Saturday, April 3, 2010


Poolside was painted using a photo reference. I would guess most representational painters use photographs from time to time and you might think that would make things pretty easy. Simply copy the photograph. But the problem lies in that photographs lie. My teachers have told me this and I believe them! Shadows in photos are always a terrible, ugly dark colors. Everything is on one plane. There is no mid-ground or far-ground to be seen. Every single detail is showing and none of these things make for a beautiful painting. So the photo is a reference and only that. You have to work as hard when you paint from a photo as you do from real life to create a beautiful painting. Leave out all the unnecessary so the necessary can tell their story. Paint shadows as beautiful as the lights around them. And push back the background using fuzzy edges, grayed out colors or lumping details into masses of unidentified but interesting shapes. You simply have to outwit your photograph so it’s lies don’t spoil your painting! See Joanne Shellan's website at

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