Friday, February 10, 2012

Studio Painting Process

I recently used one of my Point Lobos studies to do this larger pastel painting in the studio ...

"Serpentine Coast", Pastel, 18x24

Here are a couple of shots of the pastel painting in  process.  First I started with blocking in some of the darker shapes. 



I then washed this down with isopropyl alchohol using a large brush.  This turns the dry pastel into something very close to watercolor, and it sinks into the painting surface.  This process allows me to quickly establish the composition and the major shapes.  It also sets up my darks and established some initial color I can then react to as I develop the painting.

Notice I don't underpaint the sky.  I did lay in a bit of pink right at the horizon, but I wanted to use the color of the board as the underpainting for the sky.  I also find underpainting tends to darken things, and I find it essential to keep the sky light to generate a feeling of luminosity.

I unfortunately don't have a picture of the painting just after finishing the underpainting - so you'll have to use your imagination.

Here's my studio setup.  I have both a swivel mounted computer monitor (on the left) and my framed plein air study on the right.



Here's the painting as it develops.  See the tree on the foreground rock?  I completely scrubbed it out because I thought it was looking overworked, and once it was gone I thought the painting was stronger as it let the eye move into the painting a little more easily.  This painting has a number of different secondary subject areas, and I decided simpler would be better ...


And then the final piece:


"Serpentine Coast", Pastel, 18x24
For those who like all the details, this was done on pastelmat that I had mounted to rigid gatorfoam.

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