Have you ever heard of embellished art? I’ve had a few people suggest that I consider doing that. What it would mean is taking a finished print and adding some ink of paint by hand, making it truly unique from any other print.
It seems to be increasingly popular these days. However, I’m not fond of the idea for a few reasons. First, if I’m going to offer some of my art as original art, and by that I mean a one-of-a-kind painting, then it will be just that – one print, unique, signed “one-of-one” – no need to embellish it.
Second, I wonder if embellishing causes confusion or concern among collectors . . . any thoughts?
Embellished Limited Edition Prints
The one place where the notion does intrigue me is limited edition prints, but only in small runs – editions of 10 or 15 as opposed to 50 or 100.
It’s easiest to show this by example. Shown below is a series of pictures, all based on an original piece that I have yet to make publicly available. It’s called “Skirting Issues” and here is what that original looks like:
This may look rather simple – and I hope it does – but it took about two dozen renditions to get here. As much as I like this piece, I have a personal preference for more definition. While some of that is in some curves, for me there isn’t enough. Also, part of the nature of my art is to be drawing and painting at the same time. It’s a back and forth process, and not always does the drawing come first.
I tell you that because next I want to show you what the underlying sketch might have looked like, if I had gone the traditional route of sketching first . . . here it is:
So how does this tie into limited editions and embellishments? Well let me continue, and tell you what I’ve done with these two images. The sketch was created so that I could apply to the original painting and add that definition I want.
While my on-screen tools give me plenty of ease in doing this, it’s a very personal process in creating the final look. Often there can be several amazing embellished renditions, making it difficult to “choose one”. But I do. I save the set but select one to publish.
However, in a small edition run of 10, I could quite easily embellish each one, make each one truly unique. To give you a taste for what I mean, I’m showing five renditions below . . . I’m pretty sure you will see what I mean.
Finally, I do believe this is embellishing by hand . . . it just doesn’t require a brush or pen. The oddest thing is that I’m much more comfortable with my on-screen embellishing than with the pen or brush idea. Perhaps it is because it is true to the original process? I think so, and though I don’t let on how personal this is, for me it’s a matter of artistic integrity? Put another way, embellishing on-screen does feel like it comes from the heart. Using a pen or brush on a print would just seem so much more mechanical . . . how’s that for irony?
Now here are 5 ways of “Skirting Issues”: