HOW THE MAGIC HAPPENS
My process is never linear; but this demonstration will make it seem like it is.
In real life, every photograph reacts differently to manipulation so I don't have a set routine. I start and stop, and I veer off in different directions until I feel frustrated and then I start over. After an exhausting and disappointing session I might delete a bunch of images but I always save a few. Days, weeks, or months later I come back to them and I try combining them again or distorting them further. Sometimes it works out.
I spend hours reviewing my photographs and when one catches my eye, I begin playing with it. Usually it's not the best of the lot because I'm looking for something that needs my coddling.
Here, I will show you some interim steps that led to the creation of Monty 3. The photo I chose to work with is not my best of Monty. He's a beauty who loves the camera, but I thought I could do something with this one taken in 2013. So I played around with it in 2014 and finally, in 2015, I turned it into a tribute to Monty.
The original photograph was off kilter so I corrected and cleaned it before zooming in. Next, I saturated it with color. I liked it, but I didn't think Monty would so I abandoned it for a long time.
Then, one day, it captured my attention again. This time I blended it with another image to add depth. Then I subdued the colors. I was pretty pleased with it and, for a few hours, I thought I might be almost done. It certainly looked better than what I started with. Still colorful but less cartoon-y. Closer to Monty's real colors.
But something still wasn't right. So I took a heavy hand to it and distorted it, losing all texture. Next, I added extreme texture. After blending this with the last image I liked, I desaturated the results so I could tell where the lights and shadows were falling.
A couple more tweaks (well, a few more hours) and I liked it. Finally, I achieved the results I wanted. Semi-realistic coloring? Check. Lovely texture? Check. Interesting lighting? Check. Will it look great in someone's living room? Check. Would Monty be proud to stand next to it? Check.
But then, a week later, I redid it. Here is the finished piece:
The artistic experience is one of discovery. One thing leads to another. Backing up and u-turns are allowed. Sleeping on it is encouraged. Any way you can get to where you are wanting to go is valid. There is only one necessary and important step and that is to begin. As many times as it takes.