Sunday, 12 August 2007

Painting from photos

The online artforum WetCanvas frequently holds various type of projects. I've come across the Landscape forum's August project. Containing a series of photo references, various people submit and discuss their interpretations of these. Since it's not limited to one medium (such as oil, pencil or similar) and usually gets quite a few people involved, it's an interesting opportunity to see other people's interpreations and techniques for painting similar references.

The project photos contain various rock formations - and so I quickly jumped at it. I've been doing more sketches from my own photos and references to practice rocks, their internal structures and overall form - trying to keep the balance between generic (this is an angular rock) and more specific characteristics.

These are the two sketches I did for one of the reference images:

Pencil in sketchbook (14x21 cm)

Pastel on paper (30x40 cm)

The reference photos are all very interesting and fascinating, still, there is something strange about drawing from photos, in particular if it's other people's photos... all that goes along with the impression of the actual scene is gone or not there in the first place. It reminds me of the painting week in Perthshire - and the difference between the impressions on site and the actual photos.

The problems associated with painting from photos are well-known, and most people who paint from photos are aware of them and acknowledge them. Yet, reference photos remain an important tool to help painting indoors. Charles Sovek has a couple of good pointers in his Lessons from the Easel on how to improve the reference photos to reintroduce the vibrancy of actual scenes back into paintings.

1 comment:

ian gordon said...

nice work throughout. very "fresh".