Anatomy of a Digital Painting

"Handscape" digital painting © Elsah Cort
“Handscape” digital painting © Elsah Cort
The first image to emerge from this process…two more followed.

"I See The LIght" digital painting © Elsah Cort
“I See The Light” digital painting © Elsah Cort
The second image to emerge from this series.

"Reaching" digital painting © Elsah Cort
“Reaching” digital painting © Elsah Cort
I was surprised when a third image showed up as I was preparing for this blog post.

I don’t know what my final image will be. I start out with one photograph.
This time I chose a photograph I took last week of the back door of the Chris Sorensen Studio in Fresno. It opens out into a back alley.








I make a selection of raw photographs to use and drag them into a folder tagged with date the digital painting was started. This folder was called June 30.

Here are the photos that I initially chose.

A © Elsah Cort  ONEwebB

ONEwebC  F © Elsah Cort

The hand photo is a tile that I have in my kitchen.

This last one is a photo I took at the Sorensen studio several years ago of crackling paint on an old propane tank. Several of these shots always seem to find their way into my digital paintings.

E © Elsah Cort

Now the process starts. I add layers and images. I change colors or filters for how the layers are added. I keep playing until I find something that I like. I often save the image as a jpg and then use that fixed image as a new layer to add to the original ones. For this “anatomy” exercise I have save many of the versions as jpgs to include here. These 100+ images are not all of the versions, but they are in the chronological order of how they showed up.

1 2 © Elsah Cort 3 © Elsah Cort 4 © Elsah Cort

5 © Elsah Cort 6-1 © Elsah Cort 6 © Elsah Cort  8-1 © Elsah Cort

8 © Elsah Cort 9 © Elsah Cort 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
21 © Elsah Cort 33 31 © Elsah Cort 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22
34 35 37 38 39 40 41 © Elsah Cort 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 69 68 67 66 65 64 63 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72-1 73 74 74 © Elsah Cort 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 © Elsah Cort 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 9091 92 93 94 95 96 97 99

The Artist and the Internet

On March 30, 2013, you can learn some tips to help you traverse the fast-paced, ever-changing and not-to-be-missed opportunity of making an artist presence for yourself on the internet. I will be teaching a workshop in at my studio in Three Rivers called “Web Presence For Beginners” from 10 – 3 pm.

Directions to workshop will be given at time of registration. Registration fee is $45.
Download Registration Form.

© Hugh MacLeod
Cartoon from Hugh MacLeod

The professional artist is represented by their actual artwork, and also by what is said and read about their work on the world wide web.  The wise and savvy artist needs to be in control of his or her own “brand” or name as it shows up in the virtual world.  It’s like adding your name in the phone book, with a well-placed, complete, accurate ad in the yellow pages—
a great presentation that you write, design and supervise yourself.

Do you want others telling the world about your work as an artist, 
or do you want your story told using your own creative voice?

  • learn a simple web glossary
  • learn how to register a domain name
  • finally get some simple tips about search engines
  • create a free blog as website
  • learn basic blogging techniques
  • learn to recognize clean website design
  • discover ways to sell your work online without hassles
  • explore social media (facebook/twitter) as a way to share and sell your art
  • develop your personal artist’s web presence
  • connect with other artists and see what’s cooking out there
  • be inspired by the web art community
  • acquire web competency without fear
  • create locally and exhibit globally

Bring a laptop (if you have access to one). We will have a desktop computer to share, but having your own laptop will better facilitate your participation. Bring some digital images of your art (jpgs on a CD or on your laptop),  business cards, brochures, or any printed press material about you or your work. Also, bring pen and paper, and a new 3-ring binder (choose a color or design that excites you).  Please bring a sack lunch. Coffee, tea and good drinking water will be provided.   We will be sharing ideas during lunch.

Instructor: Elsah Cort collage artist, web enthusiast, blogger
 Three Rivers Artists’ Studio Tour organizer
For more information call  559-561-4671.

An Apple a Day…

When I finally decided I was open to trying a computer, I asked my friend Aranga, what computer to buy. She was a MAC person, and I am so glad. I have loved all four of the MAC computers I have had…

Apple made their first computers in 1976.


Christies is going to auction one of the first apple computers, the Apple 1.

Breaking open the shell…

The one day art exhibit yesterday at The Hatchery in Badger was superb. The entire show was like one big installation piece….The strangeness of the space with abstract ethereal etching (not made by human hands) on the old window panes, the cut copper shadowed wall, a tiny rosy-lit room with a pallet bed made of insulation tucked down into a cow-dung carpet, a video hair cut in progress, a spoken word recording with intermittent rattlesnake rattling, painters and easels scattered outside aiming for hill and tree, the impressive marshmallow-roasting fireplace, and soft-spoken talking of past and present, nowhere and here and there and the art itself–human made, almost becoming secondary to the space itself, yet the reason for the day. I am glad I drove up the golden grass-draped hills of Dry Creek Road with friends, so very glad.

photograph “mind over matter” ©Elsah Cort


Just made ten twelve new square images for the hatchery card series, all from photographs made yesterday in that surreal space. The cards will debut at the Kaweah Land and Arts Festival next Saturday.


Some of the artists showing yesterday at The Hatchery were:

Robert Mertens

Jane Ziegler

Matthew Rangel

James Stark

Anne M. Klint

Matthew Hopson-Walker

Sunday Art Musings

Renoir story on CBS Sunday Morning….said he painted over 4000 paintings in his life, and 700 paintings were in his studio when he died, at age 78, on December 3, 1919. On the morning of his death he said, “I think I am beginning to know something about painting.”
See video clip here.

Image Source:


Favorite post from Design Sponge this week is about gallery walls in your home. I love mixing it up on my walls and encourage you to move the art around on your walls today, even just a little. Add some, take some away (just for a while…) and here is an idea—save a closet or a storage space just f…or your favorite art. Let your art collection rest here from time to time, so you have room to add new works, either of your own making or from our wonderful local artists. You can never waste money when you purchase artwork that tugs at you, in any way, or for whatever known, or unknown, reason.

Read Design Sponge’s post called “Sneak Peek of Best of Gallery Walls.”

Image sources are cited on Design Sponge under each photo.

“Art is Human”

Quotes from Linchpin by Seth Godin

“Most artists can’t draw…but all artists can see.”

“Art is about intent and communication, not substances.”

“An artist is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to change the status quo. And an artist takes it personally.”

“Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.”

“An artist is an individual who creates art. The more people you change, the more you change them, the more effective your art is.”

“Art is original…Art is the product of emotional labor. If it’s easy and risk free, it’s unlikely that it’s art. The last element that makes it art is that it’s a gift. You cannot create a piece of art merely for money. Doing it as a part of commerce so denudes art of wonder that it ceases to be art.”

“If art is a human connection that causes someone to change his mind, then you are an artist.”


The free will choice we have to change our minds is the way we create our world. Honing this ability is our main work. First we have to shake loose the shackles of conformity, familiarity, comfort, and even pain. When you realize that you have been holding on to old versions of who and what you think you are, while letting these versions masquerade as the real you, you will weep and laugh at the same time. We appear in human form as novices when, in truth, we are as ancient as the big bang itself.

digital collage from Square One Series  ©Elsah Cort


Explore authentic work with The Deeper Well retreats
in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Sequoia National Park.

Musings on the last day of STUDIO TOUR 9

The conversations with visitors (and other artists) about life and art ARE the Studio Tour. Like giving encouragement to a woman to just jump in and make mandalas (after she asked me if I taught mandala classes). We all have hesitated, at times, to break out of old concepts and restrictions, especially when it comes to creating something entirely new.

So I will listen to my own words and make mandalas in new and freeing ways, breaking out of my old patterned grooves after 25 years of making mandalas. I have no idea how it will come about or what will show up, and that’s the point. We are living in an atmosphere totally new to our life here on this planet. It is permeating everything.