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Thursday, June 9, 2011

sketching from photos

last pages . . . by vickylw
last pages . . ., a photo by vickylw on Flickr.

One morning in Arkansas, Bill called me out to the backyard, which slopes down to a heavily forested area between our friends' home and Norfolk Lake. On the other side of the fence was this newborn fawn, still a bit damp. Bill had noticed a movement and briefly saw the mother, then found this baby laying against the fence.

We kept an eye on the little deer all day but no more sign of the mother. We know she was watching us; we just did not see her. Early the next morning, both were gone. There was an impression in the grass where the mother had lain next to the fawn during the night before moving it to a more hidden spot.

I sketched this from a photograph instead of working on the spot. I didn't want to hang around the baby deer too long to avoid upsetting the mother. So I took photos and moved on. Though working plein air is preferable, I've given myself permission to work from photos also. I used to feel "condemned" or less authentic as an artist if working from photos, but sometimes it works better for me.

The Amish buggy was also from a photo, taken from a moving car.


  1. So sweet, Vicki!

    Had you continued to work on site rather than left after taking photos, and the mother had not come back for the baby....what then?

    I can think of no better reason to work from photos than this one and it was absolutely the right thing to do!!

  2. Absolutely! Sometimes it's exactly the right thing to do...

    It's a beautiful page, Miss Vicky, and really captures a feeling for your trip...

  3. Interesting post. I often draw from photos, I really must push myself to draw outdoors.

  4. Thanks, guys!
    Sometimes I work from photos simply to avoid bug bites (like all those Arkansas ticks who found me) --- they cause a horrid reaction in my skin that continues for weeks after.
    I figured that sketching from photos is better than not sketching all.

  5. Beautiful chronicle, Vicky, and such meaningful selections for your journal entries. I think working from photos is always good practice in seeing, as well as sketching. Sometimes the process of narrowing down the subject in order to capture the essence is overwhelming, especially outdoors, and it can be good training for the eye to see how the camera "saw" it. And, of course, there are some moments that would never make it into a sketchbook if we hadn't had a camera to capture what we couldn't (or shouldn't, as in the fawn and doe's case) right on the spot.

  6. Somehow, that last comment didn't post my full name, so I just wanted you to know that was from me, Vicky.

  7. LOL -- I sort of wondered at that M! Thanks, Maria! My camera definitely helps me sketch things I wouldn't otherwise attempt.


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