Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Journal of a painting I - Coffee on a winter's beach

This post is aimed at the budding artist and anyone that's interested in the process of creating art.

I've been asked about the method behind the painting, so here's step one to how I go about completing a painting, so here's step one in a short painting tutorial - a basic "method of painting."

The start:
It is very seldom that I start a painting without a planing phase - I've taken to doing my composition sketches in pen. You can see that the sketch is kept loose with no attempt at detail.

The Composition:
The frame around the sketch was added afterwords while I was deciding on the composition.
There are a couple of pencil lines that I added afterwords as markers while I transferred the sketch to the canvas.
First are the diagonal lines that cross through the center of the figure - the center of the drawing gives me a coordinate that I can easily mark off on the canvas.
Also you can see how the one diagonal flows along the slant of the figure - it's pleasing to the eye.

There are two vertical lines - these are in the third positions (if you divide the width into three you'd get these positions)
There's a rule of thirds in composition which recommends that key points in your composition should be on the third lines - in this case the knees and the body are on the thirds.

The horizontal line breaks the rule of thirds - its the halfway mark for the vertical. I'm not sure if I'm breaking rules here, but it works. The main part of the figure is central.

Once I've made these line I make the same markings on the canvas, then I fill in the picture using these reference points as markers - it becomes a join the dots exercise.

Here's the painted sketch before the block in begins:
Painted sketch - Coffee on a winter's beachPainted sketch - Coffee on a winter's beach
painted with a thinned solution of turps and burnt sienna

As you can see, the initial painted sketch is even rougher than the pen sketch. (Also you'll see that I missed the third position for the knees - I'll end up paying for that mistake later on...)

In the next post I'll show you the block in phase.

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