I spend a lot of time outside observing, taking in the mood of the day and noting my own reactions. I analyze my response; what is it about this landscape that is compelling? When I know, I try to paint just that.
Earlier in my life I always had a sketchbook with me and did frequent quick drawings to remind me of the compositional elements. Now, it`s more often a camera because of digital photography and the editing software. I sometimes use just a fragment of a much larger image. Both techniques are used to build a scaffold for the painting to begin with. Then as I proceed, the process becomes dominant and the original design might change completely. However, if the impulse was strong enough, if the impression out in the landscape was vivid, my 'emotional' memory will guide me to something within the character of the place and my experience there.