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

Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association’s popular walking soccer league was one of several sports programs and activities that were cancelled following provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s latest announcement to ban indoor adult team sports. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Parksville Qualicum Beach sports groups frustrated by ban

Provincial health directive discourages indoor sports

371 Alberni Highway, Parksville, where the Quality Foods is currently under construction. In January 2021, 87 new affordable homes will start construction nearby. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Provincial government in support of 87 affordable housing units in Parksville

Construction at Alberni Highway address slated to start in January 2021

The Parksville Community Centre. (PQB News file photo)
City of Parksville offers update on closure of community centre

‘Increasing operating costs and annual subsidies provided by the city have been a concern’

(Black Press file)
RDN strengthens security after being alerted to publicly accessible property ownership information

Regional District of Nanaimo investigates, reports to privacy commissioner after anonymous e-mails

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Emergency crews used a backhoe loader to clear fire debris from the scene of a fire on Wesley Street Thursday as police and firefighters gathered up propane tanks, stoves and fireplaces used by camp residents to heat tents. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo dismantles downtown homeless encampment after fire

Four to six tents burned up in Wesley Street fire Thursday, Dec. 3

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

BC Ambulance Services reassures people that the service is well staffed and ready to respond. Photo by Don Bodger
BC Ambulance assures the Island community they’re ‘fully staffed’

‘Paramedics are not limited to a geographical area.’ — BCEHS

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Most Read