The idea for this next painting began with a photo of Alexander that we took last summer. I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to paint it. I wanted it to be a fun painting with a twist because of his quirky facial expression I guess, but I just didnt know what to do with it so I put it away and put the portrait on my future 'to do' list.
Then the other day...maybe it was because I was looking at the work of Escher recently or maybe it was my muse deciding to have some fun but early Sunday morning I woke up and just knew what to do with the portrait. I wanted to play with the Droste effect creating a spiralling background in which I could put Alex in a time warp back through his childhood. I spent most of Sunday curled up on the sofa looking through photos of Alex for my other references and then yesterday and today drawing it out.
If you look closely at the outline you hopefully can see more than one Alex as the clock spirals back in time. But how many are there? Its hard at the outline stage I know, especially as you only have a small jpg to look at but have a look and see how many you can find.
Many people ask me where I get my ideas for paintings from. I love the play with words and phrases as a stepping stone. I also use photos I've taken to inspire me. Sometimes its just a concept or emotion... there isnt one single way in. For this painting the stepping stone was the photo of Alex but the actual idea came from thinking about the droste effect.
Of course ideas never appear on demand. Usually you try and try to develop an idea and it just doesn't materialize and then when you are least expecting it... there it is ... as clear as day. I call my muse my pixie because she loves to tease and then give me ideas at the most awkward times.(Its easier to blame a mischevious pixie when I get ideas at strange times (grin) I've learnt to always carry a small notebook and pencil with me so at least I can write the ideas down even if I can't do anything else right then.
So I suppose my advice to artists is... don't blinker yourself to ideas by just thinking that a photo is the only 'way in'. 'Life' is your way in, in all its shapes and forms. Everything happens for a purpose and could potentially be your stepping stone to a new painting. It's exasperating, confusing and exillerating working out how to use what life throws at you but fun too.