If you draw/paint from photos, use your own photos, if you can. Photos capture and preserve a moment in time for you to refer to immediately or years later. That photo is reference material for the patterns, the shapes, the spaces, perspective, textures, colors, lights and darks and the finest details. However, at the moment you snap that shutter yourself, YOU are also experiencing feelings and emotions of the place and internalizing the smells, sounds, the temperature, the time of day. Be aware of your reactions to your surroundings and listen to your internal voice when photographing. Trust me, those reactions, feelings and emotions will show up in your artwork, the real heart and soul of what you are trying to say.
Paint subject matter you know and are passionate about. I grew up on a farm in
NW Iowa. We milked cows, raised pigs and grew corn, beans, oats and hay. I was the oldest of 5 and worked the farm. The last thing I wanted to draw or paint then was 'farm stuff!' Now?........................... I love painting rural architecture and farmland. I. KNOW. These. Things. I have a very thick memory file filled with my experiences, feelings and emotions along with details of all the mechanics on a farm. I love being on the water either in my kayak or boat. I think my paintings reflect that passion and enjoyment as well as how the different kinds of water look. If you gave me a photo of a lighthouse, I can paint a pretty fantastic lighthouse. However, I have no knowledge or feelings for lighthouses. I feel the heart and soul of the piece would be missing, the difference between painting a pretty picture and a work of art.