How a Photograph Translates Into a Painting - Creative Catalyst Productions

How a Photograph Translates Into a Painting

February 04, 2019 2 min read

For watercolorist Peter Jablokow, photography is a big part of his process. When I was interviewing him for the Creative Catalyst blog, he shared some of the photographs that turned into paintings. 

“Getting a good photograph and composition is my first hurdle. I take thousands of photos of different subjects, then study them at home to see what comes up. I often have to go back and snap more.”

“I usually pick a reference photo with energy to it. It has to have some feeling of motion...For references, I find places and structures that look interesting, take a lot of photos, then study them at home. I will often want more angles or different light and go back a few more times.”


“Just liking a bridge and thinking it’s cool is not enough. The lighting has to be right, and the composition needs to be interesting. I often abandon a subject I love in person, but can’t figure out how to get a painting I would like out of it. The photo has to be a good one; the subject is secondary to a good composition.”


“I often place the camera as low to the ground as I can and look up. With big bridges and factories, stitching a few photos together creates more drama. If something looks massive and looming, I will often exaggerate the mass or length to approximate the feeling of being there. I play with perspective a lot, organizing everything with vanishing points, so they make sense, even if I change something from the photo.”


To learn more about watercolorist Peter Jablokow and his work, visit him at his website or on Facebook and Instagram.

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