I work from photographs because I believe the in hundreds of photographs you have there will be one that captures how you feel about your loved one in a way that a professional studio could not. For example, if you have a picture from a wonderful holiday what is needed is an artist to turn your holiday snap into a beautifully composed portrait that carries the essence of the holiday moment.
You may have a digital camera, your phone may take good photographs. You may load many photos onto your computer every month – I load over a hundred each month. When I am thinking of making a portrait of my loved ones I sift through the hundreds of photographs I have to find one that expresses how I feel about my loved one.
The limitations of working from photographs
The difficulty of working from a photograph is that only minor adjustments can be made to the pose or structure without risking loosing the resemblance of the person. It is especially difficult to change the eyes or the mouth. In Bathtime the camera was held at an angle when taking the photograph when meant I needed to rotate the picture to correct the pose. Thus the back of the arm and head of the mother was not as accurate to real life as the rest of the picture.
Sketching the photograph
A rough sketch of the shading in the photograph is my first step in the creative process. These shades will constitute the shapes that will be used to develop the stencils.