Man oh, man. Reference photos. We love them. We hate them. Something so spectacular in person just doesn't translate to a photo.
Photos lie. And sometimes it's OK and you can work around it. Other times you can't. In part, it depends on both your skill as a painter and what you need from the photo.
The good news is that the longer you paint and the more you paint from life, the more you'll be able to use less-than-ideal reference photos. You'll begin to know your subject so well that you can intuit what should be there but isn't.
The bad news is that maybe right now, all of your reference photos are making it harder to get a painting you love.
If you think it's the photos' faults, take some time to develop both your skills as a photographer and to build your file of good shots for painting. And know that it's worth committing some energy to that.
So the next time you are ready to burn your painting, check in with the original reference photo. Maybe it's not what you need to do your best work.
Where do you fall on the reference photo issue? Can any reference photo do or should we only paint from really excellent photos?
And check out Peter Jablokow's interview here.
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