- HOW TO APPROACH A WILD, WHITE CANVAS.
As with approaching any wild animal, it is important that you always remember that you are in charge, until – you’re not. Approaching a new canvas can be the same. Preparation is key to a successful endeavor and starting a painting is no exception. These tips should get you on your way with confidence.
After the first impulse strikes; the canvas is gessoed, paints are out and brushes dampened; now what?
I like to pre-color my canvases to create an undertone for the piece(called a ‘color ground’). This means I have washed the canvas with either a neutral ochre or umber to start working out tone and composition, or a lively orange or pink to create a wonderful vibration of color as I paint.
I have sorted through my reference images and decided what I may include and what will go. This process is based on why I am painting this in the first place. Was it a scene that struck me as I drove by? Is it a compilation of photos I have taken or torn from magazines? Is it a doodle or two that I just want to expand on? I have thumbed through my ever-expanding reference files and chosen the ones that suit me for this canvas.
My music is on. My phone is off and I am ready to immerse myself in a few hours of painting. I am going to start with a loose painted sketch and develop the focal point area. Who knows, things may take a turn, but I will follow only if it suits me to do so. I am open to things taking on their own life, but sometimes I am more interested in getting the results I planned on. I have extra canvases and prepared water-color paper at the ready should I need to break from this piece or want to use up extra paint. Who knows? All my unloaded palettes may be a great abstract in the making!