Portrait of an Inn

We often stay at country inns and b&b’s when we travel.  We learn so much more about an area that way than we would by staying in a big chain hotel.  For several years I’ve made a habit of photographing the inn where we’ve stayed and creating a “home” portrait like those I’ve been recently sharing with you.

We were traveling recently and stayed at Cooper’s Landing Inn, in Clarksville, VA for a couple of nights. The inn was loaded with the ambiance and charm that only an 1830 Southern home could possess.  I knew it would make a good subject for one of my home portraits.

Straight digital capture often doesn’t portray what our eyes see and our bodies feel in a scene. 

It took a while to decide the best time of day as well as the angle to photograph the inn.  AS we arrived back after a day of exploring, the early evening sun was glancing off the upper windows so I took that opportunity.  That time of day, it can be difficult to capture the true sense of the light with the camera.  Straight digital capture often doesn’t portray what our eyes see and our bodies feel in a scene.  I knew I could bring out those qualities as I was creating the digital painting.  Finding the right angle took a quite a few minutes as well as quite a few bug bites. It’s always a good idea to walk around a bit, change your perspective, trying various angles till you find the best one.  I finally found this angle but didn’t like the lack of surroundings in just one image of the inn.  Finally, I took 4 separate images while panning across the scene, planning to merge them together into the one you see here.  That gives a better sense of the setting of the inn.

Original image used to create Digital Painting of Cooper's Landing, Clarksville, VA.Original image (4 images merged together) used to create Digital Painting of Cooper’s Landing, Clarksville, VA.

A few of the steps in this digital painting:

The first step was to crop the image.  I used the walkway and the light streams as leading lines to draw the eye to the inn.  As it often is with digital images straight from the camera, it was a little flat, so I enhanced the contrast, color, and detail a bit.  I brought out the detail of the chairs and trees in the shadows on the left of the inn as well as some of the details on the porch.  The foliage on the trees also needed some attention to give it more contrast and detail, more life.  The sky was dull as well as blown out in places, which often happens that time of day.  I added in some blue and some clouds to make it more interesting.  the light in the scene didn’t reflect what I saw that evening so I brightened and warmed it up to better express the scene I had been in as well as the warmth and coziness of the inn itself.

Digital Painting?

Many people have asked me to explain digital painting.  The short answer is that it is using tools on the computer to create paintings.  As with traditional painting there are a great many tools and the results depend on the tools used and the person using them.  They are just different tools.  As one of my instructors states, “the magic is not in the brush but in the mind and soul of the artist.”

Instead of moving paint around a canvas, pixels are moved around. Instead of using a paintbrush, a pen and tablet as shown below become the brush.  Within digital painting programs, there are thousands of brush qualities that you can create with the pen. Some digital artists begin with a blank “canvas” others begin with a photograph and work with and add to the information available there.  Because of the prevalence of push button effects for images on phones and such, it is often assumed that digital painting is simply clicking a button but it is much more than that.

 As one of my instructors, Jane Conner-Ziser states, “the magic is not in the brush but in the mind and soul of the artist.”

Wacom Tablet and pen used in digital painting.

Wacom Tablet and pen used in digital painting.

The pen is used instead of a mouse and brush-like strokes are made on the tablet service.

The pen is used instead of a mouse and brush-like strokes are made on the tablet surface to create the strokes in the image.

The final painting of Coopers Landing  reflects the warmth and charm that we experienced during our stay there.

Coopers Landing © GSHaile

Coopers Landing © GSHaile