One thing I learned from her course is to start with the background and let the final painting emerge through that portal. I have kept that technique and allow my intuition to shape my paintings.
Here is a bit of the original background that shows on the sides, top and bottom of this painting:
Lately, I've started using reference photos for my latest obsession: the female face. It helps me create faces that don't all look alike like they did when I painted fantasy faces.
Right now I'm working on a series of women's faces to illustrate the feminine spirit. I start with a photo from books, magazines or google searches and I do a charcoal sketch. I won't be showing the photos I start with because they are not copyright free.
My sketches of strangers don't quite look like the original faces either, so it's OK that I'll be showing my version of the female face that caught my attention. Here's one:
My sketchbook is rectangular, but the canvases I chose are square, so I squared off the area I would use for sketching to make it easier for me to reproduce her on the canvas.
I learned the hard way that if I filled the rectangular space and then tried to copy the face onto a square canvas...I kind of squashed the face into Neanderthal proportions.
NOT what I had in mind!!
I may someday use my own face, but for this project I'm using strangers. I once tried to sketch my own unsmiling face from a black and white photo.
The photo was scary, and the first sketch made me look old and tired. The second one, where I didn't put in any laugh lines or frown lines, looked like a wide-eyed young girl who had no clue.
I suspect I'm a mixture of both of those characters, but I'm not ready to publish THOSE sketches!
Inspired by my sketch, I paint a background for her to emerge from and then outline yet another version of the face and allow inspiration to tell me what to add. Including skin! Some of these women want to remain outlines to keep their archetypical power and who am I to argue with them?
This one asked for cattails and a lotus blossom necklace, even though the original photo was of an Asian woman.
She said she was the strong woman inside us all who protects us from danger. IF and when we listen to Her.
She told me she was called