Seeing yourself on canvas

I’ve been away painting plein aire for several weeks while on vacation, and have had such fun. I also took dozens of pictures that I will be using as resource material for some time as I paint in the studio.

Watching the Horizon.

Now that I am back in the studio I would like to show this piece that I’ve been working on. It will still be part of the Outlander series, specifically book 3, although it is not actually a particular character from the Starz series. 

Painting this work brings up a topic I would like to talk about here – the idea of using photos of people and places that either I take or I have the release forms from the models or the photographer for. I think there is a slight confusion as to whether I’m going to reproduce that photo exactly as it stands. Although I certainly am capable of doing that, it is not the job of the painter to merely reproduce a photographers work in oil. What I will do instead is use the spirit of the photo. I may use the stance of the person. I may reference the way the light has fallen on the figure. I may reference a mood.

Unfortunately, some of my models are disappointed that they cannot immediately recognize themselves. I am truly sorry if at any point I disappoint you by not reproducing the photo just as you saw it. Let me say, however, I would encourage anyone who has allowed me to use their image to instead feel proud in your contribution to what my work is. I could not do what I do as well as I do it if I didn’t have these reference tools.

This being said, the painting that I’m showing you here today is referencing a photo of a young woman named Nora who very graciously released her image, as did the photographer who took her picture. Thank you both very much for the opportunity.


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