Have you ever wondered how an artist decides what to paint? I'm sure while it is different for every artist there are probably many similarities as well. I will begin by saying the creative process for me is an ongoing thing. I am never without my camera/iphone for that very reason. Inspiration is everywhere and I am constantly taking photos, for later use, I tell myself. Needless to say, I have a lot of photos sitting somewhere in a cloud...
The active process for me is as follows. Sometimes, I just don't know what to paint and that is when all those photos come in handy. I'll scroll through them, crop and save and eventually pick one to paint or base a painting from. Other times, I have a basic idea of what I want to paint.
The other day, I had decided on houses. So I scrolled until I found what I wanted. City townhouses, old Toronto, Roncesvale... hmmm ... should I do a large one? Or maybe this one, smaller and wider...I cropped and stared at them, moved them to my favourites folder, and stared at many different sized canvasses I have laying around. I put them on my easel, walked around them, stared, turned them, took them off, scrolled through my photos again...came across some rolling hills...cropped...and YES! I felt it at that moment. Picked up a small canvas laying at my feet and quickly sketched in the composition with an oiled dirty brush. Yes I liked it. I quickly laid in some foundation colours and was satisfied. I had errands to run, but I felt a sense of accomplishment and excitement to return to the painting.
Painting, has got to be a feeling in the moment. Its not to say that I don't sketch and and preplan some paintings because I do. But I may not paint them until later, until I feel it, until I can visualize it on a canvas. It may be an hour or sometimes weeks before the painting comes to form. And other times, it is pure spontaneity, which can often give a painting a freshness.
If , as artists, our process differs, I'm sure we will all agree we have to be able to feel the painting, be moved by the subject, in order for it to be a successful painting. And today, I felt rolling hills :)
I wonder what I will feel tomorrow...