Step By Step

I always enjoy seeing step by step creation of paintings, so I decided to post a painting that I just started a couple days ago. Luckily, I remembered to take photos of painting stages this time! Hopefully it won't slip my mind to photograph the remaining process.

I selected a scene from a very special place on Vancouver Island, BC called Botanical Beach in the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park. Shapes of rocks and plants found there are incredible. I recently made another painting titled Wild Coast  inspired by that place, and I am sure I will make many more.

This time I started with values and forms rather than composition, to mix things up a bit. There are many ways that lead to Rome!

 So, without further ado, here's one way to make a painting.


 The initial sketch was done directly on canvas with a pencil, over which I added values and forms with raw umber acrylic paint thinned with acrylic medium.

Step 2 - TEXTURE

I painted a transparent burnt sienna imprimatura over the entire piece and after that was dry, I used heavy body acrylic gel to add texture over the foreground rocks and shrubbery. Here is a section of the textured surface so that you can see randomness of palette knife marks in the hardened gel.

Step 3 - BLOCK IN

 The most dreadful of all stages for me is the first block in with acrylic paint. My goal at this point is just to cover the entire canvas without dwelling on details. Acrylic paint is quite challenging and often uncooperative in this first approach due to the slickness of the previous layer, so I only aim for coverage and approximate matching of colors of large shapes. Consider this stage to be the "under-painting". Subsequent layers will provide better surface quality, color variations and details.


Before I fully commit to this composition, I like to apply some dynamic symmetry construction on it. I am happy with the composition since I find several "hooks" with the constructed system of golden rectangles. Perhaps I'll tuck in a few shapes here or there, but overall the composition is sound. If you are curious abut this, feel free to read my previous post about composition.

So much for today. I'll try to post more steps when I manage to get back to this painting. So much to do, so little time!

Best Wishes,