Tuesday, February 28, 2012


photo reference shot in the spring of 2005

"Indian Summer" 30" x 40" Oil on Canvas - painted 2006

Photo reference shot in the fall of this year

"Been Here Before" 12x16" Charcoal

"Fall Creek" 16" x 20" Oil on Canvas

Revisiting A Place

If you've ever visited a place and successfully used it as reference to create a painting, it can be a fun and useful experience to go back years later and revisit the place and even the painting.

In the spring of 2005, I took a photo of Graegle Creek on a hike to the top of Mount Elwell. The photo was taken early in the morning. From that photo reference, I painted "Indian Summer", one of the first painting done using my limited palette of just three colors plus white. Even though the painting was done from a photo taken in the spring, it looked more like late summer/early fall to me - a time often referred to as Indian Summer when the weather typically warms back up temporarily after the first frost before the onset of fall and winter.

I love that area and revisited the exact same spot when it was truly fall and in the late afternoon...and six years later! From the second photo reference I created two pieces, one in charcoal on one in oil which have an entire different feel from the first.

This was not only a fun exercise, it also helped me to see my own progress as an artist. I would suggest you try the same thing as it can be a great confidence booster. If you don't see a big difference in your work over the period of several years, then I would think that perhaps you aren't painting often enough and aren't taking chances artistically to stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone. Give it a try and let me know how you do!