Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa. We are talking about painting today, (of course), but more specifically, painting from photos.
It's not a new subject, is it? But I thought possibly you would like to hear about painting from photos, from the viewpoint of an artist who paints sidewalk people.
So we've already agreed painting from photo references is nothing new, right? I know artists who resolutely paint only "plein aire" that point back to French Impressionists habits as "pure painting". Then someone looks sideways at one of those famous paintings and discovers a clue that it was actually painted in the studio. And then somebody makes the discovery that an even more ancient artist was working with the equivalent of an overhead projector.
So, agreed, it's all been done before, but does that make it any easier or better? That brings us back to THE LIST. Right? 3 reasons to not like painting from photos:
1. Where are the details?
2. How can I paint that hand if you don't give me any more details?
3. I know that dog had details, where are they?
Oh, yeah. That's really a redundant list of one. One big gripe. One loud whine. My personal pet peeve regarding painting from photos. So why on earth do I paint from photos? I feel another list coming on....
1. I paint people from everyday life, people out there on the sidewalk. With the power of the camera, I can stop them in their tracks. Preserve their presence for a future painting.
2. The camera helps me synthesize my vision. I find what interests me out in the world, record it in pixels. If I get home and wonder what on earth was I thinking, I have a delete button at the ready.
3. Cut and paste. People out on the sidewalks of our lives are such good storytellers. But sometimes they are on the wrong stage. With the power of the camera, I can move them to a great venue, where their story can be told full force.
By now, I suppose you realize the importance of the second half of this post's title, correct? Or, Does This Dog Match His Owner? Refer to list #2, item #2, synthesizing my vision. I found a pet/petparent combo on an Omaha (Nebraska) sidewalk last summer. I realized instantly their need to be painted, with the camera, I preserve their image for future painting, (list #2, item #1)
Now we need to revert to list #1, and you may take your pick of 1-3, because it's always about the details, or lack thereof, right? Any way, there weren't enough, so enter list #2, item #3 and the resulting concern of "does this dog match his owner"? Surely you realize that there is a strange phenomena of people choosing pets that (ahem) look like themselves? And if there are just not enough details in the original photo and I have to go "find" a different doggie photo with detail, and use that instead, do I mess with the great order of life in pet/pet parent semblance? Ha.
Okay. Here it is. The painting that illustrates all the good and bad vibes of painting from photos. I firmly believe way more good than bad :) so take a look:
Childish Dog. Likes Balloons. Acrylic painting on canvas, measuring a perfect 24 x 24 inches. (click here for portfolio zoom) Oh yeah, and they weren't really at the farmer's market either, chalk up another detail to artistic vision...
Thanks for stopping by.