Using reference is for me a bit problematic. if i decide to go with a strong ref, i end up not being able to extract what my brain wants. i get glued to the reference, unable to express myself fully. and vice versa, no ref at all means i end up with a strict product of my imagination. it also means my image will be lacking in realism, or rather, this dear "believability factor" that we all strive to obtain, especially in Scifi pieces.
i didn't use any ref for this one. the only thing i was having was this photo of a piece of glass i had found online, probably coming from an industrial constructor showing a sample of their glass stuff for marketing reasons. i found the tones fascinating and got inspired. i guess the whole thing made sense at a particular moment. :)
on the technical side, i have been painting a lot with the smudge tool lately, thanks to mister Thom Scholes himself. The smudge tool can allow a great control of your shapes via displacement of entire pannels and areas of your canvas. it's fascinating.