This week I did something I haven’t done in quite a while, and broke out my oil paints. I love oil painting–the versatility of the medium, the tactile feel of the paint itself–but it’s not very convenient. When you compare the amount of setup and cleanup required when oil painting vs working digital, well, it’s not even a contest. But as good as digital painting software has gotten lately, it’s still not the same.
Like the digital paintings I’m using one of old vacation photos (I take hundreds if not thousands of photos whenever I travel in case I get the urge to paint something. At this point I have quite the library). For something with a bit more structure or like, any buildings, I would’ve drawn out the composition a bit more but with this painting I just kind of went for it.
The size of the canvas is 16″x20″.
This’s what I’ve done so far. I need to go back into the foreground and add some structure and make what’s going on with the flat area of ground in the front a bit clearer, but I’m pretty happy with how the mountains and sky look.
And also, here’s the finished version of the digital painting from a couple of weeks ago.
I must REALLY like the reference photo, as when I was browsing through my images folder I found another painting that I’d done last year using the same reference that I’d completely forgotten about. It’s interesting for me to compare the different decisions I made interpreting the photo when working on the two paintings. For example, the color choices I made the first time around are a little duller than my source image, but the second time I upped the saturation just a tad.
This is fine. When working from reference my goal is never to copy the photo exactly, because what would be the point? I already have the photo and if I want something that’s exactly like it but “painty” I can use cloning tools or autopaint to do that. But I don’t find that process emotionally satisfying the way painting from scratch is, and the result will be something generic because the software is making the choices, not me.