Parksville-based digital artist Brian Middleton’s work is currently on display at the McMillan Arts Centre. (Emily Vance photo)

Parksville-based digital artist Brian Middleton’s work is currently on display at the McMillan Arts Centre. (Emily Vance photo)

‘I Paint With Light Now’: Parksville digital artist on display at MAC

After four decades of painting on canvas, Brian Middleton embraces new form of creation

The idea of a painter often evokes a certain image in the mind – paint-splattered garb, a meticulously mixed palette, a menagerie of brushes of all sizes and a studio full to the brim with canvasses.

Parksville-based artist Brian Middleton has been there and done that.

After decades of brushstrokes, tubes of paint, gallons of solvent and stacks of canvas Middleton has embraced a different form. He still has access to all of the same tools, but now, they fit in the palm of his hand.

Middleton has transitioned into creating digital art using a tablet, which he says comes with a host of benefits and has opened him up to new styles and workflows.

“It’s changing art history. It’s changing the very act of painting,” said Middleton.

“Of course it’s not embraced by everybody yet – but I think it will be. I think as more and more people become aware of what it can do.”

READ MORE: Soft Shore exhibit brings permanent multi-media gallery to Parksville

Middleton’s work is now on display at the McMillan Arts Centre in Parksville, in the centre’s new digital media gallery which has been dubbed ‘The Cloakroom Gallery.’

Middleton gave a talk at the MAC on Nov. 22 and spoke about how the artistic landscape in the 21st century is being revolutionized by digital painting.

“It’s kind of a democracy of access for artists to reach people through social media, and even to post their process through a video format. Because each of these paintings that I do on my iPad are actually recorded as a video.”” said Middleton.

“I can actually have a look at what decisions was I making to create like, that atmospheric sky. In that process I can recall which brushes I used technically to do that. And that is something that you’d have to do mentally prior to this, you couldn’t do it visually. You can actually re-look at how you actually painted a painting, and all the different layers and ways you painted over something, or erased something, or smudged it, and all of that stuff.”

Middleton says that the artistic principles he learned as a student in his 20s still hold true, despite the fact that he’s traded in oil paints and watercolours for digital light. His show at the MAC is entitled I Paint With Light Now.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge teacher uses art to help her students overcome anxiety

“It brings you a whole different understanding of how light effects colour. That’s after many decades of painting – but I think I’m learning new stuff about that even now,” said Middleton.

The lightweight and ease of creation comes with it some unexpected benefits. Middleton can create art virtually anywhere using Procreate, his app of choice. He works on planes, in low-light situations and from his couch at home.

“It’s allowed me to put out a lot more work and save it digitally than I could ever do physically with canvasses and all of that,” said Middleton.

It also eliminates the physical challenge of artistic creation, a bonus for those with mobility issues.

“So somebody who is very elderly, has arthritis, or has had a stroke, or any number of things – they can still create work,” said Middleton.

It’s also environmentally friendly and relatively affordable.

Once you buy the tablet and the app, there is no further investment, and no tubes of product that end up going to the landfill once they’re used up. There’s also no need to store artwork carefully in a temperature controlled room. Although Middleton’s house is home to quite a few canvasses, he’s increasingly storing his work on hard-drives and in the digital cloud.

Middleton’s work is on display at the MAC’s digital art gallery until Dec. 21. More of his work can be viewed online at www.brianmiddletonart.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges with garbage bin replacement requests. (Michael Briones photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo faces challenges to meet requests for garbage bin replacements

Waste manager says RDN will have a surplus of 100-litre carts

Members of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. set up the tube where rainbow trout were released into Spider Lake on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Michael Briones photo)
Fishing time: 1,800 rainbow trout released into Spider Lake

Society records spike in fishing licences during pandemic

A map showing where the new developments for affordable housing will be located on Moilliet Street in Parksville. (submitted photo)
Parksville city council approves development permit for 87 housing units

Development to include four-storey apartment and eight townhouses

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read