As y'all know, the bulk of my work comes from painting my clients' photos. Some of the photos are awesome, with great light, a clear composition, and it's easy for me to pick what I like to highlight and create a beautiful painting. Sometimes, though, I spend as much time trying to piece together what the photo is supposed to represent as I do actually painting!
Before Christmas, I painted a series of small watercolors to commemorate a family's homes over the years. My client only had one photo that she'd taken herself; the others had to be sourced from Google Maps. Sometimes this works (see #2!) and sometimes... a LOT changes between the time you lived in the house and when Google took its photo (#3). I was lucky to have a thoughtful client with such a good memory!
Let's start with Exhibit A:
This first photo has great light and shadows, with nothing obstructing the composition... it's awesome. She just wanted the car removed. Easy peasy.
Exhibit B: I used two Google Earth angles to piece together this former home, and my client's memory, and her absolutely amazing/adorable sketch to fill in the landscaping that had changed:
Et voila! A cleaned-up version of her old house.
Finally, Exhibit C:
This one needed digital triage for me to be able to paint a watercolor from it. There was no roof to be found, the horizontally striped awnings were gone, every surface had been repainted, the trees weren't the newly-planted baby trees of her memory... so we had to collaborate a lot to make sure I captured the right image.
I've been working on a number of pieces lately that required a ton of digital TLC. I am grateful every day for Photoshop, but my goodness, it has opened a Pandora's Box of time-stealing tasks. I enjoy it, but I'm really not trained in that, so it takes me a long time. And I don't want to create a bunch of paintings that look like cheesy Photoshop printouts - anyone who's seen my Pinterest board knows I gravitate toward loose, flowy, hyper-colorful stuff. I think that having such precise photographs is making me a stickler about painting the photograph instead of just painting a painting. Maybe I should start taking more source photos myself, or just say "no" to bad source photos. What do you think?
Stick around - there might be some big changes coming for AJC in 2015.