Monday, April 13, 2009

Work in Progress

copyright 2009 Hannah Phelps
oil on canvas, 9" x 12"

I have had a request to display a piece as it progresses from blank canvas to completed painting. A commission for a marsh scene is a great opportunity to demonstrate this process. There are a million ways to create a painting, but this is how I do it.

For this piece, I started by drawing ideas for compositions on paper, using plein air studies as references. I then transferred the bare outline of my favorite drawing to the canvas. It didn't take me long to completely paint over those faint guidelines with the first brushstrokes.

Using a big brush, I first covered the entire canvas with paint. For this painting, I stayed with yellows and blue-purples for the first layer. At this stage, I am trying to solidify my composition, initiate the basic tonal and value relationships and sow the seeds of the movement of the piece. I allow the different colors to mingle and mix a bit at the edges of the shapes without worrying about keeping the colors pure.

If the painting seems successful at this early stage, then there is hope for the final product. The next few steps will just be building on these initial ideas and relationships.

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