On a recent trip to Sonoma, California I took some photo reference in hopes of producing some larger paintings when I returned. Some artist's take photos of scenes they paint in plein air, I don't. I find that painting larger painting from photos and pleir air studies bores me. I've done the painting already why do I want to make a larger version of it. I usually get my best photo reference while I'm driving around looking for something to paint. I often find scenes that appeal to me along the road but, for some reason I can't paint on site at that time.
That was the case with this photo I took while driving around the coastal section of Sonoma County. Perpendicular to Highway one I found a road that went up and up and as I climbed I stopped along the way and took shots of whatever caught my eye, trees mostly. This shot below was one of a few I took of some cows crossing the road.
In this blog I wanted to show you the process I followed to come up with a painting. First I took the original image and thought about what feeling I wanted to portray. I really liked the idea of the mother and baby cow together. Using photoshop I started playing around with the above image. Basically I omitted the black cow altogether and overlapped the baby with mother. Next I got rid of the asphalt road and created a field of grass in front of the two cows. Below is what I came up after I bumped up the saturation and cropped it.
Below is my value block in. Notice my drawing is off (mostly the mother cows head). I try not to use any grid system for blowing up images on the canvas because it plays with the spontaneity of the painting.
Below is both images (the block in and photoshoped) superimposed on top of each other. this gave me a better idea of what needed to be fixed drawing wise.
Here is the final painting!