Many artists are very opposed to painting from photos. Joyce Hick's talks a lot in her book about painting a feeling and not copying a photo. I understand her point and what others are saying but, honestly, if I made a hard and fast rule about not painting from photos I would not get much painting done. There are not a lot of opportunities for painting outside during winter in Iowa. After yesterday's rain and ice, I can't even safely make it across the yard to my studio. But being housebound did not stop me from painting because I had my watercolor journal, portable palette, a photo of the neighboring farm and the value sketch I had made. And my imagination.
I did not copy the photo, but used it as a valuable reference for my sketch. It helped me consider the play of light and shadow. Once I had the value sketch worked out, though, I found I seldom referred to the photo. Especially since the picture was taken in early winter and I wanted my painting to reflect the greens and growth of late spring.
Here are the original photo, value sketch and the finished painting:
Colors used: Cinerous blue for the sky; a touch of Quin Gold on the bottom of clouds and toward horizon, here and there in the foreground trees and grass; Permanent Violet for the background trees, roofs, shadows on house and deep shadows in ditch; Payne's Grey for house and window shadows, tire and shadows across road; varied mixes of Ultramarine Blue, Leaf Green, Olive Green and Hooker's Green for the foliage and grass; Sepia for the tree, field and shadows on power poles and posts, also mixed with Payne's Grey for the gravel road.
Joy and Blessings,