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The Morgue file

Where is it & how do I get to it?

Hi, Tracy,

This link should take you ro the Morguefile…
It’s a great source for inspiration and resource photos. Many of them are free to use, and there are additional stock (priced) photos.
You can easily fumble your way around, but it’s worth taking time to read the “about” section, and find out some how-to info. The photos can be downloaded to your computer – full size – and you are free to use them as source material.
Have fun,

Thank you Helene! I’ll have to go check it out.

Thanks, I did not know there was such a file.
I am always looking for source material and stay away from photos that I have not taken myself.
Off I go to do some research!
Mary Ellen

There are many resources for copyright free ref photos. My faves are:

along with morguefile.com and also dreamstime.com where you can buy them but they do have a Free Photos section

The paintmyphoto site is fun and you can share the art you create with the photos you use. It’s a unique idea.

Speaking only for myself, I periodically find these sites fascinating but ultimately not that useful. I think the main reason is that, in addition to my not having any personal connection to the subjects, most of the photos are not taken by painters and therefore lack the all-important feature of good LIGHTING. In most it’s maddeningly uniform…


An option is to invent your own lighting; you can think of it like a stage, and a stage can be lit however you feel like it.

If you can invent all of your own realistic/believable lighting, you’re a better man than I am–which is entirely possible. :wink:

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I didn’t mean realistic :smirk:. That’s why I mentioned the stage. It’s like when you see a movie, you rarely see realistic lighting; whatever you see lit is whatever the DP wants you to see lit. A painter can have the same freedom; we can use a photo as reference for line and form, but put the light wherever we feel it makes the most emotional impact.

I like to make rough little clay models based on photos, and light them however.

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I think this is true. And when one uses the color scheme of a painting that you like and that worked for you and apply it to a different photo reference, it can be a challenging and rewarding exercise, I find.

Here following are three paintings I´ve done. The first and second were painted on location. The third painting was inspired by the first paintings scenery and the second paintings color scheme. Painted in the studio.
In this exercise you could use any scenery or photo reference and apply the colors of an existing painting. The colors, the values are already there …
By the way this is not my own idea, but found in one of my favorite art books by Kevin Macpherson “landscape painting Inside & Out”.

Happy painting

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Paint My Photo is good, however, you can see some examples here: http://www.paintmyphotos.net