Thursday, June 16, 2011

Painting from Life versus using Photos

Here is an example I wanted to share seeing that so many times I am asked about the use of photos. They have their place however more often than not even with the advances of digital photography, I am amazed at how much more I see and experience when working from life.
Here is a painting I did at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park of a fellow painter, Paul Casale.
Below it I attached a photo I shot as well, always clicking away just as a back up of reference material.
You can see how especially in this case that the photo becomes very contrasty and looses all the good variances in the darks and even washes out the light.

Many years ago while studying watercolors under Irving Shapiro at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, he said you can bracket your photos, taking one that is light, one as the meter suggested, and one that is dark to try and capture all of the necessary elements of the scene, he also stated that instead of having one bad photo to work from, now you have three. Painting out on location definitely has its place.

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