Like most artists, ideas come to me at odd times. For me the struggle is remembering to bring a sketchbook—everywhere! After the idea(s) come, I let them simmer in my mind. During this germination process, I will refine ideas in my head or do a series of simple thumbnail sketches to explore compositions. If the piece is a still life and I don’t have the supplies to even do it, I continue on with this process. I may look for the objects or leave it as a thumbnail with notes for a later date.
Once I am ready to begin the actual painting, I organize my objects. If I determine that the idea in my head isn’t going to work, I modify it so that it does. This may mean simply removing objects, swapping one object for another or changing an object’s placement. Whatever way I need to make it work, I make it happen. I limit the time I spend doing this because it will consume the time I have alloted to paint.
Once that organizational component is complete, I tone my canvas with a wash of color. Then, using my brush as a pencil, I loosely sketch in my composition, working and reworking as necessary. Before I apply color, I will often block in at least three values, providing myself with a simple notan of lights, middles and darks. I then mix the colors I see and begin to paint. I would love to tell you that I cover my canvas before finishing an area but that doesn’t always happen. In fact, the application of the paint to the canvas takes a variety of forms but in the end it gets done.
While I have gone back and forth about varnishing, presently I do apply three coats of a quality spray-on varnish to my finished pieces.