Radio Interview Transcripts

MorePhotos Radio - Jeremy Sutton - Painting From Photographs: An Expressive Approach WPPI Workshop


ANNOUNCER:  Welcome to the More Photos’ Radio Photography Spotlight brought to you by helping professional photographers with all their internet needs world wide. Also brought to you by Finally, an e-commerce solution for professional photo labs that makes sense. Now here’s your host, Damien Allen. 
DAMIEN: Good afternoon and welcome to More Photos Radio. My name is Damien Allen. Today on the telephone with us is Mr. Jeremy Sutton of Sutton Studios and Gallery. Good afternoon, Jeremy, welcome to the program.
JEREMY: Good afternoon and good afternoon to everybody listening.
DAMIEN: You’re going to be speaking at the upcoming conference at WPPI in Las Vegas, and you’re topic is going to be Painting for Photographs an Expressive Approach. Could you tell us a little bit about this fascinating topic?
JEREMY: Absolutely. I’m going to be sharing my approach to using digital paint to create paintings based on photographic reference and the particular emphasis and focus of this talk at WPPI is going to really be empowering people to really work in an expressive way with paint based on photographs. So I’m going to be sharing both on the technical and artistic side my work flow and how I approach setting up the tools, customizing them, and then also an artistic approach, and my artistic approach really parallels that of traditional painting in which one starts looking at the abstract forms and then works into details. I’m mostly going to be sharing the way I approach using color, and I think that’s really a key thing that is going to be very exciting and helpful to people which is how to go beyond the colors in your referenced photograph and create something that is a bit more impressionistic that has a wider range of both color and tone beyond just taking an initial photo and then creating a beautiful painting from it. In this talk I will be sharing some of my approach to working with collage which I think is a wonderful and powerful tool for telling a story visually and in my collages and if you go to my website you’ll see some examples. You can really see how in my collage work I work with sharing in an image many aspects of what is significant and important in the life of my subject and there are a multi-layer collages with many things that are very subtle as well as some things that are more obvious. Finally I’m going to share a little bit of what I consider a very important part of my creative process that I really encourage the photographers who are using Painter to experiment with and that is actually putting physical paint on to your digital print. At the end of the day as an artist I will share a little bit in my talk about my approach to doing that, and what I end up with at the end of the day is a physical paint artwork which combines digital paint as well as some of an acrylic, sometimes oil, and sometimes other elements as well physically added to the digital print. So all of that in 2 hours at WPPI. It’s going to be a really fun, action packed talk and of course as always I’ll be doing a lot of live action art demonstrations, and I believe that’s really ultimately the way to share all this with audiences for them to see art in action and they can actually watch my brushstrokes as they unfold on the digital canvas.
DAMIEN: I’ve been up on your website, and I’ve seen some of the examples of the artwork you are discussing up there, and there are some absolutely amazing colors, some amazing things going on. What day and times will your class be held during the conference?
JEREMY: Thank you for that comment on my artwork. The talk I am giving at WPPI is going to take place on Tuesday, March 9th from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m., and I’m just curious which were the images that stood out for you that you saw on my website, that really caught your eye?
DAMIEN: Well when you come onto the website you’re looking at the samples of art and there was a image, a cityscape that I saw, Lights on Mid Market. Just the way the colors pop. It’s a very vivid picture and it sort of abstract, but it really catches the eye, the flow of it is just very, very neat and the colors really pop.
JEREMY: Yeah, and it’s funny you mentioned that painting; I just collected that a couple of days ago. It was on display actually in the area of the city that the scene is depicted of and that is the mid-market area downtown San Francisco. I’m standing right in front of it as we talk right now, and I’ll make sure that that is up and included on my website, so that listeners to this can actually go and have a look at it on the web. I wish you could be here to actually see the physical painting, because that really jumps out. It’s got quite a lot of physical paint on top of the digital paint and really is quite dramatic here. In my studio it’s jumping off the walls, so to speak.
DAMIEN: Another one that caught my eyes was the collage of the Jazz Ambassadors. As a musician, myself, that was just a real neat thing to see.
JEREMY: Right the Jazz Ambassadors. Yes, and that, again, that was a very interesting project, because I hadn’t really realized the extent of the program in the 60’s and 70’s by the State Department to send all these wonderful musicians all over the world and to use Jazz as a sort of means of breaking down barriers between nations. I believe it is a wonderful concept and I really wanted to try to convey that in that painting.
DAMIEN: Well speaking of messages; what message do you hope to bring to your class?
JEREMY: Well the most important message I want to convey in my talk at WPPI is really just encourage and inspire people to go for it and experiment with digital painting and if they have ever wondered about it, but maybe thought awww it seems like it’s maybe a lot of work, or too many choices, or yet another thing to learn, I just want to encourage people to just go for it. There is such a wealth of creative possibilities at your fingertips now with the tools that we have, the welcome tablets combined with Corel Painter software on either Mac or PC that it’s really a wonderful, wonderful opportunity for every photographer and from both a personal as well as a business point of view. Now on terms of personal creative growth is incredible, and I see this as why I love teaching. I see this every time I have students painting away, and they just get so absorbed in it and love it so much. So from a personal, creative point of view, it is really powerful and from a professional point of view it has transformed people’s businesses, and I know this is a very tough time the last year or so in particular and what these tools offer is the ability to create a really outstanding, unique, beautiful high end product you can offer your customers, and I know from actually talking to some of my master students who have been working with Painter over a number of years that their businesses have literally been transformed from the use of Painter and offering paintings as a product for their customers. So all of that to say that, again, the main message of my talk is going to be motivation and inspiration, hopefully by example of what people see unfold on the screen.
DAMIEN: We need to take a short break to let the sponsors get a word in. We will be back with more with Jeremy Sutton of Sutton Studios and Gallery. You are listening to More Photos Radio. We’ll be right back.
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ANNOUNCER:  We now return you to More Photos Radio Photography Spotlight.
DAMIEN:  Welcome back to More Photos Radio. I’m Damien Allen, and again we are speaking with Mr. Jeremy Sutton of Sutton Studios and Gallery. Jeremy how long have you been associated with the WPPI and how did you get involved?
JEREMY: Let’s see; I have been with WPPI for quite a number of years. I spoke there back in 2004. My original involvement with the whole professional photography community really came out of Jane Conasaier who many years ago contacted me out of the blue; this was in mid to late 90’s and said, hey I’d like to learn Painter from you, and at that time wasn’t really involved or familiar with the professional photographer world and cut a long story short, she was very sweet; she invited me to demonstrate some of my live painting when she was giving a talk at PPA National in Atlantic City many years ago and it was really that connection that I started getting more and more heavily involved in the professional photography community and finding workshops specifically for professional photographers and through that ending up at places like WPPI, etc.
DAMIEN: Where is your studio located at?
JEREMY: My studio is located in the heart of the wonderful Mission District of San Francisco, and I’m in a fantastic old industrial building. It was actually the Best Food mayonnaise factory where mayonnaise was packaged and shipped to go all over the country and it’s a wonderful vibrant area. We’re in a community here with all sorts of different types of artists, etc. I love this environment. It’s very stimulating and a great place to paint, create and teach.
DAMIEN: How long have you been a photographer and what other specialties do you carry?
JEREMY: Well first of all I really consider myself more of an artist who uses many, many different tools and media. And photography is definitely one and an important one, and I have been doing photography since when I was in college in ’79 – ’82. At Pember College Oxford I was developing black and white photography in the dark room there and so I have had a long lasting love of photography for many, many years, but I have been a professional, full time artist since ’94. So we’re talking about 15 years or so and my background in part really started from when I was about 3 or 4 years old and I was basically drawn incessantly since that time as an artist and I grew up with art everywhere, and I’ve been experimenting with art media over many years even though I had a whole career in physics and sales and marketing in the interim I at college while doing the physics degree I used to go to the art school there in Oxford and studied life drawing and etching printmaking, sculpture and it’s just continued. I went to live in the Netherlands and studied lithography at the local art school there. You know, all while having a daytime job selling superconductive magnets so it’s been a long answer to your short question. You see what you started off doing. I’m not sure if I actually answered your question.
DAMIEN: I think you did a fine job. That’s a rather large jump from selling superconductive magnets to doing what you’re doing now.
JEREMY: It is, but there is a sort of arch of linkage so to speak in a sense that it was that job that brought me to live in Silicon Valley in 1988 and a few days after that, and I’d been exhibiting pastel portraits and all sorts of things and then in ’91 I got introduced to the Macintosh computer, the Welcome Tablet, PixelPaint Pro software and just got absolutely hooked. And for me this was just an incredible new art media that I wanted to explore and that really changed my life. I was introduced to it by the vendors who were making the software at the time, and I did a portrait on it and said well, what are you doing in a couple of weeks? Come and demonstrate this art at the Welcome Booth at Tigress in Las Vegas so I took vacation time and did that, and that really started me off on digital painting and I’ve never looked back since.
DAMIEN: And once again by the samples we mentioned in the first half of the interview, go up on the website and it is a very unique art form. It’s very, very eye catching and the story of how you got from selling superconductive magnets to doing what you’re doing now is just absolutely amazing. If someone wants to look at these samples or wants more information on this where do they go, Jeremy?
JEREMY: Ok, there’s a couple of places. First if they want to just see examples of my paintings is the easiest starting point, and I’ve got a little gallery there. I’ve got a few samples of what we’ve been talking about and if you want to learn and study with me there’s a whole range of options. The web I do have an educational website called On that website I have many hours of tutorial videos which actually is like you are sitting on my shoulder as I work on projects and you see how I paint everything plus lots of other resources and all sorts of tutorials, etc. Then I also have books and DVDs. My newest book is Painter11 Creativity and it’s really good sort of solid starting point. It goes into both painting for photos as well as more general artist aspects of working with digital paint and includes some extra brushes and work space at the back of the book. So that’s a really good resource for people. Plus I have DVDs which are specific about painting for photos and for other things, and of course, I teach classes in my studio here in San Francisco. I run workshops throughout the year. Usually pretty small workshops with 4, 6 or 8 students or so, you know, small numbers so it’s very personal attention and in addition to that I also teach around the world at different places.
DAMIEN: Well we thank you very much for talking with us today.
JEREMY: Oh, it’s a pleasure. Thank you for taking the time make this interview and allow me to share these things with everybody and for those listening I really encourage you to go for it with Painter. If you’re going to be at WPPI, please come along to my talk. It would be a great pleasure to see you then and if you can’t make WPPI do visit my website or come and take a class. You’d really enjoy it. I look forward to seeing you all.
DAMIEN: Thank you for listening to More Photos Radio. We encourage all our listeners to attend Jeremy Sutton’s workshop and you can check out his artwork at We also hope to see you at the WPPI conference out in beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada, March 4th – 11th. You have been listening to More Photos Radio. I am Damien Allen. Everybody have a great afternoon.
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