Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Ronda Valley


The sun refused to cooperate today and was doing that really annoying "now I am shining, now I'm not" thing so today's painting was from a photo I took when visiting my mother and sister where they live in southern Spain. Ronda is one of their nearest sizeable towns (they live in the isolated white villages in the Andalucian mountains). This is the view north from the bridge in Ronda - the most amazing view down the canyon to the fields and vineyards beyond. Ronda is one of my favourite little towns in Spain and despite the tourism it has maintained a wonderful charm. The history dates back to the Moorish conquests of Spain and the buidlings are old and picturesque. (photo of the painting is not quite accurate - the background is more neutral and the rocks to the right are much brighter but try as I might I cannot get an accurate photo.)

I have for the past two years, not allowed myself to paint from photos (except portraits) and I know that I have learnt an enormous amount in working from life. I've been very aware of the limitations of photographic references but recently I have read a lot about using photos as a tool. On one site an artist said he only ever uses photos he took himself because he knows the space and the photo acts more as an aide memoire than anything else which made immediate sense to me. While I will continue to try to work predominantly from life, I will forgive myself, on days like today, when I use a photo reference.

7 comments:

Mary said...

I love this Anita, the palette pictures, the beautiful countryside of parts of Spain that I saw.

Jeanette said...

This looks like a lovely part of Spain Anita. And your painting brings out the subtle colours and values well.

Anita said...

Mary - This part of Spain is just fabulous. I love the flat plains that fall away from Ronda. My mother lives in the mountains though, but on a nice day she can see not only Gibraltar but also Morocco!

Jeanette - I'd recommend everyone to go to Spain. Lovely country with wonderful people.

Robin Neudorfer said...

Beautiful work Anita.
The photos are well worth the trouble. Especially when you can put your own personal memories into the painting.

Anita said...

Robin - thank you. Photos are a great tool but I think too many people don't understand their limitations.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Great view - and a great painting! I prefer it to my attempt at this view. However having said that I don't think I'd ever like to try painting this view from life from that particular bridge - it's far too busy for my liking! I do remember walking up and down trying to work out which was the best place to take my photograph from!

I'm definitely in favour of using photos - but only those taken by the artist and only after said artist has made some considerable effort to work from life so that the difference between real life and what you see in photos is well understood.

Anita said...

Katherine - I am with you in not wanting to stand on that bridge to paint this view!

all artwork is copyright of Anita Murphy 2006/2007/2008/2009