To do or not to do is the question many artists ponder. There are some valid reasons to use photos. It can be convenient or useful if the artist doesn't have access to a model, scene or object. Using photos is just one of three basic ways to develop a painting. Visual, memory and imagination can offer ideas and reference material. Photos are a popular form of reference. I prefer to work from my own photos for two reasons. One, I am familiar with the scene, object or person; second, it becomes my original from photo to painting. If you choose to work from other’s photos, be careful to make sufficient changes or have the permission of the photographer. For those interested in photo reference, there are several good websites that photographers offer for free. But remember using photos as reference does not mean great paintings. Using your own creative self is often the “Best of Show.”
Below is my original photo, sketch and finished painting.
BJ Pinkston has always loved to draw. She said, “My first memory is a mural I drew on the blackboard in the third grade. It was dinosaurs in colored chalk. The teacher left it up for the entire year. I was so proud!” She described her style as a mix of Impressionism and Abstract Impressionism. She noted that like many artists in the beginning she painted realistic detailed paintings, but as the years have passed, her style has evolved….less detail and more freedom. BJ’s passion when it comes to a medium to use is watercolors. However, she will use any medium or mix of mediums that will best represent her ideas. She said she choose watercolors because she loved the “flow of paint and it was the first class I took and I was hooked for life.” She gets her ideas from everywhere and makes notes of what she sees. She likes nature and organic images and her mixed media art comes from her imagination.