Designing from Photographs (Part I of II)Posted January 11 2013
Ratindra Das, Painting a Personal Reality in Watercolor, is a Dolphin Fellow and a signature member of both the American Watercolor Society and National Watercolor Society. This week Ratindra will share a few examples of how he approaches reference photos. Check back for Part II on Friday. And with that, take it away Ratindra!
http://ccpvideos.com/search?q=das Watercolor video-DVD with Ratindra Das by Creative Catalyst
A photograph on a clear day may look something like Image A. There is too much going on to create a strong painting. However, if I outline the shapes, you'll notice that despite being a bit busy, the photograph has a nice design.
Here (image C) I’ve blocked in the lights and darks according to the photograph. Itâ€™s better but lacks strength. If lights and darks don't help, I next turn to simplification. Strong paintings don't require a lot to be going on. They just need the right stuff to be going on. Image D shows further simpliﬁcation of the masses and values while Image E shows lights and darks are modified and simplified for the sake of design. Notice also how I've begun adjusting how much water I want to show on the right side of the design. As the artist, I can do that! (And so can you!) The sketch now reflects a full control of the design.
Image G is a more abstracted design. The degree of abstraction is up to the artist. This sketch retains a little resemblance to the photograph, but it is getting away from what we call "realism."
Now take a look at the final painting (Image H.) You could look at this and still see the reference photo even if it is a bit different. However, look at Image I and Image J and see just how far I can push the abstraction. This is what makes art fun!
Video Preview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhhSoCDZZvE