As I’ve navigated these odd times, with no art events on the horizon yet, I’ve spent more & more time working on personal art project. Last post I shared about an online portraiture course I’ve been working through, which inspired me to attempt some portraits on my own – starting with my fur babies! They all turned out a bit different that each other, I can’t say I’ve settled on a “style” just yet but they all make me happy anyhow! My first attempt was to create an image of my sweet old gal, Emmy. She recently turned nine, we rescued her over two years ago and she has stolen our heart, and we have hers – although she’s not a lovey/friendly gal with just everyone. 😉 The best guess is that she is black lab and perhaps a bit of Rotwieller. Here are the images of the painting process:
I had so much fun I immediately jumped in and started working on my second image – this time of our not-quite-as-old guy (he just turned eight), Carl. Carl joined us a little over a year ago and kind of turned our world upside down – in a good way! He is smart, curious, full of energy and LOTS of fun. The calm and quiet is gone by the happiness has increased for sure! Carl is several inches and a few pounds bigger than Miss Em, he’s a mix of black lab and possibly Great Dane. He has these eyes that are so bright and direct and seem to look right through you!
Well now I just HAD to try my hand at my oldest pet, Miss Amy, the tuxedo cat! We adopted her about ten years ago and guess she is about twelve. She was a feral/outdoor cat that we adopted to be a mouser in our garage. She wouldn’t come near the door, let alone in the house for the first year we had her. That slowly changed and when we moved several years ago she decided being a house cat was a pretty good life! The last five years she has been my “studio cat” and has the run of the studio.
Last, but certainly not least, I created a painting of my good friend, Corey! His momma and I have been friends for years and he’s been a frequent visitor here at our house (although not so much now that Carl joined the pack). He is part Corgi and part Beagle and just as sweet as he looks. This was a gift for his mom, who really enjoyed it – even if Corey wasn’t all that impressed!
Next up? Both my grandson’s have their own pups so they’ll be on the easel soon!
Late last year I purchased an online class titled “Adventures in Portraiture” by Dana Bloede. Although no one is exactly enjoying this pandemic, I did find that it freed my schedule up enough that I had the time to actually sit down and start the lessons. So, bonus points for that anyhow! It has been a lot of fun, and I still have a couple lessons left to look forward to! I thought it would be fun to share what I’ve done so far, here are the progress & final images for the first lesson:
The second lesson went like this:
What fun! I was picking up some techniques along the way but still felt like I was very much trying to follow right in her footsteps with the composition and brush strokes, if not the colors. Something else I noticed now though, when I was watching television or looking at images online I was really paying attention to the shadows, darks & lights and how they played on different peoples faces! After these two lovely ladies our third lesson was to create a male portrait with a limited color palette. I like that the faces that were chosen to use as models were all so different in each lesson!
I will post more of these “adventures” as I continue the lessons. Most of you who know me won’t be surprised that after getting a taste for this process I have got “rogue” for a bit. 😉 But that’s for another day!
Thinking about family, children or high school senior portraits soon? Have I got a great deal for YOU!
During the month of September if you schedule a portrait session to be taken between October 1st and November 15th you will get the “Do It Yourself” package for only $150 (plus tax). Normally a $275 package, you receive edited, ready to print, images on a CD. This special is for outdoor photo sessions, within 25 miles of Brownsburg, Indiana, scheduled Monday – Saturday.
Please visit my portrait website at www.photoladyLM.com for additional information regarding this package and optional fees for added services (travel outside the area, indoor photo sessions, Sunday appointments).
I hope you’ll take advantage of this special offer! To schedule your appointment please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 317-340-3541. Thank you!
I found out over the weekend that two of my three photography entries at this year’s Indiana State Fair won ribbons, including a BLUE! It’s always a nice affirmation to find out that an image that I am excited about also excites others. Asking another person to scrutinized your work can leave you feeling more than a bit vulnerable, wondering how a stranger’s eyes see your cherished creations. That being said, having a small number of judging jobs on my resume, I understand that judging is a very subjective process and that no two judges will see things exactly the same! I judge using whatever my definition of beauty is on that particular day, factor in story-telling, uniqueness, skill, and intent into the equation to determine the final outcome. There are so many outside influences during any given day I doubt the outcome would be the same if judge the next day. I would not want to be the panel of judges that have to sort, score & critique all the entries that are turned in at the fair each year.
So I am pleased that this time, the light was right, the judges had a good nights sleep, no confrontations with their unruly teenagers, ate a good meal, were given a comfortable room to work in and none of their underwear was too tight! 🙂 As an added bonus these images are of my new granddaughters – I’m double proud!
I recently presented a class to a group about photography. As I was gathering notes & ideas I realized maybe this would be something interesting to share on my blog. (Or not, I guess you can decide!) I’ll pop a “Photo Talk” post up from time to time and see how it goes. For today I thought I’d talk a little bit about lighting. One definition of photography is “the process of recording images on sensitized material by the action of light” so without light, there would actually be no photography! There are many different types of light sources, both natural & artificial, that can influence the outcome of your photos – for better or worse! The most natural source of light for a photo is from the sun and that’s what we’ll talk about today. The sun’s light can vary due to the time of day, the season, and the weather. Using these different variations can give you a wide option of outcomes. Photographers talk of the “sweet light” that comes just as the sun is rising and again as the sun is lower in the evening sky. It normally has a warm glow to it and will light your subject without casing harsh shadows or making bright highlights. In landscape and nature photography some very beautiful and dramatic images can be created, you know the type that make us say “ooh” and “aah!”
Yes, I’m a sucker for those sunrise & sunset photos just like everyone else! I’ve attended many photography workshops where we rose in the darkness of the pre-dawn hours to travel to our photography location, captured images until the sun was full then did the reverse in the evening as the sun would set. Meals, instruction and other agendas were scheduled during the “off time” when the sun was high in the sky or gone for the day. That works wonderfully for workshops but, in real life, our activities and schedule tend to include the mid-day hours! One idea for working with the sun is to use indirect or diffused lighting. This can be achieved in many different ways. Days that are cloud-filled (but not too dark!) make for naturally diffused light. Other elements that might be available are trees & buildings. By placing your subject in the shade of a tree or building in what is termed “open shade” you are blocking the direct light but still have enough of the sun’s rays being reflected and filtered to light your subject.
This works well with portraits, not so well with objects that can’t be “placed” somewhere! With plants, trees, architecture and other “permanent” objects there are other methods of gaining the light you want to have. Obviously the first is just to wait for the sun to lower, but that’s not always practical. Sometimes moving to a different side of your subject will give you different lighting that is more agreeable. Backlighting can make for an interesting and dramatic presentation!
Another trick is to just “make” a little shade for your subject! You can use your body to block the path of the sun’s rays, a jacket, an umbrella or there are “professional” diffusers that you can purchase as well. This is easier with small items and close up shots unless you have a willing assistant that can help. Here are two versions of sunflowers where you can see the difference diffused light makes!
If you can adjust the amount of light that hits your subject you can also use natural light to highlight a specific part of your photo for greater emphasis. These images show how light can make a part of your photo “pop” –
When none of the ideas listed above work then it’s time to think about how you can make the sun and hard shadows work for you instead of against you. There are times that I purposely use the bright rays to highlight and emphasize the texture, contour and depth of my subject. This details in this cactus wouldn’t look nearly as dramatic without the shadows!
The shadows on this metal sculpture add to the interest of the composition and highlight the curves and shapes of the piece, it even shows details about the sculpture that aren’t shown in the photo.
For portrait images shadows can help tell stories. Although this image doesn’t show their faces you know that this mother & daughter are spending some relaxed time outdoors taking a leisurely evening walk. The highlights around their hair help separate them from the background and the long shadows emphasis the subjects as well as define the time of day.
This image tells the entire story with just the shadow! I was out during a photo class one afternoon and saw my shadow cast on this wooden retaining wall. Again, although it doesn’t show my face you can tell many things about me just by my shadow. Can you tell I like earrings that dangle?
One thing it may or may not tell you is that I prefer not to have my picture taken! (I think that’s true of may of us who stay behind the camera instead of in front!) This was a fun way to indirectly capture my image.
Do you notice how the sun lights the objects in your world? How do you use the sun’s rays to add drama, interest, story-telling to your photos? Pay attention to these details and see if your photography skills improve!