Tuesday, February 10, 2009


"Reflections" 11x14 acrylic on canvas panel.
I'm in this painting group on Fridays--affectionately known as "Hell's Easels"-- and run by Austin artist Eve Larson. The group features a clothed model in a long pose. This time our model brought in her vanity table from home and posed with it. She even had some perfume bottles to complete the picture (I ended up not painting the bottles, but they were really nice bottles).
From where I was standing, I couldn't see our model's reflection in the mirror; it was blank. I wanted to include a reflection of her, but do something different, so I put it looking back from the wrong direction. To balance the composition, I added a landscape with a river, and the river also has the model's profile.

I was very pleased with the colors from this painting. It's a limited palette: cadmium red light, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow light, ultramarine blue, black, and white. I used a lot of dry brush and the painting has a similar look to a pastel painting.

To photograph this painting, I used a flat bed scanner. I scanned the painting in 2 halves, and put the 2 halves together in photoshop. I had to adjust the colors on the 2 halves, using levels, to match them perfectly. There was still a seam, so I blended it using the blur tool, and textured over it to match the canvas texture. Even though this may seem like a lot of work, scanning a painting gives great results, so I'm happy with it.


Rick OzTown said...

Yeah, though the flatbed scanner has color problems sometimes, it doesn't impart the barrel distortion that lenses do in camera photos. I assume you also shoot a straight-on photo of all your paintings with 45-degree side lighting at the highest dpi of your camera?

What dpi or pixel size did you use for the scanner?

Theresa Bayer said...

Hey Rick--I can adjust the dpi on my camera? Didn't know that! I'd better read the instructions.

Mostly I shoot on an overcast day so the lighting is very even, and yes, the camera has to be lined up with the canvas, otherwise it's shaped trapezoidal instead of rectangular.

All in all I prefer the scanner, but maybe if I had a nicer camera I'd get better results.

I scan at 300 dpi for the most part.

Erika Nelson said...

You can select the size on your camera. I always have mine on the highest setting. As for scanning, I find a good reference area to align my artwork to (scanner lid or flush it to the edge), so I stitch the sections together with less hassle.

FINALLY, this is such a mysterious piece! I love how well drawn the it is, lots of nice details that tells me her outfit was soft like silk and that she had nicely toned arms and a pretty young gal. Love the palette!

Mark said...

Beautiful work Theresa - love the "reflection" in the mirror, lovely touch, very you :) The colours are gorgeous too.

Rick OzTown said...

Soooo, did you read the camera manual? Did you adjust the dpi on your camera? Do you know how to adjust the dpi on your scan software that works with your flat-bed scanner?

Just some random questions.