Work begins as a seed idea inspired by personal expression. One's imagination allows the seed to grow. Persistence and interest carry the work to its final form. My procedure follows a traditional approach. Injected here and there are a few modern tools, but it comes down to pigments applied to a surface.
I start out with a graphite pencil and white paper. It is unusual for me to pick up a brush and start painting away on a blank canvas or panel till completion. My intuitive, just paint it, mode is reserved for figure studies, plein air paintings and a few - “lets just see what happens”, excursions. I shape my idea with loose, small sketches of black and white patterns. When I find something that rings my bell, I enlarge the drawing and, inject more information. I then paint a fairly detailed color sketch which I may follow or choose to abandon. I generally color the sketch in acrylics, as they go fast - a few hours on average. A line drawing is made to the size of the finished work. This line drawing is carefully done and may include information from models, props, and other reference materials. These all come into play to allow the patterns, overlapping shapes and areas of detail to be resolved.
I transfer the drawing with graphite or oil paint to the intended surface, that being masonite panels, stretched linen or canvas for oil and watercolor paper for water media, At an early stage an artwork might look a bit like paint by numbers, without the numbers. I develop the outline into a monochromatic under painting as my first paint layer usually over a toned surface. This one color is used to enhance the drawing with areas of hard and soft edges. I add other colors in a background to foreground manner. I prefer oil paints but, I have also completed acrylic works. I have used an airbrush with acrylics only when specific jobs require such a mechanical expression. The idea, intent, and mood of the work dictates the application. I add detail as I go along refering to my research material, as I sharpen, blur, lighten, darken, glaze and scumble areas until the fat lady sings.
I don't know - ask the fat lady. Each painting differs. Were I a clock watcher, adding minutes, hours, days, weeks or months, I would not be able to pay attention to what I am creating. I also tend to have many projects overlapping. Some areas of a painting come off effortlessly while others can be time consuming. Size may be an issue. However, a small, complex work has its own circumstances. When there is a looming deadline, the work day becomes more challenging and sleep scarce. Some move along quicker and some considerably slower. Researching elements and just, getting it right, is not predictable. I may add finishing element weeks later. Even if the deadline is up and the art is off to be reproduced, I may make changes to the work at a later time. Oil paints take a year to dry completely before a final coat of varnish is applied. So, add one year to the painting time equation. My studio is attached to my home, and life sometimes gets pushed aside to accommodate art - or vice versa.
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