Today you are getting a little mini-lesson of my process, which I hope you enjoy. If you have questions please use the comments field of my blog, this way I can condense my responses in one place. Thanks in advance!
This is the north side of the studio, where I have my easel (a Best Classic Dulce), my tools (the green cabinet, a vintage filing cabinet/tool chest - note the palette on the top of the cabinet) and my taboret (an old enameled tea cart). I have a ceiling light in the studio, an ott light attached to the easel, a daylight floor lamp behind me and the natural light from the northern window (pictured) and the western facing one (behind and to the left of the easel).
(You can also see the original wallpaper to the room, which I plan on covering this winter with Anaglypta paper. I think the walls will then be painted a dove gray.)
This painting is an 11" x 14" Ampersand Gessoboard, which I have leaning against a larger piece of masonite. This allows me to work on the painting with a similar background/framing around it at all times. It also provides additional stabilization when I'm using particularly rough brushwork. When I'm doing smaller pieces, I duct tape them to middle of the board.
You can also see my main reference photo, which is alongside the board (on the right). Typically I have a contact sheet that I refer to when painting; most recently I've also begun using my computer (which sits across the room). It's got a 27" screen, and I can photoshop my references as needed.
So here is the initial block-in. I've covered the board with a generic wash of color that will match to a certain extent the basic elements of the composition. I'm not worried about color but am paying attention to value - I want to have things balanced from the very beginning.
Oh, and by the way, I am working with Golden Open Acrylics today.
It's important at this stage that the painting looks successful, despite the lack of identifiable elements. If all appears balanced, than I know I have a solid foundation.
Here I've identified the placement of my dogs, and roughly laid them in. I'm using relatively large brushes here, trying to work in broad shapes without fussy lines. Again, not worried about exact color, but trying to get my values right and create a sense of light.
Now I'm shifting some of the background shapes to play better off the focal point, which is the pointer. She will be tightly focused and detailed, and the lab will be softer. I want the various shapes and forms of the background to push your eye to her - in the next frame, you can see the guidelines I've roughly sketched in to remind me how these shapes will play out.
Next I go a little crazy with the color. I've got the placement of each element defined, and the values mostly identified. At this point I can splash down whatever marks I want, and provided they are the correct value, when I scumble future marks overtop, they will add a vibration to the painting.
This is the finished painting, which I've titled "In Hot Pursuit." It is 11" x 14", on that gorgeous Ampersand Gessoboard I've been raving about. The surface is buttery smooth, and the open acrylics worked so well overtop. I've included a detail below - you can't really see the layers of color and get the full effect on the computer screen, but I think you can get a general sense.
"In Hot Pursuit" will be entered in a number of exhibitions, the first one being The Autumn Arts Facebook Painting Challenge & Competition. It will also travel to 2010's Art Show at the Dog Show and be part of my solo exhibition in August 2010 at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Thanks so much for looking at, and sharing, my artwork with your friends and family!