Somehow I think my experimentation with fine art (watercolors and acrylics) has changed my “eye” when photographing landscapes. I’m not totally sure yet what the change is, but it has something to do with the overall “feel” of the image. We recently travelled to Payne’s Prairie State Park in Micanopy Florida (just a bit south of Gainesville) and arrived on a day the wild horse herd was near the observation tower. The ranger told us that the previous day the wild buffalo herd was nearby. I was able to capture this scene of a new foal being led to a short grass area by the mare. The main herd “off camera” to the left of the viewer where the grass was almost as tall as the horses.
We printed a 16 x 12 (300dpi) version of this image and have it on one of our living room walls above a small table lamp. When the lamp is on, the image literally glows. The 300dpi version can be seen here.
I think I am seeing some of my previous photographs in a different light (no pun intended). This is the original image from 2014, an altostratus cloud formation seen over the entire state of Florida. I originally thought it needed to be cropped and an artificial (ie photoshopped) reflection placed at the bottom. A local buyer recently asked to see the original — this image — after looking at the cropped version and immediately purchased a large reprint. So I studied the original again, this time with eyes that have been struggling with painting, and saw much more drama and power in the original that I had thought was there at the time. Gallery posting is here.
A couple of days ago I took some handheld snaps (Nikon D5300) and stitched them together for a quick panorama of an area originally called Cherry Lake in Sumter county Florida. I wanted to use the pan as the basis for a piece of artwork.
In painting, the teaching goes to lighten colors at the horizon and make them progressively more saturated as objects move to the middle ground and then to the foreground.
What struck me is that the photograph does not do that (unfortunately I have tossed the raw or NEF files so I can’t tell what the exposure etc. was).
So I wondered what would happen to the image if I applied those painting rules to it. Here are the results … but I have no idea if this is something I should do in my photographic landscapes. At least its an interesting comparison. The edits were done in Photoshop Elements 11 using a50% gray overlay layer and burning / dodging as appropriate, plus slightly over saturating the left, right, and bottom edges of the original using the sponge tool.
Well, I still haven’t returned to a whole lot of photography, but I did recently create a pretty decent video summarizing some of my talents’ work in teaching Rumba (they took a couple of years off to recuperate). During those years I dabbled off into painting. This is my latest watercolor — my impression of the visitors center at the [Carl] Sandburg Estate [the American poet] in Flat Rock North Carolina.
For the moment, I am continuing in the painting medium with perhaps a chance to return to photography later (my test shots recently have been very different and concentrate on light more than ever).
Just finished another mixed media, mostly watercolor. Pleased with the rendering of the background trees; pleased with the rendition of the really unkempt look of the boat; OK with the reflections in the water. Really upset with the booms and rigging and will not use black ink should I do another of these. This image was based on a photo I had taken during a visit to Amelia Island Florida.
I came across the most curious discussion. I searched for a watercolorist presentation and discussion group on one of the popular artistic media websites. What I stumbled into was an intense debate on the subject of “who *really* is an artist.”
It started with a discussion over whether a piece of work which was predominately watercolors but also included some ink lines was *really* watercolor art? That moved on to discussions concerning *how much* of the work was ink and how much watercolors (ah, the artist ink police!). Not stopping there, the discussion went one about whether one should use a pencil sketch as an underdrawing, and if one did were they *really* a watercolor painter.
That wasn’t the end. The next subject concerned why watercolorists represented only about 10% of the marketable art world. (Internecine fighting would be my answer) Another way to interpret that was “are watercolors really art?”
So here’s what comes to mind. Watercolors in basic sets are available to most kindergarten children, just as water-soluble finger paints are available. The argument seems to be that if the medium is available at the kindergarten level, anything produced with that medium is probably not *serious art.*
Oh balderdash (I cleaned that up). The result can be art regardless of how it is produced. I would tell my new colleagues to stop trying to be so full of themselves, or to paraphrase Laura Ingraham — shut up and paint, don’t worry about what you use.