I wanted to work entirely from life for this one. A watercolour pencil with a water brush was useful for the thumbnails. I did use a photo to roughly check the colours and layout in the gouache sketch but I couldn’t quite get the perspective I wanted, and working from a photo seemed somehow artificial and dead after the sketches done in front of the subject. So I went back to draw from life a more accurate pencil layout for transfer to canvas.

I like this method of repeated drawing — thumbnails, studies, sketches — before attempting the main painting. Each time around, the problems could be worked out, so by the time I began the final painting many of the features of the composition felt familiar through all these revisitations.

Mixing colours from life is more accurate but also more satisfying, despite the technical difficulties of changing light conditions. And a true sense of depth makes it easier to play with hard, soft and lost edges to make things recede or to snap them into attention.

This week the room was redecorated, so I painted those walls a final time with a larger brush.

2 thoughts on “preparation

  1. Ed

    Lovely work Jim, I like the close crop of the picture’s view. As it’s from life there’s more liveliness in the finished work, more play in the shapes and tones, less definition, allowing more space for the viewer.

    1. Jim Post author

      Thanks, Ed. Yes, I’m finding it harder to do anything with a photo other than copy the photo. For all the fun painterly stuff, I need to be in front of the subject.

      I see there’s some groundbreaking sketchbook-making innovation going on at I think it’s time for me to get out the book tape and PVA glue.


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