Needs Must…

  
Most of you know my view on projecting a photographic image for the purpose of painting. If you don’t, you can read about it HERE.  In general I’m not in favor of it. It’s normally a point of honor for me to hand-render my images whether I’m working from life or from photos. However, there are times when “needs must”. I’m going to be a little vulnerable here and admit that the nature of my current deadlines necessitate the use of a projector in order to save a couple of hours time. We’ll have to see if I can pull this off. 

Stand by…

PS- I want to stress that if you use a projector YOU MUST ALREADY BE A GOOD DRAFTSMAN in order to make a fine painting. If you still can’t draw well the projector won’t save you. Trust me.

25 thoughts on “Needs Must…”

  1. The photo and projected image look great! I agree wholeheartedly with your philosophy as one must try to remain true to the heartfelt nature of the process of making art. But all life is a process…. and in the final days of life we can look back and forgive ourselves a little too much wine, shall we say, now and then. I look forward to seeing this develop… please post a few images and thoughts while you work….? Cheers and as always… it’s great to hear from you. Thanks for showing us that even a great pro like yourself can be vulnerable and not afraid to admit it.

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  2. That is a slippery slope, we can rationalize just about anything and as a commercial artist have used projectors, light tables and tracings to meet deadlines. I never once denied the use of them, and never saw them as anything but illustration. I also believe they held me back from doing fine art. And feel it is a barrier between the artist and the subject, but hey..to meet deadlines and pay the bills, why not. It is just a job to make money.. no wait its art we are making… is it a job to make money or art? It is so confusing is it not?

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    1. The fact is, sometimes we have to compromise. That’s my whole point here. Ultimately the important thing is what you piece looks like in the end. But my expression does suffer from this shortcut at times.

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  3. Your emphasis that this is NOT a replacement for good draftsmanship skills is right on. This is not a new issue. Debate it all day long. There were plenty of great artists who used photos. Degas, Mucha, Kahlo, Cezanne, Lautrec, Eakins, etc. etc.

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  4. Thank you for sharing David. I think it is great to mix up our methods based on outside pressures. All the great artists worked for money and under deadline and pressure and I can’t help but think it pushed their art forward.

    And thank you for sharing the photo of your working set up. I am inspired by your very well-composed reference photograph (something I really struggle with).

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  5. So admire you David, for your amazing talent , honesty and sheer niceness. Wish you would do a workshop in England! Happy Easter.
    Elizabeth

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  6. G’day Dave, Totally agree with your comments and admire your honesty. Projecting/tracing is not going to help you create a masterpiece unless you have the talent and skill beforehand to render the subject from life, which you clearly do!. Just a quick question. When you have to work from photo reference, which do you prefer or get better results from, printed photograph or painting from the monitor?.

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  7. David….I can’t imagine how hard it is to paint for a living. I paint, in retirement, for enjoyment. It seems obvious from your post, you are quite defensive about the whole projection thing. As a “senior”, I would just say this. If you are not painting every third or fourth painting exclusively for your own enjoyment and development, you are making a large mistake. I heard in a recent podcast, you were a saxophone player. Can you imagine John Coltrane limiting his play to only that which was commercially acceptable? A very dull world. Life is so short. Be all you can be.

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  8. I find that if I project an image as a way of speeding up my process I tend to believe that everything is in the right place. I stop paying attention…stop stepping back…stop using my intuition and I end up with a hot mess. I believe in whatever works for the artist…we all work in a way that suits us best. Thanks for a very informative post.

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  9. So I have to ask if
    “Ultimately the important thing is what you piece looks like in the end.” Why not just send your photos and a example of your style to one of the China paint factories and have the work done there? I am not trying to be disrespectful, for I truly admire your talent. But for someone like me that has spent twenty plus years doing illustrations/commercial art that sounds, by your premise completely rational. They can copy your work to a T. I mean post- contemporary artists like Koons do that, illustrators do something similar, I have done collaborative pieces for magazine covers.

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    1. Just attempting to have a rational open minded conversation about photography and painting, it is not personal. Most painters do not find the conversation offensive; I am very confused by those that do?

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  10. A long time ago, I was trying to learn more about eating healthier foods, so I looked into raw vegetables. At first, I learned a lot; there was so much knowledge out there. In time, though, I started seeing a sort of elitism brimming just beneath the surface of many conversations and articles. Near the end, I saw out-right hatred for meat eaters. The expression was much like the fanaticism often seen in extreme religions. I haven’t really visited the subject of projected images in a while because I see the same predicable responses that seem wildly inappropriate for the subject being discussed. I ask the question: what do you care? What is it to you? Why so upset? Seriously? It’s art not personal conflict… right?
    I’ve LATELY been able to do drawings of what I want to paint first- make the changes I want, then do color sketches and then work from those. But, there have been times in the past, when I have projected the image, and I PROMISE I will project in the future if I ever feel I want to or need to in order to keep shelter over my family.. or simply because I want to. No apologies.

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  11. Danner, It is not elitist to want to know how an work of art is made, especially to a collector, if that does not matter than what are your thoughts on Dafen Oil Painting Village in China? Are they making fine art?

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  12. A little background – I do watercolor, graphite and tattoos and I am now getting into oil painting.

    I draft and sketch extensively before committing to a final work, would it still be acceptable to draw out my image and project that onto the canvas?

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  13. I am a little late to this thread, but I get around the projection issue by attaching my computer to the HD connection of my Samsung TV. This way I can practice the process I would go thru if I were drawing from life without having the print right in front of me.

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    1. Well, that’s not really projection. I do something very similar and it allows for your own interpretation of the subject. Wish I had a big screen to work from!

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