Sunday, June 26, 2011

365 Doodles - Day 177 - Pirate Special Day 1

I've started a new painting of a pirate. Here's the sketchpad page that kicked it off:

As longtime readers will know, painting is still a new thing for me; I only started last year. I've drawn and done colour illustrations like this for years:

That was one for a possible book project and it was done in pen and ink, watercolour and coloured inks. But it is an illustration and not a painting.

The art of painting has always eluded me. I couldn't get to grips with it at school (they were obsessed with oils, which I still can't use) and I've had no training since. So I decided last year that I would teach myself. I've been watching TV shows, reading books, visiting galleries and making the most of local art weeks here in Buckinghamshire and nearby Oxfordshire. At the moment, we're just starting Week Two of the Bucks Open Studios fortnight, which is a great opportunity to visit artists where they live and work and to chat about their technique.

It's now been just over a year, and about 20 canvasses, since I decided to teach myself to paint. It's been a struggle but I'm passionate about it and have the luxury of time in which to practice (the only upside of being unemployed). I've arrived at a kind of technique that suits me and I thought I'd use my blog, and the new pirate painting, to demonstrate it.

So, first, I drew the figure onto the canvas and then marked out the main forms with a watered-down Venetian Red acrylic (1). Then I washed down the Venetian Red even more and added in the shading (2). I decided that light would come from the left:

I then painted the sky and the sea (3). I've used more blues than greens because they'll work nicely with the pirate's orangey-red frock coat and beard. Plus, the warm browns, yellows and oranges in the wood of the decking will work nicely against blue. I blocked in the main 'woody' area next (4):

Then I blocked in the main areas of colour on the pirate figure himself. For this first day of painting I don't use thick paints. I water them down slightly so thatI can see where the underpainting shows through. This will provide me with a guide for the light and dark areas. The aim at this stage is to, as Rolf Harris puts it, 'Kill the white'; to get the canvas covered in paint. So here's where I got to at the end of Day 1:

The next stage will be to work from top of canvas to bottom, adding more layers of colour and depth and detail. More tomorrow as the painting develops.

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