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Old 04-02-2017, 02:14 AM
JDawg_97 JDawg_97 is offline
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Finding Something To Paint

I know this is gonna sound crazy & I realize that we have a reference image library but rarely do I ever find images that suit me.. I am searching after a stripped down, almost hauntingly simple look (for landscapes) I live in south Mississippi & don't have a lot of land of my own to take reference photos.. any suggestions from you guys would be absolutely WONDERFUL
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Old 04-02-2017, 03:02 AM
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

that's kind of what abstract art is ... a complex (land)scape, stripped down the the bare necessities. it's a good challenge, give it a try or ten and see where it takes you.

la
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:04 PM
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Use Her Name Use Her Name is offline
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

I just posted this in contemp/abstract. As you see, I am painting "nothing." in the process, I began to think it looked like the ariel view of a city in a flood zone. So that strengthened my imagery. This is about "Land." It is a land scape.



I love just freeing myself to instinct. I grab a canvas and throw some paint down. This is not anything specific, just a try to find meaning in the process and the materials.

With plenty of land, why not put your paint stuff in the back of your vehicle and go out there and paint what you see? I do not understand painting only what is on a photograph. I really don't. I mean, the photograph is there. Why paint it? I know a very fabulous cattle farmer, who paints a lot.
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Old 04-29-2017, 11:41 AM
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Mike L Mike L is offline
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

Take a drive, a bike, a walk somewhere the look you're looking for might be hiding. Take your camera and make photos.

When editing the photos crop and keep simple scenes from them. Or paint the entire scene leaving out the details to suit the simplicity you want.

Paint with a palette knife only - almost guaranteed to force you to stripping out details no matter how much you fight it.

Paint from memory, your 'mind's eye'.

Probably some more ideas out there, but these suggestions might help.

R/Mike
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Old 04-30-2017, 10:31 AM
budigart budigart is offline
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

Type in subjects in which you are interested in your search engine window, when the result pops up, select images, and view whatever interests you.
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Old 05-25-2017, 02:59 AM
Studio97 Studio97 is offline
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

I have been working on abstraction. For years i have been influenced by the Blue Rider Group and Das Brucke.
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Old 07-20-2017, 02:22 PM
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

JDawn97,
It has been said that art mimics life, when in fact, art re-composes life. Try that, your photo will become reference, and not gospel.
Patrick
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:47 AM
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Mike L Mike L is offline
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

And if you're still having trouble you could come on over and paint my house for me.
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Old 09-12-2017, 01:22 PM
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

I often have the same trouble. I'm housebound for months at a time, and live in nearly total isolation, so finding things to paint can be an uphill battle. I posted about it once in the watercolor section, and was given some great ideas there:

Google Street View for great landscapes. Google does allow using their "Street View" images as reference for paintings and drawings; however I don't believe the uploaded user images are allowed -those are the blue dots on the map views.

Buying objects to use for reference: I ended up at the toy store, and found all kinds of great stuff, from geometric wooden blocks to model animals and toy jewelry. They're great for setting up to use for practice, and when your collection grows too large, there's always a child around who will be delighted to take a few of them home!
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:24 PM
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

I have painted landscapes for years and began incorporating a little architecture into the work, like residential homes. I paint sloppily or some call it painterly. it looks abstract, but since it still looked like what it was, I did not consider it "true" abstract. Anyway, maybe look around your neighborhood.
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Old 10-25-2017, 07:59 PM
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour

-William Blake

Anything at all can be the subject matter of art. The artist must find the inspiration in himself/herself. Invention and imagination are as important to art as observation.
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Old 01-09-2018, 12:47 PM
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

There's the Reference Image Library here but also other sites like Paint My Photo, where people will post images deliberately intended to inspire artists and allow painting of them. Usually with credit, sometimes with no limits.

For finding local landscapes, that's where it could get difficult. I feel for you if you rarely get out of heavily built up areas looking for a simple landscape. I've been through Mississippi on road trips and seen how it looks between towns, sometimes what's on the highway is continuously inhabited so you're not getting any nature landscapes without buildings and signs and other distractions.

One thing you can do is just leave out the power lines and bill boards and road signs when painting. Get photos of the scenes you like and leave off anything that doesn't fit your painting. This can help a lot. I see plenty of paintings of dilapidated barns, and living here in Arkansas, I see a lot of dilapidated barns. I am more likely when out with my daughter on her horse shoeing trips to stare off across the horse pasture, ignore the barn, focus on a tree that I like and move everything else in the scene to accommodate placing that tree at the focal point.

One way to get simple landscapes is to do skyscapes. Reduce everything that's on the land to some narrow strip of color and treeline, let that fade off into atmospheric perspective fast (at least layers of trees doing that if the land is flat) and just keep that dark and minimal. Then focus all your glorious painting into the color and light around the clouds in the sky. They can be gorgeous.

But on anything like that, sometimes it's a matter of looking around and the reference photo is more a memory aid. Then leaving out a lot of what was in the reference photo. Or combine it from several photos. The trees from this one, the low rolling hills from another, the sky from yet another, the middle distance deer from a different one - just put them all together.

If you want local scenes it'll take getting out away from where you live into the countryside and finding what the local scenes are like. If they're dense pine woods with red dirt in flat land where you don't see anything but the road cutting through... then that's the scene and the road a necessary part of it. If it's miles and miles of flat fields with trees only at hedgerows if there are any, but occasional barns... then that's what it is.

I do remember the distinctive red ochre mud of Mississippi, you could actually make pigment with that. It's beautiful in a landscape and one thing you can do in painting it is tone your substrate that color. Whether using pastels or anything else, if it's opaque you can do that to unify the scene.

But planning a landscape painting isn't usually a matter of finding one great photo and copying it. Taking your own is still going to be both a memory aid and a partial source - because there will be useful bits in other photos and other memories as soon as you open up to them.

There's also using a high resolution digital camera and cropping out everything ugly so you're focused on the one part of it that's horse pasture with trees and maybe a hill in the distance and take the clouds from a different photo because they looked good 15 minutes ago but are now gone. It's not just lack of locally beautiful subjects but skill at photography too.

I'd suggest sketching fast little value thumbnails when you're out. Also watch James Gurney's videos on urban sketching, in places that aren't exotic like Indiana. He creates good paintings in built up areas that don't have dramatic scenery and even includes cars and road signs, he's got ways of handling cars and power lines and signs that make the painting come out with character even if the subject matter looked boring and frustratingly detailed.

Your original post suggested to me that you look for good design ideas for landscapes when you look through reference images. Those can be found most easily in good professional photography, where you're not likely to get permission to use the photo. If you sketch out the type of landscape you're looking for and then seek images that have the elements of it, you'll have a lot more chance of finding something that works.

The main thing in combining photos is to be able to imagine shadows. Make sure the lighting is coming from the same direction for all the elements in your painting and that it stays consistent. It's an exercise in imagination to take a scene and paint it imagined at a different time of day or a different season, it may help to take a scene from a temperate area and imagine what it's like under heavy snow so that the shadows are all right out there, easily visible. Once you get that knack, finding good references is not as hard as when you're mostly working from one reference.
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Old 01-11-2018, 03:46 PM
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KolinskyRed KolinskyRed is offline
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

In a way, I may be repeating all the great advice already posted... but here, Justin, are my two cents worth:

I watched an accomplished painter take out the photos that were his references. I was surprised as they were all "bad" photos, nothing worth while in them. He explained that he'd taken the pics (in poor lighting often) of one thing of interest among many other things in the shot he wasn't interested in. So, across the table were spread about a dozen pics (pre-digital age). He explained what element he found interesting in each picture. All landscape stuff.

Then he did a rough sketch of a first-pass of how he thought he might arrange his preferred elements. Then he would re-do quick little sketches with a dark patch or two to emphasize certain things. And, he would sometimes drop things back out, or re-do the whole approach.

Inspiration takes place while we are working on something. Then there's 90% perspiration to get 10% inspiration. And finally, even the world's best say to us all one way or another, that they still to this day make paintings they aren't happy with. Turner (a very great painter of landscapes) remarked all those years ago "I don't have any secrets, just hard work." Feels like work - then the inspiration pops up -... hope this helps in some small way. Cheers!
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Old 01-24-2018, 02:50 PM
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Jules Hilliard Jules Hilliard is offline
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

Try to forget about objects and look for the shapes and forms in nature. Also, think in terms of light to dark. The way light shines on the subject, as compared to the shadows. You can get some interesting compositions from these observations.
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Old 01-24-2018, 06:24 PM
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Re: Finding Something To Paint

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDawg_97
I know this is gonna sound crazy & I realize that we have a reference image library but rarely do I ever find images that suit me.. I am searching after a stripped down, almost hauntingly simple look (for landscapes) I live in south Mississippi & don't have a lot of land of my own to take reference photos.. any suggestions from you guys would be absolutely WONDERFUL

I totally understand your problem. I used to teach an adult oil painting class at a local recreation center. Because a professional artist who took my class a couple of times suggested that the landscape reference photos that I used for my class were a bit too complex for most beginner students, I began seeking more simple landscapes.

As a result, I was continually hunting for reference landscapes that were quite basic, and uncluttered, so as to be more appropriate for my more beginner students.

Of course, I used to browse the Reference Image Library on Wet Canvas, but I also discovered a wonderful site called "Paint My Photo". There are probably over 6000 photos on that site, all free for the artist to use for reference images. I have actually found some rather "stripped down" versions of landscapes that should be just what you seem to be seeking.
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Last edited by WFMartin : 01-24-2018 at 06:29 PM.
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