Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Painting from a photo but thinking about life

Boldly to the Sea
16 x 12
I've been a bad blogger lately.  Spring gardening duties have filled my weekends and my days are full of paint.  I can't complain.

One of the things I've been doing is working from photos, something that I find difficult to do well.  A photo of a person bears no resemblance to the reality of a 3D person, but if I want to capture the energy of a body in motion, I have to rely on the flat image.

The small painting above was done from a picture of my son heading into the California surf on a recent vacation.  I tried to keep all of the lessons that I've learned during life painting in my head as I rendered the figure: capture the gesture first and confidently, paint a mass, not an outline, use value and colour temperature to model form, and don't get hung up on details - even though a photo has plenty of them.

I'm pleased with the torso in this piece.  There is warm light on the top plane of the shoulders and a cool, receding plane down the vertical of his back.  In the indentation of the lumbar area, I had a chance to place some warmer, reflected light.  Overall, it works to create a believable series of ins and outs to the back; something that wasn't visible in the photo.

Though I'm a firm believer that life painting is the best way to learn about rendering form, these successes are encouraging.  They show me that having studied long and hard from life, it's possible to return to photos and make something plausible and interesting of them.  They can become a source for paintings on those days when I can't go out to paint, I don't have a model scheduled to sit, and I don't feel like painting a still life.

Still, I'm pleased that I'll have a model coming in tomorrow!



Dean H. said...

Love the painting, Ingrid! You didn't get entrapped by the photo at all. An excellent painting!

the pencils of a painter said...


Ingrid Christensen said...

Thank you Dean! It always brightens my day to get a comment from you.

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thanks, Myra! I've just had an enjoyable time browsing your blog. I love your decisive marks.