Even before the Coronavirus drove us en mass to quarantine, I had been spending a fair amount of time trying out what I call my photo painting, technique. Now that I am home-bound, I work on it almost every day. And like anything else, the more you do it, the better you become. I think I have improved.
Why did I do this? I’ve been a photographer for more than 45 years. Every once in a while, you have to change things up. I have always studied great painters. The masters like:
Rembrandt van Rijn
Leonardo da Vinci
Vincent van Gogh
I have spent many hours in some of the great museums just looking at some of the world’s most well-known paintings. I wanted to understand the thinking behind the work so I audited art classes and read books.
I generally came away from all this study feeling like I am not worthy. I have been at this a while but long ago came to realize that I am NOT that creative. Art does NOT come naturally to me. I have to work 10 times harder than many of you to create something beautiful. I have all the technique down. I have the theory memorized. But the creative spark is slow in me so I have to take a workman-like approach that is mostly routed in refusing to give up, even if what I am doing isn’t gaining traction.
I have finally come to the realization that my photo paintings are yet another attempt (in the sunset of my career) to find pure art in what I do. Fortunately, my avian subjects are works of art in their own right. Their creator having given these creatures unthinkable beauty that never bores me.
I have tried to take my craft as a photographer and marry that to the information I have gleaned from studying the masters. I figure I am maybe on rung three of a 10-rung ladder. At my age, I have no idea if I’ll live long enough to see the top rung, let alone grab it. But one thing I am certain of at this late stage of life is the old saying really is true. It’s not the destination, but rather the journey where we find joy.
I have experimented with many tools. I have made photo prints on canvas and hand-painted over those creating mixed media pieces that I am proud of, but which obviously have limitations because they take weeks (or even months) to create.
I then experimented with Corel Painter. It is a powerful program but I found the learning curve too steep. I felt like I only a few of the photo paintings I made with this software were good.
I then graduated to a product from Topaz Labs called Topaz Studio 2. Within Studio 2 are a bunch of LOOKS or filters or presets that I enjoy. One is called GLOW and the other IMPRESSION II. I use one (or both) of them on all my current photo paintings and finally believe I am getting better. I still have a long way to go.
I have posted some of my favorite photo paintings along side this article. I am not saying these are good. I am saying they came out the way I wanted them to and that I enjoy looking at them. I do believe that in a few cases, I came away with photo paintings that others seem to have enjoyed to.
I plan to continue to practice this technique and to bend it to my will, or die trying, whichever comes first 🙂
If you’re looking for a way to revitalize your photos or a way to get more creative ideas, try Topaz Studio. If you do want to purchase any of the Topaz products, use this link: http://bit.ly/TopazPlugins and enter the code METHODS at check out, to save 15%.
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