I say I don’t work from photographs.  That’s not true.

Watercolor sketches of heads

Every few months I take an honest look at my work and choose an area I would like to strengthen.  I then dig through my piles of art books to find examples to emulate.  It is usually early in the morning or late at night (the sun isn’t illuminating the world with color) when I focus on going back to square one to learn or improve something I skipped or missed along the way.  For the purpose of exercise, I use photographs, photographs of trees, boat, landscapes, bodies, faces, etc.  These exercises are the foundation for the drawings and paintings created directly from the real, three-dimensional world or the world of my inner visions.  I view these as my body of work, the work I offer to the world with my name on the bottom.

Recently, while cleaning my studio, I came upon a folder of faces I found in magazines many years ago.  Perfect timing.  Inspired by another artist whose blog I follow, Qiang Huang, I want to improve my expression of form in the figure and head.

Frida Kahlo, Watercolor Portrait

Beside my drafting table is a pile of photos, including family albums, and the three books I find most useful for learning more about expressing unique personality in watercolor; Painting People in Watercolor by Alex Powers, Portrait Painting in Watercolor by Charles Reid and Interpreting The Figure In Watercolor by Don Andrews.  I return to these books again and again, always learning something new each time.

Yes, I do work from photographs.

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