Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Central Park Reflections" (oil on linen; 12" x 9") sold


Original reference photo

Hue/Saturation adjusted photo

Last Monday I took an interesting workshop with Bobbi Pratte at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA.  It was about how to use Photoshop to improve paintings.  I use Photoshop to crop, rotate, lighten/darken the photographic images.  The basic stuff.  I am not a techie; I dread the whole esoteric, mysterious universe of technology.  So it was with some reservation that I signed up for the workshop, mainly because a good friend of mine talked me into it and some other good friends were taking it.  Why not?

I must say that I did see some interesting "tricks" one could do with Photoshop Elements.  My head spinned at the end of the three-hour workshop.  Bobbi covered such an impressive amount of information in one afternoon that, in the evening, when I picked up my long-abandoned copy of Photoshop Elements 8 for Dummies, I could almost understand what the 600-page-long book was explaining--selections, tools, layers, opacity, etc., etc. 

OK, let's talk about "Central Park Reflections."  The original reference photo was taken on an overcast spring day a couple of years ago during a mini family vacation to New York City.  I loved the way the Manhattan skyline was reflected in the pond water at Central Park.  But I decided to change the time of the day to dusk to make the painting "romantic." 

On the morning of the workshop, I tried to paint with the original printout, which was green all over with a colorless sky.  It was hard.  During the workshop, it occurred to me that I should adjust hue/saturation of the photo, so that it would be easier to visualize the mood I was going after.  I did just that this morning and reworked the painting with the adjusted printout.  It was much easier as I hoped. 

I had known how to adjust Hue/Saturation all along, but have never manipulated a reference photo to suit my particular project, only relying on my power of visual imagination.  I honestly don't know which way is better for an artist.  But I suspect that I will be using Photoshop more often to make my life easier.

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