Friday, December 14, 2012

Getting Things Going

Work in progress (not yet titled), oil, 14x18

Because of holiday commitments closing in, I may have to put this piece on hold for a bit. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to squeeze in some more time on it next week. I usually don't like to have such a long hiatus between the start of a painting and when I can continue on it. Often I lose sight of what initially inspired me to paint it. Hopefully, though, I've captured enough here to keep me going once I have time to continue.

I've come to think that one of the most important aspects of the the beginning stages of a painting is to keep things changeable and not overdefine too much. There are sometimes key elements that I do want to lock into a specific spot, but otherwise, I want to keep my edges sort of "mushy" so I can tweak them this way or that as the painting evolves. This also helps me to keep my edges soft in less important areas of the painting.

Below are a couple of other examples of paintings in early stages.

Initial underpainting for "December Heat Wave"
pastel, 16x20
Above is the initial underpainting for a recent pastel piece. I defined a few key areas with some crisp edges, but otherwise kept all other areas soft and changeable so I could easily make adjustments as the painting evolved.

Roughly the middle stage of "Rum River"
pastel, 16x20

This example above is a little further along, but I still held off as long as possible to define many details. And even when I decided the painting was finished, I left some areas undefined that I originally thought I would work on some more. the gift wrapping and cookie baking!

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