From Idea to Canvas
Inspiration to finished piece is a different journey for every artist.
Some artists do lengthy studies, others create fully developed sketches, and some just begin with no plan and hope it works out. I love the painting part, so the faster I can get to that, the more fun I have!
I mainly paint from photos. So, after I collect my photographic reference material, what’s next??
For each of my subjects, I shot approximately 200 photographs. And no photo shoot ever led to a complete layout which pleased me. (I guess if it did, then I should close up my painting studio and become a photographer.) What then?
- Sift through my photos and cherry pick a couple key images that I could meld together to create a great composition
- I sketch my composition idea on paper and/or
- Use Photoshop to create a rough composite of the images
- Sketch my composition on my canvas
Choosing the photos are trial and error. This stage takes a great deal of time, vision, and playing around in photoshop.
Now, some paintings are simple and are composed of 2-3 photos, while others are created from a more complex 5-6 photos. My “DC’s Notorious Cherry Blossoms” painting had the largest number of reference photos making up the composition, with the oldest photo dating back to 2009. I have kept that background photo in my idea arsenal all these years, as I knew one day it would make it into the right painting! Lesson learned – have an idea? Then leave it around and one day it will find the right spot!