|'A Bit of Sunshine' 8x10 pastel ©Karen Margulis SOLD|
The problem many have with painting from photos is that we are tempted to put in every detail we see. It is all there....every petal, every leaf, every blade of grass. It is sometimes hard to filter out all of the visual clutter. But unless we are striving for a photorealistic painting, we want to be able to simplify and leave something to the viewer's imagination. The solution is easy.....work from a blurry photo!
|My underpainting based on the blurred reference photo|
- What I like to do is choose my reference photo and open in my photo program. I am using iphoto on my mac but in the past I used Picasa and Photoshop.
- Most photo programs will have some way of blurring a photo. Some refer to it as soft focus or posterize or blur edges. Some programs let you choose the level of fuzziness. I like to have it blurry enough so that I am able to see the big simple shapes in the photo. I don't want to see the little details.
- I print out a blurred version and the original version of the photo. I use the blurry version for my initial block in and the first layers. (see photo above)
- After the initial block in I will blend in this first layer so that it is vague and fuzzy.
- Now I take out the original photo so I can see the detail. I decide where I want the most detail, contrast and sharp edges and gradually build up the painting with this in mind.
If you want to simplify a busy composition then you want to be sure to start with the big, simple shapes and build up to the details. Working from a fuzzy photo gives you a head start in the simplification process!