Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sketching and Color Blocking, Developing my Process

In the past, when I worked exclusively in acrylics, I would start by diving right into a blank canvas with what could only be described as a hurried frenzy of thick paint blending together on the canvas.  I rushed through paintings, sometimes setting a timer.

My most popular pieces (judged by sales) were completed in 15 minutes.

Fast forward to my new interest in oils.  Although I've been using oils less than a year, I am thoroughly and wholeheartedly a fan, eager to learn more and more.  At first I hated oils, mostly due to my having not worked with them.  The drying time was the most difficult thing to get used to.

I discovered Liquin .  This medium made my paintings touch dry by the next morning.  (My first oil painting is still not complete as I started out using only Linseed Oil as a medium and drying time is extended considerably) This stuff didn't make me love oils more because of it, but it did remove my only reservation to working with oils; drying time. I highly recommend .

Whereas, with acrylics I would just dive right in, I find that sketching first works best for me with oils.

The following images walk through my recent painting "The Guardian".

Beginning color blocking on nose and eyes.
 I kind of rough sketched with not a ton of detail for this one.
Framing the eyes and the focus
 While I did not intend so much black for an under coat during color blocking, it happened anyway so I just went with it.
Making some minor corrections to the sketch during color blocking
 I sometimes get lost in small details and flub up the big picture.  I like to stop at times like that and walk to the other side of the room for a different perspective.  I also find it helpful to take pictures of unfinished works and look at them on my phone screen to see composition errors.

Completed color blocking, ready for detail work.
I may have went a little overboard on color blocking this one but as you can tell by the last picture, I really was having fun.

Color blocking should be just that, blocking in color on your canvas, not details.

Here are a few examples of sketches and color blocking of some of my paintings in progress.

"Beaute Rouge":
Sketch for Beaute Rouge

Color blocking for Beaute Rouge
This sketch took me about an hour.  The color blocking is mostly as it should be, highlight and shadow patches roughed in. The eyelashes left in pencil until the very end of the painting process to allow for easier makeup blending and shading.

Here is a walk through of "Joy":

Beginning sketch.  (I hate hands)
 This painting made me vow to steer clear of hands for awhile until my skill develops more.  Creepy.
beginning the color blocking process and not really liking it.
 Color blocking did not help the creepiness of this painting so I chose to change the hair before moving on to details.
Drastic changes to the work during color blocking led to this

You'll notice in most pictures you can see I am a HUGE fan of Palette Paper.  It makes clean up absolutely simple.  I also work mainly on my french easel.  The drawer makes a good shelf for my palette and it is wonderfully portable.

Here is a walk through of "Gasp!"

My first facial expression sketch. 
 I chose a photo of a friend of mine from college as inspiration for this one.
Color blocking completed

As I continue through my oil painting learning curve I'll continue this blog.  Primarily as a record for myself, but hopefully it will also inspire or help some beginning artist who got lost on the internet and stumbled upon this blog by accident but stayed anyhow to read an article or two.

I've discovered, that at least for me, sketching my idea first and color blocking it in makes my artwork more closely reflect my vision.  I also find it necessary at this point to my process.

Thanks for reading!

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