Updated: Jan 3
I've been focused on improving my composition skills, while simplifying my imagery, and have been rereading some of my art books, studying others works (as I reported on in my WPA in NH: An Opportunity to Study Composition blog post), and watching a variety of videos. Every time I do this, even if I revisit the same resources, I take away some tidbit to apply.
I recently watched a video by Ian Roberts, an artist who has a Youtube channel entitled Mastering Composition: Simplifying the Painting Process where he generously shares his experience. In Taking and Editing Your Photographs for Painting, Ian discusses that only 1 in100 of his photographs are suitable for, and make the cut for a painting. He evaluates his photographs to identify a strong composition and may consider removing or adjusting elements. His work speaks for itself with strong, energetic compositions that keep the engagement of the eye of viewer.
What was interesting is that by listening to Ian talk about his process, I became aware of the variety ways I process and use photographs. Sometimes I may use the imagery directly and digitally work out my small changes before painting. Only a few are chosen to work on, and fewer still make it to a painting. In this way I am working as Ian does.
As I've been working on the small pieces in my current work, I use photos more as inspiration for imagined landscapes. With these I can be more experimental because their size allows for 'mistakes'. My process has been that I start with lazily perusing through all the photos, and noting particular elements I like. If inspired, I may decide to create an image on a prepared panel. In a matter of minutes (sometimes less), I spontaneously draw using acrylic paint pens. Really having fun with these and looking forward to sharing them all soon!
So my take-away was a wonderful new awareness of part of my process that I hadn't given a second thought too; I'm sure this knowledge and awareness will serve me in the future. It was also a bit of a relief to know that someone else in the universe takes a million photos but only uses a fraction of them. Okay, maybe not a million, but during the Utah trip this past summer my Google photo album tells me I took 742 photographs. There are many inspiring photographs and if I align with Ian's statistics, I'll have at least 7 paintings that were inspired by the photographs....if they are large, that will make a good foundation for a show :)