Demonstration: Painting a Landscape on Commission, Part I

- The DRAWING Phase -

One of the first things indicated is the point at which the viewer will be looking at the horizon. I have decided on symmetrically balanced, 1-point perspective radiating from about two-thirds up on the canvas. This may change slightly, but is close to what the final position will be.

Looking at the upper right corner of the photo above, I have begun developing the first pillar. The landscape itself is only a few sketchy lines at this point. I will work out the mountains, river, grass, trees, etc. after I finish the architecture. Here's how I handle the pillars and arch...



I work out the structure of the right pillar first; the perspective dictated by the center point marked earlier. I also decide how big to make the pillars. I want them to look the same as those in the client's home, but not so large so as to overpower the painting. I also have to decide how tall the arch will be. It has to be a soft slope, again to match the house. I decide that the top part of the wall is too low and blocks too much of the landscape opening, so I raise everything up a bit.

With the right pillar completed I want the left pillar to be identical. Here's a tip for you... To save time and assure accuracy, I tape a large piece of tracing paper over the finished pillar and trace the image with charcoal.



I remove and flip over the traced image, move it into position, and re-tape to the left side of the canvas.

The charcoal is now on the side facing the painting. Using the blunt end of a paintbrush I gently rub over the charcoal lines. A light tracing of the original pillar is transferred to the canvas. Bingo! Both pillars are the same, and in the correct position. I remove the paper, then retouch the two pillars and top of the arch...

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