Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Using photos to make better paintings

I just read Michael Weymouth's terrific new book "How Photography Can Make You a Better Painter" and it got me very inspired. Finally! A book that challenges the notion that painting from photographs is "inconsistent with the creative process". I found some great tips on how to use a digital camera as a very handy visual aid.

I took this photo early this morning with my little Canon Elph with a ten times zoom.  Had I been painting this scene on location, I would have left out the woman chatting, and the painting would have been about the telephone poles and the early morning light. It got very hazy and cloudy all of a sudden so I came back to the studio and painted this from the photo.
Note to self: One of the danger zones when painting from a photo is that you have all day to do it. That's not good for me. I have to pretend I am outside in order to keep the spontaneity and fun in it. This got a little overworked, without that fear of the light changing.

"Morning Meeting"
16 x 20 


  1. Very nicely done! I love how the telephone poles lead your eye into the painting. I also struggle sometimes with painting on location as the light can change very rapidly!

  2. I've been reading Weymouth's book, too, and find it very inspiring and helpful. I like your painting from the photograph. You did a good job with the colors and simplifying shapes. Well done!

  3. It looks like it could have been done plein air...not an easy task. Beautiful painting!