Category Archives: blogging, digital and business tools for your art

The never ending tinkering of Blogging

susanwellington_blackwhitecat-gouacheonpaper

If any of you have a blog out there you know that there is always something to do on it -aside from writing the posts that is. It’s seriously never ending. You could go all day and night everyday and there’d still be more to do on it. And especially on wordpress you’re always being offered tempting new templates to use instead of the one you’re using now. It’s hard to resist the call of the fabulous new designs that are constantly on offer. I’ve chopped and changed my blogs so many times that I decided I’d better stop as nobody would read it. So I might be using the 2011 theme when it’s 2012 but so be it! I’m not having a design change for at least a year.

Anyway I have decided to shut up shop of my old blog ‘suz landscape painting journal’ and move everything to this one. So if you’re new to this blog here’s a list below of popular posts from my previous one that you might be interested in.

Art of the landscape: Best Australian painters 1.

Art of the landscape: Best Australian painters 2.

My journey to paint the swedish landscape.

Monet’s waterlily paintings at the Musee de L’Orangerie.

A spring visit to the Gothenberg Museum of Art.

The kangaroo in Australian painting.

Postcards from the Snow.

Musee Madness: A visit to the Musee de Louvre, Paris

Walk like an Egyptian: A visit to the British Museum.

A cup of tea with Monet, Turner and Twombly.

William Robinson: Landscape painter extraordinaire.

Music and the art of painting.

Cezanne: my first landscape painting love.

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Uh-oh: The struggle to photograph my artwork.

Abstract Landscape 1 oil painting by Susan Wellington

Susan Wellington ‘Abstract Landscape 1’ Oil on Linen 2012

I must say trying to get your photos to look like your paintings almost takes just as much time as it does to paint them. Over the last weeks I’ve been photographing some new paintings and gouaches. I have a relatively new camera with a lot of complicated buttons. I’m constantly looking at the manual wondering how to do this or that. Then looking online at how other people do it. Over and over again. That’s one thing.

The other is I don’t have professional photography lights. I just have lights I’ve got from the art shop. Which after a couple of days trying to get some great photos, I’ve come to the conclusion that to get great digital images of your paintings you absolutely need professional photography lights with umbrellas. No doubt.

Basically if there’s not enough light for your camera you have to use settings which reduce the quality of the overall image. ie. high ISO or low f-stop to get the camera to take a shot that’s light enough. And then detail is sacrificed. And especially when a painting’s quite abstract you really need that detail in the paintwork to show.

Colour’s another thing. A lot of my paintings also have a particular shade of pink in them and I cannot reproduce it accurately in my cameras. I have to add masks in paint.net. So I’m learning how to do that. (By the way it’s a fantastic free imaging program as is Irfanview.)  In the end I have the utmost respect for any anybody who can do this job well. It’s really hard. 

If you don’t have professional lights, then take your artwork outside on a grey day. You get the best results from your camera.

‘A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.’

Michelangelo

How to photograph your artwork

5 ways to take better portraits

The joy of snapping: photographing birds

Photo of swan defending its territory

I take a camera with me basically everywhere I go. My father gave me one for a Christmas gift 3 years ago and I’ll be forever grateful that he did as it opened up a creative outlet that I’d forgotten all about. I rediscovered the joy of snapping. (I’d only ever used the camera to take photos of my paintings which if you’ve done it is always a bit of a pain trying to get the lighting right.) Digital cameras are the best thing since sliced bread I reckon. You can take as many photos as you like. Store them easily. Print them at home if you want. They’re beaut.

I have just a simple Canon Powershot A470 but I’m hoping to upgrade at some point to a Canon EOS 60D so I can shoot better photos, especially of subjects in low light. And of birds. I’ve taken some good shots of birds in the past with my small camera though. But if you’re using the zoom at all there’s a strong chance the the photo could be out of focus and you’ve lost a great shot.

I took the photo of the swan above last weekend at Edsvik in Stockholm. It was a fantastic display of competitive behaviour from this swan who any time another swan came into it’s orbit flew after them with a vengeance. I had never seen such aggressive behaviour from a swan, who puffed up like a fierce looking snowball when he wasn’t flying. Trying to get a good close up shot when the bird is moving so fast is harder than you think. I had on the multiple shot setting but still couldn’t get the whole bird in the frame. The focus in the shot is ok but it could be better. Maybe next time.

Me and a number of other photographers standing around with huge lenses had a great time that day. When the sun is shining and you’re visiting the sea the camera is indispensable.

Check out this wonderful English photographer

“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my reality.”

Frida Kahlo