In my Course Plan I proposed to complete four paintings and so, for this my final painting in the series, I start again with yet another sketch from Sketchbook 1(A6), re-drawing at a larger scale (A4) to get the feel for what this image is about:
Pencil on paper, A4.
Immediately I see that with the full extended limbs this painting will need to be wider than high, with a proportion of about 1:1.2, or more.
Now, in itself this has the potential to look grand and fantastic, but there is an awful lot of blank space. My previous three paintings have all been more successful (I think) when I cropped tighter into the figures. The question is: What does this painting require?
I therefore carry out this study to consider what the right proportions should be:
Rollerball and felt pens on paper, A4.
With no definite conclusion (I have been feeling very indecisive of late) other than each of them could make a decent painting, I decide that if I crop in tight to the figures I will be tending towards the abstract and that is not what this Project is about. So I'll leave those paintings for another day and stick with the full monty!
To reinforce this concept in my mind I do a whole series of pastel studies, of which this is one:
Neocolour on paper, A3.
I could do this sort of drawing all day long but there comes a time when I need to get painting:
Acrylics on cartridge paper, A2.
With some blue mixed with white and a soft watercolour brush I "draw" the figures with as much energy as I can muster, blocking-in with directional strokes.
Satisfied that this is going in the right direction the next working day I make a start on the final piece in oils:
Oils on board, 67x61cm.
I may have changed my starting method from first two paintings by drawing the figures with oil pastels first but at least this way I can be sure to get their hands and feet on the board! I can go over the drawing as often as I like till I am satisfied with it, and even wipe off and start again if not.
Painting starts with a pre-mixing session, and, with loaded brushes lay-in the figures first, then cut-in with the background colours.
I am pleased with the end result in many ways but also think it is a bit formal and stiff, even though my confidence in the manner of paintinig I have developed has grown by continuous repetition.
Now I know this doesn't help you the viewer but my photo of this painting is not what it should be for you to appreciate the depth and brightness of colour, and also the free brushstrokes. You will just have to take my word for it, and I will need to find a way to somehow correct this.
Summary of Achievement 4:
1. Completed another painting to my satisfaction.
2. Feeling more confident of the process and my ability to see it through to completion.
3. Even when difficulties arise I am able to remain calm and think through the problem to a satisfactory solution.
4. Every time I paint I grow in confidence and my painting becomes looser.
5. By drawing out my design with oil pastels first I exercise more control on the process and eventual outcome. Painting directly, while having some merit in a loose and freely expressed image, leaves too much to chance, particularly with this figurative subject matter if I want it to look like the way I designed it.
6. While this painting is not to me as successful as previous three paintings, for reasons of design, I am still pleased with it.