Just to clarify, for a while I thought I had to have the word “hell” in every post title, but then I went back to the beginning of this blog and realized that the first one had “damn” in it and not “hell” as I had falsely remembered. So that means going forward, it will be hell or damn. And as of today, “dammit” counts to. It’s my blog, I make the rules! I promise, I will mention it no more…
On to the meat of this post. This week I thought I’d talk a little about the process I go through making the paintings you see here and on Facebook and Instagram. More specifically, I thought I’d talk a little bit about something that is a little frustrating, but totally to be expected, considering the way I work.
Most painters spend quite a bit of time preparing to do a painting. They start doing extensive sketching and move on to colour studies. They might start with watercolour, and if they’re an oil painter they might then do a few small oil ‘sketches’ of the painting. I do not go through these steps.
My process begins with a quick sketch, these days on the iPad in Procreate. Chances are very good that I’ll go with the first thing that I do. I’ve touched on this before in this blog, but the idea is to work intuitively. To not think too much with the left side of my brain, but to use the right side—the visual side—to work it out (I know that brains don’t entirely work that way, but you get the idea).
After I’ve done that, I transfer the drawing to the canvas and then work the painting out right there. Usually I start with the face that I’m painting and then work out the background. Lately I’ve been switching it up sometimes and starting with the background. Either way, I’m usually happy with the final product. Having said that, every now and then I do one that I’m just not satisfied with.
Case in point. The week after last I decided to do a painting of Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys with one of his “kitties.” I have to admit, I went into this one with a bad attitude. Even though I have two cats myself, I just didn’t feel like painting a cat. So the sketch of the cat was too quick. It wasn’t great, but I went with it anyway. As I was getti
ng close to finishing the painting, I realized it just wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t just the cat which, to be fair I could have improved with a bit more work, but Bubs himself could be better. A lot better! Three days of work down the drain. Dammit! So I started another one.
This time I decided to make sure I was doing a drawing of a cat that I wanted to paint. So I did the one you see here. It’s well integrated with the new Bubbles. They look like they belong together. Was the painting successful? Well, it sold two days after I posted it, and I had a goodly number of inquiries about it after that! So I’m gonna say yes. The only thing is, considering the first three days of that week, I’d really like to have sold it for double the price, but that’s just not how this works. C’est la vie!
Before I leave you for the week, here is another example of the phenomenon, but with an different outcome. This past week I decided to challenge myself to do quick little 8″ x 8″ paintings of well-known figures. In these ones, I decided that once the initial sketch was done, I would not refer to any photo reference to finish the paintings. The first one I did was Prince Charles. I did the initial sketch and showed it to my wife. She wasn’t sure at first, but guessed it was old Chuckles (as I like to call him) himself. So I figured I’d go for it. And guess what? It doesn’t look like him at all. But, I like the painting this time! I don’t know who this guy is, but if anyone wants him in their collection, I’ll let him go at a reasonable price.
Anyway, to make a short story long, I did decide to do a second one of Prince Chuck. Looks like him, no? Both of these are still works in progress, but I think there’s something there.
See you next week!