I've struggled for awhile now trying to take good shots of my paintings. I drag an easel outside, try to get the angle to the sun right with no shadows or glare, catch the painting when it blows over, deal with mosquitoes and then fuss over photo editing for hours to get the color balance somewhat correct. I have an old dslr, OLD - like 5 megapixels - and rather than invest in a new camera which I wouldn't use often, I decided to hire a pro!
The difference is clear when you compare the two images side by side. I see now that my photos tended to be more warm and much less crisp. My yellows were too yellow and my blues tended to purple. Now the subtleties of color and strokes are visible. Glare is removed in the dark transparent areas. I painted this scene maybe two years ago and haven't shared it because I could not get an accurate photograph. I like the painting and now I hope I can send it out in the world with good web images that will accurately represent the work.
Sometimes pro is the way to go!
I hesitate to show this one. The one on the left is my work on day 1. The light was gone and we had a TONAL scene to paint. I hate tonal. But I have to say, I understand it a lot better now. Quang's gorgeous painting - done earlier in the day - was tonal really. There are some spots of light but for the most part, the model and setting are in shade. This is what tonal can be. Still full of color.
I think I always assumed "tonal" meant grey or brown, without color. But Van Gogh was a tonal painter. He ultimately didn't care about depth or modeling. He placed tones against one another - in beautiful color. Another tonalist (and another of my favs) - Degas.
So this is a scene I will try again with color. Maybe then I can do more than paint just light and shadow.
Just before Christmas I had a surprise invite from Quang Ho to attend a workshop he threw together for January in Pasadena. It was an opportunity I could not pass up. I'd been wanting to work with him for years but he isn't teaching much anymore. Though his videos are an excellent resource as well, and having watched them, I was somewhat prepared for his style and methods. Quang is so well-read and thoughtful. He truly is a master artist. He can put a painting together so poetically. And he can explain how and why.
Making it work for myself though... that will take many more years. ;-)
I've put together some photos from my trip below. I got in on Thursday with time to explore the area and I have to say, I am proud of myself for navigating over to the coast and back through Hollywood and Beverly Hills to make it to the observatory for sunset. I'll show you my work during the workshop in the coming days.
A Painter's Journal
Chasing the light. Capturing life.
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