The Painting Process

In the process of my painting “Rail-trail Into Autumn” I have done all the necessary work like establishing my shapes deciding what key I want to work in. Mixing my palette to the consistency of butter. Putting down my values and shapes in my notes of the chosen color for my highlights. By stepping back often through out the process and using a mirror occasionally I begin to define further the direction of my painting by applying darker values. Putting down color with the lighter notes and watching for temperature shift and the thinking about the shadows or darker values surrounding the lighter value. The Painting”The Mouth Of Mission” I started with a glazes of burnt sienna and magenta to phtallo blue. I worked out all the values before starting with color. Studio work being different from plein air painting where you have limited time to get it right. When you have osteoarthritis like me – working in the studio is more appropriate. Last week I had four epidural shots in my spine and I have been in more pain it seems causing me to put things off for a while until I can get it under control. By the time a get my stuff together when working outside I have worn myself down. So I have learned to lighten my load by just taking the basics of what I need and depending on how I am feeling that day. Working with just a paper and pencil is sometimes just as good and enough information. Working at home on my larger paintings I have laid out all the colors using a medium like Alkyde Gel from Gamblin is a good product to work with and I like the consistancey of it when mixed with paint. I don’t always use it . Sometimes it is just right from the tube. Laying down opaque colors over transparent colors attaching value to color. Laying down colors with your brush or knife so your shadows are right from the start will give you better under-painting for your highlights. It becomes like pointillism and expressionism. The distance between me and my canvas is about 5 feet and I could have more but I don’t have the room. So putting it up on the wall for a while gives me a different perspective.I am striving for using the photo less as a reference except for getting down the shapes and the light and shadow areas. After that it is just by memory and a drawing that you have as a reference. I feel more expressive and work more loosely allowing to just let it flow without referring to the photo. Remember your photo is only for working out shapes and a few shadows. Trying to use it for more than that is hard because the camera only allows a two dimensional reference. Visiting the sight often and letting your vision carry you through. Once I have reached my point of what I want with expressive brushwork or using a more faster approach using the painting knife. Having a good composition and working with the right size canvas helps with balance in your painting.  “A painting is never finished only abandon”  by Leonardo Da Vinci

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