Today I did a live painting demonstration at Jerry’s Artarama in Tempe, Arizona near Phoenix. I was there for about 2+ hours showing the painting method that I’ll be teaching there on Wednesdays 12-3. It was a fun afternoon for sure, and at any point during the painting process I had 5-6 people gathered around watching, taking photos, asking questions. And two new students signed up to take my workshop series “Impressionism – Painting With Light”.
Here are some photos of the process:
This is the preliminary charcoal sketch. This establishes my value scale and pattern, and helps me run through the drawing once before working in paint. You solve a lot of problems at this stage. For instance, the little shed on the left hand side was a little too small here. The reason for that is, in the photo I was working from, this shed is actually down a little slope and slightly farther away. The drawing I did was accurate with the photo, but because of its position downhill, it just made it look like a miniature shed or dog-house compared to the one on the right. So in the painting I made it larger and it balanced much better. A problem I’d much rather solve in a quick sketch, rather than in wet oil paint. This stage is skipped by so many artists, and I can show you how to use this quick sketch to save yourself hours of misery later when you’re knee deep in paint.
This is almost the full underpainting, done with washes of turpenoid (or turpentine if you can stand the fumes). Here I use a very minimal color palette, usually only three colors. This time I used yellow ochre, alizarin crimson, and black. It’s amazing the wide range of color you can get with just those three colors combined with the white of the canvas. What many artists don’t realize is that adding white paint to any color not only lightens it, but cools it as well. I can show you how to establish your drawing, values, and color temperatures without using white paint yet, and keeping everything loose with only the large shapes.
Here is the painting about half done. The colors look suddenly so much warmer because I took this photo at my home studio. This is about as far as I got within my time at the demonstration. So for a 2-1/2 hour demo, I did the charcoal sketch and this much of the painting (including talking and answering questions the whole time). The beauty of this kind of painting method is that it utilizes the “alla prima” method, which means completing a full oil painting in one sitting. A beautiful painting doesn’t necessarily require months of painting and glazing. With the proper technique and fundamental art principles, it can happen in one day, or even just a few hours. I can show you the fundamental principles of drawing, value, color, and edges that will enable you to build a believable painting in just a short time.
One thing to note: please don’t think that I will be making you paint “my way”. On the contrary: I’m teaching you sound art principles that have been proven since the Renaissance, that will make YOUR individual style of painting that much more effective. The images in your head will only be created to their full potential when you utilize sound technique to paint them.
And here is the finished painting, 16×20″, which I finished with about another 1-1/2 hours in my home studio:
“The Old Tool Shed”, 16×20″, oil on canvas.