When I start a oil painting, I usually have a pretty good idea of the subject. I paint from something I am looking at outdoors or a photo of a place I have been or a combo – start a painting outdoors, photograph the scene and then finish the painting in the studio.
Here are the usual steps I take in creating a painting:
- Great Idea!
- Sketch it (plein air/real life or photo for inspiration and “checking”) until the composition and value and interest are just so.
- Sketch it on the canvas with soft pencil or charcoal
- Value painting with acrylic paints (I usually mix up all the leftover paint on my palette from a past piece and save that in an airtight container just for the purpose of value paintings).
- Progress to the painting, usually like this – sky, furthest to closest objects, detail work.
- Let it sit a day or two, photographing it and reversing the image on the computer to see how it ‘works’
- Fix anything that drives me crazy. And try not to overwork the painting.
- Let it dry while looking at it for a few weeks or so.
- Varnish the finished painting.
Here is one in progress now. Its of a twisted juniper tree that my friend took images of.