I retired the photo from hibernation. I took a Masonite Duron panel precut to 36¼ × 22½ inches and applied four coats of acrylic gesso. I sanded each coat after drying to provide surface tooth to facilitate adhesion for the next coat. The business surface was sanded nearly to porcelain smoothness. This golden rectangle panel was then mounted on my wall easel. I put the photo in my opaque projector and aligned the top and sides of the image to the panel perimeter. My hand worked in the piercing brilliance of the projector beam, pencilling in outlines of all significant features of the ornament and the blotches on the vehicle hood.
First always comes the theme. I paint non-traditional subjects — no bowls of fruit peeled just so, no vases of flowers with maudlin fallen petals. My models are dynamic things, objects charged with implicit energetic tension. Fruit may signify abundance and flowers may evoke life in full bloom but traditional subjects yield predictable exploitation. I consider my work to be portraits of objects. The things I paint have life, character, and purpose as valid as the essence of any apple or rose, or any human portrait model.
The photos I take for art purposes rarely present themselves as fully integrated masterworks. Reality isn't flawed but it often includes a generous helping of extraneous information. Every artist is necessarily an editor. How much one scraps versus how much one keeps is a matter of taste. I've painted only a few as is prelim photos. I much prefer coalescing separate but related elements into a composed scene, guiding their integration in a plausible, natural way.
I rely on my camera because reality is often too fleeting for the luxury of attentive sketching. I can drop a flawless three-point perspective but the camera can do it in a New York second. Neither method produces the artfully forced perspective that I implement to pull the viewers' vision more strongly into my scene. For me, the camera is merely a technical expedient. I can easily compensate for the slight irregularities consequent to the use of its monocular lens. The camera enables me to build my own image archives and it is especially pertinent when the creative concept requires that I hunt down specific props.