Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don't Get Caught...Without Your Road Map!

On the road to a new journey, you need a good road map, otherwise you're stuck with some guy who won't ask for directions, or some broad with a weird accent giving you bad directions...better known as a GPS. So on the road to any kind of painting, you need to know where you are going...or at least what you're aiming for. You need a road map.

Whether you want to paint a something or a somewhere, or just a big expression of feeling, the exploration of miniature paintings before going big...better known as the "thumbnail" sketch...can be a real life saver...or at least a paint saver!

I like to begin with a small value map, or a black and white tonal sketch, before I attempt to translate the colors into a thumbnail. The one shown above is about 3x3 inches.

I keep several pocket sized journals around to sketch ideas for future paintings. I may try a few value maps and then write in color notes to remember the mood.

Faced with this really large, 3x5 foot red toned canvas above, I quickly realize I need a clear idea of what I'll be committing to before I put rubber to road, or paint to canvas. And, the only way to do this was with thumbnails. I had only a sliver of an idea, a memory really, of what I could recall about what I wanted to paint from several years ago.

So, grabbing a few photo references of clouds to refer to, I then started something completely new for me...which was to paint from memory. I pulled out the watercolors and pastels and went after it until I'd found the mood I remembered and could commit to painting on such a large canvas. After all, I wanted to be pretty confident with that much paint at risk!

This was not quite the time of day I'm after...and the heart was too obvious.

 Time of day is better, but again not what I'm after.

Ok, I can say I tried this idea and

Hmm. I might be onto something here if I try other colors.

 Ok, nice and stormy...but I lost my inspiration which was the heart in the sky.

This is getting closer to what I might be looking for...Wolf Khan inspired.

Bulls eye. This is what I'm looking for.

With the final small color painting sketch in hand,
I have my road map and am ready to begin the journey
of telling this story!
Stay tuned for Part Two...

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