Monday, August 31, 2009

Bonsai Tree and Shapes: Finding a representative image

Over this weekend, I started working on my latest painting. The first step of any painting, for me, is to decide what I want to paint. In this situation, I was looking at the bonsai tree on my office desk and thought... Hey! That would be an interesting object in a painting.

The first step was to find a representative image of a bonsai tree. Google is the absolute perfect tool for such a search. The image that I was looking for needed to be semi-curved and have an interesting leaf structure. I didn't want anything that looked like a tiny tree that you would see outside of your house. I wanted something that anyone would immediately recognize as a bonsai (there are a couple of representative curving limbs and pine leave patterns that evoke such a thought).

Once I have a representative image, it is important to note that you should try to have a realistic object in which to paint from. In this case, I am using the picture to decide how I want to shape the tree, but using my actual bonsai tree to do the painting. The shadows are better when you are working from life. Now, this is not to say that I don't use photographs.... I do. However, if I can get away from it, I do like to paint from the actual object.

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