Monday, May 26, 2008

Photography and Painting - Part 1

So, what good is it?

When I made that fateful decision to start painting I did so under some delusions that my years as a photographer would flatten out the learning curve. Hello?!! Yeah, right. Having learned and taught photography I can now say that learning to paint is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And I’ve got so much yet to learn!

When I was just starting to paint, everything was such a struggle. Well, everything is still a struggle. But the first things I began to feel comfortable with were the concepts of composition and framing. These are definitely skills that are common to both disciplines. Selecting a subject and eliminating the clutter is always an important requirement. Developing an “eye” for photography is one of those important yet difficult skills that often makes the difference between a good photo and a great photo. I’ve been working on it since I was 12 and it’s still elusive. What I have learned about composition as a photographer has been a priceless aid in learning to paint. Photographer or painter, here’s a skill that will improve all of your efforts.

Sadly, that’s about all that my photographic skills had to contribute to the “painting madness”. Don’t get me wrong, My cameras play an enormous role in painting. But not as you may think. More on that later. But otherwise, This has been like learning a new skill from the ground up.

Now, here’s the fun part! What I have managed to learn about painting has had an incredible, positive effect on my photo skills. How? Well, learning to create a focal point and simplify in a painting has spilled over to the way I approach my photo subjects. I’m finding it easier to frame my compositions and my photos are becoming less complicated and a little more to the point. If I don’t want to paint all of that detail, maybe it doesn’t need to clutter up my photos either? Go figure.....

Flower - Anza Borrego State Park

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