For most of my life i've worked from photographic reference. That's how we were taught back in illustration classes. Of course Life Drawing was a important part of art school but the vocation thing was working from photography. Your own or more than likely others that you collected and categorized in you personal morgue files. The public library even had morgue reference files that you could search. All to much like office work for me. I abandoned reality for humorous imagination while still in school. Somehow relying of morgue picture wasn't a funny idea. Even though I worked from my imagination, working from photos was a big part of my process until 2012 when I left the work world. The first thing I did was mine my collection of thousand of photos subjects to paint. The second was find opportunities to paint from life. I found a weekly life drawing session that was and hour and ten munites each way. I went every week like clock work. It saved my life as an artist.
Since then I've found several other life drawing opportunities closer then the hour ten. Working from life allows you to see in dimension to create and understand space. Every week I paint with Johan Selenradd, Jim McGinty and Judith Reeve. All three incredible and different painters. I learn something new every week, color, composition, space and form. Even the importance of painting just to paint for myself.
The above painting of our model Catherine down over two weeks about 4 and a half hours of painting time. We did two posses combined on 1 canvas. Just great fun. It's unfinhed and will remain so.