For ease and speed, I’m using black and white gesso.
I always use my extendo-brush, which is simply a paint brush taped to a foot long piece of wooden dowel.
The benefit of the “wand” is that you can be far enough away from the painting that you can see the painting as a whole which makes it easier to keep everything in perspective.
Once the tree, which is an important element in this piece, is roughed in, I’ll trace it out on a piece of tracing paper.
In order to understand the clouds in the background, it’s easier to paint over the tree than fiddle around with trying to paint around it.
This where that tracing overlay comes in handy. Roughing the tree back in is easy and acurate.
I continue to refine the drawing. This is a fun part of the painting; I work quickly and instinctively – this part feels like the most spontaneous and creative part of the process.
This looks a bit like a Franz Kline to me…
Good enough. In a short period of time I’ve gone from a blank board to a finished cartoon.
Now comes the time to start the painting in earnest. My prefered technique is to do a relatively finished under drawing. I call it an under drawing out of habit, but it’s really an under painting. I’m not too fussy about what I use for this – usually I use whatever paint I have left over from the previous painting – as long as I have a dark tone and a light one. In the case of this piece, I’m using black and white gesso.
The object here is to rough in the major elements of the composition, then fine tune them until there’s no more guess work about what goes where. To do this I use a combination of sketches and studies I’ve done and photo reference I’ve taken of the scene.
When I’m done this stage, I have a highly resolved under painting or “cartoon”. And now it’s ready for the next step: adding colour.