I'm back in the studio and at it. I've lived with a sketch I just have to paint!
I'll post some pics soon, but I have several upcoming reference trips. I can never have enough reference. Back in 1990's when I began my art career in earnest, I used a 35mm film camera. I couldn't afford a long telephoto lens, but I made do. I mark those print photos among my most treasured possessions!
In the studio and attempting to not get distracted by the whitetail fending off deer flies outside the window and the marvelous hot day we are experiencing. I like the heat, but this day I'm going through ideas based on cooler climates.
Now back to the work at hand, I flip through rough sketches I did at that time and instantly sparks fly. Ideas that were doodled out form much clearer. Direction is a powerful tool. Proof is always in the painting. Legendary wildlife art dealer, Bubba Wood stressed to me, "You're only as good as your last painting." I guess you could take that as a compliment or an insult, but I always took that as a challenge.
Time to let go without letting go and let the art fly.
On occasion I remember to keep it simple. I have an old paint box that I use for plein air studies. Back when I began in earnest around 2000 I crafted it to fit my needs. It is simple, nothing fancy. It connects to a tripod, is lightweight, sturdy and frankly not the best looking.
I could get a new one, not retrofitted, more adjustable maybe with more options for convenience. My wife wants to get me a new one each Christmas. But I can't part with this "old box". This companion has traveled many miles with me. We have memories, a history together creating many souvenirs of experiences in nature. But more importantly it is an important reminder that it really is about the art, the paint and the artist's vision. My vision.
Western artist and fellow resident Texan, Roy Anderson once said, there are no art police. Not an exact quote, but the fact stuck with me. The easel is not going to make your idea any worse or better. It won't improve the quality of the painting. My trusty old box reminds me of these truths. Although I do a lot of studio work these days, I always look forward to weekly dates with my old friend.