The other benefit of this exercise was learning how to paint from a less than ideal photo. Realistically, we can't always paint or draw from life, so it's important to know how to use photo references effectively. Two things I learned from this exercise:
- Cameras are designed to average out the values in an image, which usually under-exposes shadows or over-exposes the lights. Therefore, when painting from a photo, make the lights a bit darker and the shadow side a bit lighter...the way the human eye would see them.
- Under standard shooting conditions, the camera records most edges as sharp boundaries, which is not how we perceive them as we view a focal point. To mimic the natural view soften edges away from the focal point, reserving hard edges for the center of interest. Poor edge control flattens an image and ruins the illusion of form.
Island Girl Brianna 2010, oil on linen panel, 12 x 9