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October 8, 2014

Phil Galloway’s top 10 painting tips for your Lumia, part 1

Fancy trying your hand at painting but don’t want your home splashed with colour in true Jackson Pollock style?

It’s about time you discovered Fresh Paint, the amazing Lumia painting app used and much loved by last month’s Most Valued Connector (MVC), digital artist Phil Galloway.

“Whatever style influences you have, from baroque portraiture right through to New York graffiti, if you can move a finger or hold a stylus you can create a vast array of painted wonders,” says Phil. To help you get started in your artistic journey, he’s kindly agreed to share his top ten tips for painting on your Lumia and using Fresh Paint. Here, to begin with, are the first five:

Phil Galloway self portrait

1. Get comfy!

You can’t be a Pissarro with pins and needles or a Donatello with a dead leg, so get into a comfortable position in a place where the light and ambiance suit you! I usually paint lying back on the couch with my crossed legs dangling over the arm of the chair and my Lumia 1520 resting on my chest. This allows me to keep the phone stable and carry on daubing away for hours. The last thing you want is to get into the creative zone and then have to stop due to cramp, which can ruin your flow and make all the difference between a Mona Lisa and a moaning Lisa!

2. Mess about!

Anyone who’s painted in real oil paints will know it’s a messy and expensive process. With Fresh Paint this is not the case. Fresh Paint won’t ruin your clothes, it’s not going to waste paper or paint and you don’t have to be a bearded recluse painting in the garage like me! Have a play using the app without fear of making mistakes and see what works for you and your style. I found the best way to learn, when first picking up the app, was to monkey about and test what it could do, discover what couldn’t be done and then create a process that suited me. The app gives you a huge range of tools and all the space and freedom that you need, so go mess!

3. Don’t fear change!

Obviously using a phone screen to create paintings is a different experience to painting or drawing on canvas or paper, so you have to be adaptable and understand that your style may change between media. My everyday art on paper is usually highly detailed portraits, which I stare at for hours on end, shading every wrinkle and hair strand, but my digital paintings couldn’t be further from this. I’ve found myself using bolder and looser strokes of increasingly bright colours. I still feel I’m conveying art that fits my style, but now in a new digital impressionistic manner, which I love. Be bold, don’t try and force it, work with the app and you will find what works for you.

Phil Galloway Fresh Paint art


4. Mix it up!

Instead of just using the basic colour palette of primary colours, mix your paint! The mixing palette is one of the best features of Fresh Paint. One of the joys in real painting (which is replicated amazingly well in the app) is the subtle nuances, happy accidents and glorious imperfections of mixed paint on the brush. This would be lost if you just used the colours from the initial colour spots in the menu and planted them straight onto the main app canvas. So, pick your colours, use the small mixing screen above the brushes and experiment with colour before applying it to your masterpiece!

Fresh Paint mixing palette

5. Tracing ain’t cheating…

Think about cave painters using their hands as stencils through to Vermeer and his cheeky camera obscura, making sure the Girl with the Pearl Earring’s earring was perfectly in proportion and perspective… every artist throughout the ages has used some kind of tracing help to aid their painting and drawing. It is not cheating but rather a method to be embraced, just like tracing paper is embraced by children learning to draw.

In Fresh Paint, you have this lovely, well executed tool, which allows you to turn a photo or imported image into digital paint or as an image to begin tracing over with the various in app brushes. Choose a high-resolution image (check out the Inspire Me options provided in the app by Bing) or take a photo with the camera so it sits bigger on the canvas, turn the dial to the brush symbol with the two drops and click the tick. You can then watch in awe as your photo or imported drawing becomes wet paint with the stroke of your finger. Pushing around skin tones and hair as paint is absolutely magic, really showing the power of the app and Lumia phones.

fresh paint original image
Fresh Paint tracing

  fresh paint final strokes

Ready to join the arty party? Or have you already had a go at Fresh Paint? In either case, we’d love to hear how you got on with Phil’s tips. Which one did you find most useful, and do you have any others you’d like to share with your fellow artists here at Connects? The comments section is your blank canvas. And, remember to stay tuned for another five top tips from Phil, exhibited soon in this very same space!