What to Paint Next
I just wrapped up a long term project for a client.
The concept was decided last November...and it was signed last night and drying in the corner as I type this.
As I approach the end of a painting, the excitement about the possibility of what comes next begins to build. The world is literally my oyster...with endless possibilities of what I can create.
So, how do I decide what comes next? Over time, I've found that I ask myself three questions...
1. What am I most excited to Paint?
First, and most importantly—I decide what excites me most right now. As I move through life, I capture moments that strike me as important. I have thousands of photos waiting for me. When I'm ready to start a new piece or plan a show, I review the short list of images I've filed and select the one that I feel in the gut.
Sometimes, none of them are working for me...and I move on to other filed images.
I can get caught up in looking at photos for hours at a time if I'm not careful. When I'm planning a show, I usually set aside days to review images and narrow down options.
2. What can I learn from this piece?
Second, I ask myself what can this piece teach me? The magic happens when I venture into unchartered territory with my work, and therefore, it's important to me and my process to do so in every piece.
Sometimes, an image will resonate with me at the surface, but when I think about how I'll translate it into paint, it falls flat and I move on.
3. What impact do I hope this piece creates for the viewer?
It took me a long time to realize that my art is more than just the result of my need to share my view and my voice with the world. Yes, it is my story...each piece a culmination of my 41 years of existence in this world. But it's more than that.
My paintings are created with the energy of grit. They hold onto that and connect with the viewer's grittiness. We are all capable of doing hard things...impossible things. Our circumstances don't define us. My work pulls that feeling out in people....and when people are feeling like that...anything is possible.