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Old 03-27-2018, 04:50 AM
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Lazarus E Lazarus E is offline
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phranque
I work almost exclusively from photos, since I'm a pet portrait artist, and pets don't sit still long enough and/or aren't present. I do know cameras "lie" so I don't follow them exactly. I sometimes use photos as a jump off, and create something much different. That's usually the case when it's not a pet portrait, though.
i dont think portraits painters from mold time were demand the subject to sit hours.
but if your eyes training well, you wont need even photo to finnish the painting.i think this is the most superior attribute of a painters.
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:52 AM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

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Originally Posted by p_nathan
The eyeball and the camera are different in how they perceive and represent the world.

I favor using my (rather short-sighted) eyeball, along with my mind, often helped by camera assists to remind me of the scene composition or to pick out color variations.

I've used pure photos, but they aren't /quite/ right, I have to do things to properly paint what the camera said isn't there.

That said, a lot of people do a lot of detailed painting by photos. Not going to slam them or deprecate what they do. It's not how I roll.
right!
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Old 03-27-2018, 10:41 AM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus E
i dont think portraits painters from mold time were demand the subject to sit hours.
but if your eyes training well, you wont need even photo to finnish the painting.i think this is the most superior attribute of a painters.
No, they didn't, but with the extra work involved, it's no wonder only very wealthy people could afford portraits. I rarely meet any of my subjects, and quite often they are dead. As I wrote, I keep in mind that cameras lie, and I try to make up for that. I've had people tell me I take a photo and put the life back into it. It's a tool.
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:35 PM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

As a cityscape painter with a special fondness for nocturnes and a tendency toward distractibility that makes plein air in the city an impossibility, photos are really my only choice. I'm not certain it's even possible at all to do the kind of cityscape painting that appeals to me just from imagination. I know it's not possible for me, at least not at this stage of my artistic development.

But I understand the limitations of photos and almost always extensively edit the ones I've taken in GIMP. I crop for better composition, to bring up the value of the darks and make other value adjustments when necessary, and sometimes to partially or even completely revise the color. I also add or delete elements - such as people or vehicles, or even buildings in the background. In the end, the finished painting represents a multitude of personal aesthetic decisions, which are, after all, what art-making is all about. I know some look down their noses about painting from photos, but the paintings I make couldn't be done any other way and I'm just fine with it.
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Last edited by AnnieA : 03-27-2018 at 12:42 PM.
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:41 PM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

Quote:
As a cityscape painter with a special fondness for nocturnes and a tendency toward easy distractibility that makes plein air in the city an impossibility,

An LED light that clips to your easel/box solves the nocturne problem, headphones solve the "distracted by everyone/everything" problem.
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:50 PM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by stapeliad
An LED light that clips to your easel/box solves the nocturne problem, headphones solve the "distracted by everyone/everything" problem.
Thanks for the ideas, Jess. But I've tried that and while an LED light on the palette is helpful, I'm generally far enough away from the subject that the light isn't cast far enough to help me see it. And, using GIMP, I find I later can pull up details in a photo taken at night that I couldn't otherwise see IRL at night. Distractions for me would include the movement of people and cars, not just sound.

Also, in a busy city scene, a photo can capture a moment in time that would be gone and lost before I could paint it if I worked in plein air. And that "moment in time" feeling is one of the things I like to try to capture in paint.

All that said, I am planning to try more plein air work with less busy subjects as soon as the weather warms a bit more. I've only done a few plein air pieces, but I know you do a lot of it and plein air seems to work well for you and many others. Wish me luck.

BTW, since this thread focuses on painting from photos, here is a page with some great tips on working with photos: https://blog.mitchalbala.com/categor...g-with-photos/
The above is from Mitch Albala's blog. He wrote the wonderful book, Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice, highly recommended for plein air painters or anyone else who does landscape work.
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Last edited by AnnieA : 03-27-2018 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 03-27-2018, 02:17 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieA
I'm generally far enough away from the subject that the light isn't cast far enough to help me see it.

You only need to light the palette and the easel. The point of a nocturne is to capture the dark shadows and the nocturnal look of the scene, so you really don't want to add your own lighting source. If you can't see the details, don't paint them. You do need enough light on your easel and palette so that the finished painting will look right when hanging in well lighted gallery.

A photo using natural light, no flash, can be helpful outdoors as well as back in the studio, but remember that if you use one you may disqualify yourself for entry into some plein air events that prohibit any type of digital or photographic devices when creating the painting.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:18 AM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by contumacious
You only need to light the palette and the easel. The point of a nocturne is to capture the dark shadows and the nocturnal look of the scene, so you really don't want to add your own lighting source. If you can't see the details, don't paint them. You do need enough light on your easel and palette so that the finished painting will look right when hanging in well lighted gallery.

A photo using natural light, no flash, can be helpful outdoors as well as back in the studio, but remember that if you use one you may disqualify yourself for entry into some plein air events that prohibit any type of digital or photographic devices when creating the painting.
All that is good advice, but one other thing I generally try to do is to lighten the shadows just a bit to catch the color variations within them. It would be difficult to do during the day, but pretty much impossible to do that without the camera at night. I haven't really done much plein air, but I imagine if I do it's likely to be during the day and with a simpler subject than a cityscape, so use of a photograph will not be a necessity as it practically is with cityscape nocturnes. Thanks for the tip though!
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:56 AM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

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Originally Posted by stapeliad
An LED light that clips to your easel/box solves the nocturne problem, headphones solve the "distracted by everyone/everything" problem.
A dark city street, concentrating on your work, with headphones on? Get your will up to date because that may not end well...
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:00 AM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

Yes very dangerous practice.
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:21 AM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

Depends on where you are. Obviously be in a safe location, maybe bring a friend/dog/whatever. Nocturne can also be that time right after dusk when it isnt pitch black but too dark to see your palette without a light.
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:20 AM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

An artist I like, Peter Fiore, (who often works from photos on a large monitor) has said that a plein air painting is like a good song--a really good song, but a studio painting-with all its layers and glazes and manipulations- is like a symphony. I tend to agree with his view.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:32 AM
TomMather TomMather is offline
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

AnnieM,

Thanks for the link to Mitch Albala’s blog. I’ve got his book on landscape painting, and his blog has some great articles about that as well as using photos for references. I like his philosophy about painting from photos— understand the limitations and compensate for them.
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:04 AM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

ZIP........good stuff.
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Old 03-28-2018, 11:09 AM
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Re: In defense of painting from photos

I don't normally wander off to this forum but I got lost and ... well, here I am. I am not a painter although perhaps one day ... but for now I work in graphite. I also prefer portraits of people who lived 150 years ago as well as cats. My drawings generally take 150 hours to complete and neither of those subjects will sit long enough for me to do so I rely on photographs. I will generally use several photos to better "see" my subject from different angles if possible but this is obviously not always the case. I do not copy the photo but adjust it as needed to get the result I'm after.

Periodically we get into the "photographs are cheating" argument or conversations that photographs are not reliable over at D&S but it seems to me that such an argument is not of much importance in my context. There can be distortions with lenses but if I am aware of what they might be I can adjust for that when I create the art. I take my own photographs of contemporary animals when possible but I rely on public domain images for my historical images - although I either crop them differently or change the pose somewhat by working from several different images if possible. I do not slavishly copy every hair on a cat or a portrait but go for generalities.

Anyway, that's my take on photos and art for whatever it might be worth - from someone who has no interest in color. Ms Marmalade - sorry to darken your door but I got lost. No worries ... I'll keep wandering before I disrupt your world too much.
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