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.
Growing up on a small farm in Upstate New York helped me develop a strong connection to wildlife and nature. My lifelong experiences with animals and nature are the inspirations for every painting I complete. After many years, of developing my love for wildlife, I decided to apply it to my artistic talent. I am not a formally trained artist and all of my abilities are self-taught through reading how-to-books, visiting local art exhibits, and by traveling to many parts of the world. Through my travels to Africa, the Amazon, Tahiti, Mexico and through out the United States I developed a strong connection to my passion for artwork and was inspired to become a full-time artist.
As you can see in my paintings, several aspects of nature and wildlife fuel my inspirations. Whether it's a sound I hear in the forest or something I observe while I am exploring the world, each of these experiences can be found within my artwork. After trying many mediums, I decided that my true love was with oils. I fell in love with oil because it allowed me to paint flowing lines of fur and feathers. Through many years of experience, I have established painting techniques that help me bring emotion and mood to each of my pieces. I have been able to create paintings with high levels of realism through elements of light and shadows. My goal as an artist is to translate my love for nature and wildlife into beautiful artwork that people from all walks of life can enjoy and appreciate. To me, artwork is more than skill; it is the expression of a vision and communication of my life experiences with animals. I hope that my paintings inspire others to explore nature in order to develop a deeper connection with animals.
My goal for this blog is to share my inspirations and experiences as an artist. I will share information about local art exhibits, techniques I am using, paintings in progress and photos of nature and wildlife that inspire me. I hope this blog will help you better understand my motivations as an artist and encourage you to develop a deeper connection with nature and wildlife.
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.