Various pages from my reference journal / image log / study archive.
Print-outs, type samples, photoshop compositions, notes and various types of tape.
So at some point I started keeping a reference book. It's a hefty red-covered volume of gridded pages containing various source images and studies, culled from books, family albums or worked out in photoshop. I try not to do much drawing; it's intended to be a kind of un-edited flow of imagery that for whatever reason I find exciting, interesting or useful. There aren't any rules about what I put in the book and not everything makes it to a painting, but it is selective. The idea is to keep track of my aesthetic preferences so I can better understand where decisions come from. Of course, anyone could do this because everyone has aesthetic interests. I think these particular interests come from certain larger (perhaps sub-conscious) roots. In less convoluted terms, what we find attractive or interesting visually, stems from our unique, personal worldview. It can't be said that everything in the book has a psychological underpinning, but that's part of why it's interesting- you see patterns start to emerge. And images that don't seem related at first, might find echoes a few pages later. The idea of a visual log isn't really anything new to practicing art and I'm willing to bet that almost all artists keep some kind of log, in some form. I think it is an increasingly important practice, though, as our image-saturated world seems to sometimes be at the tipping point. (Google image search, camera phones w/filters, design everywhere) It can be hard to focus. And by keeping very literal tabs on what applies to my work at present and past, I can learn to ignore everything that doesn't. Until it does.
Body of images----------> Body of work -----------------> An idea
(broad, but specific) (focused, but progressive) (singular concern)