In my last blog post I reported that I was committing to the discipline of creating small value studies before each painting. Since June I have stuck to my guns and have not painted one thing that did not start with a 3-value sketch. It has really helped me hone in on the bones of my compositions, and I feel a good shift in my recent work (full disclosure I have noodled some paintings the last week or so, but they were older ones I was trying to “save”...some worked, some not so much...). Below you can see my full planning process for a recent painting called, “Purrfect Spot”. I sketched in pencil, painted a 3-value study, and also painted a 45 minute color study. The final painting emerged without much laboring or struggle. I am sure this is due to the fact that I had already done a lot of problem solving in advance. I know this concept, I teach this concept, but I do not always follow this concept. Impatience is certainly the downfall of a well-intentioned painting endeavor!
“It is entirely possible, and often advisable, to spend 90% of your time merely adjusting the big, simple shapes before ever moving to the rendering.”