Fault no 1: Temperatures
I will in this post try to exemplify the difficulties you are facing if you are trying to paint a landscape from a photo. In this first example with the Arctic Catedral in Tromsø, I post a photo of the church and a photo of the first block-in stage (oil on board). The photo attached was taken during the last section of the session, when the sun was in a really good position – which was the main light I was interested in (that is: painting into the effectI. I don’t have a super good camera, but I do have a Canon EOS 600D and a good lens, it’s as valuable as the camera.
The imprimatura on my board is a mix of transparent red oxide and ultramarine blue – which gives a orange look – so if you think this first stage of the painting is a bit warm, it is. However, it is not too warm! And – you cannot compare it to the photo of the church (that is, my photo with my camera) – because the warmth the low sun gave, is not at all present in the photo.
Fault no 2: Perspective and proportions
I started out painting the chain of mountains called Soria Moria. They are rising up to 1100 meters from the sea level. I started on the site as I always do when dealing with the huge personalities mountains are. Also, these are my mountains, so I have to treat them with respect – cause after all I have been
climbing all of them – and they where kind to me. The point is, that if I where tempted to start out from a photo, and I don’t have a million dollar camera, I would have to take a photo like the one to the left as a reference. And when you look at the photo of the painting being developed, you notice the difference: the shapes of the mountains are distorted with respect to perspective and proportions. It is though a point that the farthest mountain is kilometers away, which puts higher demands to a camera than if they where closer. Anyway. Good luck!
Fault no 3: Values
A lot of times the nature inspires you to when there are strong light-effects. In order for us to observe the strong light, there must be strong contrasts in the same scenery – that is; a good spread in values from the lightest to the darkest. I have tried to take photos of these situations, thinking that I want to go home and paint… However, even though you have a million dollar camera, the camera cannot give accurate light and accurate dark when the light is very light and the dark is very dark. I’ll put in a problem photo and leave you to your own landscape-painting-ideas.