Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Because I Can't Paint

I have a couple of friends, two brothers, who have always had natural talent for drawing and painting. In elementary school I was always amazed (and jealous) of how easily they could draw or sketch scenes and characters. I would struggle to reproduce their efforts, but mine never looked near as good. Maybe that's one reason why I eventually got interested in photography.

While wandering around downtown Asheville Sunday afternoon, I came across the work of local artist Jeff Pittman (http://jeffpittmanart.com). Pittman paints local scenes that folks familiar with Asheville would recognize - restaurants, monuments, bars, parks, and street scenes. I don't know how the "experts" would rate Pittman's paintings, but I liked them. As with my school boy friends, I was jealous of Pittman's talent. Each of his paintings was simple, yet interesting, something I strive for in my photography.

Since I can't paint, I tried photographing a few local landmarks, with the idea of doing something "artsy" with them later. The problem for me is that once I start experimenting with different looks, I can't decide when to stop. There is always one more thing to try. Here are three versions of one photo from Sunday afternoon after much experimenting. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Original color photo.

Toned B&W photo

Simulated painting

My daughter, Courtney, who was with me when I made the original photo, considers the digital painting version cheating. Maybe so. I would never try to misrepresent one of these as a real painting, and I doubt I could fool anyone anyway. However, it is fun for me to experiment, and that's why I do this - for fun.


  1. When I was little I wanted to be an artist. I had no talent, but I tried. I like the bottom photo. While it does look like the top, it is a little more "artsy". I bet a photo of the houses on Rainbow Row in Charleston would look fantastic with the digital painting.

  2. Hmmmm . . . that gives me an idea!