Wednesday, March 2

It Takes a Good Eye to be a Photographer AND a Painter

My Unusual Reference Photo

I will be the first person to say, “I am not a photographer.”

I admire, even envy, and sometimes wish I were a photographer.

But I repeat, “I am not a photographer.”

I kind of like to take pictures. To be clear, I’m not talking about those obligatory family and special-occasion pictures of family vacations or whatever, but rather reference photos to use in my paintings.

I suppose in the broadest, loosest sense, I am sort of a photographer. I use my trusty Canon digital ELPH (no product plug intended, it’s just what I use) to go around wherever I happen to be—not all the time, of course—to snap and capture scenes that may or may not make good paintings. Let me add that most of my photos do not and would not ever make good paintings. Unless you are a photographer you are likely to take a lot more photos of less-than-ideal, un-good scenes than vice versa.

What I do is walk around and snap photos of things and places (and people sometimes, but you have to be careful) that look sort of interesting to me. I try not to pre-edit my scenes very much, other than to make sure what I want to capture is actually on the digital screen. Sometimes it’s a landscape if I’m at a park or out in the country, maybe a street scene or building if in the city. I seem to like scenes with structures in them, but I also try to find things of everyday life and living.

“Unusual” subjects usually do not make good paintings. Why? Because if it’s unusual enough to make you want to take a picture of it, most likely the viewer will not have a clue as to what it is when painted--see Today’s Image.  (I know some people are scared of clowns, too.)

This is where a good eye and a lot of luck come in extremely handy. Sometimes the artist’s eye will see something just at that very moment that captures a mood or exerts an energy that will be visually appealing and moving to the viewer.

Anyway, that’s what I keep striving for; however, did I mention I’m not a photographer?

As Cezanne said, “Monet is only an eye, but my God, what an eye!”

Happy Painting!

Until next blog…

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