Painting from Your Own Photos... Another View, an article by Janet Kruskamp - Visit for  original paintings, by the artist.

Painting From Your Own Photos... Another View
originally published in Northlight Magazine, Feb 1979
by Janet Kruskamp
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First, begin by painting "from life". Whether it be landscape, figure, or still-life, an artist should become well versed in color theory (warm colors vs. cool colors), and values (darks and lights), for the best photography in the world cannot possibly show the full spectrum of these things. Photographs may tend to understate or overstate a shadow or color.

A color photo of a lake can appear to be a garish blue with no nuances of color, while, in reality, the water can sparkle with a myriad of dancing colors. You must learn to see what you paint. You must learn to see the true colors in nature. Then and, only then, with an experienced eye, are you ready to use your photos as the valuable reference tool they can be.

Two valuable exercises that help the artist use photography to the best advantage:

Paint a scene or a still life using only black and white paint. (Very helpful in establishing values.) Evaluating darks and lights from a one dimensional photo can sometimes be very difficult and misleading.

Another exercise:
Paint a still life of white objects on a white cloth using a good side light or, set up out of doors. This forces you to see the many colors that can exist in something that can appear to be "white" in a photo.

Remember, nothing is "pure white" in nature (or "pure blue" or "pure green", for that matter)!

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