The summer of 2005 I visited the Joseph Smith Family Farm in Palmyra New York. While there I did many sketchbook drawings, and also took some digital photos with my pocket camera. I used these later in my home studio to come up with this painting.
A black and white photo of the scene I intend to paint. Using your computer you can knock the color out of a photo to study the value relationships. I rarely refer much to the color in a reference photo anyway since it is so inaccurate.
I start all my paintings with a small 3 x 5 value study. This helps me refine the composition as well as work out the value patterns which are so important. I feel free to move the tree and fence as needed to help the design.