And below is a painting I did several years ago, from a photo I took while scuba diving when I was young and single. It also acrylic, on Masonite, with a shell and coral collage on the frame. I don't think I have to explain why I worked from a photo.
here. And I want to dwell on why I think it is such an important thing to teach.
Below are two photos taken from exactly the same location, totally unedited. Two different cameras, two different focal length lenses. Which one is "right"? Both? Or neither?
Let's say you wanted to draw/paint this location in the two photos above this paragraph, or the two photos below, also shot with two different cameras/focal lengths. How would you approach it? Do you take a photo and bring it back to your studio to put on canvas or paper? But which image do you select? Which is the "right" one? If you set up an easel on the dock above, or the walkway/bridge below, and drew what you saw, what would it look like? The first photo or the second? Or perhaps neither of them. Personally, in the top pair, I prefer the more dramatic perspective of the first photo. I'm not so sure about the pair below. If I drew the dramatic perspective of the left-hand photo, I'd be concerned that it might look as thought the bridge walkway was tilting, because of the sharp angle of the shadow lines.
Or maybe you've got a drawing just the way you want it, but you are in your studio trying to recall the colors of the scene you are painting. Below are two different photos, taken from exactly the same location, with the same camera, but a different color balance setting. Which one is "right"? Which one would you use for reference for your painting? Since I took these photos just a couple of days ago, I can tell you, neither one is a good representation of the colors I saw in the water that day. How better to get it right than to paint it while actually looking at it? So that the colors you perceive with your personal vision influence what you choose to put on your canvas or paper?
It is my hope that 50 or 100 years from now, when the next generations step into an art museum, that they see works created today that express the humanity of the artist, and that move them the way we are moved by, perhaps, that Picasso, or O'Keeffe, or van Gogh, or Klimt...... rather than seeing technically perfect pieces that lack a soul, and that fail to elicit any emotion from the observer.
Thanks for reading this massive post! I'd love to hear your thoughts!