Herein I will describe the process that I take in completing a painting. The method here is implemented for most of my work unless the painting is completed in one session or alla prima. The paints that I use are the Windsor and Newton oil colors that I rarely thin down except when applying an under painting. I do however use linseed oil to increase consistency and flow. But overall I like to have a lot of paint on my palette and subsequently on my brush when applying it. Let’s get started….
Figure1. This is the most important phase of the painting process. In the beginning part I do most of my drawing relaying exactly where I want what positioned. Secondly at this stage I examine how the overall light and dark is pleasing to the eye. For more in depth article on that read my previous post at:
Light and dark of it all
So the process at this beginning stage is to draw with a raw umber and white mixture the light/shadow of the subject matter and not so much subject itself. As you can see I don’t focus so much on the details of the subject but instead choose to focus on large shapes. It is at this beginning stage where you should be able to tell whether the paining will be pleasing to eye or not. For this part of the work I used a large filbert number 10 or 12 and usually takes no more then an hour or two.
Figure 2. I always start by painting in the main subject first. I have to admit that this is not the best way to paint as you should be working on everything at once so that there is an overall flow and color balance. I however focus on the main subject and the adjacent areas working my way out accordingly. As might not be apparent from the JPEG I use thicker paint in the light areas while thinning down darker areas. This if for no other reason is to have the main lit up areas pop out and the dark part recede. At this and the next stage I keep my lights separate from my darks. I threat and work on them individually always referring to my initial drawing as reference. I should also mention that I always continue to draw beyond what I did in figure 1; meaning that I constantly measure and evaluate where what is positioned.
Figure 3. Yes I’ve skipped a few steps to the finished work here; but really the process is the same as in figure 2. I work my way out constantly evaluation drawings, shapes, lights and darks. The end part of the painting might take the longest as I might see things that require changes because everything needs to flow together. As a general rule I leave a painting out of sight for a few days after I feel it is completed only coming back to it after. The reason is that the eye can be overwhelmed when working on one piece for to long, that I end up seeing things that might not be there. I should note that for this ‘meat and potato’ stage of the process I not only use a brush but also painting knives as well as my fingers.That’s it…
“Dining at the 4Gats” Oil on Linen
Well that’s it in a nutshell. Constant evaluation of the drawing, values, edges and color; in that order of importance. And I should mention that for the all prima works the process is similar but with no evaluative underpainting. I will hopefully post a more thorough ‘painting process’ in the near future. Happy painting.