Monday, July 30, 2012

Photo vs Life


"Maggie" 5x7 oil on clayboard

This month I've had the opportunity to paint from a photo that a dear friend had posted on his Facebook and I also was invited to a friend's home to paint from their property. Remember, by clicking on the image you will see a bigger version.

It was another hot day.  It seems we've been in 100-degree days for 3 weeks, maybe 4.  My friend Linda was house sitting her sister so I guess the opportunity inspired her to have a painting session with me.  I saw the figure in the garden and chose her for a model (they call her "Maggie").  Linda repositioned some potted plants around her.

 

Recently I've changed the way I start painting because I haven't liked the way I was drawing things. I was starting out too detailed and tight so my subjects end up being too solid for my preference.  Without thinking too hard about it I began painting in silhouettes to place my subjects.  Then...if I may be bold to claim, I try to connect with with the soul of the subject (there I said it yikes!).  I don't know, for some reason this puts me in a good place.  This stage is the left one above. 


We hoped we'd be shaded for the session but we got started a bit late so by noon, we were in full sun.  I got as far as the image on the right and we hurriedly packed our gear. When I got home, I decided I really should try and refine her immediately while the necessary information was still with me.  The result is the first image at the very top.  I didn't want to give it a super finished look, I wanted to preserve the plein air feel.

"Treat Lily" 12x12 oil on cradled panel

Most of my paintings are from photos because the scenes I would be wanting to paint tend to not be accessible to wheelchairs.  And when I paint portraits... well it just always seem more convenient to paint from photographs so I can pursue it on my own time - anytime.  I do prefer taking my own photos in both cases when situations allow.

Next set was a gift to our dear friend John who was ordained into priesthood.  I chose to paint from the picture of a lily that he took and posted on his Facebook.  I figured, he was drawn to the flower that's why he took the picture.  Facebook resizes photgraphs which lowers resolution but I proceeded with a prayer! :)


    
I was at the stage of the 2nd image when I remembered my double vision condition makes it a big challenge to paint flower petals or anything that's repetitive with similar shapes and in varied positions.  And on top of that, my memory bank is convinced that white flowers are hard to paint.  It was my will to be able to gift this piece to a very dear friend that allowed me to finish it and for that, I'm very thankful.  My husband Scott and I were so honored to have witnessed a special ceremony.

14 comments:

  1. These are wonderful, Erika! I love how you put your soul into your work, nope doesn't sound silly at all, and how fitting for a gift for your friend with the spiritual vocation. And it's fun to see your process, too.

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    1. Hi Theresa thanks so much! Yeah it felt silly to say but saying it in another way would not have been honest but I still felt silly. Thanks for your kind response xx

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  2. Erika both of these paintings are wonderful. The one of Maggie is especially beautiful and it's obvious you put your soul into your work. When I painted I found working from photos works better for me too.

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    1. Thanks Maddyrose! The thing that bothers me about working from photo is it gives me the tendency to get tighter than I want with the paintings, especially the ones previous to these.

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  3. Wow such beauties today! Everything fresh and full of spirit!

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    1. Thanks Hillary! It's a very mindful effort so glad they read to you as fresh :)

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  4. Erika, "Maggie" is really nice. I am forwarding the article to my niece and husband. Also, they will enjoy seeing the Lily painting and reading your writings.

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    1. Thanks Lulu glad you enjoyed I hope your people will too!

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  5. Those are lovely. I wish I had more time to paint. I think about art most the time but I don't do it! I am emailing you.

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    1. I got your email gonna email you back! xox

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  6. These are fabulous! I work both outside and with photos. I find that I can do the large, landscapes from life fairly comfortably, but the tighter subjects, like the statue you did, I have to take back to the studio to finish. You did an amazing job on all of these.

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    1. Thank you thank you Kimberly! And the painting sold happy days! Hope you're having a good summer xox

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  7. These are stunning. Incredibly gorgeous piece of art. Your that talented. A lot of people line up to commission you to paint for them.

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    1. Thanks so much! I do have commissions and I'm blessed with patient clientele because I like to do the commissions when I'm completely ready!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment ~Erika