As described previously (in "Project 2", below) this first painting project will not only reprise where I have got to with my painting for the benefit of the OCA who haven't seen any of this work, but try to push it forward into a more settled, definite style which is repeatable.
Over the past few years I have managed to create a wide range of paintings, often in various painting styles, but more specifically an expressive painting style of my own mostly using painting knife rather than brushes. This, however, has I feel been at the expense of developing real quality. Accepting the discipline of this Course is intended to not only establish a consistent way of painting but to raise the quality of my output.
With "consistency" as my watchword I decided that this would apply to everything I do, and so for this first painting project I will be creating a new series of paintings on the theme of 'Dance' and in particular, working from the sketches I made from Scottish Ballet's "Sleeping Beauty", of ballet dancers.
To start with I choose one sketch (male dancer lifting ballerina) and work this up to a larger scale making pencil studies of the two figures in an A4 sketchpad. Rather than making meticulous copies I try to be loose and expressive since if I don't get some energy into it here then as I proceed it will begin to tighten up.
From there I then move up in scale again with Neocolour studies, firstly in an A3 sketchpad, then onto A2 cartridge paper. This first photo shows three studies set up beside my easel for me to work from:
The uploading restrictions of Blogger prevent me from showing all the studies I made but suffice to say that none of the later studies were any better than this Neocolour in the A3 Sketchpad:
Moving on to my first attempt at painting I fall back to the same way I have been painting for a while, namely thick impasto with painting knife over a previous "failed" painting:
I have been very comfortable with this style of painting and got what I considered good results, however, it struck me after I had finished this that it depended too much on having old paintings of the correct dimensions to hand, and being able to identify the "happy accidents" where previous colours showed through. I felt this was unsustainable and so tried another approach:
This was painted in accordance with the manner described by Dan McCaw in his book "A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art". I have had this book for many years and have utilised some of his process but never quite followed it through to completion. This time I do as he suggests and make a light pencil drawing of my design on a clean white-primed board before laying in flat colours, starting from darks/shadows through to lightest areas, then working over the whole painting with thick partially mixed paint with large brushes.
This, as you can see, works quite well - I am pleased with the colouring and although the male dancer is a bit stiff the ballerina "floats", but my problem with it is that it depends heavily on making a well proportioned drawing on the painting board, and it also feels a bit like "Painting By Numbers" where you are just filling in the shapes.
I decide that this is all a bit too laborious for me and I need something more direct. I know that my comfort zone is drawing and feel that what I need to develop is the same comfort with painting. So why not just paint directly onto the board? This is what I do here:
This for me is the best yet. It is strong, direct, and dynamic. I am very satisfied with this painting, and while it needs a lot more development I will attempt to repeat this way of painting next week.