|Detail of Vignette Page in|
Handbook Watercolor Journal
1.35" x 4.25"
You see, this is an image from the Imaginary Visit Through Autumn! that is currently going on and the image above is my "loose" interpretation of it. I started painting this on the vignette page you can see in full on this post. Since the background was already painted, I should have just left well enough alone and used it as it was. But no. Oh, no, that would have been too easy! No, I decided to put blue back there because......it was in the photo reference!
Have you ever found yourself doing that when you're working from a photo reference? Doing something that you know would look better if you followed your muse's suggestion or just didn't do something but felt compelled to because it was there in the photo reference staring you in the face?! It's almost like an out-of-body experience! You can hear your muse yelling, "Noooooooooooooo!!!" in a small voice far, far away.
And we do it anyway.
That, I think, is the biggest downfall (taboo?) of using photo references—our artistic sensibilities take a back seat. We go on auto pilot. I also think overcoming that downfall is a tough job. For me, it is an ongoing fight to raise my awareness to stay off auto pilot and not assume that the photo reference knows better than me. Ugh!
I often tell the "travelers" on Imaginary Trips, "Make the image yours! You have a photo—make this an artistic representation!!" And yet, we (and I certainly include myself in this statement) are compelled to be good little artistic beings and put in every color, detail and tree that the photo shows us.
As disgusted as I am with myself for how the piece above turned out (because it was soooooo much better before I added that blue into the background and then tried to remove it because I knew it was a mistake before I ever touched the color to the paper!), I will continue to fight the good fight. I will continue to listen to my artistic muse....BTW, Sam, my muse, was woefully disappointed in my choices, and in me, for not listening to her.
I will continue to struggle and NOT forget to make the image mine REGARDLESS of what is in the photo reference! And so, I will be revisiting that image above and I will make it mine! I'm gonna show that photo reference who's boss!