Is it real or is it digital? Dixie Forum to discuss process of manipulating digital ‘paintings’

Composite image. Inset image is a self-portrait of McGarren Flack, who will present at the Dixie Forum on Sept. 18, 2018, St. George, Utah | McGarren image courtesy of Dixie State University, St. George News

ST GEORGE — Featuring a presentation on the process of how to manipulate the color, value and shape of pixels in a digital painting, Dixie State University’s weekly lecture series “Dixie Forum: A Window on the World” will host professional artist McGarren Flack at its next installment.

Flack, an assistant professor of studio art at Dixie State, will offer his presentation at noon on Tuesday in the Dunford Auditorium of the Browning Resource Center on the Dixie State campus. Admission is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

In this installment of Dixie Forum, Flack will explain how digital painting does not exist because painting uses media that contain pigment, and digital media have no pigment. Using Photoshop to manipulate the pixels into a recognizable portrait, Flack will talk about work flow and the importance of working with larger simpler shapes to refine them down to more specific shapes that are necessary to get a solid likeness.

Flack’s professional interest in art originated from a visit to an art show featuring the work of American portrait painter John Singer Sargent. Flack was captivated with Sargent’s ability to produce vividly lifelike works with such simple brushstrokes.

Flack began painting in the fall of 2002 at Brigham Young University in the illustration program. He graduated with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2005 before pursuing a Master of Fine Arts, which he was awarded in 2008 from the University of Utah.

He has since been teaching at various universities across the state and now resides in St. George as a full-time assistant professor at Dixie State University. He still works in oil paints, sculpture and digital art and sells his work to collectors nationwide.

The Dixie Forum is a weekly lecture series designed to introduce the St. George and DSU communities to diverse ideas and personalities while widening their worldviews via a 50-minute presentation.

The next installment of Dixie Forum will feature Cindy Clemens and Dixie Sate’s Women’s Resource Center in a presentation that will offer tips on how to embrace joy at noon on Sept. 25 in the Dunford Auditorium. For more information about Dixie State University’s Dixie Forum series, visit the DSU Dixie Forum webpage.

Event details

  • What: “Dixie Forum” lecture series featuring speaker McGarren Flack.
  • When: Tuesday, Sept. 18, noon.
  • Where: Dixie State University, Dunford Auditorium.
  • Admission: free.

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