I awoke this morning and got out of bed way too early for the amount of sleep I got. I made it to the Polasek Museum without coffee though I knew that was begging trouble. While I and a few of the museum staff and volunteers waited for the coffee to brew on the breezeway, someone asked me where I was going to paint. I thought the old Colony Theater might make a good subject. The Colony sits on Park Avenue in the center of town. At one time it was where Winter Park went to the movies.
Debbie Komanski said, "I worked in that theater when I was 15. I ushered and I also sat in the little booth at the front and sold tickets. When it was hot, it was hotter in the booth. When the weather turned cold, it was cold in there too. And I listened to the soundtrack to Straw Dogs so many times it still gives me the creeps. When there weren't ticket sales going on, my manager would make sure I was doing my homework instead of wasting time."
That conversation made it even more inviting to paint the street and the old Colony marquis. No one sits in that booth anymore. These days the Colony cleverly disquises itself as a Pottery Barn, and I doubt the staff does any homework when things are quiet.
But still, I love that kind of background when I paint something. A story, an experience... it makes the paint come alive somehow. A good painting is built on experience or a recollection or emotion. It gives it purpose and usually just makes it a better painting.