Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blog 18 Painting Utah's Photographic Landscapes

I make galleries of ~16 large landscape art in each.  All 16 pictures are of the same concept or location.  They make up a group of pictures that we take to a business where we switch last time's gallery with the new one.  They have to be similar in tone and style to make walking through the business a pleasing experience for employee or visitor alike.  When I make a gallery, I generally fall into a passion for it and it alone for about 6 months.  I do nothing else on the computer until the images are made.   Sure enough, it's been about 6 months since my last blog entry.

Here is the photo that I transformed into the digital painting on the right ; I found interesting these unique rocks (like stacked pancakes) at Zion National Park.

 1. My first act with EVERY picture is  to create a color scheme.  You'll recall from Blog 9... I use
to find 
strongly compatible colors.

In Photoshop, I choose a dominate color in the picture with the eyedropper and enter the color picker. Copy the hexadecimal number (Ex: b27b71) and enter Color Scheme Designer...paste in the box "Enter the RGB Value".  I usually use the triad of the original color...print screen and copy the clipboard to a file which you see here.  The blobs of color are my additional choices from the picture; these 21 colors will be the basis of my colorset.

2. My workflow's next step: eliminating detail from a photo by using the Photoshop plugin from Topaz Labs...Topaz Simplify 3 from  I spend more time setting up the photo in Photoshop than I do painting it once I set it up.  I want the light to come in from the right angle...the contrast to show what the subject is...the picture to have a certain "feel" .

3. In Painter 12   I experiment until I decide on brushes that will transform the picture.   Notice the detail I keep on each image!!!  I always keep track of what brush was used for a feature.  A quick review of Blog 8 will remind you  WHY!!!  I want to be able to recreate the exact brush even if I crash my machine...lose all my brushes...or am gone for a huge computer painting absence. (which obliterates my memory completely)

4. This picture shows the effect of using the Acrylic\Opaque Brush to scrub the detail out of the rock with a sweeping motion.  Each rock was painted with a chosen color, not a clone color.

Compare the original Zion with an area showing scrubbed rock. There is certainly no "photo" left when this treatment is complete.


  • Spend a lot of time setting up the picture and THEN paint it.
  • Scrub the detail out of a rock to give a painterly effect.
  • Always keep complete info on the brushes used to create the image.

Take a look at the images in "Painting Utah's Photographic Landscapes".   All 16 of the images followed the same workflow as Zion.      See you in 6 months.