Lesson 1: Finished Before Starting
Sketchbook work is the foundation for almost all of my paintings. I depend on small scale sketches to discover the design foundation of each piece before I proceed to finish–or at least that is my plan. But sometimes just a few lines on a canvas derails even the most promising sketch. Here is a good example. The black lines–done first just didn’t make as strong a design as I hoped when I scaled up from a thumbnail to this 18×18. I first sketched on the grey gessoed canvas surface with soft charcoal, then added fluid black acrylic to further solidify my design.
Then I sat back in my comfy yellow stuffed swivel chair given to me by a painter friend, the wonderful watercolor painter, Judy S. McLean. These few black lines on the canvas quickly voiced their opinion that I was NOT to proceed any further. Think again they said. Try another sketch today. Don’t you just hate pushy sketchbook voices? So, I went back to my sketchbook, flipped a page or two and out jumped a much better idea to pursue.
I then flipped the black line painted painting upside down and grabbed my white fluid acrylic paint bottle and drew the white lines right on top. This was a better start and I felt able to continue with the process toward the finish line. You can still see some of the white lines in final piece below.
Lesson learned through this particular painting process was to be decisive when I feel something is amiss. Being honest with yourself as an artist and letting your intuition guide your moves will improve your chances of finishing strong.
How do you solve your painting design issues? I’d love to hear from you.