It's about the art

This blog has moved - please visit my new home at

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Working from photos

"Cypress Shadow" oil on canvas, 18x36"

I've always found working from photos to be awkward. The colors never seem to be the same as what I remember, and it feels really different from working from life to be peering at a little photograph. But there are times when working outside poses distinct technical difficulties, like having a large canvas in a windy location. (Can you say sail?) And then I read Ed Terpening's blog about using a television to view reference photos for painting. He hooks his camera to the TV, and then his reference photos are large and full of light. So I set up my laptop in the studio to do the same thing, and it worked great. I could stand back and get the overall picture or zoom in on sections at will.


At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Greta Christina said...

Interesting. It seems like the shadow of the tree came out sharper than it might have if you were painting from life -- if you were painting from life, of course, the shadow would be moving.

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Sharon Bancroft said...

I like this one a lot - the idea of the tree being outside the composition, the nuanced light on the faces of the buildings. I haven't tried working from photos because I feel like I can't see details the same way, but it seems like a useful tool to have in the ol' box. Maybe the TV / computer screen trick is the ticket. Anyway, keep up the nice work.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Kris Shanks said...

Greta - you've hit upon one the difficulties painting outdoors. The trick is to lock in the shape and position of the shadows first, and then even if you adjust the colors the location of the shadow stays the same. But you're right, it was nice not having to worry about that shadow moving.

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Ed Terpening said...

Kris, great to hear this technique works for you! I also connect my Mac running iPhoto, which gives me even more choices and I can manipulate them on the computer.


Post a Comment

<< Home