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Saturday, December 8, 2007

My process - first steps

The first few steps for a new painting

I happen to live in a town which is known for having the most churches per capita... and it has been on my mind for awhile to do a series of paintings of the various steeples that are visible from almost every vantage point in town. I initially thought of the idea with larger paintings, but it occurred to me that the smaller format would provide a good opportunity for the preliminary study.

This is (as you can see) not finished. In fact, this represents only the first few steps. The first step, of course, is the idea and then a drawing. I had also taken some reference photos. Then I began to lay in the basic lines on the canvas. It helps to have a good working knowledge of 2 point perspective - although, with a painting of this narrow size, the vanishing points have to be off canvas. After the basic drawing is put lightly on the canvas (I carefully work with a light pencil layer - so that it does not mix in the with paint in any measurable way), I begin with thin washes of oil paint. I thin it down with turpenoid and also use liquin to get precision. I have put in the basic sky shades - notice how the blue is much more aquamarine at the top of the picture than nearer to the horizon. And I begin to define my shadowed areas and my sunlit areas. The "whites" that you see are not actually white from the tube at all - but are warmed up with some yellows and rose colors... while the shadowed areas are cooled with some blues, violets, and umber.

Working in this method, I will continue to build up layers of color lightly - some of the underlayers will show through - and some will be covered more completely. Along the way, it begins to speak for itself, and I try to listen to the way it needs to be portrayed. So, I can't tell yet, exactly what the final outcome will be. I'll continue posting the progress - we'll all find out together!! Somewhere toward the finale, a title will also come to mind!

1 comment:

Linda Blondheim said...

Terrific paintings and I enjoyed reading about your process.
Linda Blondheim

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