CHERYL BAILEY
Ontario Society of Artists - Contemporary Landscapes

Blog/News

Every artist has some sort of process. Some may be more methodical than others. I remember when I began to have success with using textures in my work. I wasn't just quite sure how that had happened as the paintings evolved. At one point I actually wrote down what I had done so that I could see what the result was in comparison to another result. In time, I developed a set 'process' (with some variation). This is now very helpful as I don't have to start from scratch for each painting. Something like doing a series, several aspects of the preparation are held constant so that creativity can pour into the rest of the work. 

Having a process makes it easier for me to start a work.Pencil on paper is not a really big commitment compared to paint on canvas. I sketch in my wee Moleskine book or the 8x10 depending on where I am.  Sometimes the sketch is out of my head. More often, its starts from one of my many photographs that I have digitally altered to black/gray/white.

The sketch develops in several drawn frames. Usually there is a lot of erasing involved. I use a soft pencil which is easy to erase but it wears down quickly. If I am sketching  and  the sharpener isn't nearby , oh well, it can all be quite blurry as below. In a way this is a good thing as I can't get into details.

The small sketches are used in a traditional way to find/experiment with where the lights and darks and middles will be. I like to have a good value structure before I begin. A strong value change provides the most impact or power in a painting. We look to the places where the lightest light meets the darkest dark. I like to gather the lights, gather the darks, gather the middles so the painting  has strong structure.

By this time, since I have been working in achromatic, I am farther away in thought from the actual colours of any photograph I may have used to begin. This is helpful in opening up possibilities.

When I am happy with the sketch, I transfer the sketch to my prepared canvas. Maybe I'll write about that next time?

Here's the latest sketch for a commission I am working on: 

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Mountain Road