There is lots to do before the first stroke of paint goes on the canvas. First I try to keep my eyes open for things that are interesting to me - simple and beautiful in some way, or things that I find intriguing. Thank goodness for iPhones because my trusty phone means that I don't have to lug a camera around everywhere I go. I sometime wander around town which is only two blocks from my house and just a few block square and photo buildings and corners. Sometimes I snap photos out the car window.
Once I have a photo I have to study it and see if it will make a good painting. Is it really as interesting as I thought? Does it have interesting contrast, colors, something to draw you into it? It is too complicated and it so, can I simplify it? Sometimes this all requires using the computer and a photo editing program. I only paint from my own photos (except for a few roads from some of Mary Gilkerson's photos that she shared in class and gave permission to use) so I can edit them as I please.
Here is the photo for a painting I am working on. It is an alleyway behind a cafe. I can see the kitchen staff taking a quick break here on a busy evening.
Take care - talk to you soon.