Over the last two years, I've finally figured out a system I like to use when creating a new painting. Having a process for making art will help you start on the days you may not be feeling the creative vibe (which can be a lot!).
Step 1. Finding Inspiration
I will go through my Inspiration folder on my desktop where I save all of my landscape photos I've taken when I'm hiking or traveling. I try to keep A LOT of pictures in here so something will always jump out and catch my eye. Once I find an image I like, I will crop and adjust the photo's composition using the Rule of Thirds. I talk about composition in this blog post.
Step 2. The Sketch
Spending time in your sketchbook to figure out the layout and composition is CRUCIAL to a good painting. The two most successful parts of a great painting come down to your values (not the actual color, but the VALUES) and the composition.
Step 3. Value Study
I will create a value study to help me know where my darkest darks are and where my highlights will be. This can be done with 3-5 values with either monochromatic markers (Copic makes great markers!) or with a pencil.
Step 4. The Painting
Once I prep my canvas with gesso I, will lightly sketch my composition and start blocking in my larger shapes with a darker value. I usually will keep my sketch nearby but will try not to look at the real photograph as often. I love layering the light values on top to give a nice pop of color!
When you have a process in place you will feel more confident in creating!
Now Go Create Something Beautiful!