My approach to the process to painting is developing as I explore art. Historically I have painted mainly in the studio, this has not changed really but what has changed is my attitude toward painting outdoors (en plain air). It is a little strange for me as I used to do this sometimes but never thought it to be 'special'. I drifted into studio painting mainly because the weather in England is so bloody awful that painting outside is not conducive to having a good time - which I think art should be. Also I got lazy and convinced myself there was no benefit in getting wet, cold and miserable for the sake of art.
What has changed recently is a visit to Cornwall of an old friend from Brighton, Tony Parsons, who is a professional artist. He persuaded me to get out into the Cornish light and paint. The issue I have always had with painting outdoors is I have never been able to complete the work in hand and as a consequence I always viewed my time outdoors as a failure. What Tony has done is educate me that my approach should be to capture feelings, light/dark and tones in quick (1-2 hour) paint sketches. He also told me that for the first 3 months what I produced would be awful and that is to be expected.
So my painting takes two forms nowadays.
1. I go out, take a few photos, paint some sketches and return to the studio to either develop the sketch into a working piece of art or start again with the sketch and photo as reference points
2. Go out take photos, visually take in the scene and return to the studio and start from scratch without a sketch to work from. (perfect for those times when you are visiting places for other reasons other than painting.
Below is the process of starting from scratch in the studio and may or may not include the use of a projector. Recently I have just worked off a photo in the initial stages.
I think what I am trying to say in a roundabout way is I am developing a multi-system approach to painting nowadays.The most daunting thing you can ever present to an artist is a blank canvas and too many ideas.
What should I paint, what style should I adopt, is this going to be a quickie or should I take my time over it.
Speed painting may sometimes lack precision but often results in the most fluid and entertaining pieces of work.