Tag Archives: cropping photos

Creating a series

Familiarity  brings freedom in painting

It’s a fact that the more familiar I become with a painting subject the easier the actual execution of the elements becomes , the freer the paint or pastel application flows and the more instinctual the response to the material is. All this adds up to a fluid, responsive, and totally “in the moment” painting experience.

When I stop thinking about how to get the shape of a particular rock , or what colour to use in those shadows or how to create a sense of movement in the water things happen almost by themselves.

How do I get to this stage?

Getting to this stage is relatively straight forward – I paint a series! Of course this can become all consuming if I let it so I need to know when I’ve exhausted the material and said all there is to be said about it. To help recognise the moment to stop I organise myself before I start.

Preparing the references for a series.

In an earlier post Cropping is my Friend I explained how I took the original photo above and cropped it many times to create new painting references. From the many crops I did  I whittled it down to three possible series – and here they are.

The Shadows series

Here I focus on the shadows on the sand using different formats gradually cropping in to a intimate view  which emphasises the subject. Here’s my  my first painting in this series.

 

The Reflections series

Now I turn to the reflections bringing more attention to the water. Although the shadows are still in there it’s clear that the real subject focus has shifted to the golden reflections of the cliffs.

The Cliff series

It seems a natural progression to zoom in on the  cliffs now. The ochres and yellows glow and there are opportunities to make a feature of the gumtrees on the headland.

The Abstract series

After all those crops it became apparent to me that the reflections were the real pull for me in this photograph so now I get rid of much of the other subject matter and just focus on a sliver of the shore and the wonderful golden reflections.

 

I’m a bit excited by these possibilities now so all I need to do is get started painting!

Cropping is my friend! Day 15 Photography 101

When I take photos as references for later paintings I often use my artist’s eye to create a composition close to what I will eventually paint. This is just something that happens naturally as I spend my time screening everything I see as a potential painting subject! I scan scenes looking for pleasing squares, portrait , landscape or panorama shaped snippets from the landscape. In effect I “crop” the landscape before I click the shutter.

I find it helps starting with a good composition and then later I’ll crop again looking for compositions within the composition. In this way a single photo might provide references for a whole series of paintings.

The original photo above has many of the elements  I look for in a painting reference:

  • complimentary colours ( blue and yellow)
  • areas of strong contrast ( the shadows on the sand) ,
  • good leading lines ( the diagonal of the beach, the vertical tree trunks and the horizontal water plane)
  • roughly follows the rule of thirds

Here is my first painting using the uncropped photo.

Here I take that original and crop a new series that focuses on the shadows on the beach and the cliff reflections. My favourite is the square format and I plan to use this as a pastel demonstration for reflections very soon (stay tuned).

Next I try a different series where I leave out the beach entirely and look in more detail at sections of the cliff. Here the tall thin composition is a portrait of the large gumtree but I would move the boat off to the left a little. I prefer the square reflection crop and this helps confirm that what really interests me about this subject are the reflections.

So now I zero right in on the reflections and take a look at some more abstract crops. These crops retain the basic elements of complimentary colours, leading lines and areas of strong contrast so will  work equally well as a painting.

So that’s why cropping is my friend!