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Sunday, January 03, 2016

Studio Hack: A Great Way to Work with Reference Photos

'Where Poppies Bloom I'             5x7        oil on panel        ©Karen Margulis
Sometimes it is just the little things that make a big difference. I am so excited by my discovery of a simple way to display my reference photos while I paint. I don't use a tablet or computer to view photos. Instead I use small photos printed on regular paper. I usually clip my photo on my foamcore support board making it easy to see. But I needed a different solution for my oil painting corner. 

My little Strada easel doesn't have a place for attaching is a plein air set-up so it really isn't needed. I plan to use the easel for plein air and studio so I needed a way to see my photos.

I decided to think like a plein air painter.....Looking past the easel to my painting subject.....hanging on the wall in front of me! The perfect spot for my reference photo is the wall in front of my easel! 

I created a Wall of Inspiration. Simple and effective!

The Wall of Inspiration.
There was already a nail in the wall so I decided to use the nail. I used a binder clip to hang my photo from the nail. Binder clips are great! I left room on the wall to attach any plein air or pastel studies that I may want to use as reference. I used blue wall tack to attach the pastel study but another nail and binder clip would work and I will probably add another nail.

I printed out one of my favorite quotes about working from photos and added it to my Wall of Inspiration. It will remind me to interpret the photo and not copy it!

pastel study     5x7     $75
 I came upon this solution for viewing photos because of the nail in the wall but working this way is actually a great way to move away from being married to the reference photo and work more like a plain air painter. I am excited!

Finished!  Reference photo and pastel study on the wall behind my easel

close up of oil painting

side by side...oil and pastel


Unknown said...

nice one!

Unknown said...

What a delightful painting! My name is Rebekah Nordstrom. I am also participating in 30 in 30. I've really enjoyed your work so far, and I'm super excited about this challenge!


Mermaid Sue said...

This is lovely Karen & I really like the photograph idea.
I'm participating in 30/30 too.
I've been an admirer for quite some time - looking forward to seeing what the month will bring!

Teri said...

Hi Karen - Very nice painting! Happy to hear you are participating in this crazy January thing too. Your idea is one I am not sure I could pull off ... two paintings in two different mediums! It will keep you busy, but you will be awesome!
I love the Wendie Thompson quote, too.
Happy painting!

robertsloan2art said...

Oh that works well! I usually don't print out reference photos, if they're mine I view them on my Kindle or laptop. If they're from WetCanvas challenges I often just navigate to them and keep viewing within the thread they were posted. That leads to some good crops sometimes if the post is too large to view on screen. But if I want to see the whole thing I open it in Gimp and then crop by resizing the display window to the proportions I want.

I've always lived in small spaces and hate having a lot of paper around. The less paper, the better. The one thing printouts of photo refs are good for is if I want to bring a piece with me when I'm out and work on it in a waiting room. I did that more when I was doing slow colored pencils paintings.

dotty seiter: now playing said...

LOVE this painting. It pops right off the computer screen (I know, I know, kinda sad that I'm seeing it on a screen and not in real space) with energy and vibrancy and the mystery of life on this planet.