My paintings are created in stages.
First there is a spontaneous upwelling of inner images.
Second mother nature steps in to provide a crucible in which the inspiration is refined. She entices me to look, just look, and do nothing else. In the end that looking works a kind of alchemical magic, honing and clarifying the images that arose unbidden.
And when the process is done, a single image has moved forward, begging for expression.
This is where I think out loud on paper (computer screen now) and solidify the initial vision.
Refining some of the idea sketches with shadows and light gives me a greater clarity of direction.
Messing about with blobs of color is a fun way to explore possible color harmonies.
Research and Study
Gathering reference material provides me with clues about light interplay, texture representation, shadow depth, etc.
Design Aids for Details
Pinning down the details requires finding references specific to the work in progress. I might use:
- Object models – real or constructed, I use what I can to achieve what I need.
- Mannequins & human models – there is no end to the study of anatomy.
- Clothing – folds fascinate me, and cloth in real life is always teetering on the brink of radical change.
- Photographs – a digital camera is especially effective in capturing the essence of time-based effects like fabric moving in the breeze or ripples on a pond.
- Earlier sketches – ideas and studies from years gone by can prove very useful.
- Real world observation – just going out and examining at length the thing I need to paint can be a revelation.
Final Precise Layout Drawing
This line drawing serves as a template which I constantly refer back to while painting.
The classic under-painting stage begins. I cover the canvas with roughly modulated areas of local color in preparation for the main painting stage.
Painting in Earnest
Here is where the bulk of the work is done. Over countless hours/days/weeks, I methodically build up form, texture, and color by applying layer upon layer of semitransparent brush strokes. The painting remains a work in progress until I am overwhelmed with the feeling that all is complete.