Now that I have introduced myself, I am going to delve right in on my newest painting in progress and the technique I used and why.
The reference photos below were taken on my trip to Pennsylvania to photograph wild, free roaming elk. I really like the pose in my original photo but I wanted the elk running in the opposite direction. By reversing the photo, I was able to envision how I wanted my painting to be.
I am in no way a professional photographer and still have a lot to learn in that area. Bust most of the photos I take are for reference whether it is wildlife, birds, leaves, moss, fence posts, colors of a sunset or sunrise, etc.. My photos are not used as professional photos for sale or exhibiting.
Quite often I will visit zoos or animal parks for my subject matter that I may want to paint. Even though the photo may show the fence or bars - that is OK. I use reference photos to show muscle, fur texture, pose, expressions and other important features I need to capture what I want to do in a painting. Here is an example photo of a 3 month old cougar cub that I took at one of the animal parks nearby and the completed painting using the reference photo - "New Adventures - Cougar Cub".
Sometimes I will come across a photo though that I just fell in love with and want to paint it like the photograph, without changing anything within the photo. Be really careful here though, if you are using a photo that someone else has taken, be sure you are not infringing in copyright laws. Always ask the photographer to use their photo and if it can be used in a painting with a signed release from the photographer.
Since I have literally thousands of photos to refer to, I have them categorized to a particular subject matter. It is easier for me to find the one I am looking for without searching every where to find that particular one for my painting.
Some photo reference sites I have used and that you may be interested in:
African Reference Photos
Paint My Photo
Where do you fine the inspirations for your artwork? Please share your artistic process, I would love to hear from you. Questions and comments are welcome.
The Wildlife and Nature Art of Johanna Lerwick. A blog about painting wildlife and nature. Topics including painting in progress, oil paintings, art prints, art licensing and painting techniques.