I paint directly from life. For landscapes this requires working in sometime arduous circumstances often requiring me to walk long distances carrying all my gear. I feel the emotional impact and energy of a place is best captured when one is experiencing it with all one's senses.
For me the composition of a painting is its most important technical aspect; the stronger the composition, the greater the impact.
In recent years I have been moving more and more toward abstracting the landscape by eliminating detail, simplifying shapes, and exaggerating colors with the intent of creating stronger composition. In the studio I study the paintings and often adjust the compositions. I will then go back to the actual scene and continue to work. This process may go on for some time.