Friday, January 14, 2011

My Painting Process

I am often asked how and where I find my inspiration to paint.  My passion comes from animals and their environment.  I don’t just limit myself to nature; however, anything with interesting shapes and textures can get me a-going.  I’m one of those that stops and stares at the strangest things...the bark on a tree, a pile of brush, an old piece of weathered fence can really get my attention.  Especially if the sunlight is playing “hide and seek” with all it’s nooks and crannies.  Hopefully, I have my camera, as I can’t rely on my wee brain to remember all those exquisite details.  I paint from reference photos and I do try to take my own whenever I can.    Sometimes I combine one or more photos into one composition.  I like to use photoshop elements at this point.  It is a lot easier to play with the composition at the click of a button, then at the point of a pencil.  Once I’m satisfied with the basic composition I move on to the sketch.  First thing I do is to break it down into simple shapes.  You know the ones... we all learned about in grade school....circles, squares, rectangles but don’t forget about cylinders, cones, and cubes as they add dimension.  Next, I start looking at what is inside each of those shapes.  What textures do I see, what color and value.  Now. what position does it other it closer to me or does it seem further away.  Finally...I look at how it relates to the other shapes around it.  Does it fit neatly into that little niche there or does it overlap the shape beside it.  Once the sketch is done I transfer it to my gesso board.  At this point, I’m ready to start putting together my painting palette....I look back to the reference photo and begin picking out the colors I see.  I don’t think in terms of just “red” or “brown”.  I like to be more specific then in a rich brown becomes Burnt Umber and that touch of rust I see reminds me of Burnt Sienna.  I’m finally ready to paint.  The reference photo and sketch are my constant companions.  I paint all those shapes.....textures, values.  Each and every painting is an experiment.  I’m always looking for new ways of bringing my painting to that you see what I see....the beauty and wonder of the world around us..... captured in that one small moment in time......

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