Demonstration: Painting a Landscape on Commission, Part 2

- The PAINTING Phase -

Preparing the Work Area
Once I begin painting, I want maintain freedom and flexibility as long as possible. Therefore, I setup my space to facilitate starting/stopping without hindrances. I double check to be certain that I have enough colors in sufficient quantities and the correct brushes to complete the painting. Lots of space is allotted to move around and view the piece while working. My photo references are at hand if needed the most important resource being the color reference board.

I lay out the equipment and paint tubes for my palette. These colors differ from what I usually use, but are based on the client's room. It's not necessary to strictly adhere to these, but they will be incorporated in some way in the painting. Other colors are added as needed, but limiting the colors to as few as possible helps assure visual unity.:



Titanium White
Bleached Titanium
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Emerald Green
Thalo Turquoise
Alizarin Crimson
Acra Red
Cadmium Red Light
Deep Brilliant Red
Cobalt Blue
Ultramarine Blue
Dioxazine Purple

brushes; filberts, flats, rounds
· Styrofoam plates
· water bowl
· water
· water in spray bottle
· paper towels
· coffee; large quantity ;)
· easel
· gel medium
· palette knife
· satin varnish
· level

[TIP: I use many types of palettes, wood, glass, and paper. But for this project I'll use Styrofoam dinner plates. When leaving my easel for a time, I spray the paint with water, invert another plate and place on top to keep moist. And since I will use many rounds of paint, I can keep each dried plate of paint as color reference...and they're economical.]

As one final check, I use a level to make certain the painting is parallel to the floor. Otherwise, the pillars and arch could be out of alignment.

Normally I paint landscapes from dark to light, or use a colorist's palette. But I will approach this piece a bit differently*. If I stray too far from what is in the actual room, the painting will fail. Since the client's wall color is pivotal to keying the painting to the room, I have to begin with light colors now and work in the medium to dark values. The room's colors are generally very cool. To warm up the painting a bit, I am going to put a thin layer of alizarin mixed with cadmium yellow over the canvas surface. This will be covered for the most part during painting, but will show through in places to further unify the piece. It will also keep the subject from appearing flat and allows all the colors "read" immediately when making adjustments. (My soft pastel training is in play here :)

 *NOTE: There are many, many ways to paint this piece. Top to bottom, center to the outside, sky first, then land, then pillars, etc. I have chosen to do an all over approach, so the whole painting is at the same level of "doneness" at every step. That way, I can stay as flexible for as long as possible before committing to final treatments.

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