Monday, 14 February 2011

This is not a Tutorial - Beginning a New Painting

This is not a tutorial. You have been warned. I don't always know what I am doing, so don't follow in my footsteps!

In the last two weeks I have begun two new paintings. Beginnings are fun, exciting. I haven't made any mistakes yet. Everything is glorious potential, not the problem solving that comes in later.
I have two sketches in my studio sketchbook that I want to paint. I am always putting ideas for paintings in here. The majority never become paintings, because there are too many to get around to. I like lots of choice.

The beginning of the painting using the sketch on the left I blogged last week here.
I photocopied the sketch the size of the painting.
I covered the back of the photocopy with soft pencil to make homemade carbon paper, then I placed it onto the prepared panel and traced over the lines with a hard pencil.
I finished drawing it in after that as it was difficult to see. I don't usually draw the image out to this detail, but I have an idea that I am trying.
I might want to keep the background as wood, so I just gesso inside the figure. The panel is already gessoed with clear gesso (you can't oil paint onto unprepared wood) but I want the figure to stand out from the background so I put down this white layer.
At this point there was a wallaby outside, eating grass. By the time I got the camera, he had gone.
Here are the two beginnings side by side. I wanted to show you how I am going about them in two different ways. I don't know if it will make a difference in the end.
It must have been the next day that I decided to work on this painting a bit more. I like to switch around a lot. I guess that is why the slow drying of oil paints has never bothered me.
Even though I am working from a compositional sketch, there are continuous decisions to make. I am constantly evaluating what I want to keep or change from the original idea. Here I am designing the leaves as I paint the shapes in.
Colour and tone bring in entirely new elements as well. I might have a basic tonal idea in my initial sketch, but that can always change and has to be refined.

I don't know what I am going to do about the old painting that I painted over still showing through. You can still see the railing behind her head.
I leave the first painting to dry and go back to the one I drew out. I paint on the initial colours to try them out. She is more finely drawn so there are fewer decisions of placement. But I am finding that I am not so interested in keeping the pencil line as I thought.

And I don't like the way the colours are against the wood so I put down a thin layer of blue in the background. I want the woodgrain to show through. I don't know if I will try and keep it.


ZenDotStudio said...

I love how you show your step by step process. And it certainly looks like you know what you're doing!

Walk in the Woods said...

I love seeing your process, complete with challenges, decisions and joy!

Mary Helen-Art Saves Lives said...

Whoa you have been a very busy busy busy artist with a brush. Thank you for sharing this intimate process....Happy Valentine's Day! Is this celebrated in Australia? You are a sweet person everyday! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sandie said...

It's really interesting seeing how your ideas turn into paintings - thanks for sharing the process.

nollyposh said...

(Ps) DDZ i think i have found ~our~ next book... Have you heard of it?

"The Book Of Flying" by Keith Miller

(Pps) ~Love~ watching your pAINTING pROCESS <3