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The Journey of a Painting (Part 1)

There is a funny little story attached with this painting…
I flew to Sydney with my paints & brushes (which never leave my side while travelling) to board the “Jewel of the Seas’ as Guest Artist for the voyage. All aboard and settled in comfortably, we relax for the night!

The next morning I turned up bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to create a masterpiece. I looked at the Easel and then looked at the faces of the art stewards, which were blanker than my canvas, had it actually been there.
We had sailed and someone had forgot to load my blank canvases aboard for the voyage. Panic!!!! Whats a girl to do???
Go sun bake on deck, drink cocktails and read a book, I thought!

Well not quite, after turning the ship upside down, the stewards managed to find a canvas that was left previously by someone else.
Mine now! So here we go…

Between these two canvases below there are a few things that have to happen.
My first step is to think about ‘what is it’ that I want to say in my painting, what mood am I waning to create. There are times when I start out with the end title in mind and create around that, and other times I will have a picture or feel going on in my head, something I want to bring to life and then title afterwards.

Sometimes when I am painting a piece live on a ship, knowing the piece will go to Auction while I am there, I like to talk to the collector who acquires my work and see if they would like to co-title it with me, as the piece has obviously spoken to them personally, so their input can be special.

Once I have established my direction I generally do a rough small sketch or layout on paper to nut out the logistics of how my design will work.
Usually I have already prepared my canvas before hand with two coats of white Artist quality gesso. This seals the canvas, putting a barrier between the canvas and my paint, protecting the future painting and ensuring an even absorption of my paint.

Next a quick sketch of my drawing onto the canvas in a soft pencil.
Then out with the brush and some watery deep Rose Madder.

This is one of my most important steps, as once I start sketching with the brush there is always freedom, and I find out what really works on the canvas, so hands, arms/legs and positions etc are often changed at this point. Once I am relatively happy with my painting I will paint over the entire canvas again with another coat of white Gesso.
One for good luck! no not really. I like having 3 coat barrier under my paintings, also I end up with a white canvas with a light pink painting underneath as a guide for what will come next…


The Journey of a Painting (Part 2)

So now its time to start getting a feel for my colours, lots of layers of light washes of colour on my canvas, which both fills the weave of the canvas and helps to give a luminosity for rich colour. Especially when working with reds. It allows me to experiment with colour selection, and to get more of a feel for where the painting is going and what it is saying! Colour has a impact on mood in a big way, and how we respond to it. I will continue to build up layers and start to define and correct the piece. Once this has been worked all over, I will have a bit of a break and come back fresh. Sometimes when working on something so closely and intensely, you don’t notice mistakes that may have crept in. So having a fresh look is important. This is where the girls will also start to develop their own character. Part 3 is where they really come to life! Look forward to seeing you soon…

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