This January I wrote about an app called Art Set Pro and showed examples of how you can use it to try revisions on a photo of an existing painting or to improve a reference photo. Take a look if you did not see it. https://colleenparkerart.blogspot.com/2017/01/
Recently I made some changes with this app on the photo below to see what I could do with it.
I liked the light and shadow patterns, the planter itself and the color of the water. I didn't like the grill, etc. in the background, the unattractive window and doors and the neighboring house. This was a lot to deal with so I decided to work with it on the app. After a few tries I came up with this-
I didn't change the planter or pool but in place of the neighboring house I painted sky. I replaced the grill with another planter and simplified the house in order to make the pattern of light more apparent. I changed the shape of the hedge so it wasn't a sharp line (it was actually a vine covered wall). I cropped the foreground and left side for a better composition.
Using the above as my reference I painted the scene-
My intention was to make the planter in the foreground the center of interest. The path in shadow leads the viewer to the planter in the background and the pattern of light on the house. Now look back at the original photo. The busy details in the background would have been very distracting. I could have made a preliminary sketch to accomplish the same thing but it was helpful to work it out with color.
When you take reference photos make a note of what it was that drew you to the scene. That is what you want to emphasize. The rest can be left out or simplified.
I used my usual simple palette of cool and warm primaries on top of a tonal block in with burnt sienna and ultramarine blue. Occasionally I add a wild card- in this case thalo turquoise, a seldom used color in my paint box. I cannot mix the color of the pool water with my usual palette. (I also use this color when painting caribbean water.)
So more photos, more notes.
Thanks for reading!