Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Photographic Sketching



While waiting for acrylics to dry, I ventured out into the yard mid afternoon yesterday for some photographic sketching. Tony Paul's term is right on the nose. Though I've been doing it forever, I never stopped to really consider  that what I was doing, with my camera and  time spent on the computer in my photo editing program, was making sketches that could be painted.

Entanglements, photograph, l.w.roth


This  photograph will never be a painting. It was taken at approximately 3:20 PM. It's been cropped  to get the best composition, and the exposure has been decreased to increase the values. Actually, an all over, totally drab gray was the truth of the overcast day. Pictures with few values  make poor references, UNLESS graphite is the artist's medium of choice. This would make one amazing graphite drawing that would take forever. It is not for the daily painter.  --The tree stump to the right of center needs to be faded out by a couple of steps--just thinking in case...


A photographic sketch with reference possibilities

After my gray disappointment, I caught a glimpse of sunlight at 8:45 AM. I threw on my duds and headed outside to catch a few photos before the sun was blocked by the expected snow. Sunlight obviously is desirable if color is what you're after and aren't we all? This photograph has painting potential, but still needs the painters eye to simplify it. Off the top of my head, I would do a bit of clearing and eliminating and play up the horizon which runs along the top third of the picture. I didn't mat this photo, for the blues and golds and subtle violets I see make it is a good reference for future use. (Can you see the deer's hindend  It's about a third down on the right and in about a third). Note the burgundy in the fallen branches in the foreground; burgundy can always persuade me. The color scheme presented in this photo is what makes it attractive.

This photo too had to be enhanced. While the sun was out, it wasn't full strength. After cropping to place the horizon where I would if painting the scene on canvas, I ran this through my photo adjustment program a few times till I brought out as much color as possible without turning the blue to pink. No matter what I did with the top photograph, it remained as colorless as the day.

There are days suitable for photo sketching and there are days that are not IF you want the perfect sketch to come right out of the camera. But that will never happen--just a drawn sketch  is rarely  is used  as is for the painting, a photographic sketch is just a notation, an aid to memory, a  place to kick-off .




12 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos - how wonderful to walk outside to such sights! I like the way y9u describe them from a painter's perspective.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm reading this book by Tony Paul titled Painting From Photographs. The author pushed me out of the house with my camera to check out some of the things he was saying. Given the amount of snow we have and the fact that the scabs haven't fallen off my rejuvenated (youthful) knee, I stuck close to home. These condos are quite unique. There's woods in front of them and in back of them. We were lucky to find them-- and I am lucky to have scenic nature out my back door for just these occasions.

      Thank you for the link. I listened to The Petticoat Scandal this morning. Loved it. After John, I might have to pursue Andrew. He struck me as a Lyndon Johnson type figure. Peggy reminded me of the plight of pretty girls among high school girls. The pretty girls don't have it as easy as everybody thinks. High school females can be bitches.

      Delete
  2. Your photos are very inspiring. It has been a while since I did any tree painting, and I have only done a few with snow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well isn't that odd. Sweden has snow right? I would have thought you would have painted what you know--though, it is pretty colorless out there most days.

      I love trees. I do like their linear qualities--and winter is the best time to see their forms--tough to paint, however. I'm struggling with Wildfire and had to back off to rethink my approach.

      Delete
  3. You are so talented with the camera, Linda - it must be added to your list of artistic accomplishments. I love the intricately tangled tapestry of branches in the top photo and even though the color is gray and muted, it is so obviously NOT a black and white photo. And the second one is stunning. It took me while to find Waldo (oops, I mean the deer) but there he is! You live in a place a breathtaking beauty in all seasons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Photography does require some investigation to be a useful studio tool--mostly reading the manual and getting out there with it. When its way too cold to paint outdoors, the way to go is with a camera--and some ski gear. But even dressed warmly, a half hour was all I could give it. We're very fortunate to have found these condos surrounded by a nature preserve. I would have ventured into the woods, had I not seen the deer. Later in the day, the whole herd was enjoying the warmth of that sunny area including a large buck with more points than I could count from my window. It's special. It's why I wanted the french easel. I do enjoy the tangle of the woods; all those interlocking spaces are fascinating to someone who thinks both positive and negative spaces are equally positive.

      Delete
  4. Your photographs are quite beautiful. But I so agree that photos function as an aide to memory and not as a detailed roadmap for a painting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Shirley. The top one makes it as an art photograph, the bottom one is just place to jump off. The scene needs additions and subtractions if it makes it to canvas. (It won't).

      Delete
  5. beautiful photos...and I love the differences between them. I attended a workshop once given by Robert Gamblin (the paint guy). It was on the coast, but slightly inland. He talked a while and then yelled out: "Now get out there...get outside...and paint the tangle!" I bet you would have been the star of his class! A scroll through your work indicates that you love "the tangle".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do love to tangle! And it's what I'll be doing as soon as some temperatures roll in where I don't need gloves, traction boots,a down parka and ski cap in my plein air kit. It was cold out there. With leggings, I think could have doubled the shots I took and might have ventured deeper into the woods. I'm putting them on my list. It's unfortunate Blick doesn't sell plein air winter garb.

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. You just don't want to be bothered shlepping a camera around. I'm not so clever, the camera has been used as an art tool since Vemeer's time. Any tool that assists in sharpening the eye, is valuable--EXCEPT THE PROJECTOR. That has no place in the studio. It's for hacks. I always suspect photorealists of its use.

      Delete