Friday, January 05, 2007

Pitfalls of using photographs by others

The painting (above) was done using photograhs that I didn't take. I seldom resort to that but occassionally there is no option but doing so poses certain problems. Not because of a lawsuit as my painting ends up far from being close to the photograph. The problem comes with lack of information even with a good photo seems to provide. Here is an example.
The first picture (below) shows the rocks but gave me no indication of where they jutted in and out. I assumed they didn't have much direction at all. I started the painting using the first photo and then found this second photo which defined the crevises with light and shadow more clearly. Had I actually been at the lighthouse (wish I could) even for a minute I would have grasped and understood the topography that the first photo simply didn't express.
So, even if you work from photographs, doing so from your own photos will result in a much clearer undertsanding of what you are trying to portray. It only takes a moment for those important features to stick in your mind when you take your own pictures.

Keeping your acrylics from drying out

As I'm sure you know, acrylics dry quickly. Sometimes too quickly. Your half hour break for lunch will find a palette full of unusable dry paint when you return. A simple box (I built mine with a clear acrylic top) will keep your paints wet even overnight. Just give the top of the lid as well as the paints a squirt of water from a spray bottle when covering your paints.

Another commercial method to keep paints wet is to purchase "Masterson's Sta-Wet Palette". With this you use the wet sponge and a special paper palette. It will keep acrylic paints very wet for many days.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

More than paint on canvas

Painting a landscape is not about putting paint on canvas, it is the process of continually and attentively absorbing the visual world with a caring eye in a way that others take for granted.