Tutorials

The Process before Painting

First, I want to say that attending workshops in painting has helped me to garnish new insights into the painting process.  I must stress, that I do not attend these workshops to ‘copy’ a way a painter paints.  Painting is a very personal expression.  I think when you try to copy a painter, it’s always like ‘starting over’ in a sense.  I think it’s important to build on the things that work for you, to add building blocks (so to speak) in a way that will elevate your paintings.  Keep the good things and throw the things that don’t work.   With that said, I think it’s important to understand the concepts of the painting process and discover new things.  I have taken my workshop experience and taken little bits of all the good parts of my instruction to try and make it my own.

So now on to some things I’ve learned over the past 9 months.  Firstly, a good painting always starts with good composition and drawing. I’m beginning to learn to not draw so literally. (I always want to draw every little detail). It’s important to find a good focal point and work out from there. If I do get detailed, I want it to be centered more around my focal point in the painting rather than everything on the paper.

I wanted to take my last post on finding the sweet spot of your painting and expanding this to my work. So, when I plein air paint or paint in the studio, I always work the same way. I start with a loose sketch and composition. This I learned in Vlad’s class and still use it now.

I wanted to also show you a set of drawings we did in Vlad’s workshop in December including the ‘thumbnail drawing’, the value sketch and composition.

So this small sketch is for composition only.  Here, a sketch is made of the Edison Keith house.  Once the preliminary “thumb nail” type sketch is complete, a value sketch can be done.

Here, using the “thumbnail” of the composition, the areas are shaded to show the lights and darks and where you want them in the painting.  This is very important because if this is not accurate, your painting will not work.  It has to be balanced tonally.

Vlads Drawing for Edson Keith Home

Once the sketch is complete and you are happy, it is then transferred to the watercolor paper as a loose sketch.  You can even use the value sketch as you paint to help you map out your tones and shades.The First Drawing on Watercolor paper of the Edison Keith House (this is done after the tonal study)

His first light wash using primary colors.

His first light wash using primary colors.

After the foreground wash, the Roof is now added. This is still part of the first wash.

After the foreground wash, the Roof is now added. This is still part of the first wash.

Here the sky is added after the first wash is dry. Notice how the tone of the sky is much darker and using a bead. This will help to bring out the light areas of the building walls facing the sun. Remember to always know where the light is! “You must keep these areas or your painting is ruined!”

Here the sky is added after the first wash is dry. Notice how the tone of the sky is much darker and using a bead. This will help to bring out the light areas of the building walls facing the sun. Remember to always know where the light is! “You must keep these areas or your painting is ruined!”

His final first wash using colors and some tone in the sky.

His final first wash using colors and some tone in the sky.

This is stage 2 with the distant tree line, the foreground trees and shrubbs. Also, the foof and window shadows are placed. The darker tones and cast shadows are left for the end stage or the painting.

This is stage 2 with the distant tree line, the foreground trees and shrubbs. Also, the foof and window shadows are placed. The darker tones and cast shadows are left for the end stage or the painting.

Finishing up the final stages of the painting. Using a rich cream consistency of paint to produce cast shadows and highlights.

Finishing up the final stages of the painting. Using a rich cream consistency of paint to produce cast shadows and highlights.

The final stage with cast shadows and staccato and calligraphy.

The final stage with cast shadows and staccato and calligraphy.

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