I took a trip to one of my favorite places last weekend hoping to get the chance to capture some of the fields before harvest. I lucked out! The weather was perfect for snapping nice clear shots and I even had the opportunity to do some sketching on site.
One of the things I do is create color charts to capture the colors of the subject I will be later turning into finished drawings and paintings. This helps me select media that truly represents the actual colors I am viewing. No matter how good a picture is, I often feel I am missing something if I don't have a quick reference done in the media I will be using.
Let me show you what I mean.
This is a color chart done In Prismacolor Nupastels. I sat on the edge of the field you see above and made small scribbles of the colors I made out in the landscape before me. I also jot down the number of the color for easy reference.
One of the things I notice right away is that the bright blue of the sky really does not translate in the photo I took. The only way I really know how deep the color was is to look at my color chart and see the blues I chose from my palette of 96 colors. I know I had lighter blues to work with...and I didn't pick any of them. This reminds me that the sky is much more vivid that what is captured on film.
I also do quick sketches in the field working with the colors I have chosen for my color chart. This gives me an even better idea of how to translate what I was seeing into a drawing.
When I bring all three of these resources together I have a wonderful palette of options to work with when I set out to make some art from this piece of nature. I can easily and accurately:
1) draw this landscape in a variety of media
2) paint this landscape in a variety of media
3) create some digital art pieces
I can easily find an acrylic paint, or an oil paint, or a marker color, or colored pencil color or watercolor pigment that recreates the image. All I have to do is check my colors back to the color chart.
What do you do to capture a real life image for reference? Share your ideas!