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Posts tagged ‘sketch’

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.

Painting Demonstration

Saturday the 3rd I gave a painting Demonstration at Petley Jones Gallery here in Vancouver. I admit to having a little case of the jitters seeing as I have never done anything like this before, but it turned out to be a cool experience. The turn out was modest (maybe half a dozen to ten at any given time, twenty to thirty in total), which was probably a good thing – a lot of people might have wigged me out!

Diptych rework

Diptych rework

So this diptych, which I posted a while back as “Caulfield Vista”, was at my brother’s place for a couple of weeks while he was building frames for it. when I got it back, I noticed a couple of things I wanted to tweak. Famous last words. What started as a little touch up has grown to major reworking! How far this is going to go, I’m not entirely sure. The color of the ocean was the first thing to change, then one of the trees in foreground that had been bugging me had to go. Now I’m adding more clouds to horizon…..ugh! I feel like a dog chasing my tail. Maybe I should have left it alone.

Sargeant Bay

Sergeants Bay

This is a nice little sketch I whipped off this morning. Sergeants Bay is a provincial park about 40 minutes up the road from where I live. It’s a natural isthmus with a causeway of gravel, driftwood and shrubs that divides the ocean to the right, and a wetland to the left. Broken clouds cast shadows over the scene that recede up the mountain.

Vantage Point

Vantage Point

This is an acrylic on canvas I did for a recent show in Calgary. The scene is a nice lookout high above Osoyoos, BC. This painting is more of a portrait than a landscape.