Digital iPhone paintings

img_1335It’s difficult to believe that the digital paintings featured in this article were created using an iPhone, a $5.00 application and a finger. But it’s true.

The iPhone paintings were created by Ellen Silver Highfield, an acupuncturist and artist from Boston, Massachusetts. For years when Ellen traveled, she always took a small kit to paint people and places she visited. Now she takes her iPhone wherever she goes.

Painting with an iPhone

In 2009, a friend told Ellen that British artist David Hockney used his iPhone to “paint” with a special application called Brushes. Amazed, and since the iPhone is Ellen’s “most beloved toy,” she immediately searched for Brushes, downloaded and started working with it.  She also looked online at examples of what people created with the application.

Ellen says that Brushes is “an incredibly flexible and fantastic way” to express her passion for art.

Brushes illustrationVirtual finger painting

The screen of Ellen’s iPhone is only 2”x3” but she can zoom into different areas to manipulate the colors down to the pixel level. She draws with her fingers, which isn’t as much of a limitation as one may think because the camera zoom allows one to get very fine details.

Most of Ellen’s iPhone paintings take an hour or two to create. A few take only 20 minutes. Though she can enhance photos taken with her iPhone, almost all of Ellen’s paintings are created from scratch using Brushes.

img-1339Brushes iPhone app

According to the Brushes website, the program is a painting application designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch. It features an advanced color picker, several realistic brushes, multiple layers that can be rearranged, merged, deleted and copied, and extreme zooming from 70% to 1600%!

The actual brushes can be used wide or narrow, or at different ‘spray’ rates. The application lets you adjust color as well as the transparency/opacity level of individual layers.

In Gallery View you can browse your paintings. Simply tap on a thumbnail to open a painting, or press the add button to create a new one. Photos can be imported from photo albums too.

MadonnaBecause copies can be made of works in progress, it’s possible to make different versions of the same painting. Ellen make prints of her work up to 11×13,” and says they hold up perfectly.

If you’re already familiar with photo editing programs like Photoshop, using Brushes should be relatively easy. The only other things you’ll need besides an iPhone are the passion and dedication of artists like Ellen.

EllenAbout Ellen Silver Highfield

Art has been a continual part of Ellen’s life. She ‘majored’ in art during her senior year in high school. Following graduation, she entered Boston University School of Fine Arts, Massachusetts College of Art and has taken continuing education classes in life drawing and painting. Ellen enjoys looking at colors interacting and at light on objects in the world around her. Visit Ellen’s online gallery.

iPhone paintings by Ellen Silver Highfield. © All rights reserved.

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