From Photo to Painting...Musing By: diana

Copyright 7-12  DP
Snapdragons.  These are so colorful.   Or do you see just black and white?  See all the different colors:  Whites, greys, greens and  what some might say cream color??   

These flowers look as if they are going to jump or blow they seem so real in photo...and I found myself asking some questions.  What is beyond the trees behind the flowers, there seems to be a bright area?  And I see just a little red off to the far right but when I paint this I will leave the red I cannot balance the color realistically on the other side bottom left.  There are shadows,  highlights, depth and because these flowers are full front, there is no strong concern regarding not having the viewers' eyes fall off the edge of the painting. 

 In all actuality this particular photo if painted would only require about 6-7 colors but some mixing skills.  I know exactly what types of Dynasty Brushes are needed to do justice to this photo.   Next is choosing, finding or hunting for a surface.  One that will not detract from the painting but will somehow enhance it.   If it is done on canvas, what size?   Do I matt the canvas or let the frame do it?   To help you decide more think of where you want to hang the picture when you have finished painting it.  

Also something to think about is are you a tight or loose painter?   You may find the need to change the size of your brushes vs the ones the artist recommends...  She is using what works best for her,  the paints she uses and the surface/size she is working on....  Her choices may not work for you at all.  Since I learned this and began choosing and using the brushes that worked for me...there has been a big difference in the ease in painting, and in the completed piece.  

My painting is going to be small.  probably no larger than 8" x 10" because this is my preference.  And secondly you can always find a neat little niche for a painting this size vs a larger, more expensive surface.  Mine is going to hang in my studio and  I am  going to use salmon and yellow as my colors with a lot of wood...when I work on doing a bit of a transformation this I am pretty safe with the colors of the actual photo.  

Next is choosing your colors...and try mixing and noting the colors mixed on a dark grey background of "something"....  so that you will be able to refer to your mixture recipe as you paint the design and it will flow smooth.  

Have your Extender handy... to co-ordinate with whatever paint brand you use.   I don't use it very often but there are times it has helped and/or saved me.  Other artists use it as a staple with their paint and there is nothing the matter with that....if it works better for you use it.  

I am going to use Traditions Paints as I am "playing with them".  They are brand new to me so I need to get "used" to how they act and react.  I am so thankful for my mixing experience which I have been working on for years...but the Traditions are just a bit different so I will have to learn the difference.   There is no way to "teach" paint mixing ... it is all about "doing it" yourself.   I have an Acrylic Paint Recipe book that I refer to if I get "stuck"....  and everyone that paints the same design, using the same paints will get a different look depending on "their third eye" and how they see the colors, or WANT the colors.  

Do you feel comfortable doing the muted background, trees, etc?  You want it dark, lacking color, and different shades of the main color you decide upon.   Depending on you the artist---- you may decide on a cool background using Paynes Grey in Americana, or maybe you want warm shades of Charcoal Grey both used with either Cool or Warm White.  Since I like mixing my colors I will be dirty brush mixing on my palette so that I get MANY shades in my background which will give me more what I want as it will create more depth....this is the GREAT advantage of color mixing.  MAGIC DEPTH.   It is like taking your painting to that "next step";  AND it is an exciting one.

And some artistic license.....hmmm.  Right now this is Mother Natures' picture, she was the artist, and I was lucky enough to capture it.  The seeds, fertilizer, dirt, water and planter is where I started, then a great digital camera...patience and many different shots..... so I might decide to use some of my own artistic license to add to or subtract from the photo......or maybe I will leave it just as it is and use artistic license in the surface, mat, frame, etc.

There is a lot to think about when you are going to paint from a photo.... I like to do this, prefer to do this, and it helps me to become my own artist... and yes, I consider myself an artist...

So thanks for those of you who read this.  Maybe it will set you thinking about your art, your medium, etc.  I know it has helped me to know where I am going to be going when I start this painting.

So now to print this off and add some more of my own personal notes...kinda what I want to do,  how to do something,  suggestions to myself, etc.   I am always more comfortable in memory when I write things down

Happy Art.....

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