Sunday, 16 October 2011

The benefits of cropping

In my last blog entry I added a picture of Rollo, a Labradoodle, taken from a photograph on PMP, (Paint my Photo)  I decided to crop the reference photo down to concentrate on a few points.  Mainly the tilt of the dog's head and the texture of his hair.
Jean Haines must have been reading my mind because a week later she posted a challenge photograph on her blog for all her fans to have a go at.  This photograph was also cropped right in, excluding the background and forcing the artist to concentrate on capturing the textures, colours and the tilt of the head. 
It's a fantastic way to approach paintings of, not only wildlife, but other motifs.  Jean uses this close cropping on many of her own paintings. 
Isolating the subject is a fantastic learning tool.  It also removes many error traps like unsuitable backgrounds, wrong proportions, weakness in painting things like paws or hands.  Above is my submission for Jean's challenge.  I won't say that it was easy, but I felt that I had already painted a very similar study just the week before, so I knew exactly how I wanted to approach this.
It is also a worthwhile exercise to have a close look at yor own completed work.  Would that picture that you were not just too happy about look better if it was cropped down into one small part of the work?  Worth thinking about.

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