Progression of a Painting

I though it might be fun to work through the progression of a painting I finished recently. With the majority of my paintings I use photographs I have taken as a starting point. Generally they are shot with painting specifically in mind. For this particular painting it was a photograph taken on Roe Islet on Pender Island (BC, Canada).

view through the trees photo_3512 aWorking from a photograph makes sense. A busy family with busy children does not mix well with working on location. Generally I shoot a ton of images, edit down the ones I want to paint from, and then I email them to my iPad. Working from the iPad has taken a bit of figuring out, I’ve been doing it for about 6 months. Overall I think it is a better way to work than from a flat photograph on paper. I find I don’t get as hung up on the details and feel I have more license to tweak things. I can also carry around the iPad to think about the next step. I will often shoot the “work in progress” on the iPad so that I can look at it too while plotting the next step. Interestingly my favorite photography images are rarely my favorite images for inspiration for a painting.

blog view through the trees inspiration 2014 4x6 borderWith this painting I decided to do an “inspiration” painting first. It is a small 4″x6″ acrylic on panel. I get bored with the idea of doing sketches, however the idea of a mini painting made sense. A small investment of time and materials gave me a sense of what I liked about the painting and what I would change. It also meant that by using the same materials (acrylic and panel) I knew exactly what I was working with color and technique.

blog view through the trees 2014 11x14The final painting evolved a little further as I worked from both the iPad and the 4×6 painting. The sky and water gained more interesting color combinations, the hills pushed back to create more distance, the leaves lightened up, the tree trunks got swoopier, and there were some nice pops of red. I really like the swoopy trunks and the reds; they will be making a return appearance in another painting for sure.

Even as I write this blog post I am discovering more. It is interesting looking at this progression as it is presented together here in the same format. I am seeing the value in doing the small painting first and how it helps make sense of the information, especially when there is a lot going on as is the case on the right hand side of the view. It is very interesting looking at these three images together.

 

Photography and art by Debra Hunter.
www.thehuntergroup.ca

Also blogging at:
www.debrahunter.wordpress.com
www.islandhomeblog.wordpress.com
www.woodleaneighbours.wordpress.com

New ways of working – art and painting

blog new ways to workIn the last few months I have made some big changes to the way I paint and create fibre art pieces.  It wasn’t exactly a conscious choice, but more of a forced one. In the current era of uber-technology, often one’s first introduction to the work you create is seeing it on a screen. Work is viewed on websites and blogs (obviously!), and almost all submissions for competitions or calls for art require that images be submitted digitally. I had discovered it didn’t matter how amazing your work looked in person, it had to look amazing on the screen, and so began the changing of my work practices.

Back in the spring I started to shoot pieces on my iPhone. First it was shooting “works in progress”. It helped me to see how the piece was progressing, if it was improving, or at times if I had lost the plot. I found shooting the progress to be motivational, especially on a slow going piece. Even though I have an arsenal of high end camera gear, I found at the “in progress” stage the phone served the purpose better. I know this seems a little odd, but if an art piece looks great on a mediocre piece of technology, the image will be fabulous when shot in the studio with proper lighting and high end glass.

The iPhone then became an important tool in determining an artists most asked question…..”Is it finished?”. Well we all know art is usually abandoned (LOL), but we will use the term “finished” to make everything seem prim and proper. The iPhone was a good tool in seeing the gaps in the work. It helped to determine if a painting needed more contrast, color or detail. With fibre art pieces it showed the gaps, a need for more stitching and definitely more beads. Looking at a piece or painting on the phone made me more objective. It also made for a lot more work, but the art became better because of it.

Into the summer technology started to play a new role when my husband gave me an iPad Mini. (Sorry about all the Apple propaganda!!!) I had been frustrated with never having a ready supply of images to work from, so his intention was that I could shoot on the iPad Mini to have images instantly to work from. In theory it was a good idea, but the lens and picture quality was only average. A few weeks after receiving the iPad Mini we were out on the coast,  I had left the iPad at the house for the day, but I had taken a few images on my phone. As I flicked through the phone pictures it came to me to email the images to myself and I could then save the images on my iPad. I had found the perfect working method, shoot on the phone, email, then paint from the iPad. The image quality and portability was better on the phone, but the iPad was the perfect size to work from.

This experience has been a case of embracing technology to work for you. The phones and tablets are fabulous tools for improving ones work and being able to see one’s work more objectively. They can help you track progress, and store tons of inspiration to tap into at a moment’s notice. Not long ago I would have had no use for an iPhone or iPad, now they are an essential part of my creative tool box.

(The painting featured above is “Lupin by Canal Bridge”. The painting can be viewed by clicking here.)

 

Painting by Debra Hunter
Studio H / Hunter Photographics

www.thehuntergroup.ca