I’m So Close...

 ...to finishing this painting, so I figured I’d post five photos for you to see what six weeks of painting looks like. Scroll down back through to the first layer of paint. 

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Making The Turn...

 ...on this painting, I’m sanding it smooth for the second layer of paint. 

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From here it becomes glass-like, which is perfect for focusing on the details.

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Finally, the palette is set with a wider range of color to capture water.

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“Concentric Circles...

 ...referencing Jasper Johns, Kenneth Nolland...” said Carl Belz. If only he was talking about my painting, but this was part of an impromptu art monologue on the packaging of Lucky Strike cigarettes. Holding about a dozen slightly shivering art students, myself included, transfixed on a Boston sidewalk during a smoke break, it was one of those little lectures on art in the everyday that stuck with me. Carl had an amazing way of making art relatable and immensely exciting at the same time. If you ever see one of his books on art, do yourself a favor and buy it. And so some twenty years later, I am painting a painting that was partly inspired by that little lecture.

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The Most Asked Question...

 ...when people walk through my studio is probably how long it takes for me to paint what I paint.

I don’t keep track, but this is an hour time lapse of a circular area with 2.5” diameter. Using some internet math, and at this perfectly focused painting rate, the two layers of this 2x2’ painting will take me 235 hours. Yikes! Back to work, as I still have a lot to go...

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If You Don’t...

 ...want to go out shopping, Fine Art America is offering free shipping on all my photos this weekend only. They offer dozens of different ways to display them, so you can customize to whatever you want! https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/jb-boyd.html

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And as always, shipping is always free here!

On Our Most Recent Adventure...

 ...my wife and I didn’t see a single soul, but were treated to a few lovely vistas while biking the northern edge of Lake Moultrie. Normally I bring my big camera when we go out, but this time I forgot it, so I used my iPhone 7+ instead to capture two panoramic images, which I blended into one:

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It is a neat process, made possible by the people who make Adobe Photoshop, and in case you’re into this kind of thing, I decided to describe it here. 

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I start with the first panorama, increasing the canvas size to give me room to grow the image.  

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Next I pasted the second panorama into the image, roughly lining it up with the bottom pano. The goal is to have two separate exposures, one set for the ground and one set for the sky. So when I was shooting the scene, I used the AE/AF lock (tapping on screen where you want to set the exposure/focus and then holding down your finger on that spot) to keep what I wanted exposed correctly. 

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Then I switched the layer order and lightened the foreground (by reducing its opacity) so that I could see through it to align the two layers. 

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Next I used the flipping super cool “Camera Raw Filter” to pull the black out of the under exposed foreground and transformed it (free transform then warp) to almost match the foreground. You don’t have to be perfect because in the next step Photoshop takes over. 

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When you do most of the work above manually, I’ve found that Photoshop’s “Auto-Blend Layers” does a much better job getting the rest right, combining the two images together. A simple “Free Transform” and some guides help to straighten up landscape. 

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Finally, the biggest decision of how to crop what you’ve captured comes in. I usually copy and paste several crops into new documents so that I can toggle between them to choose a favorite. Then one more “Camera Raw Filter” and a “Levels” adjustment in this new document cleans up the colors and eliminates the lingering grey. If you then save the two separately, you can have one process document and one final. That way, if you ever want to go back and re-crop or color edit differently, you have the option.

 

Now I may never decide to paint this image. I would guess that I paint one out of ten panoramics that I build. But either way, it is a fun process because in the end you get to see a landscape in a similar way that you would see it if you were standing there. And in the end, especially when it comes to painting realistically, it is the little things that make all the difference!