Tag Archives: musical themed photographs

Painting from Real Life vs. Painting from a Photograph

Which is better: painting from real life, or painting from a photograph?

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Before the invention of photography, artists had to work from real life. How did that affect artists’ working habits?

The necessity of working from life meant that in order to paint a portrait, the sitter had to pose for hours, days, weeks, and sometimes months before the artist was finished. To paint a still life, the artist would have to make sure the set-up stayed the same day after day, and could only paint when the lighting conditions were the same as the previous day. For landscape painting, artists would have to finish as much as possible on-site and often complete the final painting in their studio, often surrounded by smaller studies that contained notes on which hues and values to place where.

The invention of photography – especially digital photography – has changed the way artists work. Thanks to the convenience of affordable digital cameras, artists can easily take a variety of high-quality pictures of whatever they want to paint, and then instead of working from real life, they can work from their photographs.

In many ways, this has made representational painting easier for artists. They no longer have to wait until weather and lighting conditions are just right for outdoor painting, and sitters no longer need to spend precious hours posing for a portrait. While many artists now embrace the use of reference photos as aids to creating paintings, others still prefer to work in the style of the old masters. Which way is better?

One drawback to painting from photographs is that the resulting artwork may appear “flat”, because the objects, scene, or person depicted in the painting was first translated into 2-D form via the camera. When an artist works from real life, she has to use her artistic skills to transform the 3-D view before her into 2-D form on her canvas. When working from a photograph, an artist may become too reliant on depicting the actual 2-D photo, as opposed to depicting the 3-D scene that the photograph itself depicts.

Even so, the use of reference photos has largely aided artists in their working process, although each artist has his or her own preference between working from photos or working from real life.

So artists, when it comes to working from real life vs. working from a photograph, which do you prefer, and why?


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Toxicity of Oil Paints: Past and Present

Self-Portrait by Vincent van Gogh

Many people attribute the shimmering, swirling colors and bold, choppy brushwork in Vincent van Gogh’s paintings to his lifelong battle with mental illness. Although his world-famous paintings now sell for millions, during his life van Gogh lived and worked in poverty, surviving on financial assistance from his devoted brother Theo. At times, van Gogh was so poor that he couldn’t even afford food because he had spent all his money on oil paints; his passion for painting overriding his basic human instincts.

As his mental instability worsened, van Gogh ate some of his oil paints, which contained lead. Ingesting the lead in his oil paints may have led to van Gogh’s seizure in 1890, precipitating his mental and physical decline that would lead to his self-inflicted death half a year later.

Lead is just one of the many toxins that were once a common ingredient in many oil paints. Mercury, chromates, sulfides, barium and antimony are just some of the other toxic ingredients that were used to create oil paints. The popular Cadmium Reds, Oranges, and Yellows contained cadmium, while cobalt contributed to Cobalt Blue and Cerulean Blue. Scheele’s Green rose to popularity in the 19th century, replacing the previous green pigments to become the green of choice for artists, used by Turner and Manet. Sheele’s Green contained arsenic.

Thankfully, the oil paints that are manufactured today contain very little of these toxic substances. Oil paint tubes are required to carry a warning label if they contain even the slightest traces of toxic materials. Although these labels cause some artists concern, the risks of becoming poisoned from modern commercial oil paints are quite minor if the paints are used as intended.

Although it may go without saying, artists should never follow in van Gogh’s lead by eating their oil paints. Likewise, artists should never put paintbrushes in their mouths or open stubborn tubes of paint with their teeth. Although you’d actually have to eat an entire tube of paint to become sick, it’s not worth the risk of getting oil paints anywhere near your mouth to begin with. Maintaining clean studio habits, which includes minimizing skin contact with oil paints, will assure that today’s artists run minimal risk of toxic exposure through their oil paints.

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Music Mation by www.segmation.com


You’ll find in our SegPlayPC Music Mation pattern collection fun, off-beat set of great colorful digital patterns. We know you’ll enjoy coloring these great patterns! What a great stress reliever as well.

Gorgeous art painting patterns to color and relax with. You don’t have to be a professional artist to enjoy this. Join the fun today! Segmation.com

These patterns are sure to bring out a rich musical feeling as you paint them. We’ve found a well-rounded series of musical themed photographs and created a SegPlayPC™ pattern set with them. You’ll find pianos, guitars, drums, harmonicas, flutes, saxophones, clarinets, violins, pipes, trumpets, and one passionate guy doing his best at singing karaoke!

You can find a wide collection of Music mation Scenes paint by number patterns and is available at the Segmation web site. These patterns may be viewed, painted, and printed using SegPlay™PC a fun, computerized paint-by-numbers program for Windows 7, 2000, XP, and Vista. Enjoy!