Monday, November 2, 2015

Photographing Artwork In The Studio

A Beginner's Set Up...

Another week has come and gone.  It seems to slip by so quickly and I'm not sure how I'm unaware as it happens.  I do know there was a lot squeezed into the five weekdays because on Friday I felt beyond tired.  Can you relate?  Well, working here at home alone, I seem to get so few tasks done.  It could be I am more than ambitious in my goal planning.  That is a strong possibility.

There were three new watercolor landscapes to photograph.  All of my best efforts to photograph them fell flat.  I was just fit to be tied (frustrated beyond comprehension) at this challenge.  With plans to frame the paintings this week, I was determined to get excellent photos for having prints made in the future.  I have plans to hang these framed paintings locally this week.  I am avoiding bringing them back home in the near future unless they've sold.  I have interest in hanging framed prints locally as well.  I believe I'll have better sales online with prints.  There is no time to waste with the holidays approaching quickly.  I've found a company which makes art prints and the only thing standing in my way is an accurate photograph to upload.

I've got to share how reluctant I've felt about selling prints of my artwork.  There have been so many mixed emotions on this topic, fighting within me.  A painting is not a copy, it's an original one-of-a-kind product of hours spent working hard to bring it to fruition.  A print is a copy, not a painting, in my mind.  In my struggle to make peace with having prints made, I was able to read an excellent article on a Wet Canvas forum by D.B. Sullivan, titled How to Produce and Sell Prints of Your Artwork.  It's lengthy but very worth the time if you are interested in reading it as well.  He was able to give me a new perspective.

The more I searched Pinterest and YouTube, it was apparent, I need to learn how to use my camera in manual mode.  I must learn to adjust the settings myself.  Within three days time, I had taken a crash course in photographing my own artwork.  I've got notes and cheat sheets, I've watched several fantastic videos, and my brain has absorbed a tremendous amount of information.

I posted these photos on Facebook Christy Sheeler - Artist last week and the frustrated looking selfie got the most attention.  My children were in disbelief that I posted the photo...but hey, people got a kick out of it apparently!  I figured it couldn't hurt to share my misadventures and it's more worth it if someone else gets a little amusement from this experience.

One of the videos I watched on YouTube,  American Frames Shows You How To Photograph Your Artwork For Reproduction was very helpful.  Click on the title if you are interested in watching it.  I am limited with my lighting and still need to purchase a full-size tripod.  I do have foam board on hand and was able apply many of the suggestions given.

The set-up is not ideal but it must get my by for now.  In the future, two identical lamps with identical bulbs will make this work better.  It's hard to notice but there is a shorter black desk lamp to the left.  While there's still room for improvement, it's giving me opportunity to learn what's necessary.

In an ideal world, this would describe me feeling thrilled to be learning so much new information.  I would be pleased with myself and my efforts to move forward into my artist's adventure.

This is the most transparent and honest way I can describe my feelings toward the whole process.  My brain felt ready to explode with ISO, F-stop, lens aperture, shutter speed, white balance, light metering and on and on.  At this point, I'm still getting a better understanding of the light metering.  The wildflower paintings have lighter backgrounds and will take more work to adjust the light meter for best quality of photo.  In my years of college, I took an art class every semester for my own enjoyment.  One of those art classes was black and white photography.  I loved it but did not fully understand much of the adjusting even then.  That hasn't changed much in all these years.  I am still struggling to understand much of this; it's just not my strength, I guess.  So enjoy a chuckle and I'm sorry that my children will be mortified...but hey, I've got to let you in on my truth, right?

Here's a look at Friday's setup with lights not on at the time.  I was able to capture the photographs needed of the landscape paintings.  On Friday afternoon, I ordered a few prints of them.  I will be excitedly waiting and they most likely will not arrive until next week.  I'll share more after they've arrived.

This is today's accomplishment so far...three paintings ready to be hung in a local restaurant, The Keg.  If you live in the area, and happen to stop in for a bite to eat, these will be hanging in the dining room.  This should be done by the week's end.  I am so excited to be able to have them hanging out in public.  It's great to feel like an artist again!

So, now to get back to the wildflower paintings and take another shot at getting the light metering correct.  That's just nine paintings...and it's mid afternoon.  I'm off to steal my son's desk lamp.

November is here.  The days are shorter.  The strong winds hit yesterday for a couple of hours...I was surprised they didn't stay into the night hours.  I was relieved as well.  Winter's cold and snow will be here any day now.  The sparrows have been busy at the sunflower heads and bird feeders.  Little Lucy my feline assistant is very entertained as she peers out the window.

I'll have more to share on Thursday...time to get back to it.


because she must make art.

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