I look for places where I will get good views or a selection of different things, woods, fields,ponds etc. I then work out the distance to avoid walking too far and also find where the bus stops are if I'm using public transport. Finally I go on Google maps and find the spots where my path crosses the road. I know that may sound a bit over the top but it really helps . Sometimes a path isn't very clearly marked and I end up in a different place than I expected. Recognising something from Google maps reassures me that I'm going the right way ! I also take a paper map with me, I know that there are many walking apps but messing about trying to look at a small screen really isn't my thing and some places you can't get a connection . A proper map is so much easier and gives a lot more detail.
The next thing is checking the weather forecast. I don't mind a bit of rain or moody skies but my paintings rely upon sunshine , shadows and clear views . In order to get good photographs the weather has to be good. (There are times when I'm out when the skies cloud over and my heart sinks)
I always work from my own photos. There are many artists that work from other peoples photos ( with consent from the photographer) but I think that the most important thing is about the composition, the person that took the photo creates that and working from someone elses picture means that the most creative part has already been done . I do understand though that not everyone can get out and about so I'm always happy if someone wishes to use photos from my walks https://www.facebook.com/groups/138021407053592
On my walks I take about 200 photos , if I'm lucky I will get just 2-3 that I think would be good to paint. Actually being at the places and soaking up the atmosphere is just so very inspiring ! I can take elements of things in the area and incorporate them into my artwork. Things like the wildlife and flowers .
Finally I return home and eagerly look to see what I have managed to capture and the clarity of the photos. I can only paint what I can see and working in detail means that I need to see as many of the fiddly bit as possible !
I'm off now to put my walking boots on .....happy days !