Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Photos - Reference, Inspiration or Both

When I can't work directly outdoors I use my own reference photos. These are handy when time is short or the light is fading quickly and I don't have enough time to complete a plein air pastel.

I always work from my own reference photos except when doing animal or property portraits for a customer. The photo helps me recall the feeling of the place and reminds why I was excited about the scene. My b/w sketches also help.

But I'm surprised when I view the reference photo after the studio piece is completed and see how much I interpreted rather than copied the photograph.

Here is the pastel "End of Autumn 3" that I showed in the last blog.

"End of Autumn 3" 18"x24" pastel

And here's my reference photo as well as the cropped version of the photo. Cropping in photoshop is an invaluable compositional tool.

Swift Camp Creek Fall Reflections

The completed pastel may seem photorealistic but as you can see by comparing it to the reference photo, the photo is as much an inspiration as a reference.

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