Day 13 of
I'm just putting a corner detail of the painting in this shot because it's doing double duty for tomorrow's SOLD prompt. But because it was a commission I have a lot of pages of process, so it's a good example.
The process is different for my realism paintings than for my abstracts.
When I first get an idea for a realism painting, I immediately start scribbling words. I'll make a list of words of things that I “see” and make a quick messy (very messy) little thumbnail of the first image that pops into my mind. (About 2/3rds of what I scribble down will not make it into the painting). Then I spend time thinking about those words and researching them, which invariably leads to new interesting ideas or a dash of synchronicity. The project then starts to take on a larger, deeper meaning. I make more thumbnail sketches, figure out lighting, add more words, shoot or locate reference photos, and then when I'm ready to begin the painting process, I start it based on how I've decided in my mind it's going to look, while knowing full well that it's not going to stay that way. I'm going to have to get out of the way and let the painting decide how it's really going to look, as it progresses. The more I cling to an original idea the harder and less successful it usually ends up. The more I let it be what it wants to be, the better the end result.
With the abstracts I don't start with an image or an idea in my mind. I just decide on a medium I want to use and set to making a mess. Then I begin layering over it, looking for spots to highlight, looking for things that have a vague resemblance to something else – a landscape, a map, a flower etc – and I try to pull those elements to the forefront. It's finding what's there rather than creating what's there.
While the processes appear quite different at the start, once I'm in the middle of a project they're pretty much identical. I just go where I'm led. Sometimes kicking and screaming, but I go!