|'Daisies on My Mind' 11x14 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
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I always encourage students to use photos they have taken themselves!
It is my mission to help students to use photos for inspiration and not to rely so heavily on them. One of the things I am trying is blocking in a painting without the photo using only the black and white thumbnail. This usually elicits a collective groan from the students. How could they start a painting without the photo!! But this week one student made an important point. He stated that he wouldn't be able to start the painting without the photo because he wouldn't know what the place looked like. (it was one of my landscape photos)
Great point. And the perfect reason why we need to use our own reference photos. It is very hard to paint a scene that you haven't visited yourself. If you use someone else's photo you have no personal connection. When you take the photo....you were there. You stood at that place and felt the air, smelled it, heard it. It becomes personal. It will be much easier to paint it because it is in your mind. The photo is no longer a crutch because you are intimate with the place.
The first step in breaking free from photos is to use photos you have taken yourself!
Tomorrow I will share how I work with my photos. Today's daisy painting was done without the reference photo. I stood in that field of daisies and soaked it all in which allowed me to recall how it felt.