Keeping my camera handy for art inspiration: one or two photos might make for exciting painting ideas!

A carpet of reflections: Niwot canal photo, KG Taylor, October 2012

I’m so fortunate to have the time to work in a walk or two each week for a visit with nature and have my cell phone camera on hand. It’s not state-of-the-art in terms of resolution, but for a painter, it’s great.

This photo was a bit of a surprise for me, once I got home and downloaded it to the bigger screen for viewing. If you are like me, the glare on the cell phone screen to check a photo is not very telling, sometimes. Let’s go back and look at the larger photo before the interesting crop.

Niwot canal, KGT

Who would have thought that a canal with so little water left from the annual town water shut down would still be beautiful?

Niwot canal, upper crop of photo, KGT

I am considering this photo as two interesting scenes I could make into paintings. The beauty of capturing your own photos is discovering interesting shapes, colors, and compositions all your own.

Niwot canal palette, KGT

A closer look reveals a color palette both subtle and muted in tones, yet with a few bright notes which I find exciting. I come away with two interesting compositions, which could even be very abstract paintings perhaps. Plus I have a new color palette for these paintings which will make a good start.

Have you ever been truly surprised by an image your camera has recorded? Of course we are the one pressing the button on our camera, but do we really see all we are sending to our camera to record? I think I saw possibilities, as I framed the photo very quickly. For me, so much of capturing art ideas is about looking for those possibilities which might be only seeds of bigger, wonderful explosions of energy we can pour into our projects.


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8 Responses to “Keeping my camera handy for art inspiration: one or two photos might make for exciting painting ideas!”

  1. mamamiaheather Says:

    Very interesting! How are you getting the color palette breakdown?


    • karen Says:

      Hello, thanks for your response. I extract colors from the photo using Photoshop, a program I’ve been using for years and years. I recommend it highly, as one can learn or reinforce understanding of design principles just by using it in day-to-day work.


      • mamamiaheather Says:

        I have Photoshop CS2 and Elements 5.0 and just use Elements mostly for very simple editing of photos. What do I look for to do that? Thanks for the help!!


      • karen Says:

        In Photoshop CS2, look for the eyedropper tool in the tools palette. Click it on your photo and it will isolate the pixel color which you can then use to make a patch of color in a border of your photo. Repeat as you go around the photo until you have a representative palette. This is useful for painters like me when mixing the beginning paint palette or making an art quilt.


      • mamamiaheather Says:

        Thanks Karen! I think that will be very helpful in deciding on a colour palette!


      • karen Says:

        Wonderful! Best of luck MM Heather!


  2. Leslie Ann Clark Says:

    IT is just beautiful! Its always amazing to me how the color picker picks up the color and it seems so different in the picture. Nature is amazing!


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