art

Choosing the right reference photo for your car portrait

When I create digital paintings of vintage cars, it is important to me to portray the beauty of the car (its form). I also want to convey a certain emotion, such as freedom, fun, whimsy, sport, etc. 

Ultimately you know what you like best about your car, but you might not know how best to convey that in a piece of art, so here are a few tips.

The Best Profile

Do you want to include the grill or taillights? Is your car best displayed from the side or a part side-part front view? Take photos of every view. Think about which aspects make your car special. 

angle samples.jpg

 

The Best Angle

I often appreciate cars at eye level for two reasons. One- if you take the photo from slightly above, the background  is somewhat limited (to a view of mostly the ground). Two- I think cars look more impressive straight on rather than from above. To achieve this squat down when photographing the car or stand further away.

angle smple 2.jpg

That being said, you want to show off your favorite part of the car. As you can see with this Camaro there are nice aspects to both angles. The lower angle (top photo) looks more sporty and "strong" but the angle from above displays more of the hood and interior (but leaves less room for an exciting background).

 

 

The Illusion of Action

1970 stingray corvette internet.jpg

It is best to take a reference photo of a parked car to get good details and have the driver side empty so I can easily draw the interior. That being said, the illusion of some action can be nice. To achieve that, consider turning the wheels at an angle so the car looks less "parked". Also squatting very low and taking a photo looking a bit "up" at the car can give a feeling of action.

Photo Quality

It is important that I can see the details of the car. Blurry or low resolution photos may not work. It is very helpful to be able to see the interior through the windows because I do draw that too.

It is great if you can get the color accurate in the photo, but if you feel the photo conveys the color too blue or not dark enough, etc, you can communicate with me regarding color.

If you sold the car or don't have access to photographing it, contact me. Perhaps we can do some research and find a photo of the same car to use as a reference.

The Background

The background of the photo reference is insignificant. I draw the car first then add a background afterwards. You do not need to provide a reference photo for the background but you can certainly send a few photos if you have an idea of what you want.

Thank you, I look forward to creating a custom portrait of your vintage car or truck soon!

5 reasons pet portraits should be artsy

Artists who specialize in realism are very impressive. I have seen some jaw dropping, amazingly realistic, pet portraits. There are also some spectacular photos of animals taken by very talented fine art photographers. If you want, you can frame these very realistic- exact images of your animal friend and hang it on your walls. But maybe something a bit more impressionistic and artsy suits you!

Pitbull Kaiyah.jpg

 

5 reasons pet portraits should be artsy:

1) The style of the art contributes to the overall style of the room. Consider the decor and mood you want to create in your home.

2) Different styles of art can influence your mood. My artwork is happy. The colors pop and the textures are whimsical. Happy art can make your day.

3) Interesting art leads to interesting conversations. Have something to talk about with your house guests. 

4) Stylized art can capture the spirit of your animal friend. It isn't about a realistic image of the animal, it is about the individual beauty shining through.

5) You love it! Hey, you don't need a profound reason- maybe you just really art and really love your animal- putting the two together makes sense.

Safe Art for the Bedroom

Choosing art for your bedroom can be tricky. Maybe you want something soft and romantic? Or there are two of you and agreeing on the theme is difficult? After you know what look you are going for, you need to make sure your art is bedroom safe!

If you live in an earthquake zone you know you need safe bedroom art. Some of you might have never thought about it before. The most important art is the piece hanging at the head of your bed. No one wants a heavy picture frame dropping on them in the night! 

Art quilts are a great art choice for above the bed. My Classic Car Art Quilts are soft cotton fabric. Most are hung by a lightweight dowel in a fabric sleeve on the backside of the quilt and will be unlikely to hurt you if they do fall down. If you did not want a dowel other hanging solutions can be utilized in earthquake country too. 

Sleep tight! Love, Dawn

The Sky is Bigger Today

I have previously written about my journey of healing through vision therapy and prism eye-glasses. It has been a three year process (so far), and frankly a huge life challenge. The short story is that I was really sick with headaches, dizziness, and body aches. Turns out I had been seeing double (and other visual issues) since I was born! These visual issues finally took me "down" when my eyes changed around age 40. During the past three years we (Northampton Vision Specialists and I) gradually changed my glasses prescription and I did vision therapy.

The wild discovery during my treatments was realizing that I had never had depth perception. Actually the wild part was getting depth perception! Last week we made another step forward in my healing with yet another lens prescription change. I put the glasses on and went outside. As I looked up at the sky it was bigger! I don't know how to describe it to you... kind of like if you had been looking at a stream in New Hampshire then looked at the Grand Canyon. Bigger like that! The trees looked firm and a little menacing as I drove home. Every object seemed like it wanted my attention. Nothing was blending anymore. 

As I drove home tears streamed down my cheeks and I had the thought- I will never feel joy again. The whole world looks stern and stark. Then I reminded myself that this is exactly what I have gone through with each visual change, and I have managed to adjust each time. 

My artist journey has been forever changed and shaped by these visual changes. I am so curious to see what I create next week with my newly informed visual system. I am a little scared too. Just being honest!

Love, Dawn

Choosing the Best Photo for an Equine Portrait

It can be difficult finding the very best photo to send me for an equine portrait, but taking the time to choose a good one is worth while.

I use a single photo as reference for the art and copy it almost exactly in terms of position and lighting (obviously the patterns and colors I use deviate from the photo). If the horse's ears are turned in the photo they will be the same in the portrait. Take time to look closely at the photo to see if you like the expression on the face of your horse or donkey.

I always draw horses in their natural state. No halters, fly masks, braids, or people in the image. If your horse is wearing a halter in the reference shot I can usually work around that but I will not include it in the art.

Here is what makes a photo a good reference for my equine portraits:

  • The photo needs to be digital or you need to have it scanned so that it can be sent to me via email. I use the reference on the computer so I can not work with physical photos.
  • High resolution- enough that I can zoom in and see details without blurring.
  • A clear, well-light view of the eye/eyes.
  • The photo should demonstrate the personality of the horse or donkey.
  • I only draw the whole body when the story it tells is compelling. If the action or stance is interesting... otherwise I focus on drawing a detailed face. It is helpful to see a few whole body photos of your equine even if we don't choose to use it as the final reference.

It is best to send me several photos to see which I think is most appropriate however I want you to love the image, so I will always confirm my choice with you before we move forward. If you have just one photo that you know is perfect let me know, but still send a few extras so I can see the horse's coat color, eyes, and personality from different angles.

This is a good reference photo. The lighting is nice. I can clearly see the color variations in his coat, he is not wearing any gear and his eye has detail when zoomed in. Also I like the expression on his face. The snow does blend in with the nose but I don't draw the background in the photo if it isn't a match. In this case I would replace the background.

This is a good reference photo. The lighting is nice. I can clearly see the color variations in his coat, he is not wearing any gear and his eye has detail when zoomed in. Also I like the expression on his face. The snow does blend in with the nose but I don't draw the background in the photo if it isn't a match. In this case I would replace the background.

This is not a good reference photo because the lighting is not showing his facial features and when zooming in on the eye it is blurry and hard to see. He also has an odd shape to his mouth because he is chewing.

This is not a good reference photo because the lighting is not showing his facial features and when zooming in on the eye it is blurry and hard to see. He also has an odd shape to his mouth because he is chewing.

This is not a great reference because of the dark right eye. Also she is wearing a halter but I can see enough of the coat and bone structure that I can work around that. This is a scanned physical photo of my horse who passed away. Obviously there is no way to take more photos, so in such cases if the photo is decent (which this one is) I could work with it as a reference. 

This is not a great reference because of the dark right eye. Also she is wearing a halter but I can see enough of the coat and bone structure that I can work around that. This is a scanned physical photo of my horse who passed away. Obviously there is no way to take more photos, so in such cases if the photo is decent (which this one is) I could work with it as a reference.