|10x10 pastel on somerset|
I do not like to use photos to create my art. To me, they have no soul and I don't like their lies. Today I made an exception.... Let me explain. I am taking an online course, "painting water" with Deborah Paris. It began Friday. The first assignment was to do value drawings of water and reflections in the landscape. Normally I would go straight outside no matter what the temperature. Painting or drawing from a photo does nothing for me. But, as you know, that is not an option right now. (I guess this is another learning curve of sorts.) I am home bound and am fortunate to be doing what I am doing. So I chose a photo from my enormous library.
To paint from a photo or not to paint from a photo is a forever question with artists. I know many very talented artists who create gorgeous work using many photos as reference. In this way they are not painting the photo, instead they use the photo as inspiration. Some copy directly...some even project the photo onto their canvas.
Why am I so anti- photo?
First, their values are not accurate. That little eye in the camera can not record what we can see. You need to make changes to have your painting / drawing read. I have attended painting competitions where it has been obvious a photo was used to create the painting. Perspective errors that weren't changed. Understanding of the subject as a 3d thing was not present. Values were too many and inaccurate..
You can not feel and taste light with photos.
A talented artist can make it happen. He/she uses the photo as inspiration, then discards it quickly into the painting. Beautiful paintings are made. The main thing is you can't be a slave to it. Nor can you be a slave to your plein air studies as reference. I have seen other artists keep and correct up to the photo till the painting is "finished" never once think about what the painting wanted him/her to do.
Back to this drawing, I have struggled with it for 2 days. I want it to feel alive...maybe it is my prejudice. I will let you know as I go since to study reflections for this month I am stuck with photos.
Bottom line: Painting/drawing is about decision making and feeling. Once you understand what is before you (after years of practice) you decide how to make your work sing.
Paint and draw from life as much as you possibly can. There is no substitute.