Featured Painter: Susan Holsan

Posted on June 23, 2012

Susan Holsan has been with Psykopaint from the very early beginnings. Many of you have probably seen some of her beutiful works in the Psykopaint Gallery. We have decided to feature her on our blog, so you can all meet her better – it’s quite a remerkable story she has…

Great to finally have a chance to talk with you Susan, could you first tell us a little bit about yourself.

We live in a very small town (population 491) in a sparely populated area in western Nebraska. The cattle far outnumber the people! It is a far different world from my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, but it has been a wonderful place to raise our three children.

There are many people on the site with tons of talent and no formal art background!! Unfortunately, I have been away from my “creative side” for many years while being a full-time stay-at-home-mom and then later entering the work force. I recently needed to quit my job and I have just begun getting back into my art in the past couple of years. I have done some acrylic and watercolor paintings and dabbled a bit in photography. But my love at the moment is digital art!

This is a whole new area for me and I am having fun learning all the ins and outs of digital painting and photo editing! Psykopaint has been a great program to help me in my exploring!I majored in Art Education in college (class of 1976) with a second major in English and I taught art for a total of five years for grades kindergarten through high school. I don’t feel that necessarily gives me any advantage other than maybe having a bit more of an eye for composition.

So, what’s the story about your psyko beginnings? Why did you start painting, how did you find about it?

Our second oldest son introduced me to Google Chrome. From there, I started looking through the different apps and came across Psykopaint. It sounded interesting so I tried it. I had experimented with a different (well known) painting software, but found it somewhat complicated and way too expensive.

After playing with Psykopaint, I found I could do many of the same things much easier, for far less expensive, and still get amazing results! After just a few paintings, I became “hooked” and wanted to try more. And that lead to even more!!

How do you share your paintings with others? Do you use Facebook, maybe a personal blog/gallery? I know you are also the starter of a quite popular Facebook page My Creative Corner – how has been your experience with it?

Right at the moment, most of my paintings have been shared in the Psykopaint gallery or on My Creative Corner. My Facebook page experience so far has been good. Spending time with our daughter and their new baby and then with our son and his family recently, has kept me from being as active with my page as I had hoped to be.

But, I hope to expand my page more in the upcoming months. I am not sure exactly I want to do, but I do have some ideas I am considering. I hope people will stop in from time to time to see what’s new on my page! I am also looking into some other avenues to share my creations.

Where do you find your photos to start painting on? Any good sources of free photos that you can recommend to the rest of the psyko community?

Some of my source photos are my own. We live in an area that has a lot of great nature and landscape subjects. In 2007 I was VERY fortunate to travel to Europe with my daughter when she was a member of a state-wide music group. It was one of those “once-in-a-lifetime-opportunities” so I took literally hundreds of photos! Some of those have already been turned into Psykopaintings.

I used to belong to a couple of graphics groups online and now have a large collection of copyright-free art/photos. I have found a lot of good free public domain photos by searching under “free public domain photos” or “copyright free photos” or similar search keywords.  A couple I have found helpful are: http://www.public-domain-photos.com/  and  http://www.dreamstime.com/free-photos  (you need to register but the images are free). The list of websites on the blog have also been very helpful!

Which paintings from your really big collection are you the most proud of?

That’s a hard question to answer! I have always liked the first painting I had chosen as a staff pick, “Up In Smoke”. I learned after doing that one, that it is important to remember HOW you do a piece. For the life of me, I cannot remember exactly what I did!

I love restoring old photos, so two more of my favorites are “Welcome Sweet Spring” and “Lady With a Pink Rose




If I had to choose just one, though, I think my favorite is “Sunflowers at Giverny”. The source photo came from the actual garden where Monet did so many of his famous paintings. I tried to find my “inner-Monet” with this one!

If you had to choose your all-time favorite painter, who would that be?

There are so many! My favorite painters were the Impressionist. I like Monet, Degas, etc., but if I have to choose just one, I think it would have to be Vincent Van Gogh. His paintings just exploded with color in a style all his own!

I would love to hear what’s your favorite psykobrush?

I think I am still trying to find my favorite brush! Seems every time I think I have found my most favorite brush, I try a new one or a new setting and have yet another favorite! But I think the one that gives me the most “special effects” has been the soft madness brush. It is what I have used to create mist, smoke, clouds, and dream-like effects.

Have you ever maybe thought of presenting your digital Psykopaintings in a real life exhibition?

I have been thinking of making some of my work from my own photos and artwork into larger prints and trying to find a market for them online or possibly displaying them in a real life exhibition.  But, I haven’t quite decided if I will go forward with that or not. (I often times lack in self-confidence!)

Last question Susan ;) Any painting secrets you would like to share with the Psyko Community?

I don’t really have any “secrets.” I like to paint with larger brush stokes to bring out the colors and shapes and then work down to the details. Van Gogh, Degas, Renoir are all good for the background and larger areas. I then like using the dirt and spray can brushes set at the smallest settings with greatest opacity to bring out the small details.

I did a tutorial awhile ago on how to do an under painting which can be found on the blog. If I have any other techniques people find interesting, they are always welcome to ask me about them. I am always willing to try and share those techniques or help with advice. I would just say to other members, experiment and try new ideas, new brushes, and  different settings. Have fun at seeing what develops. If you don’t like something hit the redo button or even clear the whole thing and start all over. Psykopaint is a FUN program – so have fun with it!!

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