My studio is set up a little like a factory. I like to have it set up like this because it helps me to be systematic and organized. I’m kind of frantically disorganized by nature, and if I don’t stay on top of things, everything can fall apart very easily.
I have to be really disciplined with my system. I don’t stray, because if I allow myself to do that I will get WAYYYY off my path and I probably won’t get much accomplished. I have a very tight schedule, because I have to.
My process actually begins around 6:00 at night, right after dinner. I choose a basic theme, what I want tomorrow’s painting to be about. I then make anywhere from two to ten sketches with colored pencil. I do this to make sure that the composition is right and to choose my color palette.
The sketching process works like this: I start off with a very basic sketch of the subject, look at it to see where I can make improvements and then sketch again. I do this until it’s just the way I want it to be.
Then I perform some magic right before bed. This may sound a little woo-woo to some, but before I go to sleep, I hold the final sketch in my hand and stare at it while I silently say to myself, “This is the most amazing painting the world has ever seen”.
I wake up in the morning, get some business done on the computer for about an hour, then put my kids on the school bus and go off to the studio.
I transfer the sketch to the canvas. Then I block in the background, always working on the big shapes first. Essentially, that’s how I create every painting. I simply block in (meaning get the basic colors and value shapes onto the canvas), then go over it in a little more detail and I continue to refine it until I reach the fine details and finishing touches.
The most important things for you to remember in your painting process are the following:
- sketches or a plan of some sort are very useful to have before you get started. There was a time years ago when I used to just start paintings right away. Now, I sketch first to make sure that the composition is the best it can be. If the composition isn’t good, it’s going to be a crappy painting no matter what you do later on.
- always paint in the larger, less detailed shapes first. It’s annoying and frustrating to paint little shapes and then try to paint around them. It’s much, MUCH easier to paint the large shapes first and then paint the little ones on top.
- COMPLETE YOUR PAINTINGS. I don’t think a painting is every truly finished, you could work on it forever and continue to make changes and improvements. However, in every painting that I do, there comes a point when a little voice says, “Okay, it’s done”. Then I sign it and move on. MOVE ON to the next painting as soon as your done. I don’t give myself much time to look at a completed painting before I scan it and put it up for sale. If I allow myself time, I’ll be playing with it and changing things and I’ve ruined more than one painting trying to “fix” something that didn’t really need fixing.
- This is probably going to be contrary to just about everything you’ve heard, but especially in the beginning, focus on quantity rather than quality. I used to be afraid of painting, it intimidated me. I really wanted to try it though, so I decided to paint one painting every single day without caring at all what it looked like. I didn’t show anyone at first, it was for my learning only. I’m so glad that I did it that way. I learned SO much.
- Do have a process of some sort. If you’re not at least a little systematized, then you’re painting whenever the mood strikes you and your work quality and the output of your work will be inconsistent. I don’t wait for inspiration to strike, I just strike and inspiration comes from my movement. Just start, and then keep going.
I hope that was helpful! See ya’ll tomorrow.
Categories: In the Studio