I was delighted to be selected as one of several artists for a local show. We were juried in based on our work...and the assignment was to use historical reference photos to capture not just the scene in the picture, but to inspire people in the region to visualize a wonderful, exciting future. That seemed difficult enough, but we were also admonished to "stretch" ourselves...and step it up a notch. We were instructed to "not just copy the photos." Now, I looked around the room (at the slightly startled faces)..these were well known artists, who are known for a certain style/voice in painting (generally landscape painters...some figurative painters...all fairly realistic)...and now we were being asked to either move out of that voice...or improve that voice. Strange. Naturally, there was a flurry of emails. I for one decided...hmm...I am most likely not going to try to change my voice for one commission...it is just too difficult to try to pursue what I am pursuing to derail the process...nor am I going to put some gimmick in the painting...
So from the allotted photos (snap shots, really) I chose one based on composition and values...not on historical relevance. I could have course painted this old gas station and hid a new Prius or gas saving car in the distance...to emphasize the evolution from gas guzzling...to a new future. But instead, I am just aiming to let the viewer take a moment and wonder where this was taken...who the indistinct person is...etc. I always like mystery more than the obvious. Oh, well...this is an experiment. And despite the rocky start...it has been fun to at least think about the challenge, even though I will "do it my way." (This is not the finished work...just today's start.)