Most of my paintings begin their development long before any paint touches the canvas. As a matter of fact it may be years before an idea may come to life. I am constantly taking photos of what I think might be a worthy subject. Yes, I have my favorites but you never know what might work down the road. At this point I have dozens of ideas in the que.
- I use Adobe Photoshop to help me crop, compose and alter images to suit my needs. It’s a tool as opposed to a substitute for sketching and fleshing out ideas. Being very methodical in my approach is necessary because I usually have a basic concept I wish to achieve. Once an image and how it crops is determined, I can decide the scale and format of the canvas. In this case, and the others in the “Car Show” series I settled on a 24″ x 24″ square canvas.
- Starting with an Alizarine Crimson acrylic underpainting. Although the painting will be in oil, acrylic paint is used for the underpainting because it will dry faster allowing me to begin much sooner and the underpainting will remain unaltered by the oil colors.
- Drawing the image with white acrylic and defining shapes. At this point the paint is thin, again because I want it to dry more quickly and I don’t want a build up, I want I nice flat surface when I begin to add the oil colors.
- Color blocking with oil paint begins to define shape, shading and color. I reference my photo frequently at this stage.
- Color blocking continues and definition begins. I let the Alizarine crimson underpainting come through in certain areas which makes for an interesting color mix. I also noticed that the perspective and shape of the windshield was not right so I set out to correct it.
- The windshield has been altered and looks better so I continue the definition. Want to maintain the loosness, the organic shapes are much more interesting. At this point I pretty much abandon the use of the reference photo and allow myself to have a conversation with the painting. I stop frequently to sit back and review the progress and let the painting tell me what needs to happen. Yes, I know that sounds unusual but I really liked what was happening with the light coming through the trees in the background, I didn’t want to lose that.
- The final stage of cleaning up the edges and tightening up the small areas to help them read correctly and make sense to the viewer.