Saturday, December 1, 2007

Anatomy of a painting

The casein study of "Carry a Big Stick" was chosen to use in the advertising for a group show I participated in recently(see previous blog-Dog and Pony Show) and I was commissioned to do a larger painting using exactly the same composition and tone values used in the posters. The hues and contrast of the study had been adjusted considerably using a digital program and the composition had also been cropped slightly. I decided to use a grid system to transfer the new poster image onto my painting support insuring that the shapes and composition would be right on and satisfy the customer. I drew a grid over a black and white print of the poster, seen on the table easel behind the pastel tray, then drew a grid to scale onto the 18 x 24 white panel(panelli telati) and sketched in the dog and ground shapes. When I felt that everything was accurate I blocked in the biggest shapes with an underpainting , seen at the top of the page, of the most intense pastel colors. They would show through in places in the finished piece. Then I started pulling out smaller shapes adding layer by layer with lighter hues. In some areas I used my fingers, bunched up kleenex, kneaded eraser, or a soft brush to blend colors or push them into the white canvas surface. Included is a photo of my pastel tray that holds over 200 sticks arranged by hue and tone. About 15 pastels were used to complete the painting.