Tom. J. Byrne
Plein air Artist, Paintings and Drawings




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Composing from photos in Watercolor. (STUDIO EVENT)

Dates: Monday April 23rd – Friday April 27th 9.30am – 2pm

This course will include methods of painting, drawing, composing and designing from photos. We’ll see different results from different paper types. Methods to ransfer drawings to paper. Simplifying images. Explore brush types and the effects they can achieve.

This course is designed to show you how to create watercolors from photos and give you confidence in studio painting without specializing in any particular style. The subject matter will be the city of Florence.

Equipment: supplied.

Maximum per course: 14 people.

Experience requirement: none.

Cost: € 875 (Regular fees as we are using the studio and equipment)


Easels and all painting equipment are supplied but please feel free to bring your favorite brushes. If you are bringing watercolor brushes, I recommend bringing some large round head brushes from size 7 and upwards. As different brands have different metric systems it’s not possible to give exact sizes. Pointed brushes are fine if they have a large reservoir. Some large (up to 2 inches / 4 cm) synthetic brushes are good for washes.

Course description:

You will learn to paint. Wet on wet, detailed and controlled or dry brush. The different methods have very different approaches. You’ll learn how to use different brushes and paints.

Painting from photos can seem easy but is a lot harder than painting from life.

The advantages of painting from photos are you can take your time on each painting. The light is constant. There are no insects, wind, sun or rain to contend with. You bring the environment to you and can experiment with designs. Scale is not an issue so you can work as large or as small as you like.

It sounds so good. So why is painting from photos so difficult.

It’s a common experience for artists find it difficult to paint from photos.

As photos are static we tend to obsess over details. Photos don’t contain natural color information so you can’t look into the shadows or adjust your vision, as you can with the real thing. You can’t walk around the subject and get a sense of it’s 3 dimensional form. So artists tend to compensate by obsessing over detail.

To counteract this we will use a photo as a launching off point then compose and edit that photo to free your eye. Change the perspective to allow for the difference between the eye and the lens. You can do this digitally or use a sketchpad. Use notans to identify priorities, design how the eye will travel through the painting and leave out what isn’t necessary, add things in or change the scale of elements.

There are many ways to transfer a drawing to paper. Most people know about the grid system but there are many others such as the camera lucidia. You can use a mirror or a mobile phone for this. We’ll help you to find the method that suits you most.Your teacher, Tom J. Byrne, is a native English speaker, from Ireland with 30 years painting experience. Tom lives in Florence and studied for several years with various different artists, working in oils, acrylic and watercolor in Paris. He came to Florence in 2013 to study with the Angel Academy and now paints and teaches. In Paris he ran two art galleries, on the ile saint Louis and in Ireland was guest lecturer on illustration in the National College of Art and Design and the College of Marketing and Design.

The course fees do not include transport costs, food or accommodation. Suggestions on accommodation are available on request.



For Reservations: Contact The Florence Studio