Tuesday, June 24, 2008

One Painting-Start to Finish

I've been asked so many times "how do you paint" or "how long does it take you to do a painting". I thought I'd share with you the different stages I go through in creating a painting. Please keep in mind that all artists work differently and that it really is such a personal thing. This is how I work. It all starts with inspiration. When I'm starting a new painting or series of paintings, everything and anything can inspire me. Cloud formations, sunsets, leaves hanging from branches, almost anything in nature. Also magazines, window shopping, sitting in Starbucks and watching the world go by and gallery hopping. I'm a highly visual person and I take a lot of photographs as I never know what will create that spark of inspiration.

Once I've decided on subject matter I make sketches and decisions about what colors I'll use. Ive recently started to use a bit of photoshop and will probably incorporate this more in the beginning stages as it's a big time saver. I then start with a white stretched canvas and add texture with molding paste. Acrylics can be quite thin so I like to add texture to give the painting more interest. I find this also helps me when I'm blending and getting that "soft focus" that I create.

I let the canvas/molding paste dry overnight and then paint the canvas with gesso, and when that has dried, a light layer of red oxide. This gives a wonderful under glow to the painting. I even let this red come through in places. This dries in a couple of hours and then I begin to paint and sketch in the dark areas of the painting. Following the sketches I've made previously, I can adjust placement of objects or perspective if needed. I then begin to paint large areas and work in layers upon layers to create depth and dimension. In the above painting I would paint over the sky 5 0r 6 times, blending and softening edges. This painting is now in the half-done stage. I'll add details and highlights to finish it up. Stay tuned for the finished painting.