The Evolution of a Work of Art

  • Published on May 16, 2020

Curtis R Doll Jr

Artist/Painter/Print Maker/Architectural Glass Designer at CurtisGraphics Art & Design Services

CurtisGraphics Home Page

My latest series of Fine Art Giclée Paintings are, in my opinion, a good example of how a work of art evolves. Giclée is a French word meaning fine spray and has been adopted by the printing industry as the term for the highest quality of printing techniques available. The fine spray produces the most complex and refined texture effects and infinite variables of color modulations as well as the most precise detail imaginable. The limitless variety of color results from 11 archival pigment ink colors as opposed to 4 dye ink colors in the photolithographic process. These 11 combined colors produce every color available from the most subtle to the richest, most intense.

The works of art exhibited here are printed with a high-quality Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-4100 printer, (Print Resolution Up to 2400×1200 ppi) using (11) Canon LUCIA PRO archival pigment ink colors with (1) Chroma Optimizer on Hahnemuhle Bamboo 100% acid-free, rag paper that will endure for more than 200 years under normal indoor lighting conditions..

Wilhelm Imaging Research, the leading independent testing lab for the longevity of color printing materials, predicts that prints made with Canon LUCIA PRO archival pigment inks, framed under glass under normal indoor lighting conditions, will last over 200 years - so these prints can be passed down from generation to generation, virtually unchanged.

The Giclée process is used by professional photographers to print their fine art images for sale. Many artists have reproductions of their paintings printed with Giclée for resale as limited editions and then have them printed by the thousands. The difference between a reproduction of a painting and a Fine Art Giclée Painting is the latter isn't a reproduction. It is an original work of art, digitally created by the artist using a vast number of various textures, effects, and color modulations. And my limited editions are 75. With the printing of the 75th image, the digital file is deleted. It is a new fine art medium in its own right.

The difference between a Fine Art Giclée Painting and a traditional Fine Art Print is the traditional print is limited to a very few colors, is a flat graphic image, and is limited to the textures inherent in the individual nature of the specific medium used. The color palette, textures, and effects available to a Giclée Painting are virtually limitless lending it a range and depth of expressive character heretofore unachievable. It literally is a painting.


Title: experiment.8.a.9.9.5      First painting

I begin my digital paintings in a few different ways. With this first image after first laying in a cool green ground, I then drew the geometric structure of the design using the Rectangular Marquee Tool and Free Transform. I began drawing the form with various versions of the Pen Tool. Drawing the form took many hours of revisions before I was satisfied. Then I laid in various, gradated colors within the form. I then drew highlights to mask each of the geometric shapes created by the linear structure with the Polygonal Lasso Tool and filled them in with various color gradients on its own layer on top of the layer containing the organic form. As I did this I applied a Color Filter to each shape to reveal the underlying shape with a new color. Each shape and form was drawn on its own layer. The organic form had many separate layers in various places masked over it to create a variety of color and texture effects in later versions. In this version I masked one layer over a section of the organic form to produce a color effect.


Title: experiment.8.a.9.9.6      Second painting

This is where the fun begins. From here on out, I use the original version and apply a variety of textures, and filters to produce any number of new effects. I do this by masking off specific shapes, applying a texture to that shape on its own layer, and applying a specific filter to that shape. I then experiment, thus the title of the series, by duplicating certain layers and applying a different filter to that new layer, masking off certain areas of certain layers, and either creating a new layer with that new shape and applying a new filter to that shape or deleting that area altogether.


Title: experiment.8.a.9.9.7      Third painting

In this third painting, I employed the same basic processes as I applied to the second painting. Here I wanted to emphasize the form so I copied and moved it up above all the geometric lines and shapes and changed the color and painted accents of a few different colors to give it more substance and interest. With each new version, I experiment with new colors, and achieving new effects by changing the layer positions, adding new layers, and applying new filters to various layers.


Title: experiment.8.a.9.9.8      Forth painting

In this version, I wanted to achieve a greater degree of vibrance. While achieving this the background was competing with the main form of interest; the organic form.


Title: experiment.8.a.9.9.9      Fifth painting

In this painting, I feel I have achieved a successful balance between all the compositional elements, and principles I was seeking. Although the First painting retains its integrity as a work of art, in my opinion, this piece has a conclusive refinement the others do not have.

However, it is my experience that individuals with their own set of aesthetic ideals will have different opinions. Some will prefer the Second painting, others will prefer the Third painting, still, others will prefer the Forth painting, others will be completely indifferent to all of them and some will absolutely hate each and every one of them. This is all to the good because, without individuality, life would be stale and uninteresting.

In conclusion, I am a 1977 honor graduate of Fine Art from the York Academy of Arts. In 1979 I entered the field of stained glass. I have designed and produced monumental stained glass windows across the US. Over the past 41 years, I have developed into a master Craftsman/Artist/Designer. You can view my stained glass, paintings in several mediums, drawings, photography, dissertations on color, design, and composition, and Fine Art Giclée Paintings at

During the 1980’s my parents told me I would need to one day learn how to use the computer. I said, ”why?” I’m an artist. I use paint, canvas, paper, glass. Why on earth would I ever need to learn how to use the computer? In 1997 I enrolled at Bradley Academy for the Visual Arts to do just that. I was inducted into the ALPHA BETA KAPPA National Honor Society. I learned the quality of art produced with the computer is only as good as your traditional abilities with color, design and composition, and draftsmanship. Yes, it takes just as much dexterity to produce a work of art with a mouse as it takes with a pencil or paintbrush. In point of fact, it is more difficult to master the mouse as a drawing/painting instrument. And it takes a whole lot more technical knowledge to create with a computer.

I still draw and paint with traditional materials. However, I have become fascinated by the vistas opened up by modern-day technology. I am personally very pleased with the results I have achieved with the computer as a design tool. Yes, that’s all it is. Just like a brush, pencil, piece of charcoal, or pastel stick, the computer is a dumb, lifeless, inanimate tool to be used by the artist and only produces what the artist does with it. I am very happy and gratified to say that Fine Art Giclée Paintings are here to stay.


My artworks are in themselves "Metaphysical Symbols". Form and color are combined, united, and harmonized to create heartfelt impressions of life. The concept of inner radiating light plays an integral role in the development of these images. This light emanates from within a counterpoint of darkness and shadow. In some of these images, the light is radiating from without almost hiding the shadow. In others, the light is radiating from within the darkness and is almost hidden. The light expresses all the positive forces of life including transcendental love. The darkness elicits the dark forces of life. Ironically, we cannot have one without the other. The darkness increases the beauty of the light just as negativity contrasting benevolence enhances the joy one experiences by doing a good deed. It is an eternal paradox.


Author's Bio: 

Artist - Designer - Painter since 1977 - Curtis R Doll Jr began creating stained glass windows in 1979, cutting glass, assembling the windows including installation and various & sundry jobs that go along with making stained glass - began designing monumental architectural glass installations in 1983 for churches, storefronts, malls, etc., and continued to design small, residential & commercial projects - in addition, creating computer graphics, manipulating & restoring photographs - creating digital, limited edition fine art prints since 1998 but his passion continues to be painting abstracts in gouache.