Anatomy of An Artist’s Exhibition - part 3
Touching the Canvas
I have chosen the first painting that will begin my series. I have my resource material on hand and have thought about the arrangement of my composition. I have gone to my computer to lay out the composition in photoshop but I have also used my real time elements and laid them on to the canvas before drawing any lines.
I may change my mind about the composition before I get too far into the actual work. Flexibility is always a companion in art making. The material or your eye or even a suggestion from an onlooker can change the course of the work if you think it would make improvements.
Also once you have laid out your lines onto he actual canvas your proportions may alter the prominence of your elements. so remember to not tie yourself into a layout too early in the process. Your feel and your eye will guide you as your instinct for what looks appealing kicks into the artistic process.
I have also thought about my colour scheme and may have laid out the important colours on the computer or on paper to get a good feel for what will work. sometimes I will just go with my image in the brain but at some point will have to question or do some comparisons in the overall look of the work. So it is helpful to try and do a little colour scheme ahead.
Starting my canvass, I will more often than not, apply an underpainting layer. This will be a light wash of the prominent colour that will purvey your work. In this first painting I chose a grey that I Mixed myself. On the east coast we get a lot of weather and it affects the colour of our landscape. The sea may also be many colours reflected by the light, but the most common would be a steel grey. Going into autumn now, I see a lot of grey sky with white and grey clouds as well as striking orange sunsets. The autumn light in the sun is usually a deep yellow. With that in mind the first painting will be on an overcast day with the grays as my underpainting. But I can brighten up my work and give it a sunny day even with the tone of grey under the painting. An example of when I may use a brighter colour would be in a snow painting. Here my underpainting colour would be a light yellow and even some light peach. this comes through the white snow and gives a sparkle and a reflection of the light from the atmosphere. I am using acrylic paint so that it can be applied as a wash. Using acrylic one must be aware of the fast drying nature of the paint so when blending areas of colour, it must be worked quickly and kept wet.
Now that my light wash has been applied with plenty of wet, I can work on the sky. I wet the canvas down first and then put on the grey paint in some sweeping strokes. I used a wide painter's brush and swept it across the vertical until it was smooth and the lines meld into the soft colour. I also did the sides of the canvas as I’m using an exhibition stretcher so the sides must also be painted as I go along. I will begin to paint my sky as it is a large portion of the canvas and want it to flow smoothly behind the boat and other elements. Once the underpainting is dried, I can begin to paint the clouds working to keep the area wet so that blending is possible. There will be different grays in the clouds as well as the whites of the sky. I will add some blue areas between the clouds and some sunlight trying to break through in parts of the clouds. It won’t be an entirely gray background