My mother-in-law came into town last week and asked if she could take my kids on a hike. Of course I said yes, but I asked to come along as well. They took us to a trail we have been to several times. Up to the wind caves at Usery Mountain. I wanted to get outside and enjoy the cool weather, but I also wanted to get more reference photos for more paintings. I am always observing my surroundings, and this time was no different. I had my camera out the whole time, and some of my pics even have my kids in them.
We came to a cactus that I recognized. I looked at the surroundings, and noticed two other cacti that would only help me to distinguish it, because of artistic liberty, I omitted them in my painting. I had to look closely to find the small detail I magnified, studied, and painted. I mentioned to my mother-in-law that this is the cactus my painting, Weathered, is based on. It was fun seeing specific rocks, cacti, even views that I have painted.
Through the process of painting something, you really have to study what you're looking at to be able to see it well enough to understand it and paint it. Going back on this hike, and seeing the whole cactus, and realizing what a small portion of it really was weathered, helped me realize that when we focus on the rough parts of our own lives, when that is what we focus on, it magnifies it so that's all we see or remember. When in reality it's really just a small portion. Yet it's that part that adds interest.