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Posts from the ‘Creative Process’ Category

Clouds in Cordero

Cordero Channel

Cordero Channel  24×30 acrylic on board. View at Heffel Fine Art Auction House, Vancouver

church at quadra

The Life of a Painting: The Doldrums

I don’t know if this happens to other artists, but I (almost) always experience an unpleasant let down in the middle of a painting. Particularly on a piece as big as this one that can take weeks to finish. I’ve come to refer to this awful time as the mid painting doldrums; days of work go by and there seems to be little if any progress (which is why I haven’t posted lately). It’s at this time I also begin to question whether this is such a great idea for a painting after all. Experience has taught me this is just a product of working on the same thing for a long time: it’s easy to lose your perspective and second guess yourself. Experience has also taught me to hang in there and remain true to your vision, things WILL get better. Just around the corner the painting starts to come together and starts looking really sharp, just the way I pictured it in my head. I can hardly wait……

The Life of a Painting: Choosing Colour

Now comes the time to add colour.
Each picture in this gallery has a caption to explain what going on. Although the painting is coming along this part of the process seems to drag on. Days will go by and it seems that your making no progress – it can get a bit depressing. I call it the mid paining doldrums; you just have to suck it up and work through it.

The Life of a Painting: Under drawing

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.

The Life of a Painting: Canvas or Board

For me, choosing what to paint on depends on what size the piece will be. For 36×48 and under I prefer Masonite or hardboard. Masonite has a lot going for it: It’s cheap ($12 – $15 for a 48×96 sheet), readily available, and a stable surface to paint on. Anything larger Masonite becomes too wobbly and unstable, it also gets quite heavy.
Over 36×48, canvas is a better choice; it doesn’t bend, it’s light and looks great for multi-paneled pieces. Pre-stretched canvas can be expensive, so I just buy the canvas and stretch it myself. Cheaper, but a lot of prep required.

For this blog I’m using Masonite.

The Life of a Painting: Inspiration

As promised this next series of blogs will document the creation of a painting from beginning to end. I’ve always been curious how other artists work; whether they go through the same ups and downs I seem to experience on every painting I do. I’m fascinated by the creative process and hope this experiment will give a little insight into mine.

There is always some spark of an idea that germinates and grows in my mind until I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to do. That spark can be something I’ve seen, or dreamed, or remembered, and often the work of another artist will inspire me as well. In the case of this particular piece, it came at the suggestion of a friend to revisit a place I have painted at before. In fact 20 years before! The thought of reinterpreting this location as a much different artist seemed a cool idea.

By the way, if anything I’m describing needs clarification or if you have any questions at all, feel free to leave a comment, and I will do my best to help.