Thursday, March 14, 2013

Step-by-step painting process


Threshold of Glory  © 2013 by Karen Mathison Schmidt, artist
18 x 36 inches • acrylic on archival, museum-quality cradled GessobordTM

private collection • Riverside, Connecticut

I haven’t published any step-by-step posts in a while; I always love seeing other artists’ processes, so I’m determined to do this more faithfully here in my blog! 

Here are my photos for this one:

I start by going over my pencil sketch with a sketch of caput mortuum violet and Prussian blue acrylic. It almost looks like a snow scene here at the beginning.

Now I start adding color glazes, trying to be patient as I add each layer to build up deep, rich color in the final painting.

Sometimes it’s really hard to be patient because I’m so excited about getting to where I think the painting is going to end up.

I should know by now that a painting hardly ever ends up like I imagined it. That’s part of the FUN!

Here’s where I started getting bold about adding color to the sky. I went way bolder than I needed to, knowing that in the next layer ...

I would calm it way down, but loosely, letting glimpses of that beautiful fuchsia and rose peek through.

But now I started getting bogged down in the details of the trees, getting way too nit-picky, and I started to really dislike where the painting was headed: hurling headlong into the realm of “overdone” ...

... so I told myself to “put down the brush and step AWAY from the painting.” And here’s where it stayed for several days, even a week or two. I did other paintings in between, trying to loosen up and stay away from too much detail. And I went and studied other paintings that I love, making mental notes on what exactly it is that I love about them. Almost always, the ones I liked best had a loose, almost abstract quality that was very interesting to me. 

Then I came back to this with renewed enthusiasm, never even referring to my original photo, did a lot of simplifying of trees and water, et voilà! Finished it in one joy-filled morning. After I finished, I felt as if I had had a “Helen Keller at the water pump” moment ... 

It was like, “Ooooohhhhh ... NOW I get it!”

Happy painting!


Virginia Floyd said...

Love this painting. Wonderful that it is sold. I love the loose, misty quality of the trees. So beautiful!

De Selby said...

My weekly class, meeting in my home studio, started a lesson on glazing today. I'll send this on to them--thanks!