Painting from life is not like a photograph

A photo is a moment in time, the shutter clicked to capture a subject that excites visually or emotionally, or it can simply be a notebook to record facts and ideas. Just as in photography, the choice of a subject for a painting can be made in a flash, or it can require slowly made decisions to choose that moment when the lighting is right and it all comes together. Before starting this painting, I walked all round the area, taking photos of potential subjects, then painted it on the spot, spread over two evenings, not finishing till almost nightfall. Below are some of the photos I took before choosing the painting that would emerge. The first three photos show what I did not choose to paint – but did consider – as they didn’t suit the size and proportions of my canvass, and it the case of the first photo, would work much better in graphic media, rather than oils.

How a painting comes to be. Preparatory photos and the resulting oil painting by Ask 2019
The painting that ensued. As you can see I had to compress the elements on the horizontal axis in order to include the sections that interested me compositionally.
“The Wall ” 700x 500 mm 2019 -Aegina.

5 thoughts on “Painting from life is not like a photograph

    1. Hi Athena Minerva. Yes what the camera sees is without emotion, though the image itself can contain elements to which you react on a emotional level. It’s a matter of learning to interpret what you see, and everyone’s brain processes what they see, based on their own individual experiences. If we just glance quickly at a scene or shape in front of us we may initially even perceive it as something else.
      However, when selecting a subject to paint, I have to be looking at it as if it already were a painting. I trace out the flow of lines and areas of impact in my mind’s eye, before even making that decision.
      So I could find a subject interesting to photograph, but not instantly see a way of interpreting it into a painting, possibly because of the level of intricate detail that might be better served using graphic media rather than paint.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Spot on! Exactly! So some ideas are never going to be realised, but so long as we still see inspiration in the world around us, and are not afraid of trying out something new, yet still are able to work our own vision, then we will feel happy in our achievements.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Agreed. As for a painting becoming a photo, I’ve had to photograph my paintings, in order for them to be displayed here, but its not unheard of that paintings have become a source of inspiration for another art-form, such music, as in Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an exhibition”, which then once inspired me to also paint the live performance of that music, when I was still a student!


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