My previous blog post was a great video about the process of a castle, this wont be anywhere near as fancy or put together but showing the process of my then super secret commission I painted this winter. It was a gift for my nephew from his parents, recapturing a special memory of a father & son canoe trip. This is another glimpse into my creative process.
This was a first for me, my first painting with a human in it! For some, figure drawing or portrait painting comes easy, but it is not my favourite thing to do so I generally avoid it. What scares me about portraits is the symmetry of the face and body; faces in general are no my current strength. Nonetheless I did not hesitate, I said yes pretty quickly.
The scenery was spectacular so I had no reservations about capturing the mountains or the water. His easy, releaxed, taking-it-all-in pose is what I knew I had to capture. I was sketching within minutes of getting off the phone. I committed to sending off a few so they could see that I could capture what they were looking for. A few days later I sent them off for approval.
I was happy that I had the canvas in stock and could begin right away. My intention was to grid the photos; gridding is a tool used by artists that places a 3×3 grid over the reference image to help balance scale and perspective. I am a huge fan of gridding, it allows me to accurately recreate the image in proportion as I learn to be more comfortable with perspective drawing/sketching. If you saw my previous blog post, I returned to the grid reference after every stage to keep it proportioned. This one, as it turned out, was very different.
My process generally looks like this: evaluate the image, pick a canvas, prime it, grid it and get to work drawing. With this piece I was combining 2 images of the landscape with his relaxed easy pose. When it was time to grid it, I didn’t.
It was the first time I could actually see the shapes on the canvas! So one Saturday night I sketched the whole thing on the canvas using my watercolour pencils. In one 45 minute session, the guts of the painting went down on the canvas! It was an amazing and unexpected experience.
The sketches can look wonky but I knew it was ok, a base of lines to work from.
I loved the challenge of this piece and I am very proud on how it turned out. It was wrapped with TLC and delivered on time and in time for his birthday.
I hope you enjoyed a little insight into my process and the evolution of this special piece.