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Friday, August 28, 2015

Interpreting a Bad Reference Photo

'The Glow'                         16x20                 pastel               ©Karen Margulis
painting available $325
 I love a good bad photo. You know the kind of photo that has some good bones but has a few problems keeping it out of the family photo album. The bad photos make better paintings sometimes. Bad photos beg to be better. They free the artist to interpret...to make it personal.

Take today's painting. I was working from a bad photo. It was too dark. It looked like a night shot but I remember it being late afternoon. The colors were washed out and the composition/shapes were something to be desired.

the reference photo.....bad!
I began the painting with the idea that I would make it moody with a gray blue sky. I did an underpainitng with yellow orange and dark blues.

  • I moved the horizon up slightly to make room for some reflections.
  • I broke apart the big clump of trees making them into a more interesting grouping.
  • I added a smaller tree to the right for balance.
  • I decided I liked the block in color of yellow for the sky and water so I changed my color scheme.
  • The change in colors completely changed the mood of the painting but I like it better than the dark broodiness of the photo.
There is nothing like taking a bad photo and having fun making it into a more interesting painting!


tari said...

Lovely! And it sounds do easy). Did you use yellow color paper?

tammy said...

This is a truly beautiful painting, Karen.

tres said...

Luv the glow! Colors are beautiful! I have a halfway decent pic I've been wanting to paint, but it needs some color in the sky. I was a lil unsure of what to do...but thanks to this post, I'm anxious to start it now! Thanks!!