Reference Photo Simplification I create my watercolor paintings in a studio from reference photos taken by myself or supplied by other people.  My method for creating the “Creative Workbenches” was to take random photos in a workspace and look through them later to find a section or grouping that would capture the personality of the creative person.  The nice part of being an artist is that I can take out parts and put in pieces in different places if it works better for a finished painting.  That is good thing, because I am not skilled at photography, and I don’t have the patience to set up a scene with the best lighting and maneuvering things around to get the perfect shot.  When I started taking photos for my artwork, I increased my appreciation of artists 10-fold. Can You Find the Painting in This Photo Here is an example of a reference photo provided by my brother.  I am not sure if he was cleaning up or just showing off, but this was a table covered by a collection of all the screwdrivers, drill bits and drivers he had found in his shop.  I suppose this would not jump out at

Is There a Difference In my first watercolor class the instructor placed before us a cloth lined table with an orchid in a vase, a few other objects and told us to paint.  I have to admit, that was a little overwhelming.  I hadn’t even learned how to use watercolor at that point and wasn’t sure on how to approach this set of items in a drawing.  This was my first exposure to still life painting. Still Life Painting The instructor had laid before us a still life composition to use to study shapes and colors.  The still life had no meaning to me or anyone, so there was no emotional connection to this grouping.  Grouping objects together and taking them out of context allowed us as artists to introduce our own interpretation to create a mood or emotion.  As the artist I provide the interpretation and the objects speak for themselves without reflecting on the owner.  The Beholder further interprets the artwork through their own experience and becomes a co-creator in the process in the finished piece.   One of my examples of a still life is the “Daisy and Teapot” painting. I used a few items that I was

Ask More Questions I had finished some pretty intense, detailed paintings and I had not figured out what my next project should be and mentioned this to a friend.  She spends her winters in Hawaii and thought she might like a couple of new paintings for her house.  I asked her what she would like and she said a whale and an octopus.  Excellent, I have done a whale before and I like octopuses, so I agreed.  I proceeded as if I knew what I was doing and painted the sperm whale painting (above).  I was pretty happy with it, the whale appears to be coming out of the dark ocean background and sunlight ripples over it’s back.   Failure to Launch I sent her a photo of the painting and she liked it well enough, but she wanted a humpback whale with a baby whale.  One more question would have been useful to have determined the kind of whale she liked.  I did proceed to create a sperm whale and baby painting, that I believe she loves.  If anyone is interested in this Sperm Whale painting let me know and we can make a deal. Beholders Don’t Always Know What