The pencil that Nipomo artist Fred Ventura uses to sketch with isn’t one to stick in a pencil sharpener. Ventura’s new exhibit at Mystic Nature showcases a collection of digital paintings he created using said drawing implement.
“In digital art, you can play with the image in very unique ways,” said Ventura, whose Apple Pencil can operate as a paint brush, charcoal pencil, and other artistic tools when used with the Procreate app.
“Procreate offers a vast library of customizable brushes,” the digital painter said. “Artists can also create their own brushes to suit their specific needs.”
Watercolor used to be Ventura’s preferred medium before embracing digital art, which he said has allowed him to conveniently capture the smallest of details in his realistic animal portraits and botanical paintings.
“My goal is to get the piece as detailed as possible so the viewer is awed by the precision,” Ventura said. “Procreate helps me get all the details exactly the way I want it.”
Ventura listed some of the other benefits of Procreate available to users, such as the time-lapse recording feature, which allows artists “to record their work as time-lapse videos, which can be shared on social media or used for instructional purposes,” he said.
That feature comes in handy when Ventura—a former full-time teacher and semi-retired software developer—occasionally hosts classes on digital art at Trilogy at Monarch Dunes in Nipomo.
When it comes to the level of realism he’s attempting to reach through intricate detail work, Ventura said he wants his digital paintings to make viewers question whether they’re looking at a painting or an actual photograph.
“You can do that kind of stuff with digital because the image is built on several layers,” said Ventura, who explained one example of his layer altering as replicating the feeling of realistic depth found in photos by blurring certain objects in the backgrounds of his paintings.
Ventura’s nature-themed artworks have been showcased at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden and other venues over the years. His latest show at Mystic Nature in Nipomo premiered in mid-April and is scheduled to remain on display through the end of May. An artist reception will be held at the gallery space on Friday, May 19.
The show is titled Nature’s Harmony and includes several of Ventura’s animal and plant paintings. His favorite subjects include birds, butterflies, and flowers.
“It’s hard not to appreciate birds. I have a pond out in my backyard, so we have a lot of birds around here,” said Ventura, who strives to capture “the essence of nature’s beauty and grace” in his artworks and transport viewers “into a world of natural wonder and harmony.”
Prints of several of Ventura’s digital paintings are available for sale during the show, along with postcard versions of his works.
“The cards are kind of a nice way for somebody to buy something to remember you by, without spending a lot of money,” the local artist said with a laugh.
Arts Editor Caleb Wiseblood is a card-carrying postcard enthusiast. Email him at [email protected].