Ileana Frómeta Grillo
["Echoes of Brazil" by Joel Chadabe]


Ileana was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. Her work has been used by Xerox Corporation and United Digital Artists for promotional purposes. She has also appeared as a finalist in the 2000 MacWorld Gallery Exhibit. Currently, she is being featured in Design Graphics magazine ~ published in Australia with readers around the globe. Also look out for her work featured in an upcoming edition of the "Agosto" magazine in Japan.

"My education in the fine arts began in Caracas, Venezuela, where I was introduced to "plein air" painting, charcoal portraiture and photography. Once arrived to the US in 1980, I continued my art education including two years of black and white photography at the University of Redlands, California, and three years of fine art studies at the State University in San Bernardino, also in California.

"A full-time career in the fine arts did not materialize until 1999, when I decided to leave a 20-year involvement in the field of Art and Play therapy, and an almost-complete Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology.

"My introduction to the digital art world began in the mid-eighties, when I was offered an opportunity to illustrate a children's book ("La Bicicleta de Nubes"). For this project I used my Mac IICX with 20 MB of RAM, a Wacom Art Z and the program Painter (version 1.2). As both software and hardware evolved, I was able to use computers to create more complex imagery. The rapid development of wide-format printing and archival inks has also helped me make the transition into the world of digital fine arts. My current tools consist of a G4 Dual 500mhz processor Power Mac, 1 GB of RAM, two 15 inch flat panel apple monitors, 30 GB hard drive, Que! Fire CD-RW, Wacom Intuos tablet, HP ScanJet scanner, Epson 860 printer and a Canon S-10 2.2 megapixel camera.

"The program Corel Painter is the primary software I use to sketch and enhance the general composition, and color the main figure. I then use Photoshop to treat and blend the images taken with my digital camera into a more integrated work. In terms of the work methodology and inspiration, I usually realize the source of the inspiration only after the work has been completed. I do know that my imagery highly reflects my Caribbean roots, and that the message is viewed from the female perspective. Unless suggested by someone, as in the case of "Snapping Lines," the main image comes to me as a loosely drawn sketch. I also carry my digital camera wherever I go, and store the images taken in CDs for later use, however, at this point, there is nothing specific in mind. I later choose some of the better sketches, scan them into Painter and use them as the foundation for a finished picture of the main figure. The process of selecting the pictures that will go with this figure is more intuitive. I just look through each one of the pictures taken and put those that "fit" in a folder. Then it is a matter of blending and placing the layers together (in Photoshop) until I achieve the desired composition. The files at this point can get quite large (250 to 300 MB) and the most time-consuming part of the project is to combine, blend and integrate the layers, which can be as many as 22-24.

"I work on different projects at the same time, although some sit for a while and are revisited from time to time until I find the right set of images that fit. On the average, once I have a clearer idea of what I want, the work is completed within two to three weeks.

"Printing is done for me by JD Jarvis and his wife Myriam, of Dunking Bird Productions ( They are both digital artists living in New Mexico, and strong advocates of the digital art medium as an artistic expression. When I was searching for the right output device, I had my work printed by different wide-format machines (Roland, Iris, Epson 9500, ColorSpan), and found out that the whole printing process, which is a highly collaborative one, had a lot to do with the printer's sensibility and expertise, and that the machine's sophistication was only one part of the equation. So, once the work is done I save it as a Photoshop file and mail it to JD (on a CD), along with a "proof," which consists of a letter-sized printout of the work in an Epson 860.

"The way I choose my colors is more of an experiential/practical process than anything else. I have created an RGB custom-palette in Painter, with colors that I know print well and to my satisfaction. This allows me to "pre-visualize" what the picture will look like, regardless of the ambient light or monitor changes. JD uses the proof I sent as a template and creates 3 to four proofs, from which the final selection is made. I have found out that as we worked together more, JD gets to know the color range that I tend to choose for my work, so the proofing process has become much faster. The work is printed on an HP 2500, with pigmented inks, on canvas.

"The digital imagery, long embraced by the Graphic Arts, has faced a more reluctant acceptance in the "fine art" circles. However, as technology progresses and artists become more adept at utilizing this new art form, a revolution is brewing, for the digital fine arts is creating its own audience around the world, through hundreds of dedicated virtual galleries and personal websites, and it is no longer dependent on the scrutiny of a particular gallery for its marketing and exposure. It is important that any artist that uses the digital medium as a form of expression become his or her own advocate, able to clear some of the reigning confusion regarding this medium. In spite of all of its growing pains, it is a pretty exciting place to be."



Ileana Frómeta Grillo
120 Wave Street
Laguna Beach. CA 92651
tel: 949-494 3454 fax: 949-494 3898