Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blog Find of the Week

Farmer's Market

This week's blog find of the week is actually a tip from me.  Hope it is helpful!

I went to the farmer's market yesterday in Bloomington.  I enjoyed walking around and looking at all the booths and snapping a few pictures.  I don't know about you, but I use my computer picture program ( I have MGI photosuite4) to break down the pictures to see if they might make a good painting.

Below I will show some steps I take.

Here is the original photo:  I liked the interaction between the buyers and the seller.  I also liked the crate with onions spilling out. 

The first step I take is to play with cropping the picture:  I want to zero in on what I like and eliminate some of the busy stuff.   I like this crop.  It is interesting to note, that of the ten or so photos that I took yesterday most of them were ho hum.  But when I cropped the photo down to capture what had interested me in the first place, suddenly I had an interesting picture.  Cropping may be the best tool of all.

Next, I change the color saturation to zero.  I want to see how the values stand up.  As the saying goes;  "Value does all the work and color gets all the glory" author unknown.  If it is still an interesting picture in black and white it will probably work as a painting.   .

Poster 2
 Next I take the values down to 8, 5, 3 and 2 using the poster setting on the program.  I try to think about what Carol Marine says about value. Good paintings have a majority of one value, and a good amount of another value and just a smidge of a third value. (paraphrasing). Values as in dark, medium and light.  It this case, medium values are the majority and lights are the smidgen value.   In poster 2, only light and dark, I look to see if the darks and lights make interesting shapes.  I may look for ways to alter them to make the darks or lights connect with themselves. Or to simplify things if it is too busy.

Finally, I may use the cartoon feature to simplify the picture even more.  This gives me an idea of how the final painting might look and whether I think it would be successful.  I look at it in black and white and in color.

I'm sure experienced painters can do all of this in their heads and don't need to take all of these steps.  And I don't always do this.  But it is sometimes helpful with a more complicated composition.

I like this and think I will go with it.  Now, on to the next stage.  Drawing. 

Have a great week!



  1. Great post, Karla. I use the cropping tool alot but not the others. I guess my cameras program isn't as versatile as yours. Or maybe I just haven't found those things yet. My Olympus stylus really isn't user friendly.

  2. Karla! This is helpful indeed. I'm new to my camera, and computer. So stuff like this helps.
    I'm still learning, but having fun at it!

    That wouldn't be Bloomington Mn farmers market would it?

  3. Hi Bill! Hope all is well with you. I like using my camera and computer to help me figure things out. Actually, it's Bloomington, IL. Guess I should have specified that.

  4. My photo program doesn't have this latitude. I just have what came with the computer and unfortunately I can't even participate in the Virtual Paintout any longer because my program doesn't allow one of BG's requirements for settings. I do some of this once in awhile on Photobucket with their features though. I don't think it has all the options your program does, but it does help me find some of the lines occasionally.

  5. Excellent post, Karla. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thank you fora very helpful post!
    I hadn't thought to use my photos that way. It's a good wake me up lesson.

    Glad I found your blog to add to my favorites list.

  7. Thanks for stopping by and following!

  8. Great tips Karla,once I get the hang of my camera and computer.Technology for me is a painful process!!


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