Contemporary Landscape Artist


(posted on 2 Jul 2017)

How Long Does It Take to Paint a Picture?

The short answer to this question is that it varies a great deal. Beginning to end, sometimes a week, sometimes a month until all decisions are completely satisfying.

Some paintings almost seem to paint themselves. Others are a bit of a struggle to pull out of the depths. At present, I always begin with a pencilled value sketch to develop the composition and show myself where the lights and darks will be.

The composition usually takes a great deal of time for me. I don't like repetition (i.e. do overs) so I like to get the composition right in the first go round. The drawing may start out complicated. I keep sketching and simplifying. My simplest paintings are some of my best. Often, I am thinking about the drawing when I'm not actually drawing.

The next part (after deciding the composition is ready) is deciding what colours to use. I like to shop the colour wheel, looking at all my choices. A rose in any colour is still a rose. I don't paint roses but you get what I mean. If I am having a hard time deciding, I have a bigger shopping chart for colour inspiration.

My colour plan could be complementary colours, analogous colours, monochromatic. Then I start out with one colour in the right value and go from there. My values (lights and darks) stay pretty true to my original plan but often the colours come around to something not so near to the original plan. My colours are mixed from a limited number of bottles of Golden brand paint. All my greens are mixed. And I like the challenge of matching the values of several colours so that the area will appear flat.

Eventually, I get something that I am pleased with and can go to the canvas.

The one thing the value sketches don't show is the colour contrasts. So sometimes I need to adjust the plan on this account. Being a visual artist, means you will know it is right when you see it. If I make a drastically poor choice , I will need to go back to the black underpainting and begin again in that section. If all goes well, I save the most fun for last, putting in a juicy bit of colour somewhere as a focal point.

Did you know that a focal point doesn't need to be interesting in and of itself? It just needs to bring your eye over to that part of the painting so you can spend some time looking around there. Here's the latest - just a snap from Instagram- still a few decisions to make