I don't know if other artists struggle with deciding what subjects to paint next, but sometimes I sure do! That's why I have to think in terms of future images even while I'm working to finish whatever I'm working on now!
I recently bought a canvas made of polyester -- it's supposed to last much longer than cotton or even Belgium linen. The size is 30" x 40" / 76cm x 102cm -- I prefer canvas for larger sizes just because they weigh so much less.
So what's the problem? Well -- do I paint Monument Valley or a redwood forest?
Admittedly, I've painted Monument Valley many more times than I've painted the redwoods. Yet, I feel like I've never caught the redwoods quite the way I've wanted to. The first time we saw them in Lady Bird Johnson Grove in Redwood National Park, CA, the morning sun was shining through the trees, and I was disappointed because I knew the forest would not photograph well -- bright spots of light next to deep shadows. (I was a photographer back then, not really a painter).
But then we rounded a corner, and a light fog had filled the forest. The air was lit up by shafts of sunlight breaking between the branches. We felt like we had stepped into heaven -- the blue sky that appeared beyond the hills showed through the fog, the ferns gave a lush carpeting of dark green and bright yellow-green from the sun. And, of course, we had those awe-inspiring giant trees rising to the skies in cathedral-like reverence.
Of course, it still didn't photograph quite the way we saw it, but the pictures + my memories help me remember how the redwoods looked that day. But I never got it right when I wanted to transfer my memories to the canvas.
Well, maybe NOW I'm ready to give it another shot. It won't have a waterfall like the image above (we never saw any waterfalls there), but I keep thinking there's a picture of heaven in my head, and it wants to be out in the open for all to see.
Maybe I've made up my mind about what to paint next!
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