November 17, 2007 in Voices

Photographer’s work leaves details to imagination

Jennifer Larue Correspondent
 
CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON photo

Doug Oriard sits beneath two of his framed photographs at his home. He uses computer software to modify the photos to look like paintings.
(Full-size photo)

Art quote of the week

“To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things.”

Ansel Adams (1902-1984), photographer

Doug Oriard’s art studio is a converted bedroom in his South Hill home. His tools are monitors, a large printer, a mouse, a scanner, a graphics tablet, cameras and a vision.

Oriard is a newly retired software developer and electrical engineer; linear, analytical and technological, Oriard’s brain has been trained to see the reality of things, while his creative side brings out the impressionistic view of what is real.

His work demands attention. Like his quiet and thoughtful personality, Oriard’s work brings about pause and thoughtful reflection. His work is meditative, bringing a viewer to the place one tries to go to in times of stress: a beach during sunset, or in a garden, gazing into a just bloomed rose.

“Art allows me to turn photographs into stylized impressions of the image and experience the scene in a different way than a photograph,” he said, “Turning photographs into art is a way to add a more impressionist look at the image, and look at the image from a different perspective.”

A viewer might ask, “Is it a photograph or a painting?” Oriard spent five years learning to master Adobe Photoshop to turn his photographs into artistic studies. “The program simulates many mediums digitally.” The look and behavior of the digital mediums are exactly as they should be; blended like watercolor, bold like oils and crisp like pencil.

His artistic nature was always there, perhaps inspired by his mother and his father who worked in science and civil engineering. “I saw my father do a watercolor once when I was in high school, and my mother worked in oil. Both were impressive,” Oriard said. Some might say that science and engineering take a creative mind.

Oriard, 56, considers art to be relaxing and rejuvenating. “It’s a way to relax and explore the creative, nonanalytical side of my nature.” He also uses it for personal enrichment and as an excuse to get into nature. “One of my goals for the next five to 10 years is to photograph as many national parks and scenic national forests in the Western U.S. as possible.”

Oriard also paints in watercolor and oil or, what he calls “natural media.” Another bedroom in his home will eventually be converted into a “natural media” studio. He painted regularly in his younger days. “I’m getting the itch to get out the brush again,” he said.

When he is out and about, he often wonders how he will frame the beauty, what the best angle is and where the light is coming from. He began sharing his findings on a Web site for friends and family. Now, he is exploring the marketing side of his artistic side.

Oriard is a member of the Northside Spokane Camera Club and recently won the Creative Digital Image of the Year Award. He also shows his work at Art, Music and More in the Valley Mall. Memories of his travels and creative exploration decorate the walls in his home.

Realistic and impressionist, his photographs are extremely personalized. “With art, I select images that I feel are most inspiring and look for ways to enhance colors and simplify the image to give just an impression, and let the imagination fill in the details,” he said.


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