Most of this process was trial and error. I would pick an image that looked great on the photo, but for some reason, the painting looked flat and the person looked "cartoony". There were other images that I thought just wouldn't work; I didn't like the pose, the image seemed too weird, etc. Sometimes I was right and the painting looked horrible. Other times, the painting would unexpectedly be one of my best pieces. As I said, it took me a long time to figure out what would work and why. Here is what I have found:
|This image didn't have much contrast|
and because of it, her face looks flat.
|This image had great contrast and shadows.|
It's one of my favorite paintings that I have done.
|This image is a good one for a couple |
of reason: it's not a generic pose and the
girl on top is partially cropped out
of the photo.
Also, interesting crops, which I can contribute to when I compose my painting, give way to better negative space. The negative space is just as important as the image itself and can make or break a composition. Sometimes it's hard to image the figures without the background, especially if it is a busy one.
These are the basics of what makes a good painting. Now sometimes it's hard to tell, even with all three components, if the painting will be a "winner". Case in point: my current painting. I didn't think it would make a good piece although it had all the requirements for one. I just couldn't "see" what the painting would look like, mostly because the background seemed to be getting in the way. I drew the image and then let it sit in my studio for awhile before I even attempted to paint it. Turns out, I LOVE this piece. I was so inspired by it that the underpainting only took 4 hours to finish. I am still working on it but I think when it's done, it will probably be one of my better paintings.
|This is where I left it after working on it today...|