The first crutch to be examined is "Elements of Working From Photographs". Here's what I find myself clinging to that needs to be flung aside:
- Having to have a 'wow' photo to start with. When working from photos, a good artist should be able to take the most mundane photo and turn it into something interesting to look at. If a photo is that spectacular, just take it and frame it...don't bother to paint it. Assignment: Find some simple, unassuming photos, and make something appealing out of them.
- Having to directly transfer the photo in order to duplicate it exactly. If you're not painting a realistic portrait, then does exactness really matter? Does a landscape painting fail because it's not an exact copy of said landscape? Nope. Get creative. Add stuff. Move stuff. Make the painting better than the photo. Time to work on those atrophied drawing skills! Assignment: Transfer the photo subject to the substrate by freehand sketch. And start carrying a sketchbook around, and get in the habit of sketching for fun.
- Letting the colors of the photo dictate the colors that are painted. I spend far too much time trying to duplicate the colors of a photo. Time to start making hue, value, temperature and intensity decisions on my own. Orange trees? Great! Blue dogs? Why not! Assignment: Work from black and white photos.
- Painting only from photos. All of the above indicates I'm in a "Copy Rut', and it restricts putting any of my own twists and feeling into a piece. Assignment: Start painting from real life. Or better yet, from pure imagination!
Aarruugghh! Great, another crutch. Left Brain is now insisting on wasting incredible amounts of time scouring the Interweb, researching and investigating, planning and assigning, ordering and cataloging, until it comes up with a suitable linear synopsis to follow exactly. Phooey. That's the reason there's a lack of feeling or spontaneity in my work. Left Brain insisted on literal copies and exact colors, and things being just so, which basically is the antithesis of any creativity.
Time to let Right Brain have some free reign.