Because during winter in Vermont most days are too cold or too short for plein air painting, this is the time of year I do my studio work.
During the last year I've found more and more uses for a new favorite tool. My ipad goes most places that I do. I take pictures with it. I use those photos primarily as inspiration, but also as sources when developing ideas for new paintings. I do not paint literally from photos. Nor do I want my paintings to be mistaken for photographs. My own photo references jog my memory, suggest elements, inspire light effects.
After a session of studio work before I turn out the lights and leave the building, I photograph whatever is on my easel. This gives me a daily record of progress. It also allows me to continue the process elsewhere...3 miles away over coffee before dawn. It was simpler when my studio was attached to my house, but the ipad helps bridge the 3 mile gap.
I do not digitally manipulate either my source photos or the photos of my paintings. I don't care about the quality of my photos. They are always good enough to use for ideas. I plan how I will continue my work when I get back to the studio. It is a chance to step back and think.
Somewhere in the act of transferring work from the easel to a computer screen a critical eye appears; the magic editing tool! Awkward areas, not quite right color choices and clunky composition decisions jump off the screen to hit the artist over the head. Thank you, thank you.
This 24 x 30 winter garden scape is in process right now. I'll post the finished painting sometime. I toned white Wallis paper with pastel and odorless thinner and am working in multiple layers of soft pastel.
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