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.
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.
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.