Reprinted with permission from Claremont McKenna College
Marsha Tudor creates art
that mixes the natural world
with high technology
Marsha Tudor doesn’t sleep much. She wakes at 4 a.m., working in her studio in the cool quiet of the morning to create dramatic, carefully considered, and meticulously rendered images of the natural world.
The process Tudor uses to create her art––a process that begins by going outside and finding a subject in the natural world, and ends with the use of cutting edge digital imaging technology is called Scanner Photography.
Once Tudor has picked a subject – a single flower, perhaps, or a group of leaves and seed pods––she brings the objects into her studio and places them directly on the glass of a flatbed scanner. “They have to be perfect and clean,” says Tudor, “because every bit of dirt and sand is magnified, even if they’re not visible to the eye.” Tudor then previews the composition, in the same way that anyone using a scanner might preview a scan. The major difference is that she scans at a much higher resolution than would be used for a document.
There is substantial rearranging as Tudor takes successive pictures; a leaf is moved slightly akimbo, for example, or a native grass is made just a bit more angular. For each rearrangement, more dust is exposed, and Tudor must carefully clean the glass.
When the image reflects her desired composition, including use of light and color, Tudor pulls the picture into Photoshop and begins the editing process. This is extremely time-consuming, because Tudor works slowly and methodically to fix flaws in the image, sometimes repairing tears or spots, and cleaning up dust and specks. “In my digital world,” she says, “everything is perfect.” The editing process allows Tudor to realize her vision, one pixel at a time, revealing pictures ranging from spare and ethereal to lush and complex.
A second generation Southern Californian, Marsha lives with her family in Claremont where she is inspired by a very rich local plant palette. With a background in fine arts, earning a degree from California State University East Bay with a concentration in drawing in 1978, Marsha has, in the last few years, migrated to exclusively digital work. Even in earlier work Marsha's interests were for natural subject matter and a somewhat representational style, many times using a series of the same subject to push the exploration deeper. This process leads inevitably to abstraction.
Aesthetic concerns have always been about beauty and enigma; the areas in which they overlap provide an intriguing arena for exploration. A bit of mystery hovers as images often create an atmospheric quality receding back into dark shadows. The three dimensional nature of the subject matter is of utmost importance. Flat items are expressly avoided because they have little sculptural value
Professional background includes a degree in Studio Art, with a concentration in drawing. Also studied horticulture, botany, landscape architecture, photography, drafting, AutoCAD & computer graphics. Work has included: floral designer, freelance landscape design, college grounds supervisor & freelance illustration.