These are the steps I use to get to a finished painting that starts outside and is completed in my studio.
1. Look for subject that has abstract shapes, contrast of light and dark, and is interesting.
2. Do a drawing that just shows you the basic shapes, (no two equal), a balance of lights and darks with a predominance of one or the other. I use that tiny sketch pad that you see on my easel.
3. Photo taken at Chatham in Fredericksburg, Va. I liked this view because it included a path around the green house, the fire hydrant was something ordinary, but had nice colors, interesting shapes and colors in the tress. (Also, it was so cold that day and we didn't want to venture too far from the car knowing that for the first time out this season we might not last too long.)
5. With the photo and color studies I painted a larger one at home in my studio.
8 x 10