Painting from Photographic References

I always try to impress on beginners that the very best way to learn to paint is by doing so from life. The uncertainty of the enterprise stops you from becoming ensnared by a pre-existing representation. That’s not to say you’ll manage to get good results straight away; it’s just that the uncertainty will provoke a more interesting and human result and you’ll learn more from the process.

Hence, last week was spent at each class demonstrating how to paint successfully from a photographic reference. I printed out some pictures I’ve taken over the years that I thought would be worth trying.

Here are the results of my own demonstrations. Each took about 30 minutes and I spent a further hour or so on the impressionist/pointillist one:

A Cotignac Street
The Grand Canal in Dublin
The Huband Bridge, Dublin

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