Since 2001, Brookline artist Martha Jane Bradford has been donating her art through our program. A surge of interest in her work at the end of 2009 brought her above 75, and Martha has now donated 84 acrylics, oils, etchings, silkscreens, and digital drawings to community nonprofits. Here we answer the question: What exactly is a digital drawing?
Entering a new decade of virtual worlds, avatars, and 3-D movies, we are continuing on a journey into the digital revolution, but, Martha has been exploring digital drawings for almost 20 years! “When I first began digital drawing in the early 1990’s, my goal was to demonstrate that the medium could be used to create work that was equal in quality to work created with traditional media, specifically charcoal, pastel, and etching. Recently, however, the pixel has begun to emerge from behind the scenes. My new look features the little squares as integral not only to the process but also to the visual sparkle of the textures in the new drawings.”
Still, what exactly is this art form? “My digital drawings are drawn just like my charcoals, lithographs, and pastels except that I use digital tools, including a software program called Corel Painter 10 and a pressure-sensitive digitizing tablet and stylus. As I draw, the tablet and stylus electronically translate the motions of my hand into strokes that look as though they were made with the drawing tool I have selected (charcoal pencil or pastel, for example). I see these strokes occurring real-time on my monitor. The finished digital files are proofed and printed in limited editions using archival inks on fine art rag paper. They are not reproductions, nor are they manipulated photographs. They are original prints drawn by hand.”
Martha describes the consistent interest in her range of work (acrylic, charcoal, digital, etching, lithography, pastel, and silkscreen) as being “the look of the land, the sea, and the sky. The subjects of my landscapes are ordinary scenes transformed by light in a way that suggests a spiritual narrative. My very realistic style aims to faithfully recreate the details of my experiences of this luminous quality of the phenomenal world in order to share the experiences as completely as possible with the viewer.”
As to why she chooses to participate in our program, Martha states: ” Many artists like myself have some unsold work languishing in drawers and closets – The Art Connection is a wonderful way to get the work out before the public eye. Part of making art is communicating. Work sitting in a closet is not communicating with anybody.”
Want to learn more about art in the digital age? Check out the art of Alizarin Goldflake (Martha’s avatar) in the virtual world of Second Life by clicking on the YouTube link below. You can also see more of her Second Life work on YouTube here and here.
UPDATE: Since this piece was written, Martha Jane Bradford passed away March 2018.