I ask myself sometimes, as I have been into a work for a day or so, 'What every possessed you to pick such reference to work with?' I think I hit that point when I sat down to work today! What you see so far is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more of that railing to come. Well, it is a challenge for sure and the fact that this material is the sort of stuff I have not worked into a drawing in a bit, makes it fresh for me.
I know I've said before that challenges, especially like working on textures I don't do that often, or working with subjects that I am not that familiar with, can give me pause when considering a new work. But then again, how do you grow as an artist if you don't challenge yourself every now and again?
The reference for this work has been sitting around for well over a year. I have looked at it now and again and scratched my head and wondered how I might ever make use of it; what subject might work well within the context of the image or what sort of idea or emotion would I like to evoke?
In this particular instance, by focusing in on just a small portion of the overall photo image and editing out some unnecessary details that would take away from what will be the overall thrust of the whole composition when completed, and finding the absolute perfect, emotive subject matter to have as a major point of interest, I have finally found a way to make use of material that, when I was there and photographing and making notations as to light and such, I knew instinctively would offer me a really good starting point sometime in the future.
It's good to stash ideas away and let time work its magic. I remember a comment that John Sharp, the marvelous wood sculptor, had said during his talk on being an artist when he received the Master recognition at the Birds in Art opening weekend several years ago. John spoke about his stash of wood chunks, logs and stumps and how it took time for him to 'see' what was there in the wood. Sometimes he would look at a piece of wood for years before finally the idea was revealed to him by the wood itself. I remember at the time taking to heart his statement about how he let the wood show the way.
Like many of my artist friends, I have discs full of reference material, some of it from as long ago as ten years or more. From time to time I just sit and spend some time wondering through a disc full of images and as often will happen, something just jumps out at me in an instant and I know there is something, finally, that will spark an idea. It then goes into a special folder on my computer which I call 'Working Ideas'. I won't tell you now just how many images are sitting there and awaiting refining and editing and careful study, but all of those set aside images will ultimately find their way into compositional arrangements for future works.
Surely more currently gathered reference material always sits at the forefront of my mind when considering ideas for a new work or two. But I never overlook images shot a year ago or two years ago or ten years ago. There was a reason, at the time, that sparked my need to capture that moment, that view, that light, that way things were arranged and as in this instance, there may come that perfect moment when, as Master sculptor Sharp said, it just reaches out and grabs hold of you.