I work almost entirely from photographs. As much as I would love to be outside doing plein air painting, my current life situation (with two small children and a part-time job) doesn’t allow much time for it. So instead, I often travel through my days with a camera close at hand, in case I see anything that might spark a painting idea. I thought it might be interesting to do a series of posts where I show a painting along-side the photo that was used as a reference.
This first one is the grain elevator from my hometown. For me, seeing this image conjures up the comforting memory of the train whistle in the night or early morning. This painting was done a few years ago, and as I look at it I have trouble remembering why I did certain things. You can see that I moved things around quite a bit, which was done to improve the composition. Moving the elevator to the right places it closer to the center and gives it more importance. I removed the pole on the right because I didn’t want the sky to be divided up. Overall, I simplified everything in the photo, which is very typical of the way I paint. My goal is not to copy the photo but to do whatever works to make a better painting – a continual learning process.