My latest painting started as many of them do, with an inkling of an idea. I knew I wanted to create a somewhat large painting, and I had a recent photo in mind as inspiration.
The photo was taken on the first long walk I had taken with my new dog, Cash. I wasn’t sure he’d like the water. But he walked right up to it, took a drink, and sat on the bank- Giving me a great photo op!
Immediately, I knew from the composition that it would make a great painting!
I had already prepped my canvas with a few others. As usual, I had primed the canvas with a thick gesso and embedded many objects, materials, and textures into it.
Next I did a quick sketch of the composition I was envisioning then transferred the drawing onto my canvas, tweaking it to match up to the textures and objects that were already positioned there.
Then I set up a video camera, thinking that I’d record the process. That part didn’t quite work out as I had hoped, though, as I’ll explain later.
I began laying in my color. I like to work all over the canvas at once rather than concentrate on one area at a time. I knew some areas would have a red undertone, some yellow-green, and the water would be blues and purples.
Once I got my basic composition down, I turned the canvas upside down. This is a technique I usually use at the end of a painting to check for discrepancies and uneven tones. But not this time.
I often find, as I have been working on these Nature Intensified paintings, that turning the canvas around gives me a greater clarity with contrast and saturation of colors as I’m creating foliage, water, or rocks. I am less concerned with what they are and more about their relationships with one another.
I was very conscious of the video recorder as I worked but tried to push it aside and concentrate on my painting instead of how I would look painting. But I needn’t have worried- I found at the end that I had accidentally taped over the beginning part of my painting process, and wasn’t able to even download what I had because the software was old and couldn’t keep up with my new computer updates!
Live and learn!
This painting took me about 15-20 hours over several weeks. (A few hours at a time while listening to Book 4 of the Harry Potter series on Audible,) It was a slow progression and, besides changing the size of my dog in the picture and some of the angles in the water, came together fairly well.
It must be a sign that I’m beginning to figure out what I’m doing!
At the end I did all the tricks for checking my painting by turning the canvas, squinting at it, and taking a digital picture. (See my post, How Do You Know When You Are Done? )
Finally, I declared it finished! I wasn’t sure what to call it, so had asked on social media and my kids classes for their input and gradually fell into the title, “Stopping by the Tranquil Waters”.
It is already being exhibited in my town’s annual art walk. (Area businesses are paired up with artists, and a map is available to anyone who’s interested in finding them!) I hadn’t even had the chance to seal it with gloss medium and add a backing to it. The gallery owner that I’m paired with saw it and asked to display it as is.
That must be a good sign!
Do you have comments, questions, or suggestions on this painting or anything else I’ve been doing? I’d love to hear them and promise to respond back as quickly as I can!