As a part of my art resolutions for the year I have been studying a few books on art techniques. Kevin Macpherson’s “Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light & Color” is one of them. As recommended, I plan to do a 100 “starts” and this is my first one. I made it last night on a 11″ X 10″ piece of canvas using a photo reference with a limited palette. There is more detail here than was asked for simply because I couldn’t resist.
Update: 14 March 2007: While writing to a friend I realised that I have not been following the instructions! Decided to add a note as an explanation and a reminder.
A “start” is defined as blocking in of the main colours on to your canvas. The finished “start” is supposed to look poster like with bold flat shapes and the advice is to paint the shapes of colours and not things. They’re supposed to look a bit abstract so I definitely am not doing them right. During my month at the Art Student’s League I was asked to do starts. I understood them to be quick sketches and that’s what I tried to do then. I should have asked for an explanation.
The instructions are
to make a small black & white line drawing on paper with a marker and separate the shadows from the light areas by filling it in solid black and then move on to a canvas
1. paint the lightest light
2. paint the darkest dark
3. paint the easiest colour – the one that comes straight from the tube without mixing
4. establish the shadow pattern
5. fill in the lights ( the darkest light has to be brighter than the lightest shadow colour)
6. move on to the next one.
These starts are supposed to be from life but lacking a model and the necessary confidence I plan to do the initial 40-50 from photo references. When i start feeling comfortable with the process I’ll move on to “live” landscapes and after that models. At least that’s the plan. These are on pieces of approx. 10″ X 12″ canvas cut from a roll. I’m continuing with a limited palette of Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Chrome Yellow Deep Hue and Titanium White. Cadmium Yellow Pale had been recommended but I could not find a tube.