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What To Paint Next

What To Paint Next

The image shows my latest painting, All Ashore. I finished it last night. Click here to view it and read more about it in my Portfolio.

I don’t know how other painters feel about this issue I’m about to describe. For me, when I get close to completing a painting, I start to fret about what I’m going to paint next. Sometimes the answer is obvious – I already know I want to paint Subject X. Great, no problem! I get on with it. Other times, I don’t know what I’m going to paint next. And that is a problem.

OK, so I start looking for inspiration. I can find it, if luck’s on my side, in various places. I’ve got thousands of photo references I’ve taken over the years, loaded on my laptop. (Right now, I have 28344 photos stored, and that’s after thinning them out recently.) Or I can admire other artists’ artwork, either on the internet or in my extensive collection of art books – that can be a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Here I want to stress that I am not talking about copying other people’s paintings. It’s just that the sight of other artists’ work can stimulate whatever part of my brain it is where my artistic sensibilities reside.

These techniques will usually get me going and I’ll come up with an idea. Hopefully, a good idea. But, on occasion, they won’t work. That’s when Painter’s Block sets in. Then I can’t come up with the goods. Every photo reference or painting I look at, every real-life scene… they do absolutely nothing for me. When I’m Blocked, I’m Blocked. It’s frustrating, but I’ve learned I just have to stop thinking about painting for a while. Eventually, if I do that, the need to paint will reassert itself and that’s enough to get me inspired again.

Fortunately, the Block doesn’t strike very often and so far it has always been a temporary condition.

So, here I am, wondering what to paint next…

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