Occasionally, I’ve been asked if I use photographs for reference or work from a live setting for my compositions. There have been times, particularly for my Narrative Series, where I have used photographs. I have also referred to them or worked on-location for various paintings within my ‘Scapes Series. If I do refer to photos, my time with them is always brief, relative to the painting process. I use them to understand visual relationships; to get a better idea how something works in terms of mechanics; to learn its relative size and how it might impact or augment other elements within the composition; to understand its energy so that I may transpose and project its essential visual elements through the painting.

Once I gain this understanding, I quickly do away with my original references as I feel staying with them for too long hinders my approach. The composition, to me, is more important than the accuracy of subject matter. Once I feel like I have learned what I need to from my observations, I then look toward my instincts to guide me the rest of the way in the painting.