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Digital Revolution — The Enhanced Photographic Art of Gay Waldman

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Autumn Sunflower, mixed media photographic digital art by Spokane artist Gay Waldman.

The great thing about the digital revolution is that Gay Waldman can now wash clothes in her laundry room.

For years, the Spokane artist — who creates digitally enhanced photographs through Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter and Nik Software  — set up a darkroom in either her bath or laundry room so that she could build collages and enlarged images of her abstract/representational fusion art.

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Autumn Gold Sentinels, digital photographic art by Spokane artist, Gay Waldman — celebrating the world of nature with an abstract twist.

Leaping into the Digital Revolution

“I am very fortunate to have taken the leap into the digital world in 1994,” Waldman says, explaining that she build upon computer skills in marketing and bookkeeping to  achieve prowess in photo-restoration. As the Internet improved, so did her abilities, to the point that she eventually built her own computer to meet the unique digital needs of her art. She also dismantled her physical darkroom and turned to professional photo lab processors for her printing needs, allowing her to focus exclusively on multimedia photomontage that integrates the light, color, texture, and form of natural images.

“My photographs record reality and are the starting point of all my images,” Waldman says. “When I depress the shutter, the image is captured, and I will use it at a later date as a component in a new work of art.”

Digital Art: More Than Pressing Buttons

It’s much more than pressing a button or clicking on a few keyboard keys, she adds, with even seemingly simple images requiring a good eye, technical prowess, and experience stemming from years of exploration and experimentation. Originally trained as a painter, Waldman also employs traditional media such as colored pencils, pastel, acrylic paint, and oil to add detail and color, resulting in a mixed media melange that encourages the viewer to pause a moment, absorb the image, and make a connection with form in color, line and shape.

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In the reception area of the Women’s Imaging Center of Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, ID, four of Gay Waldman’s digital photographic artworks add a glow of color and form.

“My artwork making is a never-ending, intuitive journey of my fascination of the relationship between organic object and man-made objects,” Waldman says. “I love the intricacy of leaves, tree patterns, flower petals, vines, how light falls everywhere, shadows, horizons, water, and all sorts of growth.”

Endless Ideas

Never far from a notebook to jot down ideas which exhibit no sign of stopping, Waldman draws upon a vast collection of photographs taken through the years to develop concepts expressing an appreciation for design.

“Art making is my addiction: I crave the exploration and the creative process of manipulating images, and my passion is to push my photographs into images that expose my originality.”

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“Why We Live Here,” Gay Waldman’s public art installation at the Spokane Convention Center.

Waldman sells her work through galleries, her studio, her website, and at Northwest festivals including those in Boise, Seattle, and Coeur d’Alene.  A permanent collection of 24 of her works hangs in the Women’s Imaging Center of Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, ID. Additional public art includes “Celebrate Our City,” a five-panel installation at the Wells Fargo Building in Spokane, as well as “Why We Live Here,” an 85-foot wide by 20-foot tall mural at the Spokane Convention Center.

This latter project, which Waldman identifies as her most notable to date, involved a two-year process of applying, presentation, designing, and engineering, and the benefits have been enormous. Most gratifying is when individuals enter Waldman’s booth at an art festival and recognize her work from a public installation.

“When they meet me, it provides them a connection between the art and the artist.”

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Samba Garden, a digital array of flower blossoms and petals by photograph enhancer Gay Waldman of Spokane, WA

An Artist before the Digital Age

Like many highly creative people, Waldman has wanted to be an artist for as long as she can remember, and has never forgotten her kindergarten teacher’s comment on a report card — “Gay might be a great artist one day!” Her unique niche in photography came about because of a lack of time: upon graduating from the university and working many, many jobs to get by, Waldman found time and money short for painting. When she was approached about exhibiting her artwork at a special show, she supplemented paintings with photographs she had taken with the intent to paint someday. The next gallery show was all photographs, incorporating mixed media and collage, and a career was born.

“At that time, I didn’t realize photographs would be the foundation of all my artwork.

“My artwork and I keep growing with every exhibit, festival, and commission.

Pleasantly Busy

It’s a lifestyle that keeps an artist consistently but pleasantly busy, and while there may not be enough time to fold clothes in neat, organized piles, it’s nice to know that they don’t have to share space with bins of liquid chemicals. And while any given day looks remarkably different — from photographing to interior design consulting, from providing custom framing services for other artists to participating in an invitational, juried show, it’s all about art — and that’s worth spending time on.

“I am completely captivated with making art, because it’s the only thing in my life where I have total control of the outcome.”

Wenaha Gallery

Gay Waldman is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, April 9, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, May 5, 2018.  

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.