Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Are you a painter or a camera?

In my classes this month we have been painting from vacation photos.   I have been trying to get the point across to my students that to create a good painting does not mean you try to paint a perfect copy of your photo.  We are after all, not cameras but painters.  Painters create.  I believe photos should be used as the source, the inspiration, the beginning for what evolves into a painting.  

Here is the example I brought to my classes.  I took this photo in Corneglia, Italy a few years ago.

I loved the light coming through the arch and spilling down the stairs, the window leading to nowhere, and the textures are great.  However,  the camera lense distorted the angles of the walls and windows.  Can you imagine how wrong my painting would have been had I just traced this photo and painted it? 

My painting below captures the light spilling down the stairs, the window to nowhere and the textures I found inspiring.  But my creativity let loose in the colors I chose making the painting definately not an exact copy of the source photo.

"Via Fieshi", 24" x 18" watercolor $850.00


Kay said...

Beautiful example of how to use a photo - and of my beloved Italy too! Your blog title is a gem, such a good way of putting it.

I find that I take a heap of reference photos around a subject, close-ups etc, and one general "composition shot".

Getting students to replace photographic flatness and colours with feeling and heart is something I love to do too.

If you are travelling my way I would love to meet you, watercolourists are not easy to find here! (south of Rome, north of Naples, almost mid-way).

Anne Campbell said...

Now that I've looked through your wonderful blog I can see that it might be harder for you to post work often (as you said you would like to do) because your work is so good it no doubt takes longer to produce than mine. Lovely work!