very fond of watercolours and your simulations are great. I realize that each painting is really an individual in regards to its techniques, but I think it is the thought process and basic principles you use in creating a painting which would make a tutorial valuable...personally I am not looking for a "canned" technique which can be applied to all paintings but rather a basic approach which can be altered to suit the painting.

Thanks.  That's very helpful.  I'll see what I can do.  David


12 August 2006  hi nice pics, i got a problem, can you help, i installed buzz pro in to the plug-ins folder like you do, but to my surprise even though i can c the plug-in name, it  is not active.  Do you know what I am doing wrong? I have no problems with other plug-ins. Thanks, regards, Gerry please reply to ... if you know the problem, Thanks so much

Thanks.  I've emailed you separately.  I can't remember the solution to this problem which is familiar.  I vaguely remember having to put buZZ into the Plugins/Filters folder and then pointing PS to it in PS's preferences/plugins.  Sorry I can't help more.  David


18 July 2006  David, your work is magnificent! I am a Buzz Pro fan as well, but I love the way you have expanded on and improved the image even more using your own artistic ability.I am a real admirer of watercolour paintings and just love the watercolours you have done. I am considering a Wacom tablet and I notice that you use the 6"X8" tablet with a 21" monitor. With the 21" monitor do you find the 6X8 tablet sufficient or do you think the 9X12 would be better ?  Looking forward to seeing more of your work.  David Gray

Thanks, David.  I have used a 9"x12" and found it too big, requiring too much hand movement - nothing to do with the monitor size, just the physical size of the tablet.  The 6"x8" is perfect for me and works fine with 21" monitor because the Wacom surface area is automatically mapped on to the monitor screen.  I use a resolution of 1280x960 with my monitor - quite large but poor eyesight requires this.  You won't go wrong with a Intuous3 6"x8" - a wonderful tool.  David


6 June 2006  Hello David - This is just a brief comment about that wonderful duck wading in mid-stream, its beak in the water - page 2, bottom row, middle picture - very charming. I always get a kick out of breezing through your latest works of art. You continue to improve, geez, you're the Man! Just know you are real appreciated out there in Cole fandom. Kind regards. John Fielder

Thanks - I appreciate it, John. The duck was wading in a stream in the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park, London, quite rightly paying no attention to me.  I do like ducks and chickens - wonderful to paint.  I'm struggling with some landscapes at the moment - I find them very difficult.  I'm thinking of making a new Artwork page specifically for new pictures so returning visitors can find them quickly.  The other most recent pictures are a scary self-portrait and a picture of my daughter drying her hair (which she doesn't like at all!) on Artwork 3.  I like it though.  Thanks again.  David


5 June 2006   Just had a peep in your albums David and think they are great.  Love how you do your portraits and your flower pics are stunning.  Have a thread at the Inn called Near to home, with lots of scenic the member to member photo art challenges...maybe you can find something there you would like to paint!!!  Kind regards Patricia Kay

Thank you, Patricia.  I will certainly have a look at your photos - I am always interested in finding new photos to "paint".  It is very nice of you to make this offer.  Recently, and on a retouching forum, I did a treatment of a photo that had been posted to see what could be done with it, and when I subsequently asked for permission to show my version of the picture on my website (with due acknowledgement) the copyright owner/poster turned me down.  So I am a little wary now of putting work into an image on spec!  Thanks again.  David


5 June 2006   David, if you do put your time and effort into painting any of my photos you are welcome to display them where you will...even better if someone wants to buy...I just retain copyright for my photo....Will be posting more scenic ones soon...but flowers are my real love... Patricia Kay

Thank you very much.  Copyright is a tricky issue - I think in fact that you would own the copyright of my versions of your photos.  Sounds counter-intuitive but it's true - I think.  I have emailed you about sending me a larger version of one of the images on your site.  Thanks.  David


4 June 2006  You images are very creative and have such an artistic touch. I have been looking for a piece of software that would do what Fot2pix seems to do from their online demo and from you creations. Did you have any trouble with it working on CS2 and did you get the full pkg (approx. $200)? I couldn't find out how long this company has been around and how stable it is for future development and availability for updates, tech support, etc. Any info on this?  Thank you for taking the time to respond.  Joni

Thanks.  Fo2Pix has been going for some time and make a number of products - I have been using their buZZ software (only) for four or five years and the last product I bought was buzz Pro 3.  Like everyone else who uses buZZ, I find the Simplifier filter in it the most useful; I know of no other PS plugin that can do what the Simplifier does so elegantly.  I believe you can buy this filter by itself at a much reduced price - you can check this.  I think that the rest of the filters in buZZ Pro 3 are less interesting and I have no use for the big ArtMaster and PhotoArtMaster programs.  I cannot give you advice on the big programs I'm afraid - I don't know anyone who uses them.  I don't use the Simplifier in all my pictures - I actually use it increasingly less and am now pretty careful only to use it with other techniques so as to avoid the tell-tale Simplifier look - this is attractive but to people who know, immediately recognizable - particularly in the way it treats foliage and branches.  I'd try the Simplifier first - it works fine with CS2.  David

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