Getting to the Point With Ossining Artist Donna Faranda

This modern-day pointillist harmonizes a 19th-century style with 21st-century technology

Technology is most often praised for its capacity to improve and simplify our lives by providing better access to certain resources. Yet frequently overlooked is the revolutionary affect technology has on a generation’s style of self-expression.

For Ossining-based pointillist Donna Faranda, the versatility and ease of digital painting has broadened the boundaries of her artistic identity, allowing her to create “atmospheric works that are pleasing and appealing to me as well as comforting.”

Her work, currently on display at the White Plains Public Library until February 28, typically focuses on “sensuous depictions of women from mythic fictional characters and others from [her] imagination.” Yet unlike most, if not all, notable pointillists, Faranda makes use of digital programs like Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter to render her work.

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“I used to do painting on canvas using acrylic paint,” explains Faranda. “Then I switched, when I lacked the space, to watercolor, pen, and ink. I needed another type of medium that I could work with that was longer lasting.”

She starts by collecting her own sketches or images found online into a montage in Photoshop; what she describes as “an assimilation of my own personal feelings.” Those collages are used to make groupings of contour line drawings from which she can define differentiating sections of color that are then imported to Corel Painter “where I can place each individual dot by clicking on my mouse,” as if on tracing paper over the original image. 

Digital programs like these provide the freedom of an infinite color palate. Still, each of Faranda’s works are unified by a very concerted color scheme. “There’s about 35 colors to each piece,” she points out.

Faranda’s progressive work harmonizing a 19th-century movement with 21st-century technology has not gone unnoticed. She’s received a Jurors Award from art entrepreneur Carroll Janis at New York University’s Small Works Show, and has been featured in galleries throughout New York City, Washington, D.C. and France.

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Her portfolio, with work dating back to her time in a master’s program at Pratt Institute, does contain traditional art, but Faranda is having a lot of fun experimenting with the digital format.

“It started off with a love affair of painting and creating patterns and visual color fields,” says Faranda. “It’s sort of evolved to become more and more realistic.”

If you’re interested to see how Faranda gets to the point, you can check out her work on her website, or head to the Alternate Self exhibition at Blue Door Art Center in Yonkers after February 11, where one of her pieces will be on display.

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