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Yes you can paint from photos!

For over 200 years artists have used a variety of optical devices to produce designs for paintings and cameras, as we know them, have been used extensively by graphic and fine artists as design tools since they were first produced. The camera is clearly a very convenient way of capturing images for paintings in busy situations like streets and bars, yet the taint of using photographs as reference lingers.

We think that the camera cannot lie, but in reality how a camera ‘sees’is totally different from the way we humans see, and copying a photograph with all the skill in the world can only produce a painting that looks just like a photograph! The key to using photos as reference is to allow them as a visual prompt, to take you back to the time and place when they were taken, so you recall that actual experience.

Every photograph records, in a fraction of a second, the scene in front of the camera in complete detail. Our eyes cannot do that. We have to scan the area around us, taking in small areas at a time and assembling them mentally to create a general impression of where we are and what might be of interest. David Hockney experimented with this ‘assembled snap-shot’effect in the Polaroid photograph collages he made in the 1980s.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of The Artist - January 19
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About The Artist

Welcome to the first issue of 2019 to inspire and inform your artistic development, including all the information you will need to plan your entries to the best open competitions throughout the year in our extensive 5-page guide. We also see the start of two new series, by Ruth Buchanan on how to draw and paint animals with confidence, and Mark David Hatwood on all aspects of marketing and how to make money from your artwork. There are practical articles and demonstrations showing you how to adapt your painting techniques for coloured pencil work, with amazing results, how to paint a self-portrait as well as a stunning faded rose, both in watercolour, and how to make your watercolours more dynamic by using watercolour grounds. Our top artist contributors also share their expertise on best practice for working on the spot, how to plan a complex composition, paint your first realist still life in acrylic, use your sketchbooks to work out your ideas, how to paint successfully from your photos and which colours to mix in oils to achieve a sense of space in your landscapes. With all this and much more, there's plenty to keep you drawing and painting over the festive period. Enjoy!

Other Articles in this Issue

The Artist
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Letters, emails and comments
The Artist guide open competitions & ExhibiTiONS
Caroline Saunders talks to David Remfry MBE RA, about his large-scale watercolours of dancers, his portraits and his links with the fashion industry
Susie Hodge reviews an exhibition at the Watts Gallery, the first for 25 years, dedicated to the art, poetry and life of Christina Rossetti
Mark David Hatwood introduces a new series in which he looks at the business side of being a professional artist
Richard Pikesley explains why the constraints of time, changing light and limited painting gear can be a liberation when working in front of the subject
Jake Winkle debunks the myth that watercolour is a difficult medium for portraiture and demonstrates how to paint a self-portrait in his trademark style
Award-winning botanical artist Julia Trickey demonstrates how to paint a faded rose in wetin- wet watercolour layers
Yael Maimon concludes her series on composition by demonstrating how to design and paint a complex composition, with her ten top tips for success
If you find the thought of painting your first realist still life a daunting prospect, Tim Gustard offers some encouraging advice as he talks you through the process
Alyona Nickelsen explains how you can adapt painting methods and techniques for coloured pencil work whilst continuing to enjoy the amazing benefits of this dry medium
Learn how to draw and paint animals with confidence in this new ten-part series from Ruth Buchanan. This month she explains how to develop a sense of proportion
Use your sketchbooks creatively to work out ideas, experiment, make notes, limber up and be bold, says James Hobbs
Clare Bowen shares her colour-mixing ideas for achieving aerial perspective and creating a feeling of space in landscape painting
Jane Betteridge shows you how to make your watercolour paintings more vibrant and more dynamic by using watercolour grounds
Bob Brandt shares his tips for using photographs as a visual prompt for your paintings
Give a gift subscription and you will receive a gift card to give to the lucky recipient. They’ll receive their first issue shortly after Christmas
Meet this month’s editor’s choice winner from our PaintersOnline gallery, who receives a £50 Jackson’s Art Supplies gift voucher