Murtaugh Spreads the Gospel of Fingerpainting to Wisconsin’s Finest

Last month, Susan Murtaugh, Master Fingerpainter known for her amazing detail work, lively brushstrokes and true to life portraits, was invited to lead a discussion on ipod art at ArtBeet, Borscht Night, an art club held the Barnsite Gallery in Kewaunee, WI.  The group consists of the area’s most accomplished and professional fine artists.

Exploring the New Digital iPod Art was introduced to the group as an educational conversation about the validity of iPod art and how a professional artist might use it as a creative tool and/or incorporate it into their creative process.

Eager to recruit new converts, Murtaugh began the discussion by canvassing the group to see who owned an iPhone or iTouch.  7 of the 15 attendee’s hands went up.  When asked how they typically use the device, most replied with standard purposes—email, phone numbers, calendar and music.

Murtaugh presented the idea of using the device to fingerpaint, and, as a warm up, played a Fingerpainting Party video, featuring replays of a collaborative piece created by “The Fingerpainters”.  She gave background information on the featured artists and the Flickr groups that brought them together.  The video immediately peaked the interest of the group.  “The first video cemented the notion that this was not just a toy but held viable art ramifications.” says Murtaugh.

Next up were two demonstration videos provided by Chris Cheung of Sketchbook Mobile.  Murtaugh used these videos to walk the group through brush selection and all actions and steps involved in creating a painting.

After viewing the videos, the group was more than excited and ready to get started.  They discussed several art applications, Brushes, Sketchbook Mobile, Inspire, Zeus Mobile and Layers and many began uploading them to their own personal devices.

A first hand in the digital art arena, the group had many questions—most having to do with layering, undo/redo options, and printing.  All quickly addressed and resolved.  Murtaugh even presented the group with some of her own prints, passing around 4×6 bound sketchbooks of her artwork.

The evening proved to be a great success, and ended with many of the artists working on their own fingerpainted masterpieces.  Those who owned an iphone/iTouch shared their devices with those who did not have one so that everyone had a chance to try it out.  All seemed to grasp the concept quickly.  One member even suggested that it would make a perfect sketchbook.

 “As artists, I think we are always curious as to what our peers are using and thinking. Any tool to make us better is appreciated and certainly this seemed like a group wanting and willing to expand their knowledge.”  Murtaugh says.

And she just may be right—this group seems very open to the new medium and has asked that she return in the summer to discuss the iPod art further and to get her take on iPad’s impact on the medium after its release.

Murtaugh shows youngest group attendee and her dad how to use the art apps on their devices.

8 Responses to “Murtaugh Spreads the Gospel of Fingerpainting to Wisconsin’s Finest”

  • suzi54241 Says:

    Mia, thank you for such a well written article. I think you’ve conveyed the true sense of artists being curious about new ways to express themselves. As a tool, or sketchbook, or just a way to provide music while painting conventionally, the iPhone and Touch have extended our reach… and certainly all this discussion gives us more to think about. I had a blast meeting these fine artists and I look forward to seeing them again in the warmer summer!

  • Bakawhite Says:

    Thanks susan. more new faces, and you know we’ll see at least some of these. I’ve been converting people left and right over here, and actually just got back from doing a little contest where we saw who could create the best piece in a minute (I lost)

  • Michael Ives Says:

    Congratulations, Susan. Sounds like you really won over a lot of new fingerpainters. We can look forward to some new faces and talent on the iPhone art sites.

  • Lorraine Young (aka Raine) Says:

    Great article Mia, really well written! It’s so thrilling that these artists were so excited about Susan’s talk and demonstration that they couldn’t wait to try fingerpainting themselves and share their devices with those who didn’t have one! I saw Susan’s bound sketchbooks on her Flickr site, they are very cool!

  • Mia Robinson Says:

    Yes…new recruits!!!! 🙂 it really is just a matter of exposure, isn’t it?

    Hey, Baka, that would make an awesome Flickr group! 1 minute art…I’d join. great exercise–and helps to develop tech skill. not to mention, it’d be fun to see what such creative ppl would do to manage the time constraints. hmmm….

  • Matthew Says:

    Congratulations Susan! Great article Mia!

  • suzi54241 Says:

    Ah thanks everyone, I think one of the best things about this new medium is so many can have access to it at virtually no cost. I bet there are more budding artists at this time than ever in history before us. And I welcome them all. Those involved in the making of art have a closer understanding with the fragile world around them. They tend to not take this for granted and show their appreciation in very visual, visceral ways. More artists… perhaps some day peace. Idealistic, sure but it’s a start. We have something to talk to each other about. Something to connect us and make us look. And understand… and care… ^Up^

  • mike j ryon Says:

    Great article, Mia! And Susan, congrats on the new recruits, it’s such a rush to be apart of these super supportive groups.

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