David MacLean’s art sometimes begins with him slamming on the brakes and making a U-turn. “I glimpse a scene that gives me a feeling of desire,” he says, “a desire to create.” For 30 years, he painted such scenes with watercolors, oils and acrylics, but he never felt that he sufficiently captured a scene’s tranquility and joy until he discovered a new way of making art that freed him to create any scene he can imagine. “It’s allowed me to create more gratifying art than ever before,” he says.
With computer software, David uses specific parts of the photos he takes to make multi-layered images-much like painting multiple layers on a canvas. With unlimited brush types and color choices, he can create images that have been stuck in his mind for years or more fully capture the essence of natural scene.
After photographing a beautiful scene, David selects which elements in the photo he wants to use as his centerpiece, then sorts through other photos or takes new ones to find reflections, shadows, stationary objects or moving animals to complete the centerpiece. Before he cuts and pastes pieces of photos together, he paints details into each one using Photoshop-softening light on a river or adding color with an atmospheric blue mist. He then merges the completed layers together into a single seamless image and finishes the artwork by adding a few more subtle details, such as yellow leaves floating in the river or golden grass. “There is quite a difference between the scene I start with and the scene I end up with,” David says, “but I build on the essence of original.”
Although he now uses modern technology to create his art, David still follows the same artistic principles as he has for the last three decades. Drawing on his long experience as a traditional painter, he says, “It takes three elements to create a piece of art: light, color and shadow-and the more color, the better.” Each layer of vibrant color lends his images of landscapes, seascapes, gardens and home interiors a heightened sense of tranquility.
– A Picture of Peace by Elaine K. Phillips, Romantic Homes Magazine.