I think it’s very important to have a place for your reference photos, so when you’re ready to paint something, you’re searching all over your computer for that photo. So I have this file among the pictures in my computer called, “reference photos” and anything that I think I might want to use for a painting or drawing, whether it’s a photo I took myself, one I have permission to use, goes in this folder. Even doing just this one thing, makes things so much easier for me, because when it’s time to start a new project, all I have to do is go to this folder and choose one of the photos I’ve saved.
Another thing I like to do is name photos that I’m particularly interested in. Not every photo I put in the “reference photos” folder will necessarily become a painting or drawing, but if I feel one will, because I just love it that much, I like to give it a name so I can find it easily. I don’t know about other people, but I remember names I give things more easily than I remember the names they had when I downloaded them, or what name my phone gave them. If I need to credit the photographer, I will include his or her name in the title as well. The name I give to the photo may not what I end up calling the resulting painting. It’s just to help me be more organized.
For example, I named this photo, "Duck On A Pond", which is probably what I'll call the painting I'm going to make from it.
The last thing I’m going to talk about is not the something I’ve been doing so far, but it’s something I think I’m going to start and that’s writing a list of the painting projects I have in my mind that I know for sure that I want to do. First of all, it’s not good to keep things up in our heads. Writing things down is very freeing. I heard someone say, your brain is for having ideas not holding ideas. The second reason for doing this is it’ll help me be organized a bit more than just having all my reference photos in one place, because when I finish with one project, if I don’t know what to do next, I could refer to my list and there’s my next painting. Just like with the names I give to the photos, the titles I write down on this list, don’t necessarily have to be what I’m going to call the finished pieces. They just have to descriptive enough that I know what it is, because this list is for me.
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Painter of portraits and wildlife