I AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT PRESENTING this demo to you! Some of you may remember that I conducted a public demonstration of over 60 people who were non-artists and collectors. We had a wonderful time. Since I had to paint large so the audience could see, finishing was done in the studio. I will take you through the demo. Once I am in the studio painting you will no longer see me in the photos So here we go:
INTRODUCTION & GETTING STARTED
I used a series of photos that I shot one year in Monet’s garden, Giverny, France. It was overcast, drizzly but the sun popped through the clouds now and then.
What starts out in the Springtime as a wide open path about 12 feet wide becomes a carpet of nasturtiums by mid-to-late October. This first demo pic shows the focal point placement (door to the house — does it look like a door yet?) I used my acrylic painting brush to sketch out the subject rather than charcoal, etc., because I felt confident enough to forge ahead. Additionally, this keeps me loose and becomes part of the painting.
↓ Next two photos show me pushing and pulling angles and indicating the arbors out from the door’s position. I keep it very loose throughout the painting process so I can make changes without weeping Plus, it brings more life to the piece. I have little light and I wanted the folks to see my strokes, therefore, a mix of alizarin crimson and pthalo green made for a rich dark blackish-brown.
Here you can see me changing to another image on my laptop; needed a different pic for the path position.
↓ As you can see, I am speaking while painting…not an easy task using both right and left sides of the brain at the same time Anyway, I am blocking-in passages that are large in the colors they represent as a whole. I will break these areas down in to smaller and smaller segments — you’ll see
↓ Notice in this shot that I am looking at the subject (photo.) I spend more time looking what I am painting rather than the painting itself. It forces my brain to paint what I truly see, even if it is created in a painterly way.
You can also see my palette. I only have about eight Golden Open Acrylic colors: Cadmium Red Medium, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Pthalo Blue, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Yellow Light, Pthalo Green. plus Titanium White. I could have used fewer but did not want to run into trouble. Notice, no browns on the plate. [I take no issue with using black. Just trying to show you aa more colorful option, especially if you mix black into most of your colors.]
See the arches above my hand…later…
↓ The canvas is now fully covered, except for the house. I did not want to lose the structure so left it until now to start blocking it’s colors. Normandy pink, a very pale pinkish, orangish, grayish, and a few other ish’s Then I start building the Nastirsums down onto the pebble path. If I completely covered the path, there would be no break for the eye.
Also get in my sky and distant hillside to compare with the middle and foregrounds. This is what helps me build with the values correctly (lightness or darkness of the painted elements.) If you squint your eyes and look at this photo you can readily see the lightest, middle and darkest areas. All lead the viewer to the house around the left or right-side plantings or down the path and back.
↓ Now, I start to really fly. Once I have all my anchor points in, I “dance on the canvas.” Even when I paint in the studio, the same thing happens.
↓ Zooming– in, I hold my brush more like a writing instrument to give my hand more control. The architecture is so loosely painted that now it needs real structure. Even if the end painting looks painterly, if the architecture is not firmly planted correctly, it will fall apart visually.
↓ The house is corrected — straight, better defined and symmetrical. But the painting is much too dark overall. However, acrylic layers of opaque or thin veils of color will diffuse the“black holes” you see.
I have the basis for vegetation shadows on the path.
Notice that I am no longer in “demo mode”, but am finishing this in the studio. It’s a big painting to complete live while talking in the allotted time but, enough for the great audience who sat through it all
↓ Yeah! I can paint-in the arches now. I have to be patient to paint in what really attracted me to this scene in the first place: the arbors, house facade and path.
Also working up the path leaves and sides of what will be flowers and leaves.
↓ All the previous painting leads up to this — the popping of color in the flowers. This is always challenging because too much “flowering” can quickly dominate a painting. I want to make a harmonious, yet colorful picture. Plants cannot be more important than the house or any other area in this particular image.
BTY, I am a stickler for positioning my canvas, paper or whatever surface, dead level. I actually carry a tiny level with me in the field. This painting is straight, I shot it crooked
↓ Huge leap here! I missed getting pics of further building the painting but if you dart your eyes from the last pic to this one you can see the many changes that have been made. Notice the still loose, but better defined arbor, especially in the foreground; how I corrected the distant hillside that now has a hint of trees and grass. I did not just use white to achieve this, but first lighter colors into the paint. White is the last thing I add when making any color. Otherwise, I may have to more and more of the original color or risk getting colors muddy (see article, Mud Conscious, for more.)
I was undecided as to whether or not to add the gardner’s cart.
Why? Whenever I throw something in late in the painting it tends to pop-out or not work. I have already committed to what I started out to do. Nevertheless, I placed it in (it’s in the original pics) because the very strong path just runs off the bottom edge. This is not bad, but the cart gives the painting proper visual scale, then stops to redirect my eye back in to loop back up and enjoy all that’s between it and the cottage.
Does my arm get tired — nah — only once it’s over.