Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tippette #11 - Improving on your Photograph

Tippette = Snippet of a Tip (in watercolor).  One per day...during April...right here!

Improving on your Photograph

"Before the Storm" by Helen K Beacham - Sold.

I improved this photo in several ways.  
- I straightened out the horizon line.  It must be straight (unless you want to cause your viewer to feel disoriented on purpose!)
- I made the wave break THROUGH the horizon line on the left for visual interest.
- I altered the wave formation so it's not so bland.  I took lots of photos that day and my painting is a combination of several of those.
- I obviously changed the colors.  I chose about 5 colors ahead of time and limited myself to those. I layered (or glazed) washes of color over previously dried layers.  You can see it in the detail below.  Some areas I painted wet into wet, and some were dry brushed (I'll touch on this in a future tippette).

Detail to show layering of washes to create movement and interest.
When I started painting 30 years ago, there was no such thing as a digital camera and even though Photoshop showed up on the scene 23 years ago (can you believe that?!), it didn't go mainstream for many years.  So, as a young painter, I had to deal with a lot of crummy photos that I took. I had to learn to improve what I saw on my photo, and I'm still in the habit of doing that today. 
Cameras may have improved since then, but photographs still "lie", so don't copy them without determining how you can improve them!  The shadows are usually too dark and the highlights leave a lot to be desired.  But, in addition to generally improving on my photos, I now try to interject an emotion or feeling into the scene that the camera just can't translate.  I'm the one that was there, absorbing the sunshine, or breathing the cold air.  
I'm the one (as the artist) that can make you feel that sensation when you look at my work.

Come with Helen K. Beacham and Kelly Medford to paint Venice this October...
click HERE for details!

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