Friday, March 1, 2013

Bay Boats & Birds

Today I have begun a new painting....

To get an e-mail for each of the steps I will be doing over the next few days, be sure to "Join" my blog so you know when a new step has been posted.   Donna

This painting has been in the mental workroom for weeks, maybe even months.  Last month I even went back to the location to see if I was missing anything and from there I have moved on around the bend to another view point that I think I like better.
                          It is OK to change ones mind... even a very good thing at times.

I did some sketches on location, but the important work has been happening in my imagination as I have decided what not to include from the "Kodak" version of the view.  I always like to make it look as much as it may have looked 50 years earlier.  More nature, more birds, grasses and such.

This is more original inspiration photo.  Remember it is just the "seed" for the idea.  As an artist, I have the right to take away, move and even add other elements.

I made a list of what I wanted in this painting:

  • Oak tree
  • Shrimp boats
  • old dock
  • birds
  • water grasses
  • Spanish Moss
  • Keep it looking like the location it really is.

 From my cabinet of files, I pull out other photos, sketches and tear sheets which I keep in large resource files which have collecting been for decades.

My life is in these files and I find them very nostalgic.

A collection of images helps me think outside the box and add things that will add color, texture and mood to the painting at hand.


I am working on an 18 x 24" sheet of masonite that I sanded and then gave three coats or more of Gesso.  I love this surface.  It makes doing detail so easy and even tho it is lots of prep work, the cost is great and the  versatility of size and shape are easy to change.

Sketches In Layers

I hope you can see the many little pieces of thin paper.  Each has a drawing on it.  I tape them to the canvas surface and each other.  I can change the placement of each one and even add or eliminate things as I design my composition. 


The pelicans are a fun addition to my composition.  I had actually photographed the top one on a dock just across the bay the same day so that was a natural decision.  He has to have a mate so I sketched another out to give him company.

I decided they were too close to the same size so I did another drawing of the bottom one and 
made her smaller.

 Great I like the change.  It will add depth to my comp.  
So far so good!

I will want to do something else to get away from this new work before I begin to transfer the drawing to the canvas.  
I will come back later to see if I am still happy with the arrangement.
If not, this is a great time to make changes.

note: This is the way I begin a painting in the studio.  If I were in the field, it would be a more direct approach and I would begin by drawing directly on the canvas and make decisions much faster.

If you have questions feel free to e-mail me.  The whole purpose to to help you move ahead in your own artistic growth.