Photography for me is a means and an end. At times, I appreciate and strive for interesting good quality photographs. Other times I use photography as a jumping off point for my painting. In this post I share some recent photos that are destined to become painted images.
Sometimes what attracts me to the image and make me want to use it in a painting is a result of an abstraction created during the photo-taking process. At other times (like in the image above) I discover what I am looking for through photo post processing – sometimes relatively minor tweaking of contrast, saturation and cropping. At other time I may explore some filtering options to enhance the image. On the above image I used an infrared film filter in the program Color Efex Pro 3.0.
It is never my intent to make a photo realistic painting of a photo which has already been abstracted. My challenge is to capture the essence of whatever it is about the photo that appeals to me and to develop a technique in painting to maintain that essence.
While at Red Deer College in the Series “Color in the Landscape” painting course, I always had a camera with me to capture reference photos for the landscapes I would be painting (in a mostly representational manner). However, I could not avoid also capturing interesting photos purely for their abstract appeal. I particularly like to put the camera in motion to capture some atmospheric images. I find that the initial image is only half way to the finished abstract image. the post-processing on the computer is equally important for me to realize a satisfying final work. I typically use Capture NX2 to adjust contrast, saturation and to crop the image.
Occasionally I will use a digital “filter” from Color Efex Pro to coax out a unique effect.
A full moon, slow exposure and panning the camera provided the basis for this Rothkoesque image:
In this next image I applied an infrared treatment with Color Efex to get the strong yellow/pink color scheme to an image which I already had achieved the motion blur by a horizonatal sweep of the camera during exposure:
Hillside is one of my favorites of this group and is at the top of my list to turn into a painting. The colors, composition and motion all appeal to me in this image:
I was walking through an older part of downtown the other day when some interesting architectural details caught my eye. Combine those details, with different points of view for a photo and then different cropping twisting and processing after the shutter press, leads to some interesting images:
This second image started from the same original photograph. This next one, is not the same photo but is from the same wall, at a different perspective:
Across the street from this wall, I took this image:
This image was processed with the Color Efex infrared film filter through Capture NX2.
Down an alley, and 30 meters away, I found another intriguing exterior wall that I just had to capture:
And finally, another take on this highly textured brick wall:
Since getting my Nikon back from repair I’ve been shooting a lot of photos. At the same time I got the camera back I also purchased Color Efex Pro 3.0 software. This software is a photo processing add-on to the Capture NX2 that I regularly use to work with my Nikon RAW photos (it is also available for PhotoShop and a few other image processing apps). Color Efex provides over 50 (in the pro version) “filters” to apply to the images and I have been exploring what I can do. Here are a few results (just with the infrared film filter) that are interesting and that I am pleased with:
That photo uses one of my favorites options with the infrared film filter. There are 4 black and white and 5 color options with this filter (and then 3 slider controls for highlights, brightness and contrast). I like this combination that accentuates the greens and provides that orange sky/background. Here is another photo using that filter:
Another of the five color options turns the green grass to orange:
Or yet another of the options – the green tree becomes pink.
I like how these color options can be quickly explored and give me ideas for non-conventional color palettes for my paintings.
While Color Efex is primarily about color effects, there are some black and white options. Here is one of the infrared black and white effects:
This shot was taken in early June in Edmonton and while it was a very cool day there was no snow on the ground, as you might think from looking at this photo. This is what the original looked like: