Using Photographs to Create a Painting?
Too many people create a painting by simply copying a photograph. There is virtually no creativity in that, although it probably demonstrates a certain level of technical skill in being able to transfer the image to paint. If you want to create your own paintings, that are individual to you, you have to go beyond copying. What I am going to suggest her are a few ideas how you might create a painting which is more individual to you, the artist.
The following ideas are more creative and will take longer to prepare before the painting starts, but it will be more rewarding. The whole experience of creating a painting will be more challenging and exciting.
Try these Ideas
1. Try to draw from things seen rather than from a photograph. Take a sketch book with you wherever you go and draw. Use and maybe refine some of the ideas from the sketchbook in your painting. Maybe a simple sketch van be the starting point for a great painting. If you want to use photographs use them to enhance an idea. Or take multiple shots of, say a landscape, but from different angles and distances. Use elements from a number of photographs and combine them into your own landscape.
2. Once you have the germ of an idea sketch it out on paper as a simple tonal sketch using graphite or charcoal. Look where the lights and darks are going to be, don’t bother with the detail. Does the eye focus on one part of the picture? Is this the important bit you want people top focus on? Are there too many light or dark areas, does the picture look balanced, is that important?
3. Try moving elements around in the picture. does that tree look better being larger, small, on the left or the right.
4. Try sketching out your idea simply a few times and painting it with different colour schemes. If you have access to a computer and scanner, scan your drawing into the computer and play with colour schemes in a suitable drawing/painting package. You might try the colour plan that Matisse and others have often used; namely half a colour wheel and the opposite colour as the focus colour.
For example: the majority of the painting might be painted in blues, greens, yellows and may be a little black and white. The focus colour is the opposite or complementary of green is red. Only small amounts of red are used in the area/s you want the viewer to focus on when you create a painting. The artist John Constable used this basic idea a lot. See if you can notice the red in his landscapes? When you do you won’t be able to take your eyes off it.
When you have decided on a good colour scheme and have worked out the tonal values, sketch out your idea and create your masterpiece.
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