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oil on paper, 8" X 10", 2012
Here is a piece that was started early last year. I had worked on a larger painted version but was never satisfied with how it was turning out, so it got shelved. Over the holiday break I took it up again. I scrapped the painting and started over. I worked much smaller and kept the color palette much tighter. Here is the result.
Death of the Nightingale
preparatory sketch and finished painting, 11" X 14", 2012
So how detailed should a compositional sketch be before starting a painting? Well, I guess that all depends on your personal working method and the circumstances behind the piece you are producing. A plein air painting does not need much fussing over but this is different. I like to have a fairly resolved drawing to help me organize the picture space, value patterns and details. Unless I am unclear in my mind about color I generally do not do color comps. On the left is the drawing for the painting on the right. I spent time researching birds (nightingales), traditional British arrows and Northern European Renaissance painting. I had a loose thumbnail drawing in my sketchbook that I was working with for design. Once the images had been gathered, I drew my comp drawing to the size of the final. I like a quality drawing paper for this process as it withstands my constant erasing and redrawing. Once the image 'feels' right I go ahead and transfer the image to my painting support and complete the painting.
oil on paper, 7" X 9 1/2", 2012
This year marks a first. I decided to do a painting for the family Christmas card. It has, of course, taken longer than planned and I still haven't sent the image to the printer. Here is a preview of the work, the angel announcing to birth of the Christ to the shepherds.
I am following my recent process of working from memory or imagination and really had a wonderful time painting.