May 21, 2018

It has been my experience that many artist who work from photos search for the perfect image, then once found proceed to faithfully copy it. While this approach may be perfectly fine for some, it is not the approach that I believe leads to the most rewarding artwork. Today, I plan on discussing some of the reasons I make this claim as well as offer ideas on how to do things differently.

When looking at any subject people not only see what the camera records but we see it through the filter of our brain and past experiences. That is one of the many reasons we are often disappointed with the photos we take. We remember far more color and far less detail than the typical photo shows. We naturally select whatever interest us and dismisses all superfluous objects that often clutter the picture. By far the most important difference is that we see with two eyes and the camera only has one lens. Seeing with two eyes allows us to see volume hence we experience the world three-dimensionally.

So how does one break away from blind copying? One sure fire way is to always use two or more photos when you paint. This alone will force you to use your creative mind to merge the two images into one image that is better than either image by itself. We often see a photo that we would paint if only this or that aspect was different. As artist when painting, we use all our past experiences and rearrange, add objects, change shapes, color and numerous other things to create visually more interesting paintings.  Another method is to convert your source material to black and white then paint it in full color.

Finally, remember if you want the viewer to be excited by your artwork the first and most important step is that you are visually excited by what you are painting. Excitement begins with what and how you choose to paint your subject.