Feb 5, 2011

Painting Demo: Stage 1

Sneak Peek: Head in progress
Thank you for stopping by! Today I am starting my first painting demonstration for this blog. My goal is to provide a behind-the-scenes look at my work. I hope it will be interesting to artists and non-artists alike!

The process outlined in this demo is neither the perfect process nor the only one a painter might use. It is not even the method I use 100% of the time. But it's the one I employ for more involved compositions like the one in this demo, since it includes preliminary steps I find important for complex pieces.

As with any painting, I don't know how this piece will turn out in the end, nor can I predict the bumps that might occur along the way. But that's part of the adventure! I hope you will enjoy each step as I post a new stage each weekday until the painting is complete.

As I always do when I work, I pray that the Lord will bless this painting and enable me to do well for His glory.

Preliminary Sketch

Preliminary Sketch • Graphite • 4" x 5"
Almost all of my figurative paintings begin as mental pictures. Eventually, my eyeballs get jealous of my mind's eyes, and I am forced to transfer my thoughts to paper. The result is a variety of thumbnail sketches like the one pictured. These drawings help me begin to establish the rhythm (the placement of lines that control the viewer's eye-flow) and value pattern (the arrangement of dark and light shapes). The background elements are unfinished in this sketch because I felt they were distracting from my figures. Yet, in order to make the environment more believable, I needed them. Eventually, this conundrum got the best of me, so I decided to address it later (usually not a good idea).

There is a story I wish to tell with this picture. And even in this preliminary sketch, I tried to make that story clear. If my concept is not clearly communicated in the preliminary stages, I cannot hope that it will be in the end. So, based on this preliminary sketch, how am I doing? What is the boy doing, and how does he feel about it? What is the girl about to do? Why might she be doing it? Where are these children? The first two questions must be answered clearly by my painting, but the last two can be left up to the viewer's interpretation.

Please join me on Monday, Feb 7 for my photo shoot and life-painting sessions!

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