Ninety-nine percent of my paintings are based on my own photos (for the other 1 percent, I always ask the photographer for permission to use their piece as a starting point). I used to be unclear as to what lights my creative fire. But now I love hearing my inner voice shout “YES!” when I see a brilliant sunset or long, late afternoon shadows.
One artist I know says she doesn’t like to paint from photos because it just feels like copying. But I savor taking photographs of moments destined to be interpreted in oils. For me, my photos are a peek into my subconscious, in addition to lessons in composition, color and contrast. As I paint from a printout or off of my computer screen, I enjoy taking my time to slowly understanding why an image speaks to me so intensely.
Although I’m in week 3, my relationship to this work feels like it’s just beginning. This past week I painted a few more shapes, added some colors to existing areas, and started to understand why the sunset is doing what it’s doing to the street, trees and the Glendale skyline. But at this point, I don’t fully “get” how to translate the emotional pull of this image to canvas—and I’m surprised to realize that I’m not in any hurry. I’m completely confident that some delicious revelations will happen during the process. That’s worth waiting for.