Whether I am painting a specific scene (en plein air) on location or back in the studio, I usually refer to a few of the photos that I took to guide my composition of the painting. If I do not complete the painting on location, I may add some finishing touches in the studio. Or, I may pull out some reference photos of a specific location at some later date and create a painting from those photos.
When using reference photos, I rarely transfer the composition or details to the painting in the same way that they appear in the photos. I don’t want the painting to be an exact copy of the photo. I want to be able to express my artistic influences to create an original painting that evokes the kind of connection and emotion that you cannot usually feel from a photograph.
I will sometimes slightly change the composition from the photo, adding, subtracting, or rearranging, to create a stronger composition in the painting. I sometimes enhance or exaggerate a color from the photo to create a more energizing or more peaceful painting.
Comparing this next reference photo of North Lido Beach in Sarasota to the actual painting, I stayed pretty close to the composition. However, I felt that I needed to “warm” the colors in the painting to create a more pleasing visual experience. I also wanted to simplify the composition to create a more isolated mood by removing some of the little details that you see in the photo. The original is available at: All to Myself
Hopefully, this brief show and tell will provide additional insight into the inspiration and creative process behind my paintings.
Have a great holiday weekend,