Going crazeeeeeee – GIMP, scanning and photography

I never thought that botanical art would lead me down the dark and tortuous road of photography, but it has, and let me be up front about photography – I don’t like it.  The camera does not see as I do and I am always disappointed by the results.

So I finished my drawing of the Photinia and of course I needed to photograph it – why? 1. to put in the blog of course and 2. as a record.

Photinia drawing by Sue Hagley

Finished Photinia coloured pencil drawing.


Arghhh!  Lighting, getting it right is sooooo hard, lots of research on the internet and it all seems so time intensive and boring and even more nit-picking than even I can cope with.  My research lead me to consider scanning – ah ha! much easier, the darn thing lights itself and I will just get some software to do a little colour correction. What a blind alley that turned into.  Most of my images are bigger than scanner plate, so software would also need to ‘stitch’ several images together as well as adjust colour.  More research and the dread word GIMP came into my life.  Anyway – this is all way too boring but I have just wasted two of my precious days on this earth wrestling with GIMP and some esoteric things called layers – it’s all been too horrible and I’m done with it!   The solution came to me when I was meditating – surprising what a little bit of stillness and silence can do, and it seems glaringly obvious now.  My room has been rearranged, and in that rearrangement new lights were installed, which means the room is evenly lit enough for photography (at least for the standard I need).  So I tested it out, and it works, YAY!  Only problem was a support to hold the artwork, so a request to my resident woodworker resulted in a lovely new stand, with the addition of two elastic bands my Heath Robinson ensemble is good to go.

Photography Stand

Heath Robinson ensemble

Seems to  work alright, see photo of Photinia above (although I have not cropped it properly); I will experiment some more with a tripod and a better (bigger) camera, but not today……………………..

P.S. ………if you are still with me, dear reader, I did go back to it, like an itch you can’t help scratching.  My later experiments came out really well and I am now HAPPY!  I found out how to set the white balance on my camera, lower the ISO and use a tripod.  I also used up about 500 calories going up stairs to take the photo and down again to put it on the computer, so I have had my exercise for today, which can’t be bad.  Didn’t do any drawing though………..


5 thoughts on “Going crazeeeeeee – GIMP, scanning and photography

  1. occasionalartist

    I hear what you are saying, it is always a horrible realisation when you find out being an artist is not all about drawing all day, and other things need to be done that ALWAYS take longer than they should. I personally am always in denial about this, and get affronted when precious art time is eaten into by other activities. Karen

  2. afternoonartist

    Gorgeous work, Sue. I, too had difficulty photographing my artwork. I now use an Epson photo scanner and it solved my problem, but I typically work small–9 x 12 inches. But there are large bed scanners that could accommodate your work. I also invested in the full blown photoshop–neither photoshop elements nor gimp meet my needs. But I encourage you to stick with photo editing software. Though it has a long learning curve and is not very intuitive, you will grow to love it. It’s well worth the effort. Thanks for following my blog.

    1. Draws Shoots and Leaves Post author

      I still feel a bit bruised by my encounter with scanners and software, so I am trying not to think about it at the moment. Setting the white balance properly on my camera has given me a better photograph so I am going to settle with that for the time being. None of my stuff is publishable so it really does not matter. Thank you for taking the time to respond to my frustration with your helpful words.


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