To improve on that process I have taken to actually "printing" those photos and put them in an album as a reminder. When I go to my art class with nothing in mind I can look at them choosing one for the next painting. Or that's the purpose anyway.
In fact it was the mere sighting of a photo that I had with me that caused the final break with my first oil teacher. I was showing others a photo of what became CAVE LAKE, NEVEDA, a multi-media piece that I painted with a peach underpainting in acrylic and finished in color with oils. My teacher said it was too complicated and that it wasn't a good image to use. I painted it anyway. It remains one of my favorite paintings capturing a amazing scene of the side of the lake curving at an angle across the painting. I toned down the contrast of the shoreline and water creating a landscape that is quite realistic.
One of the photos I printed was that of a Dogwood blossom I had seen at a friends home in Atlanta. The trees were just flowering and of all the images I took, this one was my favorite. Yet, I could never seem to get it painted. I had sketched it out on a canvas earlier, put it aside and while retrieving the photo, have no idea where the canvas went.
Last week I woke up with a mental image of what I wanted to paint. And so, in one classes time I painted it. This was the result minus one factor.
When I woke up I had dreamed that the painting would have red in it. Streaks of red in the background and red edging all the petals with splashes of red here and there. The painting I painted had covered most of the red and yet again I made it appear too realistic. I looked at it that afternoon, evening, all the next day and finally getting up Saturday morning mixed some red, got a long bristled liner brush and put the red I wanted back in. It became a blend of impressionism and realism ... what I saw in mind's eye.
There can be no doubt this is my "style" and while it is getting looser, something I struggle with on every painting, it still has enough reality in it to stand out. I urge you to paint what YOU see, not what others see, or you are told to see, but what you see with that third eye, feel in your gut. Then and only then will we be free of the limitations imposed on us and let our own vision shine forth!
Both of the paintings mentioned are visible on my store at KrugsStudio.etsy.com. Please check them out and let me know what you think!