Well I for one do paint from reference photos and want to share some of my personal ideas with you.
When developing a painting from a reference photo, aim for it to be a piece of artwork that comes from you rather than just a copy of an image. In other words be creative with what you do. In saying this though you may need to consider what a client wants, then decide if you want to go ahead with the painting if they expect a "copy" of the photo.
My observations of painting from a reference image may help those that prefer to work this way. If you have any ideas that can be of help please add them to the comments section of this topic.
- Gain experience from Plein-air painting and learn to draw. It will give you a much better understanding of how to handle the reference photo.
- Best if painting from own reference photo.
- Never use a photo that has copyright.
- Do a sketch from the photo taking note if perspective needs to be fixed, as often point and shoot cameras do distort an image. This is why you need to have some drawing experience.
- Take note of colours when capturing the photo, as often the reference image will be different. There is no reason why you also can't be creative with colour.
- Be aware shadows have a lot of varied colour throughout them, not a dark area of black or blue as often is the case in photos.
- Painting from a well calibrated computer monitor is often a better experience to paint from than a printed off photo.
- Same as Plein-air, leave out unnecessary detail.
- Move, remove, shrink, make taller or even add a tree in a landscape to improve the overall design. Trees are not the only items to consider, as there are many changes that can be made.
- Take many photos of the area to help remind you what it was about the scene that inspired you in the first place to create a piece of artwork. This is where digital photos are good, as there are no unnecessary developing costs if you make use of a computer monitor.
- Don’t just copy, have fun and be creative.
Those artist that use reference images, we are in good company.
Some of the old masters that used reference photos are:
- Edgar Degas
- Paul Cezanne
- Paul Gauguin
- Vincent Van Gosh
- Toulouse Lautrec
There maybe more and would be interested to know who they are?
Yesterdays post I said that I would post a photo and a watercolour painting from that reference material. I had a lot of fun playing around with my paints in the comfort of my studio when I painted this one.