I Love Corel Painter Lite and Have Had So Much Fun Today

Hello Everyone,

Today, for laughs, I opened Corel Painter Lite, and I definitely had a blast.  There is so much about the program to like.  It is mean, lean and speedy.  It paints like a dream. Anyway, I wanted to practice some stuff I have learned lately.  And Corel Painter Lite was the obvious choice.  I love taking classes, both digital painting classes and traditional painting classes.

In the traditional painting classes I always ask if I can join the class but use Corel Painter instead of real paint and brushes.  Most folks don’t mind.  Anyway, for a long time my friend and mentor, Karen Bonaker,  has been preaching value drawings, which I have resisted doing.  And another mate and mentor, Tim Shelbourne, has shouted into my deaf ear, value drawings dear boy, value drawings.  Sigh, I’m not really hard of hearing, more like hard-headed.

Then I found a school while searching the web called Tucson Art Academy.  The school also has an online school presence with online classes for traditional artists.  I checked out their online courses and found several that looked appealing.  I decided to take a course called A Painterly Approach to Street Scenes and Architecture taught by Phil Starke.  I did enjoy the class, but the fates were against me…Phil talked about value sketches and value paintings a whole bunch, just like my buds do.  Surely there is a law against such torture.

Cornered by my friends and Phil, listening to them sing the praises of value drawings and value paintings, I had no other choice but to make value sketches.  Before I forget and feel the wrath of Tim, a proper British gentleman, in the Queen’s English he reminds me that the correct term is tone not value.  Tim will not listen to my comments about how Old English is exactly what it is, old.  That’s why software comes in American English now, you know.  Oh boy, I’m really asking for it now.

Anyway, I did take Phil’s class and I used Painter 12.2 SP1.  This morning when I opened Corel Painter Lite, I was just going to mess around.  But as I started playing, I realized that Corel Painter Lite is a great program to practice making value drawings and paintings.  And why not make a video of the process.

Some of the time, I work from my imagination, other times, I use a reference photograph.  Corel Painter Lite does not have a clone options, and I’ve heard a few folks say they really miss it.  So, I decided to work with a reference; I used a photograph I shot from our upstairs deck looking at the backyard with a utility building right in the middle.  Well, the class was about scenic streets and architecture; doesn’t the utility building count?

I am a fantastic photographer…my nose just grew 3 inches.  Here is the image that I decided to use.


Exciting picture of my backyard.

I have no idea why I took this picture.  I’m pretty sure I was checking out some button on my camera.  Obviously I need to salvage the photograph making it useful for a painting.  Did I go to Photoshop, or Corel Painter 12.2? Nope, I did it in Corel Painter Lite.  Doesn’t sound so lite anymore, does it?  I think we forget from time to time, that in Corel Painter or Corel Painter Lite, we are painting.  We do not need perfect photos.  I’ve seen some incredible paintings using poorly shot cell phone camera images as references.  So the first video is about how I tweaked the photo in Corel Painter Lite.  Enjoy.

OK…photo looks good.  What’s next?  I could start my value sketch from scratch.  But I wanted to make my value sketch in a way that I didn’t have to draw or block it freehand.  I think I have a good solution.  You will have to decide for yourself.  In my second video I prepare the canvas.

Now, let’s not forget that this whole exercise is about making a value sketch followed by a value painting followed by making the finished full color painting.  The last video for today does create a value sketch.  Oh, I forgot, one other important concept that my two pals and Phil harp about is simplification.  I’m not a simple person, well maybe I am, but my paintings tend to include everything seen plus the proverbial kitchen sink.  Value sketches are a great simplification tool.  Reducing an image to 3 or 4 values definitely simplifies the image.  So instead of working with details, I am working with large shapes that have a similar value.  Value sketches are stress free because they need not be perfect copies of the reference.  I can really let go of details with a value sketch.  The third video shows how I did it.

OMGosh, I heard what you are thinking.  My value sketch is the pits.  It isn’t, I promise.  It is FANTASTIC; just wait.

I mean that, you have to wait.  See, I have this idea that maybe some of you might like to paint along.  Download the Corel Painter Lite free trial.  Go on…do it…and paint along with a photograph of your choice.  I think you will love it.

Update: I discovered today that there isn’t a free trial download for Macs, only for PCs.  The Mac version is sold through the Apple Store, not through Corel.  Sorry, I should have checked more closely.