Monday, February 29, 2016

Painting Is A Lot Easier Than Photography

OK, before painters out there become aghast by such a heretical statement let me add the qualifier, in my experience.

When I speak of photography I specifically refer to the type of photography I have spent the last twenty years trying to perfect. My mission with my photography has been to capture nature, naturally as the consummate impressionist painter, sculptor and most skilled artist that ever existed. The trick to accomplishing my mission is it's more about finding the art works than it is about photography. Although, having some skill in this area is quite helpful.

I bet if I actually worked at it, like I do my photography, I could pump out 4 pretty paintings per week easy. That's 208 paintings per year. I'm lucky if I get 15 photographs that make the grade to be included in my fine art photography collections. Most people probably think photography is much less labor intensive than painting. It certainly isn't the way I do it. I drive thousands of miles on highways and byways. I walk thousands of miles down country roads and hiking trails. I think of myself as a hunter and finding my illusive prey is my skill.

The other thing I love about painting is that it's so forgiving. A painter is free to tweak color, object size, subject placement, composition, lighting and just anything you want.  With photography, as I practice it, I must find the perfect image and capture it. It's quite true in today's digital world you can edit your photographs in so many ways you hardly need a photograph at all. I don't believe in photo editing beyond what I could have once done in a wet darkroom. To do anything else would defeat my purpose which is to show nature's true artistry not my own.

Just like hunting, in the traditional sense, being able to hit the target is only half the challenge. One needs to have an "eye" for it. To be able to pick out the target in it's natural environment is more important than being able to take the shot. You can't shoot anything if you can't find it. Of course, traditional hunting, in many places, has gone the way of photography taking much of the art of it out with artificial props. Hunters sit in blinds waiting for some hapless creature to come along and then blast it. The greatest skill those guys exhibit is being able to sit there hour after hour. I'd go berserk. Hunt is a verb. Verbs are supposed to describe action.

I have couple of examples for you. First up is Eel  Lake. An experienced painter could easily paint this photo in under in a couple of hours. But, it took me days maybe months to actually find it as it occurred in nature.

Eel Lake - Digital Photograph
Next is something I call Ice Puppets. Not only was this shot the result of days of hunting but hunting in in 15 degree weather. Painters have no idea how easy they have it working in their nice warm studios.

Ice Puppets - Digital Photograph
Both of the above images are always being mistaken for paintings when hanging on a wall. The image below is one of my paintings. Kind of hard to tell the difference.  To be able to take photographs of nature in the way that I do, now that's real skill.

Dark Forest - Acrylic Painting

No sir, I think this painting thing is living the life of luxury. You don't have to trek to find your subjects, you can just make them up. You can paint things just as you want them utilizing any color you can conceive. If you make a mistake you can paint right over it. If you don't like the position of something you can just move it. And, you can do it from the comfort of your studio. I'm beginning to think my brand of photography is for masochists. It's certainly going to be replacing photography for my winter pursuit of artistic expression.

©Kinsey Barnard
The Liberated Photography


  1. Really like all your works. I can see images of the two photos in you Dark Forests painting, which is one of my favorites. The trouble I have with photography is I know the image I want to create but was never able to manipulate the camera to capture it. I used to describe what I wanted to my ex and he would place the correct settings on the camera for me. He used to be an excellent underwater photographer.

    1. Back in my winter quarters now. Got my first painting of the season underway.

    2. Looking forward to seeing your new art creations.

  2. I think you are a girl after my own heart! Although I don't necessarily think painting is easier - I struggle greatly with all aspects of it - but my approach to photography is much as you describe. I do more painting now than photography because I feel I've exhausted the materials that interest me that are within a days reach. For me to make inspired photographs now requires travelling out of my local area.

    Love, love, love Montana, btw. I could easily spend a year there exploring the landscape in both paint and photo.

    1. I have traveled tens of thousands of miles in my RV dragging a tow car. Some trips lasting 6 months. I'm down to two trips a year now, spring and fall. Stick mostly to surrounding states/provinces. Wyoming, Idaho, B.C. Alberta.