NFL Headwaters

This project began with a photograph taken of the boy sitting on the staircase. A tracing was made over the photo. The helmet is a tracing from a second photo. It was added to reinforce the sports theme. Because these tracings are made in vector software, they can be adjusted without losing definition. For example, the tracing of the helmet needed to be increased in size as well as flipped and rotated so that it would fit the composition.

Why make a tracing? Why not pose the picture with the necessary props, photograph the scene, then use that as the basis for an Essential's painting? A tracing is made for two main reasons. First, it moves the project one generation away from the photo. In doing so, a handmade quality is introduced into the finished work. Second, a tracing may be made because of rogue elements in a photo that pull attention away from the subject. Photo backgrounds are notorious for competing with or overpowering the primary elements. A tracing is one method that allows me, not the camera, to control what enters the final composition. Traced lines seem appropriate for certain projects and I may opt to leave them visible in the finished piece.

Unless one has the skills of Ansel Adams, I feel the number of photographs that can be used successfully "as is" is limited since the nature of a camera is to record all details without bias, that is, the rock on which a woman sits will be documented with the same importance as the woman. It is the artist who must control if the focus is on the woman sitting on a rock, or on the rock that is suitable for sitting, then develop the piece accordingly.