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Friday, February 09, 2018

Dealing with TMI in a Reference Photo

'Through the Bluebonnets'         9x12        pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $155
If you work from photos you may have run into this problem.  TMI. Too Much Information. Extra trees, unnecessary fence posts, garbage cans...you know what I mean! Often we get caught up in copying the photo and get frustrated trying to fit it all in and make the painting work. We forget that we have a powerful tool. We have the artistic license to edit the clutter in a photo and make changes if it leads to a better painting.

Edgar Degas reminds us to edit and compose in his quote.

"Even in front of nature one must compose"

Have a look at my reference photo below. When I first looked at it as a possible reference I thought it would be perfect. But on closer inspection I realized that there was some unnecessary information TMI that didn't support my concept of walking down a path lined with bluebonnets. I needed to edit! What might you change in this photo?

In our weekly challenge on Patreon we used this photo to create new compositions. We had some very thoughtful results and it was clear that dealing with the clutter and giving ourselves permission to make changes opens up a whole new world! Here are some ideas for changing this photo:
  • Change the format from landscape to portrait or maybe even square or panoramic.
  • Zoom into one small section and make it the focus.
  • Lower the horizon and make the sky play a bigger role.
  • Change the time of day or conditions for a different mood.
  • Eliminate the road and make it a meadow filled with flowers.
  • Change the shapes and sizes of the trees. 
  • Choose a tree to be the focus and downplay or remove others.

The step by step demo of my interpretation is available on Patreon. www.patreon.com/karenmargulis

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