Saturday, December 17, 2011

From Photography to Painting Again

Ahwahnee Gravel  Road
Been a while since I've written here. Been busy with life and painting. Yes painting!  Not sure why I avoided painting suppose I felt no one appreciated the effort and skill it takes. When you're in a gallery and a photograph sells for the same price as an original painting it gets disheartening. So I went back to focusing on one of my old loves again, photography.

My folks gave me my first SLR camera as a graduation present from high school.  I no longer had to borrow one from the school.  Took some classes in creative darkroom techniques and wound up using it more as a graphic design tool.

Awahnee Pond - "Sold"
I love photography and feel it gives people a chance to discover and develop their artistic eye and skills.  I've used it as a art tool since high school. Most artist's do because who can afford models? Surprisingly it has helped me get back it touch with my love for painting. Often when out taking photos I would see things in the composition I wish were not there or different.

Having used Photoshop since it's beginning I have no trouble augmenting a photo. But one of the things I enjoy about a good photo is that rarity of finding the perfect shot in nature that needs no retouching.

Before there was home computers I worked as a photo retoucher in Hollywood for many years.  Hand retouching with a brush and airbrush. It was the perfect way to make stars look better than they were. Did a lot of head transplants back in the day.

I learned to render photographically. But I missed seeing the creative process in the finished art and photography and photographic rendering hides that. There's this perception that photography is a truthful representation of what is real. Having worked in Hollywood and advertising for most of my career I know just deceptive that notion is. Even Ansel Adams manipulated his photographs.

Ahwahnee Hills Park
What I love about paintings is you can see the process and skill involved. Of course one can usually see the difference between a skilled photographer and a novice as well. But IMHO it takes more skill and time to paint than take a photograph. Like any skill the more you do it the better you get. It always grates on me when people think I was just born with the gift to paint. Not so. It starts with a love and desire to do it and a whole lot of practice and doing. It takes a lot of missing the mark and failures to become good at anything

Here's a photo that was used for reference in the painting Awahnee Dirt Road. At the time of taking it I was imagining what how I wanted to see it as a painting. Started the painting that same day while it was fresh in my mind. An interpretation of what I experienced. Not just a copy of a painted copy of a photo. 

The joy of painting is the freedom of expression and not being restricted to what the camera sees.

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