However, I do know that dramatic light events interest me very much as a painter. I love light raking across a zone, and area, be it a city block, grove of trees or still life, what have you. That morning I drove into the city on the way to school the light was so great that I just had to whip out my camera while driving and started snapping a zillion shots on the way down Market Street. I also feel strongly the better the photo the easier it is to work with the photo as a source for a painting. If you start with a photo with a great composition that starts you on the good path no matter what you do later or how much you use or discard from the photo. I should also go on record here as saying I have no issue with working from photos, some artists do, but I don't. My thinking and my way is to use the photo as the start but not the end and I draw from it as I would from life, I also work from multiple pictures when I can. All my years in comics and commercial art have given me plenty of experience working with photos so I think I can avoid the pitfalls the can bring. I am working for what works as a painting.
Later I went through the pictures and selected the ones that I thought worked best for making a good composition and painting. The ones I shot at the corner of 52nd street and Market came out great and I thought the light event outside vs the underworld of the EL and the stores was great. Cool vs warm, light vs shadow and the riot of detail was seducing and would be a challenge. I also looked at the big shapes, the abstract shapes of the picture to see the strength of the composition and to see if I could push it, play with it and make it stronger, to not be a slave to the photo ref, but to use it as a reference but not an empirical source to slavishly copy. I had been studying artist like Rackshaw Downes and Richard Diebenkorn. Both men are great painters and have aspects to their work I admire, I admire Diebencorn's sense of design and composition and the fact he makes every corner and space vital and well considered. I enjoy his landscapes and the earlier the better, the later more abstract works don't interest me.
One of the weaknesses of a lot of painters is the bottom or edges of their paintings,sometimes they are just rushed off or not as considered-- they just trail off or suffer because the artist is so in love with just the center of interest that the outer realm of the paintings just doesn't get the love--- but a great painter makes every corner or edge as great or as considered as the primary interest of figure, etc., there is no lessening of the charge of a great painting from corner to corner.This is one of the things my critics and I have discussed more this year as this is such an important part of painting. To consider everything. Everything is important. So I spent many hours in the past year studying my favorite painters and looking at the way they dealt with the corners and edges of their paintings. It did cause me to think about landscape painting in very different ways. Two of these artists were Richard Diebenkorn and Rackshaw Downes. The RD boys as I call them. Now I much more of a narrative realist than Diebenkorn, but maybe not as literal as Downes. I am searching and think I'd like some place in between where I can nail some things down and then allow some things to become more abstract and allow the viewer to participate, this of course is all a big flow, a big process that goes from one painting to the next as I explore these ideas in each work I do. I have learned one thing about myself as a painter--I have no desire to spend months on a single image like he does or years like Lopez Garcia or Downes. I think that would drive me bonkers and I'd just lose all interest.