When I started painting, I painted from still lifes or outside. Then, I gradually moved to painting from reference photos. I found that my paintings from photos were looking stilted and fussy (at least for me) since I prefer a really loose style in my watercolors. Over the last year, I've been working on getting back to a quick, fresh watercolor style by doing abstracts and painting alla prima.
Now, I'm going to try using some reference photos as a jumping off point to design some paintings. Why? Well, we just returned from a western adventure, where the sky is big and the colors are amazing. I didn't have my paints, but I had my camera. Here are three photos that I'm planning on using to design paintings:
Wake as a backdrop in the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is part of the Seattle Art Museum. Aren't the colors gorgeous?
The trick will be getting time to paint, since it's busy in the summer!