Above is a copy of the page where I did the first sketch of a new Painting Outside! session at the Litchfield Community Center, June 4th.
When I only have a few hours to paint outside, I keep my paintings small and sketchy. 99% of the time, I begin with a thumbnail sketch. Disciplining myself to making a thumbnail sketch gives me time to settle-in and gather my thoughts before attempting to lay down a foundation for an actual painting.
During the course of teaching, whenever I mention a thumbnail sketch to students I’m met with a collective groan of protest, and remember the sinking sensation in my heart when I was told I had to memorize the 9x Table, back in 3rd grade. And how glad I am that I have....
The Thumbnail Sketch is an entire art unto itself, and highly fascinating as to how artists express themselves and the tools they use to fill sketch books full of drawings in very small spaces with their unique and personal expression.
To me, working from a Thumbnail sketch of my own creation is the best, the fun-part of the job.
This photo shows the painting cut out from the rest of the page. I like to do this on the computer as it gives me the opportunity to imagine this as a large painting. I’m able to see it as if the scene is far away and give thought as to what I might like to do next. I’ve decided to work on this painting a little more, so it will be useful to have the two small photos where I can view them side by side and make comparisons, analyses, listen to my thoughts....
After I’ve Saved the original photo and before I close the Photo-Processing program, I Desaturate the photo and save it as a bw (for black and white). Having this photo against the original shows me whether or not my original plan for value pattern is working or not (it is) and how I might want to change things up ahead.
My next step was to Glaze, in Ultramarine Blue. I’m defining a glaze as a watery layer of paint that obscures or semi-obscures the layer of paint underneath. In the distant trees I put it on in a thin layer and then added increasingly thicker amounts of paint and held the paper in such a way that the most blue settled near the tops of the trees in the middle ground. I added tints of blue to the grasses and the tree over the front of the building. I thinly glazed some detail into the middle ground tree with the tip of my brush and a squiggly motion. I glazed a very thin layer of UB over the distant part of the building and using a heavier blue glaze, painted in the shadow from the distant column and behind.
The blue patches in the upper right hand corner give an idea of how thin/thick my glaze coats were.
What is difficult to discern in this photo – but it’s there – is the glaze of Cadmium Red with which I covered the cloud and the sky. The patch of red I made as a sample is between the blue patches and the thumbnail sketch. It was a very thin glaze. I used red because it was a warm sky on a warm day. When the glaze was quite dry – not at all cool to the touch – I glazed over the blue sky with a thin mixture of blue and yellow, more a blue/green than a yellow/green. While the sky was still wet at the top, I mixed a little more blue to the glaze and painted it in near the top, then I added a little more blue to the glaze and painted it in across the very top.
The greens are all a mixture of Ultramarine Blue and Cad Yellow and in the case of the distant trees and some of the shadows, I added a little red so that it appeared as more black. Before I photographed the painting for the last time, I cleaned up the part of that represents the building closest to the viewer with a Q-tip dipped in water and wrung out a bit so it wasn’t sopping wet.