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Rainy Evening in Venice

by Stephanie Shimerdla

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The Artwork

Digitally painted from a photo I took while visiting Venice. The original was on a crowded, sunny day, and I wanted to transform it into something magical! This is in the piazza of San Marco (St. Mark's Square).

The Artist

Why do you create? I have been drawing and painting most of my life. I got my first taste of painting in high school and National Art Honor Society, where I was a prominent member and came terribly close to making it my major in college. I now, of course, wish that I had.

Therefore, yes, I am almost entirely self-taught. After a several year hiatus into the left-brained world (I am a Summa Cum Laude graduate with a Computer Science major with a Mathematics minor), I became interseted in artwork once again in an unfamiliar place. My husband is military, and upon joining him in South Korea for a year, I found myself somewhat lonely and in need of some artistic expression. This is when my digital art began.
How do you work?I work in either Photoshop or PaintstormStudio, using a Wacom Cintiq tablet for my digital painting. All of my work is painted completely by hand.
Has your creative process changed over time, if so, how? My style and process are constantly evolving. Like anyone trying to get great at something, I am constantly reading and learning new ideas and techniques to help me to improve my art. Being almost entirely self-taught, this is more important than ever!
Do you consider yourself a full-time or part-time artist? I am currently a full-time artist, illustrator, and concept artist.
Besides creating, where else do you spend your time? We are currently stationed in Vicenza, Italy. Being in Europe is amazing, and most of our free time is spent traveling whenever possible. When it comes to hobbies around the house, that's mostly reading, watching movies and playing video games. I also volunteer at a non-profit organization over here in Italy.
What inspires you? Anything and everything! I've gotten inspiration from the strangest of things. But mostly, books. Second comes movies and games, which is one of the reason I spend my time doing those things in my free time! (Not to mention that I've always loved games, from my childhood!)
What is the first piece of art you remember creating? The first piece of art I got any kind of recognition for (and therefore remember) was a conch shell that I drew in Middle School using colored chalk. It won a few awards at my school, and was the first time I realized that hey... I may be good at this art thing!
What does the term art mean to you? Yikes. So many things can be considered art. Graffiti, sculpture, paintings, tattoos, books, movies, video games... anything that involves creation from nothing. Whether you mean it to be or not, it's your mind and imagination bringing something to life. To me, that's what art is.
Name three artists that you respect? Rembrandt has always been one of my favorites of the classics. His work with chiaroscuro is phenomenal. Leonardo da Vinci because of the way his mind worked more than for any paintings of his, although they're all beautiful. But I admire his heavy left-brained-ness, because I have a huge dose of that myself. I have a ton of modern day artists that I admire and respect - too many to name. So two will have to do!
What is your favourite piece of artwork? I don't really just have one. Anything that plays with color and light.
What is your dream project? I'm currently working with a role-playing game to help bring their world to life, and that's really one the things I love the most. Building a world out of nothing. But I'd love to work with a movie someday, where I can go to see it with my friends and say "I developed the idea for that scene!"