PAINTING DEMO 1: VICTORIAN HOUSE ON ST. CHARLES AT CHEROKEE

Painting Demo - Step 1 - 1024

Step 1: I made a rough sketch on the canvas to work out the composition. Many artists would have produced a more intricate finished drawing on the canvas before starting to paint. But I’m against this illustrator’s approach, as its commonly referred to, because it compromises the painting for the drawing. An artist who makes an intricate drawing on the canvas before painting might use a good technique, working general to specific, or big to small, while doing the drawing, but will use small brushes and small brushstrokes from the very beginning of the painting process in order not to paint over the carefully articulated details of the drawing. While good technique might have been employed for the drawing, working big to small, a bad technique has been employed for the painting, working small to small. With respect to light, color, and pattern, the painting produced by this illustrators approach will often look stilted and lifeless. Thus an important guideline used by most painterly academic representational painters, including myself, is to never mix drawing with painting. This doesnt imply that drawing isn’t important in painting. You will constantly address the shape, relative position, and scale of patterns throughout the painting process, but those concerns will be integrated into the painting process not extracted and consolidated as a separate step.

 

Painting Demo - Step 2 - 1024

Step 2: The underpainting is produced. Three different colors are applied for the sky. Lights are applied for the road and a halftone is applied over all the light colored woodwork of the house. The color of the halftone used for the house is that of the glancing sunlight on the yellow weather boards. Darks are painted for everything else.

 

Painting Demo - Step 3 - 1024

Step 3: Darks are applied over the underpainting for the house to articulate the cast shadows and to define the white woodwork. Lights are painted on the roof. Some lights are cut into the darks on the ground to articulate the sidewalk.

 

Painting Demo - Step 4 - 1024

Step 4: Lights are painted over the darks on the house which represent the glancing lights on the white woodwork, but, for the time being, this same color is applied everywhere that sunlight hits the woodwork, including the facets where sunlight is hitting directly. The lights are painted over the halftones on the house corresponding to where direct sunlight hits the weather boards. Halftones are painted over the darks for the trees and greenery.

 

Painting Demo - Step 5 - 1024

Step 5: Highlights are painted over the lights on the white woodwork for the facets catching direct sunlight. Variations are painted in the shadows of the house. Halftones are first painted on the darks for the chimneys and then lights are painted over the halftones. The lights and highlights are painted on the tree canopies and greenery. Cast shadows of a darker and lighter variation are painted over the lights on the road. This demonstration shows one way that a seemingly complex subject can be abstracted and stated simply and convincingly. I believe that simplification is the highest pursuit in representational painting as long as it is not motivated by fear or laziness.