Jan 21, 2016

Integration, Part 2 - Art Tips: Multiple References Photos


Its winter around here so no plein air adventures for me. 

I could do frozen watercolour paintings and I have a friend that does but it is not for me.  I like surprises in my texture, which you certainly get with frozen watercolour work but . . . Okay.  I am a wimp.  It is too cold for me!  Or I could say, on the west coast here it doesn’t get cold enough but we did have a few days in December and early January that would certainly have worked.  (By the way, if you are looking for information on frozen watercolour paintings contact Alfred Muma, in Powell River. He likes to play around with that.)

So this article is for wimps!   

HUMMING TANGLES - Ink & Watercolour - 5 x 7 Available

We work in our studio in the colder months, using our reference pictures from the summer.  And if you are like me, you have lots!!  The digital age generates a great reference library. 

Things are wonderful if my photo tells me everything.  However, you may be lucky enough, or should I say, experienced enough in photography, to get that one great shot that tells all.  But I am not.  I usually end up with several photos:  maybe using the background from one; the angle or expression from another; and more information from a third. 

This is where the trouble starts.

In my case it is usually a bird or an animal I am working with as I am a wildlife artist.  However, integration issues are there for whatever the subject.  (I have talked about other integration issues in my blogs and there is a list of several related posts below this one.) If you have done all the other things I have mentioned in my blogs and you are still not happy, I have more to suggest.

This is Integration - settling in.

Even if colour, size and other issues are addressed your subject needs to “settle in”.   It needs to feel like it belongs there.  Not something that is floating on top, you know, the ‘pasted on’ look. 

To really make your subject feel at home in the environment, it needs to be “in it”.  This means the environment should be around it; something behind it; beside it; and in front of it.  You are going to say, “I have a background, mid-ground and foreground, but things are still not working.” 

The key element is ‘in the environment’.  Here is the situation, the bird is placed on the branch, the background, mid-ground and foreground are there.  But the bird looks pasted on.  The answer, put something from the foreground in front of the bird.  It doesn’t have to be much, a branch or a leaf, something to tell the viewer that the bird is really “in the setting”. 

Through the magic of Photoshop I removed the branch in front of my hummingbird in Humming Tangles.  See the difference.  Even in a surreal forest, that little flowering branch, seems to reach out and bring my little hummingbird into the setting.  

Have you any tricks or tips for Integrating a Subject into a different setting?  I would love to hear them.

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Have a great artful day, Wendy

Related Posts on using Multiple Reference Photos:


Brenda Hill CDM said...

The more I see these the more I enjoy them!

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thanks I find them very enjoyable. I really love playing with my inks and I have all kinds of ideas for birds and animals in the pictures.