I’ve heard it said that one can’t learn Art through reading books, but sometimes those books actually help urge someone into action.
I’ve been reading in a book on Chinese ink painting techniques…and may just have gotten the inspiration to work on a painting (I’m not giving away the title until after I’ve decided whether to buy it or not). This is on the canvas I intended to start on last semester when I got my easel (the canvas is 30″x30″, just under the 34″ maximum height my easel can take), but a different image than originally intended/settled for. If I can pull it off, it may turn out to be a beautiful, wonderful painting.
I think a large part of the reason I haven’t started on this yet (besides time pressures) is the fact that the canvas is square, and so it isn’t entirely straightforward to think of a way to make the composition dynamic. Though, it is possible.
I had wanted to work with an image of this plant before, but I thought that maybe I should work on something less…daunting? perfect? instead. What I’ve done is taken one of my second-favorite images (not the most-favorite one, which this one may be a prelude to) and cropped it down in Photoshop, then printed it. Next step is to gesso the canvas with a base color, then work loosely with vine charcoal over the surface to draw in the shapes. After that comes glazing over the correct lines, wiping everything else away, and starting in with color (which is where I may want to bring in the colored pastels — given that I have no time limit).
I might want to do one or more practice versions of the drawing first, though, just so that I know where everything is…though that will mean working on not-so-great paper (full size is…pretty big, and the only thing I’ve got in that size is cheap butcher paper that’s kind of irritating to work with; moreso than newsprint).
Or — a better idea. I could do a smaller version of this on one of my square watercolor blocks, though…the methods differ. I would need to mask some areas, if I used watercolor.
Hmm. I think that what I’ll do is work at about 2/3 scale on a newsprint pad, first, including value renditions if I can (including white as well…I am not sure if I want to go into colored pastel on newsprint); then go into drawing on canvas (given that I haven’t worked in charcoal for months). Watercolor is just going to be tough…unless I do it loosely, and very small. Also, that method seems to work best when one hasn’t decided on a layout yet; I have my layout already. What I need to do is figure out where everything is placed, and get my arm used to the directionality of the lines and forms.
At least I’m getting back into the art…