Bad Photos Make Great Paintings

Some of my favorite landscape paintings came from the worst reference photos. I can still remember the days of film cameras. We had a vintage Pentax and I wasted so much film trying to figure out the shutter speed and aperture, and when the photos came back I inevitably found myself with a handful of washed-out, bland images! I think this is the stuff we get to tell our kids,

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What Makes a "Heart-Led" Landscape Painting?

Is a landscape painting just a picture of a place? Or is it something more?

In landscape painting, our desire is to do something more than a photo can achieve. If you’re a landscape lover, you have a deeper goal than just showing the appearance of a scene:

  1. We love the process of painting - it’s just fun to paint!

  2. We want to express ourselves. In painting a landscape, we show OUR point of view, our experience -our feelings about a place, the memories attached to it.

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Angela FehrComment
Art is where our spirits collide.

Fanna gave me permission to share a bit of our exchange as she purchased my painting, “If You Can’t See the Forest, Let Go of the Trees,” and the story behind the painting. Her email was so meaningful and I’m so honoured to be able to share part of it with you.

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How to Become a Loose Painter.

“Well, I guess I’m just not a loose painter.”

You’ve tried. You love the loose, intuitive style of watercolor artists like Jean Haines. You’ve followed tutorials and watched videos, but when you try to paint your own loose painting, you quickly fall into your usual habits. Detailed copywork of your reference photo, tight pencil sketches and muddy overworking seem to be an intrinsic part of your personal style, and you feel like it might just be the way it’s meant to be for you.

What style is for you? Can you choose your style, and when should you give up on pursuing the style you yearn to make your own?

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Is Your Painting a Fun Road Trip...or a Red-Eye Flight?

I think a good road trip is a lot like a good painting session. As we planned our Arizona vacation, many of our friends who had wintered in Arizona had advice on where to go and what to do. We did research, and made some plans, but once we set out, flexibility became essential from the moment we left home, as we started our trip with a canceled flight that tripled our travel time. Once we finally touched down, picked up our rental car and hit the road, we were not solely bound by the map and our game plan.

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Where does inspiration come from?

I found my high school art portfolio, and it includes the very first watercolor paintings I ever did, and they are terrible; truly a testament to the power of practice. It's not magic that got me to this place where I love what I create, but many years of building skill in technique and experimenting to get closer to my heart. 

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