I am crazy about this photo and feel that it's a good example of how painting from photos can be helpful!
The main advantage of taking lots of reference photos, for you as an artist, is that so many unplanned but beautiful compositions jump out at you if you browse through them and crop. You limit what you will consider for a composition when you lift your camera to a scene: you've got compositional rules in your head, and you're looking at a favored focal point. But when you flip through - and crop - your photos later on, those ideas will have faded and the flat images themselves will present new and fresh ideas to you.
This particular shot, taken by me, a tourist in London, was not well planned or composed. But not only an interesting crop, but even some water which spilled and spattered this particular print and faded and blended some colors made me look at it in a different way. The colors which faded and ran together made the scene have a very otherworldly, fanciful feeling to me. Tourist shots are already strange, almost voyeuristic in their subject matter, and they have an eerie feeling that interests me. Add the disconnect of time, damage, distance from the experience - and you have inspiration for a thoughtful treatment of a historical treasure.
It's funny, I did another tourist trip inspired painting which, for me, was an interesting and theatrical subject. It was a painting of part of a statue in London, behind a hedge, looking mysterious. I had to laugh when a friend dug through the time stamps in my photos and nailed down the particular statue which was in my painting. It wasn't a great hero, or a forgotten political leader, but the statue was titled "Commerce." Ach! It didn't work so well. But it was very funny, and now a photo of the friend who later took a picture of himself in the same frame as our statue "Commerce", is tucked in the corner of the framed painting. I'll show it to you later.
So don't rule out any photos for painting inspiration!
Also, if you're interested in my upcoming Oil session or Watercolor session at Parks and Rec, call 770 781-2215 to reserve your spot! The painting which is featured in this ebook , Painting a Pastoral Vista in Oils, will be what we do in our first Oil class. Watercolor will also be fun, with several fun small demos and a larger simple painting every week.
Check out my website, www.susankennedy.com to see more about my art, and a calendar of my classes! I also have lots of paintings on ebay right now!