Painting from photos is not considered to be the thing to do and up until now I have tried to avoid it. The quality of my own photos did not stand up to the high detail I like in my paintings and to use a photo from another source raises the issue of copyright. However, now I have a better camera I am finding much more success.
Viola ‘Delft Blue’
The level of detail from digital cameras is amazing and even my mobile phone gives me images with incredible detail.
This dragonfly took me by surprise and all I had to hand was my mobile phone.
So, should I paint from a photo? The answer for me, now, is an unequivical YES! I have now seen the light. Having spent years becoming frustrated because every time I left my work it would always have moved by the time I got back to it, I can now take my time over a painting. No more worry over flowers dropping or tulips bending towards the light. I almost decided to ALWAYS paint from photos. To this end I took many photos in the summer of flowers I wished to paint but didn’t have the time. As a gardener I have more time in the winter to paint.
Sounds good so far? In principle yes, but now I realise that I did not take enough photos of the leaves, stems and leaf placings to make an accurate rendition of the plant. This is vital for a good composition whether it is a botanical illustration or not. Probably the best thing to do it paint from a photo but also have a live specimen to hand (or take better photos!).
They say experience is the best teacher.