A Painting from a Photo

Big Blue, pastel, 13.5″ x 19.5″, 2023 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Big Blue, pastel, 13.5″ x 19.5″, 2023 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

When I bought my first camera in 1983 I did intend to learn photography and take photos for photos’ sake. But I know I took more photos with an eye toward using them as reference images for later drawings and paintings. I wasn’t even painting yet, but I guess I knew that someday I would be, and that was probably one of the most prophetic and hopeful of my stated intentions because that’s one of the activities I’m doing today and nearly every day for income and enjoyment.

The reference photo for the painting above was a post on this blog on September 1, 2017. The text of the original post is below. I ended that post with, “Yes, this looks like a painting.” And so…

I remember taking the photo, trying to get the heron in a better position than at first and considering the water lilies top and bottom. When I looked at in in my view screen I could easily visualize the painting.

I often use more than one photo when I paint from a photo, and I intentionally take more than one almost always in part because there is never just one really good shot in any scene and I like to move around and change settings just to let things happen that I don’t plan. I also know there’s a chance I’ll want to create a piece of artwork from the shot, and the more information I capture the better, even if it doesn’t go into the work. And then when I paint I don’t always copy a photo exactly, as you can see if you compare the painting and the photo.

You can read more about this painting on my site Portraits of Animals in Big Blue, and My 2016 Trip to Savannah.

Below is the original photo, and the original post.


Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

This great blue heron is waiting for lunch to swim by in the lake at Savannah Wildlife Refuge. Herons, when you find them, are easy to photograph because they hold perfectly still for long periods of time, relative to other birds, at least. They may actually be difficult to find because they often look like twigs from a distance, and close or far you might look right past them. They also nest on Chartiers Creek and I see them in the creek and flying overhead all the time.

Yes, this looks like a painting.

. . . . . . .

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, visit my galleries of Photography on Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “Custom Prints” for availability and terms. I'll be more than happy to make a print for you.

One Comment

  1. […] I shared the reference photo on my photography website Today in September 2017, and the last line of my post was, “Yes, this looks like a painting.” I knew then that I wanted to paint this someday. Today I shared the painting on my photography site and talked about how I started taking photos as references for paintings even before I started painting. You can read that on Today. […]

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