I spend a lot of time planning my compositions before I ever lift a brush. To me, this is what turns a photo of a scene into a painting. When you have a strong, good design, your painting will be fresh, you can paint loosely with lots of passion, and it will be successful.
While in Charleston, I was intrigued by the 3 reflections the iron railing was casting. The positive railing would have to be painted on top of the 3 reflections. And to make matters worse, this railing was on the second floor, so my camera shots were distorted. I loved the challenge! And a challenge it was! I use Photoshop to plan my compositions and then proceed to paint in the normal way, knowing I have a good, strong design. There is also a new App by Photoshop that seems to be made for artists as it is quite user-friendly yet enables you to see the idea you might have in your mind before you start the painting. It is called PS Touch for your iPad or tablet and is $9.99 at the ITunes store.
You can view the final painting on this page: November Exhibition