Here's a little peek into my painting process. Sometimes paintings just flow in through my eyes, run down my arm and effortlessly out of the end of the brush - certainly not always! Here's how many of my paintings begin. Most of my recent landscapes come from Arnold Arboretum and here's one that came from my wanderings. It's a stream that's off the main path near the Rhodedendrums. A small pool of water with sky and trees reflected in it caught my eye so I did the quick sketch below which is how the vast majority of my paintings begin. I can't tell you how many times people ask if I use photos, I almost never use them. If I do they sure don't look like the end result, rather they act as a touchstone.
Sketch for "Pool"
From the sketch I did this watercolor but when it was nearly finished I didn't like it at all so right away started another one...below.
Pool, watercolor, 11 x 14"
Then I started this one below and 90% of the way through didn't like it either. Grrr. So I hung them up side by side, pulled out my inner critic and had a tough love session. Lots of artists, probably all of us, hang them up and live with them for a while. Turns out I liked them both but feel the first one is better, looser. Pool #2 feels a little stiff and the reflection too centered and on-purpose. But it does have some nice qualities to it so is a keeper.