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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > April 19 > A process of elimination and interpretation

A process of elimination and interpretation

Kevin Scully demonstrates how to paint from a photograph without diminishing the integrity of your painting

One of the advantages of working from a photograph, or a combination of photograph and sketches, is that it allows you more time to make considered decisions regarding composition and tonal arrangements. When working from life, it can sometimes be very difficult to paint anything other than what is in front of us.


The digital camera does have a place in the toolkit as long as we are aware of its limitations. Its plus points are numerous: it is practical, fast, detailed, accurate, adaptable and realistic to a point. It is also only a tool, unable to make aesthetic and creative judgments.

It is inferior in that it records colour in a different way, often eliminating it from shadows, which it records as dark recesses, it can distort colour and depth of field, and there will be an unrealistic contrast between highlights and shadows, especially on a bright day. Some of these failings can be adjusted and manipulated with digital software, but they are far better made by the artist.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the April issue, packed with practical articles and demonstrations designed to inspire artists of all levels to develop their skills in all media. Our top artist-contributors this month include Hazel Soan, who suggests techniques for creating light and shade in your watercolours, Ian Sidaway who encourages you to paint a self-portrait, and Paul Talbot-Greaves who shows how to paint colourful boats in three easy stages in acrylics. Practise your skills as you learn how to loosen up and be more expressive in your drawings, use coloured pencils to create a found still life, simplify a busy harbour scene to create a composition full of light and colour, and achieve clean colours in your acrylic landscapes. This issue we also welcome back Geoff Hunt, who begins a new series documenting the results of his painting trips. Plus Roger Dellar offers tips on how to secure an artist-in-residence position and Mark David Hatwood explains how to reach potential buyers by working with partners. Enjoy trying new ideas in your own work with help from this month's artists and tutors.