"Been There, Done That"
So much is involved in making a painting, good drawing skills, color mixing etc., but most of the time a good painting comes down to your subject matter and finding great subject matter has suddenly moved to the top of my wish list. I often find myself having to settle because of time restraints and a limited painting window and the need to get something done. I recently bought myself a professional camera and have started to get much better photo reference from it. Now I need to go explore and find these great subjects and that is easier said than done.
Another way I have found subjects to paint is to ask photographers if they would allow you to paint from their images. So far, I have been extremely lucky and the photographer has been excited to allow me to do that. I still try to crop the image or emphasize what interests me most when I paint from these photos. This painting is one of those shared images and has become my wife's favorite that I've done because it reminds her of her step father that passed away years ago. I have found adding figures adds so much life and welcomes the viewer. I shared this painting on my Facebook account and had comments like
"I enjoy paintings that put me there and tell a story"
"Reminds me of my youth. That truck looks a lot better than the ones I drove,
but the hood being up was typical!!"
and "I really like the people...the rumpled shirts & jeans! It's real. Great work!"
I'm not sharing those comments to toot my own horn, but it does make me realize figures can raise a simple painting of a truck into something much more.