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 2

Here, we continue our series about what your paint colour says about you and how to choose the perfect colours for your home, as well as how to create gorgeous looks that everyone will love.


  • If you love soft, cool blues, it probably means that you view your lovely house as a little bit of a calm, soothing oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world – and that, in turn, might mean that you’re a little bit of an introvert. But that’s no bad thing! Keep in mind though that blues can be very cold, so unless that’s the look you’re going for, try to warm the room up with wooden furniture and hints of orange, brown and yellow to brighten up the place. Some soft furnishings and squishy, strokable fabrics will also help.
  • Colours that literally pop and sparkle, like sapphire, emerald, ruby and amethyst are so popular for a reason: they’re dynamic. When you paint a small bathroom in a navy blue, for example, it’ll draw the walls in and make the space feel small and cramped. Paint a small bathroom in a sapphire blue and it’ll feel a bit smaller, sure, but it’ll also feel special. Pair them with neutrals or colours that have a similar intensity and the space’ll look fab. Oh, and if you love jewel colours? It probably means you’re a little bit outlandish, and a little bit fabulous!
  • If you’re a big fan of neutrals, like cream, the colour of rocks along a shoreline, the colour of freshly picked mushrooms or the shade of wheat in a field, it doesn’t mean that you’re boring – far from it. More likely, that you’re even-keeled and practical. Neutrals go with everything and the bonus is, you can change things up with your accessories when you get bored. Liven things up with a bright throw cushion or an unusual piece of wall art and then just change it up when you fancy a makeover. Oh, and remember – neutral doesn’t have to mean cream. Neutral can be a pale purple, or a pale pink. You can make a neutral room more interesting even by introducing some different tones and textures – nubby fabrics, chiffons, wools, woven rugs and bamboo baskets. Make sure that there’s a contrast between the walls, the floor and the main furniture in the room – the sofas and the coffee tables, if you’re decorating the lounge – to prevent the space from looking too clinical – and above all, have fun.

Source: Real Simple

How to Increase the Value of Your Home: Part 1

So we’re doing a couple of multi-part guides, but these are all pretty important pieces, especially with spring right around the corner (we hope!), as it means that the housing market is going to get a little bit of a boost – which means that if you’re trying to sell, unless your house is already super duper fabulous, you might want to stick your neck out amongst the rest of the houses in your neighbourhood and increase the value of your home, whilst you’re at it. Read on to find out what you need to do in part one of our guide.

Upgrade the Kitchen


Most design experts will agree that the kitchen, and the bathroom/s are where you want to spend your money. If they’re not up to scratch, the people viewing your house will walk in and think, “Oh crikey, I’ve got to spend £5,000/£10,000/£15,000 on renovating the kitchen, ripping out the bathrooms”. Now, that doesn’t mean that you’ve got to drop that amount of money on your kitchen, especially if you’re moving, but a couple of hundred quid can go a hugely long way in making your kitchen look a million times better, making your home easier to sell. If it’s a shabby wooden kitchen, for example, lay down some sheets on the floor, empty the cupboards, masking tape the worktops, clean the doors and then paint them. Viola! Instant update. Add new handles (about £8 each). give your worktops a good old clean (or replace them with laminate, if you have the budget – around £400 for a really good laminate in an average kitchen) and paint the walls. Move around your paintings or spend £20 in the supermarket on new canvasses and accessories and you’ll notice a huge difference. Honestly. A huge difference.

If you’re just upgrading the kitchen for you, consider adding granite/marble countertops, switching white goods for stainless steel kitchen appliances, or knock down a wall so that you can expand your kitchen and turn it into a kitchen/diner or add an island.

Upgrade Your Bathroom

Next up, your bathroom. If you’ve already got a white suite, then you’re already doing pretty well. It’s just the little finishing touches that you might need to change – things like the taps, the sealant around the bath and the grouting around the tiles. Taps can be cheap as chips, even for really nice ones – although you might need a plumber to help you fit them, and they update a bathroom instantly. Some new tiles can also make a huge difference, and if you buy click laminate tiles – in other words, tiles that you don’t really have to “lay” – that you can just click together. Regrouting will stop the bathroom from looking a bit rough and ready and then you can again re-paint, add some new towels, and spend £20 on some canvasses and some accessories and the place’ll look spick and span. A good vinyl floor’ll finish it off beautifully.

The thing to remember with all of this is that each job – even if you’re doing it for only a few hundred or a few thousand pounds – you need to do it right. Rough, scabby edges, unfinished lines, paintmarks in the wrong places, scuffs on the walls, etc etc – it’ll all look a bit cheap. So even if you’re doing it on the cheap – it shouldn’t look cheap. Keep that in the back of your head and the end result will be perfect.

Source: Real Simple

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