Two weeks ago I was in Solomons, MD (my girlfriend had an art opening for a group show of portraits) where I met Katherine Knight, a Washington DC based painter. We started talking about craft and technology and she had to be interviewed on these pages…
During our conversation you mentioned using your iPhone in your creative process/practice. Can you tell me how? Do you consider getting an iPad?
It’s becoming a cliché, but I would say that my iPhone has completely changed my life; particularly the way I conduct research for my studio. Prior to the iPhone, my research tools consisted of my digital camera for taking reference photos, a sketchbook for studies and compositional ideas, my computer for internet research and Photoshop (which I’d use to compose some of the more complicated paintings), a Wacom tablet and drawing stylus, color media (watercolor, gouache, or acrylic paint) for color studies, and various different types of paper for specific tasks. Now I can do all of that on my iPhone. I’ve given up a little in quality- the camera is not as good, and the drawings are a bit clumsy, but it’s certainly sufficient for research, and I’ve gained so much in flexibility. Plus I think the technology is only going to improve. I don’t have to carry as much stuff around with me anymore, and I spend a lot less time at my desk. Before, I would have to consciously put on my Artist Hat. I’d have to think ‘I’m going to the zoo today, better take the camera in case I see something I want to use’. The iPhone is with me all the time, and allows me to easily take my research with me wherever I go, without forethought. I never used to be one of those artists doing sketches all the time out in public. What interests me most is color, and it’s quite a hassle (and sometimes prohibitively messy) to carry color media around with you- even if it’s only colored pencils. The very first thing I did with my iPhone was download a drawing app (ArtStudio), and now I can do color studies absolutely anywhere. I’ve drawn on the Metro between stops, in the car on road-trips, in class while my students are working, even at night in the dark. I can work in full color in museums, directly in front of the paintings- it’s amazing. I’m becoming much more fluent with color, which is helpful when I’m back in front of my easel.
As for the iPad, I caved! My husband and I just bought one to share (which is difficult, but we’re managing). It is a MUCH more advanced machine, and having the bigger screen makes it much easier to work with. But because of its size it’s still not quite as spontaneous as the iPhone. I’m looking forward to having it in class, in museums, and on trips. Ultimately I think it will be nice to have both.