Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Best Picture Style for Photographing Art

If the photographs of your paintings seem too contrasty or the colors are too saturated, it could be the "Picture Style" setting on your camera. The "Picture Style" is what Canon calls the function that makes adjustments to the photo before it saves it to the memory card. Other manufacturers use different names for this setting, see the table at the bottom of this post for more information.

While the preset you choose may seem like a minor detail, it can have a dramatic impact upon the appearance of how your paintings appear online or in print. A collector may complain if the colors in the original painting don't match the colors of the photo they saw online. Choosing the most appropriate preset will also reduce the amount of editing that has to be done in Photoshop.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Lighting Conditions in Post Processing

This is part of a series of posts on how to photograph art.
Post processing is the work that is done to photo after it has been taken, such as adjusting the contrast, exposure, and color balance. It's easy to spontaneously set up a computer and start working without thinking about the lighting in the room, but that may make the color correction more difficult than necessary.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Erie Canal - Lockport, NY

A drawing of the Erie Canal located in Lockport NY.

Erie Canal - Lockport, NY
pencil and ink on Fabriano hot pressed watercolor paper
8” x 10 "
Chris Breier © 2017
This is a drawing from this past summer of the Erie Canal in Lockport, NY and it's going to be published in "Strokes of Genius 10" by North Light Books in 2018.

The bridge in this scene is called "Big Bridge" because it's  330 feet wide and one of the widest bridges in the world, at least according to the plaque that I found on the corner of Main and Church streets. The church in the background is St Mary's.

I've included a Google map below to give you a better idea of how wide the bridge is. The lock is at the top right of this preview, and that was the vantage point of this drawing.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The 30 in 30 painting challenge, September 2017


The September 30 in 30 painting challenge is officially over. I had 30 paintings completed but I only managed to post 18 of them. It's extremely challenging to create a painting every day and post it online. In fact, a number of the painting I posted were completed before September. There were very few rules to the challenge, you could get a head start before September or paint a number of paintings in one day and post them throughout the week. The idea was to paint and post more often.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Aurene Lane West, Corning NY

Aurene Lane West, Corning NY
acrylic on wood panel 3/4" thick (cradled)
9"x12"
Chris Breier © 2017

What I like most about visiting the glass museum in Corning NY is watching live glass blowing demonstrations. On my last trip to the museum, I realized that the demos at the end of the day were more elaborate than usual. I don't know if this was an official program or something the glass artists did to alleviate the boredom of making simple vases all day long. During one of these extended demonstrations I watched two of the glass blowers collaborate on making a very large platter that contained a lot extra details. Glassblowing is a fascinating medium, there are numerous inventive techniques for creating shapes in glass and I'm always surprised at how they arrive at the final design.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Yachts and Mills


An painting of General Mills and boats on the Buffalo waterfront.
Yachts and Mills
Acrylic on gessobord 3/4" thick (cradled)
16"x20"
Chris Breier © 2017

I happened to stumble upon this boatyard when I was walking around the Buffalo waterfront. The buildings in the background are part of General Mills which is still active. Depending on which way the wind is blowing, I can often smell the aroma of Cheerios when I walk around the city on my lunch break. I assume they also make the chocolate variety because the neighborhood occasionally smells like brownies.



The large shadow on the left side of the building is from a billboard and the horizontal shadow below it is the shadow from the Skyway. I was going to eliminate it, but it's a subtle way to incorporate the Skyway into the painting. It's somewhat of an icon in the city and you can tell when the winter weather is especially severe because it closes down.

I like how this painting captures Buffalo's industrial history and the recreational aspsect of being located on the Great Lakes.

The gessobord is 3/4" thick with the edges
left unpainted. It has a wire attached
to the back so it's ready to hang.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Boat Hulls


An acrylic painting of sailboats at a boatyard in buffalo ny
Boat Hulls
Acrylic on gessobord 3/4" thick (cradled)
16"x20"
Chris Breier © 2017
I had spent the evening taking pictures of the Buffalo waterfront when I spotted these sailboats at a local boatyard. The sun was setting so I had to hurry before the boats disappeared into the shadows. I kept snapping pictures but I couldn't get anything that I liked. I was close to running out of daylight when I had the idea to find a different vantage point, so I squatted down and took a few pictures. Bingo! All of the distractions on the ground were out of sight, and the blue sky provided a simplified
background.



Most of my paintings are on 1/8" flat panels but for this painting I used a "cradled" panel that's 3/4" thick. I left the edges natural. There's a wire on the back so it can be hung without a frame. If you prefer a frame, the Ampersand Float Frame is a simple solution and you can do it yourself, or you can take it to a picture framer. Here are the instructions for how to install the float frame.

Most of my paintings are on 1/8" flat panels
but for this painting I used a "cradled" panel
that's 3/4" thick. I left the edges unpainted.
There's a wire on the back so it's ready to hang!

Use one kind of lighting for accurate color

 This is part of a series of posts on how to photograph art.
The various types of lighting available today have different color characteristics. Fluorescent lights often have a cool and slightly blue appearance while tungsten lights tend to lean towards the warm end of the spectrum. The human mind will perceive the light emitted by both types of bulbs as "white light" but the differences in color will be exaggerated by the camera. This post is part of a series about how to photograph art.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

How to Photograph Art

Book cover for how to photograph art by Chris Breier
How to Photograph Art
I have completed a number of articles about how to photograph art and some of them will be published here on my blog. Depending on the response I may offer a complete book on the topic in the future, probably as a download. As I publish each post, I will add a link below so that it will be easier to browse. Please note that these posts are in progress and will be subjected to editing and updating. They will most likely be published out of order.

The Best Picture Style for Photographing Art
Use one kind of lighting for accurate color
Lighting Conditions in Post Processing



Friday, September 15, 2017

Botanical Gardens Golf Course


A painting of the park behind the Erie County Botanical Gardens.
Botanical Gardens Golf Course
Acrylic on gessobord
8"x10"
Chris Breier © 2017
Last winter I visited the Erie County Botanical gardens and when I was finished touring the greenhouses I explored the grounds outside which includes a golf course. There's also a few ponds that attract ducks and Canadian geese.

There wasn't any snow on the ground but it was still cold and very windy. It wasn't very pleasant for photography, but I still managed to get a few good reference photos to work from. I focused on the mix of trees in the foreground and the strip of bright green grass in the background. I simplified some of the branches to strengthen the design and to create a bold pattern.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Tree Composition

Tree Composition
Acrylic on gessobord
8"x10"
Chris Breier © 2017
I took a walk around the neighborhood for the pleasure of it. I wasn't looking for exercise or looking for subject matter, but then I spotted the way this sunlit tree and I decided I wanted to make a painting from it. I've always had an affinity for trees. When I was younger I had a book that could be used to identify the various species that are found in the Northeast. The funny thing is that I can't identify this tree by looking at the painting, I'd have to go back to take a look at the leaves and bark.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Trees Along Lake Ontario

Trees Along Lake Ontario
Watercolor, ink, and pencil on paper
8"x10"
Chris Breier © 2017
That small strip of blue along the horizon is Lake Ontario. According to Wikipedia "Ontario" means "Lake of Shining Waters" in the Wyandot language. I find that it's impossible to capture the massive scale of the lake in a small two dimensional painting. Lake Ontario is 53 miles wide, 192 miles long, and it's the 14th largest lake in the world. It's so large you can't see the Canadian side of it, although if it's a clear day with low humidity you can see the top of CN tower in Toronto. In this painting I focused more on the landscape of the park and used the lake as a backdrop.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Misty Afternoon


An acrylic painting of krull park on Lake Ontario,
Misty Afternoon
Acrylic on Raymar canvas panel
8"x10"
Chris Breier © 2017

I thought the afternoon was going to be a dud because it started raining when my brother and drove to the lake, but it cleared up a half hour after we arrived. The rain soaked all of the benches and picnic tables but the misty atmosphere improved the mood of this painting. It was one of those days where you could literally see the moisture in the air and feel it on your skin.

This park has a variety of trees, some of them are evergreen trees and I wanted to capture the feeling of being in a park after a rainstorm. I will consider this a successful painting if you can smell the earthy smell of the woods and the scent of pine trees when you look at it...
 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Trees at Krull Park

Trees at Krull Park
Watercolor and pencil on paper
8”x10”
Chris Breier © 2017

A hot and sunny afternoon. Some local peaches. Stopping at a local popcorn stand. An afternoon of free time at a serene park by the water. What more could you ask for? It’s these simple pleasures that I enjoy most and it’s often the subject of my art. Sometimes I paint on location but I also take photos so that I can work in my studio. When I paint a scene I not only get to enjoy it while I’m working on it, but also when it’s hanging on the wall. When I hang it on the wall it gives me a boost whenever I glance at it.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Pond at Glen Park


An acrylic painting of the duck pond at Glen Park located in Williamsville NY
The Pond at Glen Park
Acrylic on paper
8"x10"
Chris Breier © 2017

I enjoy painting outdoors during the summer when the weather allows. On this occasion my brother and I decided to paint at Glen Falls. On previous painting excursions I have painted the waterfall at Glen Falls but this time I decided to focus on area with the ponds. A small strip of the pond is visible in this painting and it continues under the arch of the bridge. My brother and I refer to the park as "Duck Paradise" because that's where they like to congregate, although on this occasson they were hanging out at the other end of the pond so I didn't get a chance to put them in the painting.

It's a serene place to visit and and that's what I aimed to capture with this painting. It's a small oasis in the middle of the bustling village. Many people who work in the area spend their lunch breaks there. As a painter, it's a great location to spend an evening painting outdoors while listening to the sounds of rushing water and quacking ducks.

The majority of this painting was completed outside with a few finishing touches applied back in my studio.

I have also painted part of the gravel path at Glen ParkAutumn trees at glen Park, a watercolor painting of the waterfall, and another plein aire acrylic painting of Glen Falls.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Autumn Afternoon

An acrylic painting of trees at Walton Woods in autumn
Autumn Afternoon
Acrylic on gessobord
8”x10”
Chris Breier © 2017
We're heading into Autumn which is one of my favorite seasons. The saturated colors and the longer shadows make for more dramatic landscapes. I sometimes feel as though the colors in my painting are exaggerated but some of the colors found in nature are even brighter. On occasion I'll be walking through the woods and I'll stumble upon a scene that seems like magic- in this scene it was the saturated yellow greens of grass and the long shadows that stopped me in my tracks.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Nature Walk

Nature Walk
Acrylic on gessobord
8”x10”
Chris Breier © 2017
I've painted this lake many times over the past few years. Anybody who follows my work should know that I get a lot of my inspiration for my paintings from taking walks in nature or near bodies of water. I enjoy the solitude and the seclusion from the stress of modern life. I believe every body should take time away from cell phones, email, social media, and work each day to daydream and think about things.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Before the Falls


An acrylic painting of Ellicott creek as seen from the bridge leading to Island Park, located in Williamsville NY.
Before the Falls
Acrylic on gessobord
8”x10”
Chris Breier © 2017
During the summer I often wake up early to take a walk over to Island Park to visit the library, or buy fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, and blueberries at the farmers market. I enjoy walking early in the morning, especially on a warm and sunny day. The birds are active and shops are beginning to open. The sunlight is at a dramatic angle, and it's warm but not uncomfortably hot. I often bring my camera with me to capture some of these scenes so that I can use them as reference material for paintings.

This vantage point is of Ellicott Creek as seen from the only bridge to the island. The creek flows around the island and then passes underneath Main street before going over Glen Falls.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A House in the Woods

 
An acrylic painting of a house alongside of a creek.
A House in the Woods
Acrylic on Gessobord
8”x10”
Chris Breier © 2017

I spotted this view of a white home on the shores of Ellicott Creek and it gave me the impression that it’s a lone house in the wilderness. In reality, it’s part of a suburban neighborhood but working on this painting made me think about what it would be like to live in the woods in the middle of nowhere with a creek in the backyard. I would survive, as long as there was enough room for a painting studio… and a garden.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Ellicott Creek at Dusk

Ellicott Creek at Dusk
Acrylic on Gessobord
8”x10”
Chris Breier © 2017
What attracted me to painting this scene was the surreal mood that the woods can take on right after sunset. I wanted to capture the luminosity of the sky and water so I used acrylics in a transparent manner similar to watercolor. I know from my experience with watercolor that if I overwork the painting it can lose the brilliance that can be achieved with transparent washes, so I focused on the essence of the image and aimed to get the colors and the values correct without making too many corrections. The original painting is available.