Saturday, January 2, 2010

For Jason and Miki

I was asked to complete a commission as a gift for some family members.

Now that it's January, the gift has been opened, and I can discuss the painting. I also took some work-in-progress photos to share.

The commission was a surprise for Christmas, so I had to do some covert reference work to obtain photos of Jason and Miki's house.

Once there, I realized that the positioning of the house and the slope of the yard was going to make it difficult to capture the structure in a single shot. At the request of Jason's mom Mary, the painting was to be a straight-on vantage point, so I couldn't resort to my usual corner shot to fit everything into the scene.

This odd-looking shot is actually a panorama scene created in Photoshop by meshing together several images of the house. Thus, the fish-eye lens effect. It's the first time I had used the panorama feature, and now I understand that to make it work more effectively, I should have walked along the front of the house and maintained an equal distance parallel to the house to take the shots.

Instead, I stood in a single spot, and turned my body for each of the shots (I think there were four in all). The mix of angles really magnified the distortions.

To make sense of all the conflicting angles, I used grid paper when I drew the first sketch of the house. That helped me establish parallel lines and develop appropriate proportions. Because of the awkward source shot and the confused horizon line, some of the vanishing points and angles are inaccurate, but I think I was able to get most of the structure situated in a realistic rendition.

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