Creating Paintings out of Photographs – tips for overcoming common problems

brush to paint the picture. paint brushes

Many artists out there live by the notion that no matter how impressive a photograph is, it cannot tell the full story of a subject. However, there’s no denying their use for many reasons, one of course being the fact that they provide artists with a great reference point for their work.

After all, photographs allow us to be transformed into settings from across the globe right from where we’re sat, and enable artists to capture the essence of a subject from different perspectives and angles. Therefore creating paintings from photographs is a huge artistic trend, but it’s not without its pitfalls. Here are some tips for overcoming the most common issues artists face.

Physical limitations with photographs

Regardless of how good your camera is, it will not be as good as the human eye at truly capturing a scene, person or object. There are a lot of distortion issues that arise in photography, and things like colouring, shadows and depths of field can all be skewed when taking photos of something. Therefore it’s a good idea to take lots of pictures from different angles and perspectives with the best camera possible to get the best representation of your subject to work from.

Copyright and permission issues

However, if you’re not planning on taking the photos yourself or have found a photograph already that you’d like to recreate through painting, you may face a lot of issues regarding copyright and usage limitations. After contacting the photographer, and if you’ve had no luck in gaining rights to use the image, why not see if you can come to a slightly different, compromised agreement? You could request to use the photo for a fee, or just part of the photo, or perhaps not the full, high resolution version, for example.

Artistic limitations

When recreating a photograph through painting, some artists may feel slightly limited, due to having such a rigid, complete form to follow. These limitations can hinder creativity and can have a negative impact on the final result. To solve this, remember that you shouldn’t feel obligated to show exactly what is depicted in the shot. Instead, an artist should feel free and inspired to manipulate or leave behind a reference any way he or she chooses.

Using sketches and words to fill in the gaps

Photos can often leave us with some blanks in terms of how an environment made us feel, which can then make things tricky when trying to recreate that feeling with a paintbrush. This is where notes and simple sketches can come in as you go out and take photographs, as these can provide handy references for the things you felt and want to portray that the lens may have missed.

Huge Mistakes We’re All Guilty of Making When Painting

Woman with scale of paint swatches

When you’re looking for a way to brighten up the place a little, there is often no better option than to simply give the room a new coat of paint – literally. And for the most part, it is a pretty simple job. It’s certainly easier than the majority of renovation tasks, let’s put it that way!

However, there are some mistakes that can be made. And some of these are a lot more common than others. Here are some of those that nearly all of us can admit to making once in a while, and how to avoid them yourself.

Not Doing the Proper Prep Work

This is probably the most common mistake out of the lot, and that is simply because prep work often seems like a chore, and even more often seems kind of, well… pointless. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the prep work needed when repainting a room is entirely necessary, so here’s how you go about it.

Clean off the walls before you start. Make sure they’re completely dry. Get rid of any dust and use masking tape to protect everything you don’t want painted – light switches, skirting boards, door frames. Cover the floors and furniture with sheets, then you can start with a coat of primer. Once all of that is done, you can make a start on the proper painting.

Using Super Cheap Tools

When it comes to tools, you get what you pay for – up to a point, at least. Look, we’re not recommending you run out and spend a few hundred on a paint brush and that you use paint with flecks of gold leaf, but we are telling you to avoid cheaping out and buying the least expensive tools around.

Everyone knows that good paint gives good results. That much is obvious. But if you really want a nice finish, you’ll have to pay a premium for your applicators too. This way, you can avoid unsightly errors like smudges and errant paint brush bristles. Trust us, it will be more than worth the extra expense.

Not Doing Your Research

Although this is, in a way, a form of prep work, we do feel that it is important enough to warrant giving it a separate space in this article, and we’ve put it in the final spot on the list to really emphasise its importance: try your paint before you buy.

No, really – try it out! If you aren’t willing to take some samples home and do the extra leg work, you are signing yourself up for disaster. Buy a few small tester pots of the different shades of paint you really like, then paint a large piece of board for each colour. Hang them in the room for a day or two – this will allow you to see exactly how the colour looks all throughout the day.

If you want to make sure the colour is right for you, this is the best way. It’s certainly better than buyer’s remorse two weeks down the line!

What Does Your Paint Colour Say About You? Part 1

Some of us gravitate towards darker, moody colours, whilst others go for bright, golden hues and big, bold patterns. Learn what those colours mean and what they say about you – as well as tips for how to use them – with this post. Click here for painting materials and tools and take a look here for handymen to help you get the job done.


Soft and Warm

Cheeky and cheerful, soft and warm colours like orange, yellow and dark red are often associated with roaring fires and sunny skies – and if you’re the type of person to use these bright and cheerful tones, you’re probably a cheerful kind of chappy yourself. It’s likely that you love having people over, and a fuzzy feeling in your tummy from looking at your lovely cosy home. There’s a reason why these rooms make you feel warm and cosy – the colours “spring” forwards, which makes the room feel more intimate. However, for some, warm colours can be a little bit cloying – so to tone it down, add a little bit of blue grey or green to your warm shade – it’ll cool the warm shade ever so slightly, neutralising it a little bit. Another alternative is to add a smidge of white to the colour to cool it down a little bit.

Natural Greens and Blues

If you look to nature – the green of a field, the lilac hue of a field of lavender, medium blues of the sky – basically, any colour that you’d find in the sky, in a field, or outdoors, you’re probably a little more laidback and relaxed. These natural colours are far easier on the eye than bright warm colours and oranges and are lower in intensity – which means that if you have migraines or suffer from headaches or anything like that, you’re better off with more natural hues.

Jewel Tones

If you’re a bit of a head-turner – or you want people to sit up and take notice of you and your lovely home – think about jewel tones. If the room is big enough to take the colour, consider deep purples, amethyst, topaz, emerald and ruby. Contrast the colours together and use a textured wallpaper for an even more luxurious feel, then use gold toned, rose gold or vintage gold tone lamps, fixtures and fittings. As for fabrics, look for materials that feel good when you touch them – that make you want to give them a stroke. It’ll be a crowd-pleasing room for sure, but then, you’re probably a bit of a crowd pleaser, aren’t ya?

Source: Real Simple


DIY Tips: How to Make Your Home More Grown-Up

We all have one or two items in our homes that don’t reflect who we are now. Maybe we’ve hung onto them for nostalgic reasons or simply because we’ve gotten so used to them that we’ve almost forgotten they were there. If you’re longing for a more grown-up space and want your home to feel more luxurious, follow our guide and take a look at this link for painting tools.



  • If you have a futon or a sofa bed in your living room, swap it out and put it into a spare bedroom instead. You’ll spend more time in your living room than in your bedroom (depending on how you spend your evenings…) and so it’s important to show your bum so love with a soft, squishy sofa that you can just sink into. Let your guests enjoy the futon instead.
  • Temporary furniture – things like plasticky shelving units in the bathroom, textile wardrobes or hanging rails in the bedroom, or even your odd collection of furniture from family and friends that you were given because you couldn’t afford anything else, looks just that: temporary. As though you’re waiting for something better to come along. So, if you can afford to, invest in either a new set of furniture or at least some classical pieces that you’ll be able to use in different spaces and different homes.
  • If you’re a lover of art or film and have a selection of posters taped onto your walls, you don’t need to get rid of them completely – just frame them and put them on display properly. For a modern look, you could choose matte black frames but for a slightly quirkier look, use a random selection of vintage frames.
  • It sounds silly, but small rugs just look like postage stamps in rooms of virtually all sizes. A large rug will really anchor the room and will help to accentuate hardwood floors or laminate without overpowering it. Choose a rug with a really nice texture that you can just sink your feet into after a long day at work.
  • Cheap bedding looks just that – cheap. It tends not to wash that well, either, losing any softness it might have once had and becoming scratchy and irritating. Invest in some decent bedding with a higher thread count and you’ll immediately notice the difference in terms of appearance and how well you sleep, too.
  • It’s all well and good having plastic dishware, but you need to make sure that it isn’t your only set. If you live somewhere that’s hot and sunny and you spend a lot of time eating outdoors, you might want to use plastic dishes – the same goes if you have children. But if not, your main dishware set should be crockery.
  • Any empty space that looks a bit bland and boring – like the top of a mantelpiece or a bookshelf with only one or two books on it will simply look like you’ve either neglected the space or that you couldn’t work out what else to do with it. Use candles, candlesticks, photographs, mirrors and accessories to jazz up those empty spaces and make your room look complete.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: Nifty Tricks for Small Spaces

Small spaces don’t need to feel like caves. Nor do they need to be sacrificed because they “can’t be anything else”. A small bedroom doesn’t have to become an office, or an en-suite bathroom, or a home office. That nook under the stairs doesn’t need to be turned into a storage cupboard. Follow these nifty tricks for small spaces to learn exactly how to use them most effectively, with lots of clever details and use of colour to make them much more inviting.

small space

  • Use interesting objects – anything from nude portraits to a big geometric print to a bold pattern on the wall – to draw attention away from the size of the room. It’s a sneaky trick, but it’s a good one.
  • One trick is to mirror the wall opposite the source of light – the door, or the window. You can do this either using a large mirror, or for a truly full on and elegant look, use three mirrored panels – one of 50% in the middle of the wall, and two panels of 25% on either side.
  • In a thin and narrow kitchen, avoid putting too much stuff up too high and – this is the biggie – get rid of stuff. Do you really need 2 different sets of plates? 4 types of glasses? A “good” set of cutlery and a regular set of cutlery? No, not really. Use what you have and get rid of the stuff that actually, you don’t need.
  • Another option for small spaces – perhaps if your hallway is particularly small, you can play on the size of it by using a patterned wallpaper, mirrors and an eclectic mix of paintings to create an intimate and welcoming place to greet guests.
  • More is more when it comes to mirrors – for a vintage, eclectic feel, group a random selection of mirrors on one wall with plenty of different frames, wooden, frameless, black, vintage frames, gilt frames, with the largest frame in the middle.
  • For a huge amount of wow factor – and to truly show off your style – cover the whole room with the same fabric. Curtains, cushions, throws. Even if your favourite pattern is zebra print. It’s a fast way to make a huge impact and it’ll make the room feel more cohesive, too.
  • Panelling a small room in pastel hues is a lovely way to make it feel bigger.
  • Don’t be afraid of adding things like fireplaces or mantelpieces, either – in Victorian houses almost every room had a fireplace and they’re a brilliant way to add a focal point, as it provides a spot that you can easily hang art or mirrors above.
  • If you’re brave, go for a full on fantasy inspired look – graphic floors, high gloss units, a high gloss ceiling – anything that shouts “look at me”. Use the 1960s as your inspiration and you won’t go far wrong.
  • In a small bedroom, a four poster bed can actually make the space look bigger provided that there’s enough space for you to get around the bed, and for an end table and bedside tables. You don’t have to scrimp on luxury just because you’re short on space.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: 20 Things No-One Ever Told You About Decorating

Decorating doesn’t sound like it’s difficult – slap a bit of paint on the walls and artfully arrange a few cushions/pillows along with a few candlesticks and paintings and viola, job done. But to get it right, and to get it right in every room of the house – every time – requires a little more skill. Read on to find out about the 20 things no-one ever told you about decorating and take a look at this link for painting and decorating materials.


  • 2 cushions look decidedly unwelcoming and sparse. Use at least two sets, instead, in different colours and textures for a more luxurious and comfortable feel. Same goes for decorative pillows.
  • Small bed + small bedroom = even smaller bedroom. Use a bed with a taller mattress and a big headboard instead.
  • If you have a vintage or antique cabinet or armoire, arrange the contents elegantly and keep the doors open to show off your stash.
  • Dark walls tend to reduce the feeling of space, but if the room has plenty of windows and pale floors, a smaller space can still rock dark hues.
  • An easy peasy way to transform a bedroom with sliding wardrobe doors? Wallpaper ’em. If you’re converting a bedroom into an office, this is a particularly good idea as the wardrobe is quickly turned from a closet into a chic filing cabinet.
  • Large collections of plates or various accessories can be displayed easily by setting up elegant wall brackets – just pop your accessories on top. Make sure you secure them if you have little ones about the house.
  • Using a real rug instead of a bath mat in a bathroom might sound counterproductive, but really, a bathmat is just a bit cheap and it won’t withstand as much wear and tear as a real rug. Just wash it carefully.
  • Stop the press: living rooms do not need to have sofas. Nope. Arrange some lovely cosy chairs and love seats for a different look.
  • A white room will always look chic and it’s a look you can instantly update with a few brightly coloured accessories – be it living room, bathroom or bedroom. You don’t have to use colour.
  • Mix and match styles – a four poster won’t look incongruous in a stripped back modern bedroom, it’ll look fabulous.
  • Layering up your lamps is a fab idea. Have two either side of the bed, and another two just above the headboard for reading. It’ll make the room feel much more ambient.
  • Blankets and throws look messy if you don’t fold ’em up. When not in use, fold carefully and arrange at one end of the sofa. If you’re using throws to cover sofa cushions, make sure they’re well tucked in all the way round rather than just thrown on top. It might be called a “throw” but that doesn’t mean you should just chuck it on.
  • For plenty of versatility, instead of a traditional coffee table, use a fabric ottoman topped with a wooden tray. The ottoman provide perfect storage and the tray can be picked up to carry cups back to the kitchen.
  • To emphasise the feeling of space, choose furniture with legs that are raised off the ground. To make the room feel more grounded, choose skirted pieces.
  • Gold doesn’t have to be showy. A few muted accents here and there will give the room a fabulously luxe feel.
  • If you have a big room but not enough stuff to stuff it with, a potted plant perched in a corner will never go amiss.
  • The very best fabric choice for a dining room is leather – it’s very strong and really easy to clean. Even more so if you want white chairs.
  • In your dining room, use co-ordinating yet different sets of chairs. For example, one high-back bench, one bench and two chairs instead of 8 identical seats.
  • Be kind to your closet. If you’re lucky enough to have a walk in wardrobe, give it some love with lights and colour.
  • You can reinvent vintage pieces. Just because they’re from the 1950s doesn’t mean they should stay that way, plus, not every piece of furniture in the house can be dark brown.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: 10 Colour Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

Do you know which colours work well together? Which colours you should use as the neutral backdrop to your bold accents? Whether it’s okay to mix and match colours, patterns and textures? Read on to find out the 10 colour mistakes you shouldn’t make – ever – and take a look at this link for painting supplies to help you on your way.


1. What Colour is Your Ceiling?

We’re willing to bet that it’s white. And if it’s white, it means that it has flecks of grey in it – all white paint contains a subtle hint of grey. If you put this colour onto the ceiling, it’ll make the height of the walls seem shorter, shrinking them and making the room feel smaller. Use a warm cream instead.

2. Matchy-matchy

Although you need a coherent colour scheme, it’s best to avoid exactly matching a colour on the wall to a colour in the fabric of a cushion – it’s too obvious. Instead, choose something that has a few tones of grey in it, as it’ll stop everything looking matchy-matchy but still keep the entire scheme cohesive.

3. Neutrals

Every room needs balance, so it’s really important that you team those bold bright colours with a number of soft neutrals – they won’t tone them down, exactly, but they’ll really make them pop and will help to prevent the space from just looking like a paint chart.

4. Colour Continuity

Although you might not want to use the exact same colours in every room of the house, to create a sense of continuity, it’s a good idea to use similar hues, or at least colours in the same palette, so that all of the rooms feel somewhat connected to one another. This is particularly important when spaces actually run into each other – like a dining room and a kitchen.

5. Cool Contrast

A room without contrast is boooorrrriiiinnng. Plenty of neutrals are nice but what makes a room even nicer is to add some lovely contrasting colours or textures. For example, a black leather chair or some sleek and glossy white furniture provide lovely contrast to a soft carpet or a fluffy cushion.

6. Don’t Go Too Far

If you make things too obvious – or go too far with your colour scheme by not using contrast or neutrals, you’ll make the room look a bit stiff. A bit unloved and a bit show-homey. What you want is something that’s both stylish and substantial enough for the whole family to enjoy.

7. How Will You Look?

People never think about how the room will complement them – a lady with blue eyes, for example, might benefit from a room with shades of grey and lavender, as it’ll help bring out the colour of her eyes.

8.  Not All At Once

You should never be afraid to use colour, but if you’re not brave enough to do everything at once, let the room evolve by adding more and more colour as you feel comfortable. It’ll also make you feel like the room is constantly changing, preventing boredom from settling in.

9. Get the Right Finish

You’ll need to prepare the walls well and use a decent paint if you want the end result to look good, whatever finish you’re going for – matte, eggshell, patent.

10. Choose Deep Colours

Deep colours should pull you in, rather than leap out at you, so it’s important that you add some depth to a room by choosing some deep colours.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: 5 Must Know Home Decor Tips Part 2

Decorating is always difficult. Choosing a theme that everyone will love and that everyone will feel comfortable in can be tricky – plus, it can be difficult knowing whether to keep up with the latest interior design trends or opt for something safe. In part 2 of our must know tips series we share exactly how to transform your house, taking it from drab to fab. Take a look at this link for painting materials to help you get started. lounge

Use Neutrals

Neutral hues don’t have to be boring. In fact, when layered up with different textures, fabrics and hues – metallics on the walls, wheatgrass flooring and soft, suede cushions all work brilliantly together even if they’re similar in colour, as it stops the room from looking too matchy-matchy. In the image above, taupes, creams and greys combine to create a restful look that is anything but boring.

Include Side Tables

Side tables might not sound like a particularly exciting interior design choice but including them in your design means that you’ll instantly create a feeling of cosiness. Interior designers use side tables and follow the rule that for every chair or sofa there should be a side table. When you stay at a hotel, you’ll see plenty of tables next to sofas, which is meant to make you want to curl up with a coffee or a glass of wine and a magazine – so follow this rule in your own home.

Don’t Hide the TV

For years we’ve struggled with TVs. Do we keep ’em out in the open? Hide them away? Put them into a cupboard? The truth is, it’s perfectly fine and completely acceptable to keep the TV out in the open now, especially if it’s a newer model. You could put it up on the wall and run the cable underneath the plasterboard but this will usually result in you getting a cricked neck when watching the footie. Just put it on display, but try to make sure that it isn’t the main focal point.

Mixing Patterns Isn’t Easy

Although interior designers will tell you to be brave, to mix and match patterns and to choose colour combos that you’ve never really thought of, it does take a lot of practice to properly mix patterns and colours. If you are going to mix patterns, make sure they’re in a similar if not identical colour scheme, or that they’re the same kind of shape/style/size. For example, you could mix stripes and a flock pattern if they were in a similar colour, and vintage floral fabrics that have flowers roughly the same size and shape.

Make a Small Space Work Harder

A thin and narrow kitchen can be difficult to work with but that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on storage space or crimp on style. Put cupboards and units up to the ceiling and keep everything light and bright. Stuck with a teeny-tiny bedroom? Consider using a built-in sliding wardrobe and maximise every single bit of space for shoes, socks, shelves for t-shirts and jumpers and hanging space for blouses, skirts and dresses.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: 5 Must Know Home Decor Tips

It can be tricky when decorating your home, especially if you’ve got to do the whole house from top to bottom. Follow these top 5 must know home decor tips to learn exactly what you need to do – and what you should stay away from – when decorating your home. In part one of our mini-series, we talk about keeping away from cliches, mixing and matching styles and keeping small spaces warm and cosy. Take a look at this link for decorating supplies to help you on your way.


Don’t be explicit – be implicit

Being too OTT with your style will just embarrass you in years to come. If you live near the seaside, for example, it can be tempting to go all out with conch shells, ropes and plenty of sea blue. Although that decor might suit the location of your home, it’s far too cliched to ever really be considered stylish. Instead, be implicit. Give a nod to the ocean with sandy-coloured carpets. Use pieces of washed up wood to make accessories or hammer together to create one-off pieces of furniture. Choose bright, light hues as they’ll reflect the light, bringing the brightness of the seaside indoors, for a timeless look that won’t make you feel queasy in five years’ time.

Mix and match

Don’t be afraid to mix and match styles and time periods. An antique footstool can work beautifully with a minimalist coffee table and more often than not, these humble materials – an old bit of wood or a piece of antiqued leather will work brilliantly well with contemporary materials like stainless steel or a sleek expanse of glass. Source items from charity shops and antique fairs and try to see past how something currently looks – you can always paint it, stain it or repurpose it.

Hang artwork together

You don’t need to hang just one picture on a wall. Put them into a group. Generally, the rule is that design works best in threes, but this isn’t always the case. For example, four paintings hung together in a square can look super stylish. Collage style arrangements look lovely too. For a contemporary look, use the same frame for each painting and for a cool and quirky vintage look, use a number of frame styles – wood, matte black, steel, patterned, plain. Arrange them on the floor to find something you’re happy with before arranging on the wall.

Scrimp and save

Good design doesn’t necessarily equal lots of money. You can get good design by buying cheap – you just have to be savvy. In a kitchen, for example, keep the base units and drawers and just replace the door and drawer fronts. That way, you’ll be able to afford the smart gloss finish or 100% solid oak. Shop where you wouldn’t think to shop – supermarkets often sell excellent accessories and homeware for much less than you’d think.

Sorting out a small space

Often, the emphasis is on making a space feel bigger, but sometimes, you just gotta embrace what you’ve got. And that means unifying the space, rather than dividing it with colour and pattern. As an example, in a smaller bedroom, you could wrap the headboard in the same paper as you hang on the walls.

Source: House Beautiful

DIY Tips: What to Do With a Spare Bedroom

If your house has now become a bit of an empty nest, or if you’ve suddenly found yourself with an extra room in the house that you have no idea what to do with, it can be a bit tricky trying to figure out quite what to do with it. Should you turn it into a guest room? A home gym? The very first thing you should do is imagine this: imagine if you could do anything with that room. Imagine if you didn’t have any responsibilities or if you didn’t have to turn it into a guest room. What would you do? What room would you love to have in your house? A games room? A yoga space or even just a lovely cosy family space? Read on for more tips on what to do with your spare bedroom and take a look at this link for painting materials to get the job done.



Something for You or Something for the Kids?

The first thing you need to think about is whether you want to use the room for you or whether you want to use it for your children. If you want to use the room for your children, think about how they – or how you – can use the room when they’re all grown up. So don’t go all out with nursery colours and playground brights. Instead, make it a space that would suit a sofa as much as it’d suit a playhouse. Whatever colours you choose, make sure you opt for a hardwearing floor – solid oak is always good and you can add a big fluffy rug whilst the kids are still at the falling down stage.

Lovely Library

One of the most coveted rooms in the house – that is, the room that never quite comes to fruition – is the library. Imagine it – a room lined with bookcases, stacked high to the rafters with books from hundreds of different authors and hundreds of different titles. A couple of cosy chairs, a few floor cushions and a floor lamp or two and you’ll have the perfect library space. But if you can’t quite commit to a library, make it into a multi-purpose games room or multi-purpose leisure space. You could have a bookcase or two, a television and games console set-up, a projector screen with movies and plenty of comfy chairs.

A Man Cave

If all you’ve ever wanted is your very own man cave, with a snooker table, pool table, poker table and plenty of leather, go for it! Don’t forget the dartboard and some easy chairs, and if you have the budget, why not set up a bar, too?

Source: Houzz