January 19, 2012

Venetian Watercolor Painting

On to Week 3 at the Edit Me Challengea tremendously fun edit!  I have read tutorials on turning a photo into a painting, and this was a perfect time to try!  The Venetian style boat and the lush waterway reminded of  an exotic type place that Claude Monet would visit and capture on canvas.  I'm no Monet, nor do I get to exotic places, but I sure had fun "painting". Here's the original photo, provided by Marilyn at The Artsy Girl Connection for the Edit Me Challenge:

  • First, I decided on the crop, and sharpened the photo.  
  • Then I went to work on the painting effect.  (Click here for a specific tutorial.)  In a nut shell:  Copy the bottom layer three times. On the first layer, apply a cut out filter; then apply luminosity blend mode.  Next layer, apply a dry brush filter; put in screen blend mode.  The top layer, apply a  median noise filter; soft light blend mode.  I tested different values to adjust the effect I wanted.
  • The background was simplified by cloning out unwanted items, and then cloning in extra foliage to compensate. (I should have done this before working on the painting effect, but it still worked with a little effort.)
  • Made curves and levels adjustments
  • Colorized the ship's front awning sail because it was too washed out. Brushed in several colors and blended in, and roughed the edges.
  • After stamping the layers,  I added a new layer, then rendered clouds to get back sky reflection.  I was happy with the haze it added to the overall photo, just masking some out over the ship. This gave it a softened Monet look.
  • A slightly darkened vignette was added around edges.
  • I expanded the canvas to add a white frame.
  • Lastly,  the overall photo painting got its final sharpening.

And here it is: my final edit!

I love watercolor paintings!


  1. This looks awesome, i love that watercolor effect. Thanks for posting the tutorial for it i'm going to have to try it!

  2. It is amazing!! You did such a beautiful job, Karen. LOL, it truly looks like a real painting to me!

  3. Karen, this is BEAUTIFUL, I LOVE the color's, the photo is all of a sudden alive.. Very pretty., Great effects. Thanks SO much for editing my photo.. LOVE the new version., *I'm also your newest follower here with smiles*.. Wishing you an amazing weekend.. ~M

  4. Beautiful effect! Thanks for the link to the tutorial - I'm off to check it out!

  5. Thanks! I really did have fun working on this "painting"! I like the composition of the photo: how the colorful boat that grabs your attention is placed on an angle, and then the pier pilings moves your eye up along the photo as it recedes into the background, and finally the reflection is balanced off with the deck balcony... nice photography, Marilyn! Let me know how that tutorial works out for those who try it. And thanks for following :>)

  6. This is absolutely brilliant! I can't stop scrolling up for another peek! I will definitely check out that tutorial! I have seen many watercolor edits in my day, but this stands out as probably the best I have seen :)

  7. Hey, I think you just made my week! It was fun to turn it into a painting, especially watercolors - my favorite. Hope the tutorial helps; have fun experimenting.

  8. I love it! I'm pretty the fact that I've kept your edit open in a browser window for the past 5 days means something! :)


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