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Friday, March 09, 2018

No Excuse Reference Photos: Stop and Snap!

'Drive By Skies'           7.5x9.5           pastel       ©Karen Margulis
Yes I paint from photos. It is true that photos are not perfect representations of reality and if we copy them we may copy the bad along with the good. So I use photos only for inspiration. To remind me of the time and place. I will only use my own photos because only I know what I saw and felt.

But what if I don't have photos or I am a terrible photographer?
I hear this a lot. Many artists don't have a stockpile of their own photos (my computer currently has over 40k photos!) But in today's digital and mobile age there really is no excuse for not taking your own reference photos. If you have a smart phone you have a camera. If you don't have a smart phone you can pick up a very inexpensive point and shoot digital camera. That's all you need.

Photos don't have to be perfect. In fact the bad photos are the ones I like best. I have permission to change them and make them into more compelling paintings.

A selection of my reference photos

I take  a lot of photos. My of them are what I call drive by shots. When I am  a passenger I often take put my phone or camera and snap away. Today's cloud painting was inspired by a drive by shot on a road trip through New Mexico.

No matter where you live you can find beauty and interest. When you see something that makes you stop.... and snap a photo!



I love painting the sky. I have written a PDF booklet filled with tips and techniques for painting skies and clouds. More information in my etsy shop. click here for the link

2 comments:

Tim Moore said...

I take tons of photos too..and something people might not know.Most people have a google account and their photos are all backed up there. If you go to photos.Google.com. all the pictures you have taken with all your phoned are there!.I had pictures I took 10 years ago on there from other pbones..

Marsha said...

Ditto. My phone is full. Time to transfer to the computer and print some of them.