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Friday, January 9, 2009

Painting; My Process

A recent commenter suggested that I share my painting process. I'd been hesitant to do so, partly because of a natural resistance to show unfinished work & partially because of a feeling akin to "a magician never reveals their secrets." I thought about it for a while & realized that the commenter was right. I'm not actually a magician, after all.

Step 1; Choose a subject & a canvas. I picked this photo I took at the Flatwoods, (previously included in a SkyWatch post,) & a 12x16" canvas.

Step 2; Choose tools. For the background, I've chosen a 2" house painting brush & my favorite, 3/4" flat brush. Acrylic paints; titanium white, cadmium orange, alizarin crimson, prussian blue & dioxazine purple. I use lids from plastic containers as pallets, as we always have plenty of them, the lip on the edge keeps thinned paints contained & they clean up fairly easily (even after the paint has dried.) The washcloth is for blotting my brushes (to remove excess color or water.) I also put newspaper down. Most painters paint vertically on an easel. I prefer to paint flat on a table. This allows me to use thin washes of paint without them dripping down the canvas.
The next photo shows the result of the 1st painting session. I left the bottom of the canvas blank, as that will be filled in later.
During the 2nd painting session I darkened up the top part of the sky & scumbled in the details in the lower part (the pink cloud edges & the breaks in the clouds,) with small- & medium-sized round brushes. Looking at the photo, I noticed that a small bit of the bottom of the sunset had some yellow in it, so I threw down a wash of cadmium yellow.
In the last painting session, I added the ground & trees in mars black, using a couple of small, round brushes. I also painted the outside edges of the canvas black to make it suitable for hanging without a frame.
"Sunset at the Flatwoods"
16x12" acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas (sold Nov. 7, 2009.)

36 comments:

Brave Astronaut said...

Package arrived safely! And no breakage! I am very touched. Thank you for the lovely art work, which will find its way to our walls very soon!

debra said...

lovely painting, Lana
the thing about sharing the process is that while you can share the steps, the feeling and the inner intuition must be unsaid. The truth is that it takes ones entire life to complete a piece. We bring all the experiences of our lives to the moment in time when we make a piece.

Scott said...

Lana,

Very good step-by-step, and also a damn good painting! Makes me want to get a blank canvas and go to it!

Ello said...

It's absolutely beautiful! I love it!

Anonymous said...

Suggest you retract comment re: not being a magician.

"Magic" = a word used to describe a method of achieving demonstrable results by means not logically explicable.

How do you explain why this painting lifted my heart in a way the photo didn't?

JR's Thumbprints said...

This is so cool! Thanks for sharing your process. To be honest, I would've thought your finished painting were actually a photograph.

YogaforCynics said...

When artists discuss process, isn't it generally just an attempt to disguise the fact that they slug down a bottle of Old Crow, crank up the Floyd, cut off an ear, use said ear to slather paint onto the canvas in a half-dead stupor, and then, waking up on the floor the following afternoon, do a bit of touching-up?

Either way, beautiful work...

earthtoholly said...

Wow! That is so beautiful! And such fine instruction...now let me go whip up a paintin'... Naaah! Somethin tells me it's not that easy. Oh well... :o(

Charles Gramlich said...

It's so amazing to see how it goes from that first canvas with just the colors on it, to a completed image. You are amazing. This is one of my absolute favorites of your realistic work. The only landscape I like better is the "doorway into the mist." It's very 'natural,' and yet it suggests so much more in the landscape. Up close and in reality it is truly gorgeous. I was looking at it this morning in it's new place on the wall.

Angie said...

I love process pieces, and the painting turned out beautiful. Thanks for showing! :D

Angie

Michelle (artscapes) said...

It's still magic.... Breathtaking painting!!

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey my dear Lana,

Stunning painting! My God, you really have the colors here -- so beautiful. (like all your work!) I'm with you on process -- sometimes I get nervous about thinking about it as if I'm going to jinx something so what did I do for the last ten years -- teach writing! :) Love the insight into how you do it. I can't even draw a little stick person so I love to know all about the arts.

Chrissy said...

Great explanation of how you approach your work Lana. Very beautiful vibrant painting

Natural said...

hey lana, you did a great job on the painting. looks just like the photo.

Tabib said...

Beautiful lovely art work, Lana.

Lynda Lehmann said...

Beautiful painting, Lana! It's intense and passionate.

I looked up Waterhouse, and his work is magical. Thanks for telling me about him!

Erik Donald France said...

Holy Mother of God, that's uber-amazing . . .

Thanks for walking us through it, though unlike chemistry class, I could not repeat it. The dazzle comes from inside you, or from the ether ;->

Travis said...

The photograph is stunning, but I love your interpretation of it.

I particularly like how you let more light into your sky. The picture shows how angry the sky was, but your painting is more hopeful and positive. It reminds me that although a southern storm can be destructive, it also brings life with the rain.

Lana Gramlich said...

BA; I'm glad & relieved. The USPS always makes me a bit nervous with glass! Enjoy. :)

Debra; Thanks. Very true. When people ask me how long a painting takes, I tend to answer, "22 years." ;)

Scott; Thanks! Why not give it a try? Painting's a great stress reliever & if it doesn't come out like you wanted, you refer to it as "abstract." *L*

Ello, Michelle (artscapes,) Chrissy, NW & Tabib; Thank you!

Anonymous, JR, Michelle's Spell & Erik; Thanks. You're all very kind. :)

Dr. Jay; Shhhh, shhhhhhhh! Don't give the secret away! *LOL*

Holly; With some practice it gets easier. I promise!

Charles; You're very sweet. I'm glad you like "Misty Autumn Morning." Truth be told, I do, too. So do most other people, but I couldn't sell it. Not when you love it so much.

Angie; Thanks & anytime!

Lynda; Thanks. Glad you liked Waterhouse, too. His stuff just blows me away!

Travis; When it comes to color, "bright" is my middle name. *L* Glad you like it. :)

Marvin said...

Thank you for a behind the scenes look at your process. I could probably follow the steps with a little practice. The only thing missing would be the talent --and that is the magical element that makes you an artist. Great work, Lana.

Abraham Lincoln said...

Wow. That turned out to be a revelation. Nice painting.

nix said...

Beautiful painting.. is look so real.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Lana, what a magnificent post!!! Thank you so much for sharing your painting process. You make a great instructor. Have you thought of a how-to book?

Hugs, JJ

Travis Erwin said...

Lana thanks for everything that you and Charles have done. The support from the blog world has been phenomenal and very much appreciated. You and Charles are an inspiration to me and I want you to know that I really appreciate the kindness and compassion for both me and my family.

letspaintnature.com said...

Aewsome!!!! I love the picture, painting and steps..it came out fantastic! Great job!!!
Chris

photonz said...

Explaining process will never make someone an artist. Art comes from within. Sometimes a photograph is a finished work, sometimes it is the inspiration or starting point for a different work. Your photo was used as a reminder of an event, the painting is the real expression of what you felt. Very nice.

Dave Coulter said...

Just lovely....

Lana Gramlich said...

Marvin; Aw, shucks...Thank you kindly. :)

Abe, nix & Dave; Thanks!

JJ; To be honest my "to do" plate is overfull even without a "how to" book, but I appreciate the sentiment! :)

Travis; Anytime, hon. Think nothing of it & please do feel to let us know if there's anything else you need. Y'all are totally in our thoughts these days. Sending everyone big, supportive hugs through cyberspace!

Christine; I've always enjoyed seeing your own "how to," so you helped me crack my own shell in that regard--thank you!

Paul; Thank you very kindly. Ultimately the painting & the photo are still both "secondary" experiences--there's nothing like standing out at the Flatwoods or at the edge of the lake, watching the sunset first-hand. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. :)

Shauna Roberts said...

Painting has always been a mystery to me, so I enjoyed seeing how you do it. It still seems like a miracle that you could start with canvas picture 1 and end up with canvas picture 3. Beautiful painting.

Steve Malley said...

I've toyed with the idea of doing a walk-through as well. So far, the 10,000 things get in the way, so I'm glad to have yours!

:D

jodi said...

Thank you Lana! I loved the personal art class. It's cool how you basically have to do the end first. Kinda. I do not have any foresite or process when I dabble, so its pretty much hit and miss and evolution.

Lana Gramlich said...

Shauna; Thanks. This was a fairly uncomplicated painting, which was why I chose it for a "how to." I didn't want to overwhelm my readers off the bat!

Steve; Thank you! I'd love to see how you do what you do, as well.

Jodi; Glad you enjoyed. :) More often than not, I work from the back, forward (from the distance to the foreground.) There are some exceptions to the rule, of course.

Lana Gramlich said...

Shauna; Thanks. This was a fairly uncomplicated painting, which was why I chose it for a "how to." I didn't want to overwhelm my readers off the bat!

Steve; Thank you! I'd love to see how you do what you do, as well.

Jodi; Glad you enjoyed. :) More often than not, I work from the back, forward (from the distance to the foreground.) There are some exceptions to the rule, of course.

maryanne said...

Hi, Lana Thanks for sharing your work and your step by step demonstration...sharing your gift with others is gratifing isn't it...your site is great! Hope to see you soon...Maryanne

Lana Gramlich said...

Maryanne; Thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed this post. :)

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