Features which distinguish virtual painting from hand-applied paints/media:
layering - can paint or draw on any number of overlays which can be individually controlled as to opacity, content, visibility, and interactive effects with other layers (imagine translucent and opaque paints on several sheets of glass stacked on top of each other, each of which can be modified, rearranged or removed)
one layer in watercolor horse print– see finished artwork and painting stages at Awkward First Meeting- 10 minutes old
mixability - possible to mix various media effects (if desired) which would never be possible otherwise, such as watercolor and oils, pastels and ink, oil and colored pencil, etc.
time-based controls - such as area drying time (tell it when to dry, or NOT to dry), spread speed of bleeds, lapsed time between start and finish
easy instant viewability - at small sizes, highly enlarged sizes, and in black and white, which greatly assists composition planning
photographically-correct likenesses - are fairly easy to achieve when desired, so more relative time can be devoted to exploring other aspects of the art, such as expression, composition, background, integration of the elements, etc.
erasability/changeability - like it sounds; can be total, partial, or merely subduing, textured, spray-erasures, knife scratches… you get the idea
rearrangeability - one can reposition elements, copy and repeat areas, pull in parts of other artworks (haven’t done it but sounds interesting…)
version-saving - can save as many progressive stages of the artwork as you like, which you can revisit as desired; this allows experimentation in multiple directions
saved stages of virtual portrait painting, see finished portrait and painting stages at Remembrance of Bussie
“final” color adjustments, enhancements and variations - tones and color ranges can be modified experimentally even after the painting is “finished”
size variability - size can be determined and changed after the piece has been done; can be output in many sizes
reproducibility - can be output in multiples, onto variable artists’ materials (textured or smooth watercolor papers, cloth canvas, rice paper… the range of possible materials is being expanded as more artists experiment)
recoverability - archived files can be used to regenerate lost or damaged artworks
durability - specially-formulated inks, materials, and giclee print finishing assure museum-quality results which are at least as long-lived as pigment on paper, and in some cases even better able to resist color fluctuation over time
ease of use - (my favorite!) no smelly pigments or solvents, no palette setup, no mess, no cleanup, and can leave and come back to at will, continuing right where you left off!
WITH ALL THE CREATIVE OPTIONS, it’s sometimes tough to know when to stop; it’s often hard to choose which variation I like the best. But don’t worry, when I do your pet or horse’s portrait, I’ll take care of that for you!
Connie Moses, petArtist– website since 2001:
Portraits With Pets.com aka PortraitsWithHorses.com