There are a couple of different ways I begin a painting. Here is one way.
1. I select one of my photos, usually from our travels.
2. The photo is manipulated: portions distorted by stretching, enlarging, pulling, turning, flipping, etc. I usually look to create drama through opposing diagonals/movements. I like to tilt things. Normally, I do not know exactly where I am going at this stage. I just start changing something that suggests intself to me and then I react to that.
3. I create a layer above the manipulated layer and begin to search out, by drawing in red on the top layer, a further developed composition of lines and shapes that will form the underpinning design of the image. This will, in later stages, help me to organize colors, lights and darks and edges of shapes and forms to create a rhythm or movement in the work. I try, especially, to create unity by a repetition of elements; e.g. a predominance of curve lines.
These stages will be followed by laying down some basic colors starting with the actual local colors from the original photo --just large shapes of color.