WPC: Life Imitates Art on the Amalfi Coast

Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.–Rene Magritte

This week Cheri offered us an intriguing photo challenge–to find inspiration in art.  This has prompted me to try something I’ve been wanting to do for a while: create a painting from a photograph.  I selected a photo of a church shot when we were taking a boat ride down the Amalfi Coast several years ago.

It was a bright, sunny spring morning when we left Sorrento.  We sat on deck in the sunshine, enjoying the warm weather.  I used my Canon 40D with 70 to 300 mm telephoto lens to take shots of the coastline.  One of  my favorites is the photo below of a church on the cliffs overlooking the coast.  There are some distracting elements in the shot, so I cropped it to focus on the church.  I also liked the unconventional angle of the shot and decided not to straighten it.

Amalfi Church Original Photo:
Church on the Hill Original

Amalfi Church. Original Shot Taken with Canon 40D.

Amalfi Church Painting

To achieve the effect of an impressionistic painting, I applied a Topaz Simplify Painting Filter and made some minor adjustments to the saturation, contrast, and exposure.  I was pleased with the bright light and colors, and strong patches of light and shadow.  I think it heightens the aura of mystery in this shot.

Church on the Hill, Italy

Amalfi Church on the Hill, Italy.  Processed with a Topaz Painting Filter

The Martyr: Original Photograph

Here’s another shot taken on the same trip to Sperlonga, between Rome and Naples. After visiting the Grotto of Tiberius, we peered inside a local church. This unusual and somewhat startling statue of a saint, impaled by a sword, is on display. You’ll see that her tears are painted red.

Martyr. Original Shot.

The Martyr. Original Shot.   Captured with a Canon 40D.

The Martyr Oil Painting

Here’s the same shot with an oil filter effect.  I like the distressed shadows and lighting and the glow from the crown.  It conveys the emotion of the statue even though her tears are not visible.

Martyr with Oil Painting Filter

The Martyr with Oil Painting Filter

Now, it’s time for you to weigh in.  Which effect do you like?  The original or the painting?  Why?

This week, I also did a little research and found out that there was a school of Italian impressionism in the 1800’s, headed by the painter Giovanni Fatori.  The group, called the Macchiaioli, are credited with being forerunners of the French impressionists and painted in Tuscany.  Here’s a small sample of Fattori’s work:

In closing, I’ll leave you with a quote from Picasso:

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.–Pablo Picasso

Have an inspiring week, everyone!

32 replies »

  1. The painting filter is lovely. You selected two great shots that were perfect for this effect. I really liked the results of the church. If you hadn’t mentioned it was originally a photo, I would have been convinced that you painted it.

    When you were visiting the Amalfi Coast did you stop in Positano? I’ve always wanted to go there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Jackie! It’s funny you asked about Positano. I haven’t been there yet, but it’s on my list too. Sorrento is also gorgeous. So many places to visit on my next trip!


  2. I really like what you did with the first photograph of the church-it has real punch to it with the bright colors and I like the impressionist feel to the image-With the second image, I like the monochromatic tones and the “light” effect around the Virgin’s head-lovely work Patti!


  3. Hi Tina. Yes, I thought of that too. I love the effects you achieved with your nature shots. The colors were more subtle. It’s interesting that this filter had a really powerful color palette. I even toned it down a bit!


  4. I love how the church came out. I still can’t believe there are filters that do this. I’ve been tempted to work on some also, but I’ve gotten as far as using the solarizing filter in PS.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Maria. Yes, it is an easy plug in. Appears right under the filters tab. Google just bought the company, so the complete package is around $140. Um….another early birthday gift for myself???


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