My Creative Process

Sometimes I simply know what I’m going to paint next, and other times I have no clue. I roam the Internet looking for ideas and often I find them in the ‘pictures’ Google link of whatever I’m searching for. I no longer use pictures I find on Google for paintings but I do use internet images for reference. For example, on the present portrait I’m working on I was looking for something to put on the back wall of the painting. I found a hanging rope that looks good. The colours were wrong so I changed it to black and white and flipped it horizontally. On a given painting I might use 20 or more reference images, even if the painting is based on a photo that I have personally taken.

The featured image on this post shows my latest portrait. This will be my third attempt at a likeness. The difficulty here is that I’m mixing images and significantly altering clothing and location, so I’m having a little difficulty getting proportions right.

For my next painting there is an old picture that I took years ago. It’s just back-lit long grass at the edge of a lake. Nothing special but the light is wonderful and I’ve wanted to paint it for some years now. I’ve been trying to decide on a mid-ground but nothing has come up so far, so, I think I’m just going to paint the grass. I’m really looking forward to it because it’s almost going to be a holiday compared to the present portrait. I’ll enjoy it because the one after will be extremely difficult.

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Size of Work

Different interior spaces call for different sizes of work.  For very large images I like the idea of the image running over multiple painting surfaces, this is something I definitely plan to do in the future. I’ve noticed it a lot on room décor sites and it seems popular on some of the decorator sites. One thing I don’t do is paintings designed to fit in a particular room. The painting needs to stand on its own and colours it might need to fit in a particular room, are immaterial; that is what frames are for.

I often choose my painting board based on an impression of how big the finished painting should be. Some subjects just demand more room than others. With a subject in mind I go to the art store and start taking out and looking at art boards. They must be sick of me because someone needs to put them all back on the shelf. I’ve occasionally bought art boards, brought them home and set them up to be astonished how small them seem. When finished the art board has to fit into my attic, so I buy accordingly. If I split the work into several smaller pieces then the final result could appear huge and I might have difficultly viewing them in my small studio. I like large painting surfaces so the idea of dividing them up on smaller boards is quite appealing.