My name is Ben Simpson, I have worked as a software developer for the last 10 years or so, but now I want to paint instead…
Last Christmas I found myself time rich and cash poor. I wanted to give memorable presents to some of my family and friends, and I wanted to use some of the skills that I had neglected as a software developer. I had recently discovered the weird and wonderful world of instructables.com and found a post that gave me an idea… I still had my paints and brushes from studying Fine Art at A-Level (having lugged them from flat to flat for 15 years). Producing some personal paintings seemed like the ideal solution.
I knew from the start that I couldn’t get the results I wanted by drawing freehand (using photographs that I’d scanned or downloaded from FaceBook as inspiration). I am pretty used to working with technology so I looked for ways that it could help me out. I found that I could, with some practice, reduce an image to something that i could paint, next was to figure out how to transfer a guideline to a canvas so that I could paint it.
I produced my first portrait paintings by using an overhead projector and a transparent LCD screen (bought together on Ebay for £30) to project the image onto a canvas and sketch an outline in pencil before painting it.
I have now moved on to printing images onto canvas using a wide carriage inkjet printer (again from Ebay) and stretching the canvas onto wooden stretcher bars. You can see my painting process from printing the outline to a finished painting on youtube.
As a software developer I’ve been able to refine the tools I use to process images and have written my own custom plugins for Gimp to help me manipulate your images which has also allowed me to produce my painting by numbers kits like the ones I remember my Dad painting as a kid.
Next I’d like to do some paintings at serious scale, internal or external wall murals would be great. If you should happen to have a spare wall that you’d like a dramatic painting on, let me know…