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Friday, September 10, 2010

Studying about creating from Photo's

Value plan
I  have been thinking a lot about how to keep painting when it gets cold, and to stormy using photo's.  And have been reading articles from pro artists on how to keep that "special" idea that you want to show your viewers in your artwork. The reason why you took that particular photo--or made that particular plein-air painting.  In other words, what it was that drew you to
"That"  in the beginning.  Sometimes it is something you see, like when out walking- - - but sometimes its an idea, and you need landscape ideas,or lighting, or some other information to support your ideas or themes.  When painting from photo references the temptation is great to copy every detail, no matter how much is needed or not, to convey your first feeling of the scene.   Its hard to get past this!  Editing the scene, using what you need to impart your concept is truly an artistic past time- - - and we need to think in order to get it down as we want and feel.   So, toward this goal, I thought using a value sketch would help me to eliminate, understand values, and pin point what is needed to convey my idea.  Also, I was playing with making my own grounds again,  So using an already used 140 lb. watercolor paper, 9 x 12, I gessoed both sides.  When dry, I placed acrylic  Matt medium mixed with pumic on one side, and let that dry.   Then using a photo for references, and water soluble graphite pencils in 2b, 4b, 8b,  I drew in a scene, reconstructing the photo a bit.  It was a back-lit rock, and aspens on a hillside looking toward the sun.  I wanted to show what a sunny spot it was in the forest of pines, then you walk thru an aspen glen.  So, I tried to meander a pathway thru it.   Here's the value plan, using the pencils, then using a watercolor brush with water to paint it down and hopefully get values that makes sense!  It does look OK, I thought.  Now for the color part!!  Knowing your values are supposed to help you with color-  So the next step was to use my pastels, and just go over the value sketch with color that best tells the story-----time of day, light placement and so on.  This is what I ended up with.   Its not great, but an interesting little project i gave myself.
I hope it reads well, and it may jump start some other works.  Anything you do is good for learning, and often opens many doors.  Just drawing a landscape with pencil is  difficult!  Really.  I have been working at it for a few years now, and often feel I don't see much growth.  Still, a very worth while passtime, and I do feel it helps my outdoor paintings.   And seeing in an artistic way.


  1. I really enjoyed your post today. Your thoughts and planning is always a good reminder for me to do these things. Saying it outloud or writing it down or reading it like I read your blog, all help cement these techniques in our minds, so that hopefully, one day, it becomes second nature and we don't even know we are doing it because we are in "the moment". On trail rides, my most favorite "holy grail of beauty" are those little trails through the sunlit aspens you talk of. Good for you! You are tackling those intimate, magical trail scenes!

  2. Thank you Carolyn- - - Now if I could edit a bit better---or a lot better. Anyhow, rocks are fun, but I should have a place for the eye to rest out there somewhere I think. Oh well--Learn with each one!