Friday, August 10, 2012


Armadillo from our front yard!
I love taking my own reference photos, and it is super easy, especially these days with the incredible digital cameras in every size, for every budget. I use my smart phone camera for impulse pictures, and I have a large digital Olympus with all the fun lenses for zooming in on subjects, and doing some close up photos.
American Toad visiting my rock garden

As you can see from these 3 reference photos, they don't even have to be the best quality.These are a bit blurry in places, and the composition is off, but that is why they are reference photos...I can refer to them for the basic idea that I had for a painting.I sometimes use 4 different photos to put together an interesting painting. 
Some kind of wasp that loves my front yard hickory tree

I keep most of my photos on a disc or memory stick, and can then use my laptop to bring up the photo during a painting session. This way, I can zoom in on a trouble area to see the details, and back off from it to see the overall view. I can also manipulate my photos with a photo shop program, and distort the contours or make it black and white, so that I can see where the contrast lies.
I am not saying that I paint exclusively from photos, just that the convenience is there for certain situations. It is really hard to get an animal to sit for you while you paint, so you sketch it in person, get the feel of the creature, the gestures and movements, and finish with photos and any extra helps that you have in your studio.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I also paint from photographs. Even if I am painting a still life, I take a photo of it. One of my favorite paintings was done from a shot that I took on vacation one year. I have the memory of actually taking the shot, as well as painting it. Beautiful photos, by the way. simple beautiful.