When I paint something, it relaxes me, but it also energizes me. I can become completely immersed in the shape, color and subject.
The first step when I start a painting is to either go straight into it, or to draw out the canvas. My decision really just depends on the difficulty of the subject. Truth be told, I still can’t draw worth a phooey. However, drawing and painting are two different beasts. They are two entirely different mediums. I have more control with a paintbrush than I ever dreamed of having with a pencil. I get by though. If there is a reference photo, there are ways.
When I start a project, I usually mix most of my colors before I begin. I make a very comfortable pallet to work with. This is especially important because acrylic paint dries so quickly; having colors ready allows me to use specific blending techniques to achieve the desired effects. This also gives you time to plan. Just take a second and look at a color wheel. Pick a color scheme, and roll with it. Limited pallets will make for more interesting compositions. Use less tubes of paint and mix your own colors!
I then lay down the base colors. These are the colors that will be under all of the shading and highlighting. Sometimes they disappear for good, but that’s ok. It is better to let them disappear than to risk a white spot showing through. I paint all the base colors before moving on. I usually let this layer dry completely before continuing.
At this point I usually come back, look at the piece, and become overwhelmed. I have like a 30 minute “I can’t do this” panic attack. I then pick myself up and push through it. Pushing through it means just working on the problems until they are fixed. Each painting presents different challenges and obstacles for me. I love to overcome them. This persistence has helped me develop my eye for color and light source. This time is a lot of mixing colors, trial/error and getting really close to the image.
Each painting brings challenges, but they also bring about a thousand little epiphanies. By the time I have completed the work, I have a deeper understanding of the image. I have a deeper appreciation for the light, the shadows and the colors.
That is what I want people to experience in my studios, that appreciation and understanding.
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