Posted on

Painting from photos or strictly from life?


Painting from photographs is bad! This is what artists will tell you and they’re right of course. Cameras aren’t up to scratch when it comes to viewing a scene. Where’s the focus? Are the colours right? I’m sure it looked much brighter when I was looking at it! Not to mention that the foreshortening is all done for you but only in a way that the camera wants to do it so that when you come to paint the picture, it doesn’t look right.

Having finally found all of this out, I still find myself using photos as a reference because, well why not? Because, as long as I allow for the misrepresentations made by the camera, I can use a photograph to paint my children in a certain scene for example. A scene I will never be able to recreate again. I might be asked to paint someone’s pet, someone who lives over the other side of the country and may never be able to meet them. I could say, “I’m sorry I only paint from life”, or I could say, “Send me a dozen photos from different angles and in different lighting and I’ll see what I can do but it won’t be perfect”.

I can’t promise I’ll never paint from photographs again but I’ll certainly try not to! In the meantime, here’s some I’m working on (from photographs):


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *