Friday, June 24, 2011

Paint Party Friday: Working from Photos

It's Paint Party Friday!  

My summer has been consumed with grandchildren and 
with maintenance of a home
that has gone from just the two of us to the seven of us!  
I think you might say "growing pains" but it has been good. 

I started a painting a couple of weeks back of my son with his son fixing a child's stroller.  
It is a watercolor based on a photo I took in November.


Here are some things I have picked up from working with photos:

  • Start by manipulating the photo and ignore the parts of the photo that are unimportant to you.  This is different than manipulating for printing.  You want to enhance the  exposure, contrast, tint, and saturation, and do some cropping, etc. Maybe you are pushing the warm colors so that the resulting image is more colorful than the original photo. Now, the focus is on shapes and values.
  •  Another example of this color manipulation is seen in my April 29, 2011 post of a Waterlily  (right) in which I showed an example of  boosting warm colors in a fairly neutral photo.
  • Change things at your discretion: Now, about the background in that top photo!  Yuck!  Who wants to see a background in a painting like that? You don't have to use the background from the photo!  Ignore it! Put in a wash of color.   I decided that with the white in the stroller and the white of the shirt I needed something with more color for the background and washed in a quick wash of cadmium yellow, Prussian blue and an occasional burnt sienna for contrast.
  • Strange perspectives: Here is another problem with working with photos...sometimes, the camera catches something in an odd position like this child's foot in the picture.  What a challenge to paint.  I am going to put a sock on his foot instead of figuring out the angles of each one of those toes.   
  • Light and Shadows: Also, watch for the direction of the light and shadows.  Make sure your shadows fall opposite the light source.  
  • Composition Manipulation: One of the benefits from working from photos is playing with the composition and combining photos and moving around figures and objects.  In a post from years ago, I used about five photos and arranged and rearranged photos until I decided what was best over a period of several posts. See  New Idea  and Idea Reworked and the completed painting A Day at the Beach
I hope everyone is finding their inspiration on this fun Friday! 
Be sure to check in on all the different artists today!  

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    31 comments:

    1. Amazing watercolor artwork! Great tips and your water lily is lovely.
      Happy PPF! Theresa

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    2. Wow! What a great painting! Love it!

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    3. Absolutely wonderful. And I loved that you moved them outside, it really makes it!

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    4. This is stunning - you are so talented with watercolour paints and I totally agree about using the bits of the photo you like and using artistic licence for the rest! Happy ppf.

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    5. Oh wow your watercolouring is fantastic, am in total awe. Happy PPF, Annette x

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    6. Fantastic work!!! Your are so talented, I bet your students really benefit from your knowledge and skills. Your painting of your son is so sweet, very Norman Rockwell-ish. Love it. :-)

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    7. very very beautiful. i love the light and darkenss of this piece! so well done! happy ppf!

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    8. These are amazing! Are you self taught or have you taken classes? I'm starting a watercolor class this week to learn more. Happy PPF! Marcia

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    9. What a beautiful piece you've done of your son with his son. You've put a lot of soul into it. Great job! I really like what you did with the painting. Happy PPF!

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    10. I can't wait for you to do your book of family paintings!
      Your kids are going to have a treasure of little paintings you've done of them and their children.

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    11. fantastic...i think if the renaissance masters had photographs they would have definitely used them...these are wonderful!

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    12. your painting is wonderful, a special moment captured in time. Thank you also for the lesson on how you went about this.

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    13. Your paintings are amazing! I love this pictures of the father with his son! I especially love how the little one is helping Dad!

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    14. Thanks for the good advice, this is something I still need to try! Valerie

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    15. It is a fantastic work I think you are an ARTIST, as well capitalized ... Saludos

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    16. It's all about composition, isn't it? Really sweet painting of your boys.

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    17. Love the work and love all the education!!! Thank you for sharing.
      cheers, dana

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    18. oh what a lovely moment captured beautifully with your paint. Gorgeous art you create :)

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    19. The painting of your son and grandson is wonderful! I love how you changed the colors and things to suite the painting and make it more interesting. Not being a slave to the photo can be challenging but so rewarding. Love your other paintings too! Happy PPF!

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    20. Wow absolutely stunning work!! I adore your painting of your son and grandson. I think it's a wonderful moment captured in time made even more special with your take on it!! Gorgeous work and that lily is lovely!

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    21. Gorgeous paintings! What you do with watercolors is amazing. Truly. I love what you said about only using the bits of what you like from a photo. I'll remember that.

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    22. Your artistic license to take the boys outside makes for an even BETTER work. And your Water Lilly is beautiful! HAPPY PPF!

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    23. That watercolors is wonderful!!! Thanks for the great photo tips!

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    24. Your watercolor working skill is fantastic and agree with the artistic license for creative projects! Well Done!

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    25. Wonderful painting today.As a new painter your tips on photo manipulation were great.thank you.thanks for commenting on my painting yesterdy. Happy PPF. take care, gerri

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    26. Great informative post! You painting is wonderful and so much nicer than the photo! Thanks for the hints!

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    27. You really have watercolour down to a fine art ;0) Dxx

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    28. Holy Awesome watercolor, Batman! I too like to work from photos: I feel like it gives you more options. I also like to take photos of my work as I go and manipulate them in photoshop to help me through pallet and background dilemmas. :)

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    29. OMG, amazing! I love all the shadowing and highlights to the skin. This is something I have yet to get a handle on.

      Bravo to you!
      Happy belated PPF! I am taking a late tour!

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