Here, There, and Everywhere!
You may wonder where artists find subjects to paint. Well for me it is here, there, and everywhere! I usually always work from a reference photo and many times several photos. Often just the time I noticed a perfect subject for my next painting, you guessed it, the camera was home. So that opportunity was lost, unless I wanted to paint it from memory. For me, this is very difficult because I love detail, and this is not what I prefer to do. However, now with my trusty smart phone, always in my pocket or close by, I am able to snap a picture and have that moment forever.
If I see a photo that I like, I usually know right away if it is something that I would like to paint. My goal is to convey this enthusiasm to the viewer. If I don’t feel excited about the subject it is best that I don’t try to paint it. I found this excitement when I came across this iris picture from a friend’s garden. The colors of each flower were so vibrant and full of life. I was fortunate to capture this feeling in this one photo, however at times one picture of an image is not enough. Many times the image taken is not the best photo to put on canvas due to compositional issues. Piecing together several images is an option and will work some of the time but it can be a challenge and one that I really prefer not to do. There have been photos where I must take a section from here and another part from there and select, arrange, and balance each part in order to make a composition that is pleasing and one that works. When an artist designs a painting the task is to decide how to portray it on canvas or paper in a way that is attractive and compelling. There must be a plan before beginning and it is of upmost importance to think of your overall design. The artist wants the viewer to move through the piece and not out of the painting on to something else. If the composition is incorrect the painting will never be successful. However if the design is sound then the artist can be confident that the painting is the best it can be and the composition will come alive to the viewer.
So I am constantly taking pictures and always searching for images hoping to find just the right one or combination of several to use for my next painting.