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Painting tips from Karen Sperling

200507bc_painting02_1  This is a commissioned portrait I painted in Corel Painter IX from a snap shot taken by the child's father.

When turning a photo into a painting, one of the things to keep in mind is that a painting has a chosen color scheme, unlike a photo, where the colors are random. I chose a red-orange/blue-green color scheme for the painting as these colors are complements, or opposite one another on the color wheel.

200507bc_painting04 I changed the bathing suit colors from blue to blue-green to coordinate them with my new color scheme.

First I made the figure a layer so that the color adjustment would affect just the figure and not the surrounding background.

In Painter, to create a layer, select an area, in this case the figure, and then click on it with the Layer Adjuster tool.

By the way, in Painter, once you have a layer, you can select it by either clicking on the layer in the Layers palette, or by clicking on the layer in the image using the Layer Adjuster tool. You don't have to select the layer first in the Layers palette before selecting it in the image. Just be sure that Auto Select Layer is chosen in the Property Bar before clicking the layer in the image.

200507bc_painting03_1 Next I made the bathing suit a blue-green. I chose Effects > Tonal Control > Adjust Selected Colors. The Adjust Selected Colors dialog box appeared. I clicked on the bathing suit in the image, outside of the dialog box. Then I moved the Hue Shift slider to the left to change the color to turquoise and I moved the Value slider to the right to lighten it as you see in the image on this page. The bathing suit now fit into my new color scheme.

See the original photo.

Artist, author and photographer Karen Sperling is the original Painter expert. She wrote the manuals for the first several versions of Painter and authored several Painter books and many Painter magazine tutorials. Sperling teaches Painter to artists and photographers at movie companies, design firms, universities and professional photography organizations. She currently publishes Artistry Corel Painter tutorials and Artistry Tips and Tricks newsletter, and leads Artistry Corel Painter Retreats, all of which include information about art concepts in addition to Painter instructions. She paints commissioned portraits, and her Painter art has been displayed in several group shows. Karen's art, and information about her tutorials and classes, can be found at

Photo © 2005 Raymond Moy, M.D.
Painting © 2005 Karen Sperling