The holidays are over and it is time once again to delve into my work. Typically, my studio is open 7 days a week from about 1pm until about 10 or 11 pm, sometimes later. I’ve been painting (or drawing and transferring the sketches to the canvases) pretty much without break since I returned from my trip to the US back in July. I feel a bit guilty about the break, though, as I hadn’t completed a painting I was working on before the end of the year. I had set a goal and I did not meet said goal. But breaks are what we need sometimes to put us in the right frame of mind. The painting you see here on the easel is incomplete, and it is my first challenge of the new year. I hope to have it finished in 2 weeks. I’m not normally one to explain my painting process or show behind the scenes as I find those types of show a bit conceited. However, in this case, I’ve decided to use this post as a way for me to get back into my groove–to realize the enormous amount of work I have already completed and to define the immediate tasks I have in front of me.
To the side of the easel, you can see the photograph from which I am working. This image is a composit of 2 photos that I took a while back, one being lilies in the foreground and the other being a mountainous background. After deciding upon the exact images to use and their composition from my photo library, I printed out the combined photo with a grid overlay so that I could transfer the image to large drawing paper. The canvas is 70cm x 100cm or roughly 28×39 inches, and so I drew out the image on a piece of paper the same size using the grid as a guide. I taped the edges of the stretched canvas with maksing tape and prepped the canvas surface with a coat of gray-toned gesso. I then transferred the large image from the drawing paper onto the prepard canvas and began by painting the mountain and sky background. Later, I retraced the image and filled in the reds and greens for the flowers and leaves in the foreground. And that is where I left it.
A majority of my time is spent mixing the exact colors that I would like to use for the painting– how dark or light, how warm or cool, how intense or dull. My current technique is to paint the darker colors first and then layer overtop with lighter colors. I also tend to work my grayer or duller colors first and layer overtop with more vivid colors. In that regard, the painting above has had its first layers of duller, darker colors to help define shape and shadow, to set the mood and create the scene. Now, I must go back and paint the top layers to bring the painting to life, to show detail, to fill out the scene and mood. Despite the painting looking “nearly done,” about half of the time it takes for me to do a painting is spent on the final, detailed layers. There is still a LOT of work to do on this piece. In total, I will probably have spent 200+ hours on this Red Lilies painting.
Okay, with that out of the way, it is time to step away from the computer and get back into the studio. The door is open, you are welcome to stop by!
~Peace to the new year, Jason