Krys Robertson: Japanese Girl With Red Bow, Oil on Canvas, 2014

I noticed a while ago that my using photo references for my paintings has become a burden to me. While that is fun and very useful at times, something changed radically over the last couple of weeks. I got a photo reference hangover. I felt dead inside and wanted to curl up somewhere being miserable at the thought of doing “another painting”. It just felt strangling. Strangely that hangover kicked in when I painted the Japanese girl, which I sketched last year on a Tokyo subway and then took a secret photo as a reference. I actually liked the outcome, it is quite transformed from the reference. Though I kept getting the response of “is she picking her nose?” to which the answer is “no, she’s just reading and thinking – without picking her nose”. But still the photo reference hangover was overwhelming.

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Krys Robertson: Still Life with Mangosteens and Spring Onions. Oil on Canvas, 2014 (preliminary version). 20 x 61cm

So here was the challenge: a month of cold turkey… back to the roots, back to life, back to painting and drawing from life. And only from life. I started with the bad weather solution … still lives. The two shown here are preliminary versions … I nearly always come back and change round things in my paintings over time as they stand around in my studio.

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Krys Robertson: Still Life in Green (Pears in Green Bowl). Oil on Canvas, 2014 (preliminary version). 20 x 61 cm

It doesn’t quite matter if things work out in the end to become a good painting, but at least I feel alive again when I paint.