30 Days Painting From Life
I've explored painting from photographs, from my imagination, and from life. I took a few life painting classes in university, then spent hundreds of hours drawing and painting from life at the atelier. I still didn't feel comfortable creating a painting completely from life that felt authentic.
So, I gave myself a 30 day challenge to paint from life every single day, one painting per day. I spent between 20 minutes to ~ 3 hours on each painting. They are alla prima paintings, which means painting wet into wet in one sitting.
Most who paint from life testify that it's a more honest level of information gleaned from the subject, as opposed to relying on the camera's interpretation. Many do color studies from life to capture the quick spontaneity of that moment, then take photos to paint a longer session in the studio. Painting from photos tends to be easier because it is painting a 2D image onto a 2D surface while painting from life is translating a 3D subject onto a 2D surface.
There were a few things I was excited to improve on the journey. Edges and values are the main thing that a camera distorts, making edges hard that might have been softer, or making things more contrasted than they were in real life. Aside from those two principals, I wanted to feel comfortable painting from life whenever I wanted to, spontaneously. I'm definitely glad I did it, though it was challenging!