Digital cameras and the Internet give us extrodinary access to source photos. Yet how many times have you gone looking for the "right" photo for a painting? Or wondered how the artist
went from this
Rarely do photographs
give precisely what you are looking for. The July
Classroom will focus on painting from photos creatively
. Specifically we will explore assessing, combining or changing source shots to get the artistic focus you
Kev's Haymaking done for the Landmark Challenge
Ready to play, ehem, I mean, work?
Topic Areas & Approach
I am not an expert at either painting or photography. But by putting our heads together, I think we will find that we know a lot about painting from photos.
Experienced painter? Share what you know! Find a new edge.
Novice? Work on a new skill! Gain confidence about your instincts.
Here is my mental map of the key concepts and skills we will explore:
Here is a more verbal sketch:.
Composition of the photo vis a vis painting composition
As watercolorists, what do we need to be aware of when taking or selecting source photos? When are great photos not great for painting?
- Shooting and using mulitple references
- Changing photos to fit artistic needs
- Building a reference file or scrapbook
- What does the lens see that the eye does not? And vice versa?
Design and Planning
Generic skills, but focused on bridging from photo to painting
How is the planning different than plein aire or real time? What do we notice about our paintings, when the image is traced vs free-hand drawn?
- Composition – tapping existing resources and coaching for beginners, recap and insights from experienced painters
- Field sketching techniques
- Photo editing programs as a design tool
- Handling distortions, especially in buildings and urban scenes
- Challenges of combining sources – perspective, light
- Favorite methods for transfering photo image to watercolor paper
The Dance between Painting and Photo
How do we judge a painting…by the match to the photo or perhaps by the creative difference? What can we learn from the Masters, contemporary artists, and those at WC where we can access both a photo and a painting?
- Defining YOUR balance of detail and simplification, accuracy and personal expression
- Letting go of the photo
- Handling natural light, skies, vibrant color
- Working from sketches and notes
is to set up the cyber workroom…offer exercises ….goad you into reflecting on what you are discovering…facilitate feedback… summarize key points.
is to post whatever paintings, photos, examples ideas or resources you have. I ask permission in advance to bug you from time to time with questions like “What does this (painting, idea, technique) do to move your skills or understanding forward?”
In the end, I will take what is said and shared, and turn it into an WC article or section of the Handbook.
I will post exercises and questions for each of the areas of the map in this thread. The Homework Thread will be for posting paintings, examples, resources, and an ongoing conversation about techniques, peer feedback, and things we’ve learned or rediscovered.
Overall the workshop will be an ongoing cycle of:
- Doing a exercise – working with photos or sketching/painting - focused on a core skill or concept.
- Feedback to each other on the exercise.
- Address painting technique questions as needed.
- Brainstorm / talk about insights, learnings, other examples relevant to this skill or concept.
- Summarize what we think are the most essential points and skills
You can expect to:
• Refresh / build skills in
- taking, selecting and modifying source pictures (digital or film)
- interpreting what you see, transforming it into what you paint
• Paint from photos you take or find online, including assessing and changing them as needed
• Contribute what you know: info, experience, paintings/photos, resources
• Get and give feedback on whatever you post
• Connect learning / painting here to other threads and projects, such as the Monthly Photo in the Learning Zone or the Landmark Challenge
• Talk about questions that arise….e.g. about creativity, the nature of making art, and capturing the world around us via our art
• Have fun!
What You Need
- Your normal painting kit. Watercolor pencils/crayon and mixed media welcome.
- Your own photos or those from RIL or other copyright free sources.
- Willingness to share your expertise and experience
- Your imagination and open mind
I strongly suggest
- taking a look at the Handbook articles:
using computers for painting http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=105349
- Painting Great Pictures from Photographs
by Hazel Harrison (thanks to Sylvia aka Painterbear for the recommendation
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Sterling/Silver; Pbk edition (December 31, 2001)
About $15 USD.
I look forward exploring photos and paintings with you!