Today's lesson, boys and girls, is don't be so attached to what you want to express from your inspiration photo that you forget about good design. Or maybe the lesson is don't feel like you have to be true to the photo, even if it is of a particular place, if it doesn't work as a composition.
I was dealing with both of those things today because the photo is from a friend's yard and I wanted to be true to the surroundings. Plus, the reason I chose that particular photo to work from is how the dappled light made the sky and the background very abstract and interesting.
However, once you start down that path, you may as well forget about the subject because there's always going to be conflict for the viewer (and painter) if the design has your eye going in too many directions and you can't tell what it is that you're looking at.
While it's okay to have the background vague, it's not okay for just *some* of it to be vague and other parts understandable. If you're the kind of viewer who takes in all the details, you're going to focus on that blob because it just doesn't fit with the rest of the background.
So, this is an amaryllis from a friend's backyard. I think it looks like an amaryllis in a backyard and, since I'm sick of it, I'm just about done with this backyard amaryllis. It's not moving, not inspiring, just a pretty flower...with a huge lesson attached to it. Do you think, if I named it, "The Teacher", that would be too confusing? Haha! I won't, but will forevermore think of it that way.