I prefer to create my own reference because I feel it instills another level of experience and emotion into the piece. For "Ink Clot" I asked my friend Megan to drench her mouth in fake blood (something I knew she had in abundance).
I started with a blue underpainting, and went through several experimentations with color before I arrived at the high key finished work. Over time it became clear to me that the flowers needed to change from Proteas to Daisies to contrast more starkly with the violent nature of the bloody mouths.
The end result is satisfying yet almost entirely unexpected.