Thursday, August 18, 2016

Painting from a Snorkeling Photo Is Like a Mini Vacation

More working big in my July watercolor class--I decided to tackle an underwater subject and work from a photograph.  Both of these are things I have very little experience with.

 I chose a photo I took while snorkeling in the U.S Virgin Islands a few years ago.  Since I love snorkeling and underwater photography, I have literally thousands of wonderful photos I could work with, if I could develop my skills at painting from photos.  It's not as easy as it seems.

You can see here from the picture of my workspace in the art studio that I worked pretty simply.  An ipad (for a large version of the photo), two water containers, a 1.5 inch flat for the entire painting, my small palette with eighteen or so colors, and my paint box, with the same colors, so I could get more paint for bigger areas if I needed it.

There's a pen there on the table, but I didn't use it in the painting at all.  I was probably taking notes with it...
One of the big challenges for me was to continue to focus on shapes and volume.  So I decided to use only that big wash brush for this painting and see how I could do.
Pretty well, actually!  It kept me more loose, kept my arm moving from the shoulder, and I think resulted in more expressive work with the paint and the animal.

This took me remarkably little time--maybe about a total of 30 minutes of painting time, not counting the time it took for each layer of paint/water to dry.  Overall, it took me closer to two hours, but I spent the dry time on this painting working on other things in my sketchbook.

I am not entirely sure what I think of the background hues, but I am quite pleased with the fish and the angle.

However, I could tear the piece up and never see it again and the time spent would be well worth it!  I so enjoyed focusing on just this one photograph and just this one animal.  During the entire painting process, I felt transported back to the sea, floating in the warm water, watching the astonishing and busy life that occurs just off shore and out of my "normal" landlocked sight.  Snorkeling is my most favorite thing to do (and I sure wish I could find a cheap way to do it, so I could do it more often!), and to use my art to bring it back to life is just bonus.

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