Ansgard Thomson

'Chimera' by Warren Furman


Many people have difficulty in understanding the differences of painting and drawing the traditional way or doing art with the computer. The learning curve is not as easy as it sounds. I am a self-taught digital fine artist and independent in my explorations of all the different programs I have been using since 1993.

Why "Digital Fine Artist?" I emphasize the fact that I apply the same principles to my digital art as I do to my traditional art. Some claim it is time to forget about fine art. Sometimes I do feel like doing disposable art, because the pictures can be deleted either by a virus or by a computer break down.

As a cyberartist on the Internet I can do just that, do a picture, show it and delete it.

As I always felt like a colorist in the past, the many more colours I can use on the computer made me explore all the programs with my passion for colour. Using brushes in any shape and size is another thing, with a few movements of the mouse they can be changed. Digital photography with painting or enhancements with filters or collages changes photography to a new media. Drawing and painting directly is probably just as challenging as starting a new painting the traditional way, with the only difference that you can multiply the picture many times over and give it a different interpretation each time.

But what truly has held my attention all these years is the fact that the possibilities are endless. Printing archival prints in my own studio is in itself very challenging. With the changes of technology finally offering paper and inks for lasting color up to 200 years (if treated like watercolors), I have reached my goal.

My Epson2000P has given me the freedom to produce my prints to standards I have been used to for the last 30 years.

I usually do one or two proofs in 2 sizes when I'm ready to see a work in print, and I do not make more than 5 final art-quality prints eventually as limited editions numbered and signed. These I print myself, only on demand, in paper sizes of:8.5"x11", 13"x 19",11.7"x 16.5".

It is of course possible to have larger prints made by special art-printers, but not all of them use the latest pigment inks and someone else would make all the adjustments to the original work for final printing, which I much prefer to do myself.

Programs I have used from the beginnings:...

Windows Paint: this very simple program included in Windows 3 was in itself interesting enough for composition and design explorations and using the tools at hand to get the mouse going in the right direction. Have only saved a few of my early works done with this program as black and white drawings. I always liked geometric forms.

Fractint: only in 1997-98 when I joined the Internet with my first one page web site was I able to find free programs. Fractint was the first one that fascinated my imagination and liberated my vision, that generating images instead of drawing or painting them was the true new way of using the computer. I left writing fractal codes to the experts, but produced some very interesting works with the program by simply converting a sunflower picture I had drawn into a GIF file and then generating 16 different variations in Fractint. That in turn gave me the incentive to use the program in combination with Paint Shop Pro, which I also obtained first as a free program from the Internet. Lots to play around with including tubes and also being able to make backgrounds or wallpaper from my own pictures. My first venture went to the Artist Den in New Mexico, designed by a very advanced webmaster. It fetched everything a new digital artist could dream off if one is brave enough to venture out and register as such. With this came contact with other artists with the "digital bug" including one Canadian, Robert Downing RCA, from Toronto. I was impressed with his work and he was so far the only Canadian who'd had a show in Toronto of all of his explorations with using digital art in every way imaginable. With his encouragement and constant exchange and sharing I became more aware of what I could do with this newfound way to express myself and the ups and downs of building a website became quite time consuming, but having a friend to relate to also made it enjoyable.

Another site I kept up with was (I liked the name) where things really started to happen and I almost turned back to paint in acrylics, making copies of my digital renderings, but managed only one large 30"x40" canvas to truly appreciate Dr. Rodney Chang's (Pygoya) early explorations of painting 150 digital works.

Learning and remembering what one had done 5 minutes before stimulated this old brain even more. Painter & PhotoShop were added to my software shelf and filters began to make a great difference to playing around with ideas.

I then heard of Robert Downing, an expert with printing and protecting prints and preparing printed works for display, so I went to Toronto to see his works and was quite impressed with his long-life laminated plaques.

Till then, the closest I'd come to plaques was CD's recycled and decorated with my star wheels made in Fractint and PhotoShop to hang on banners. My goal of making the very best prints in high resolution and mounting them on plaques became an obsession and when I did not get much response from my former artists peers I decided to spend some money to travel to Toronto and Pat Fleisher's well known Artfocus Magazine show when I received her invitation to participate. Taking my 20 something works along in a rolling suitcase was sure very different from taking framed works to shows and dealers the old way.

I could not believe it, when I won first prize in electronic media with a real certificate to go home with. The same plaques went to New York to the Cork Gallery at the Lincoln Center for the first digital art show promoted by Visual Arts Guild:

The amazing thing was that I had done the prints with a very ordinary canon printer.

I decided then not to rest till I found a way to do "Fine Art Prints " in my own studio.

I have reached that level with great satisfaction.


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Ansgard Thomson
Box 8 Fort Assiniboine, Alberta , Canada TOG -1AO