It may seem odd to those who appreciate my shamanic paintings, but I think that like an architect, I build a realist painting, rather than paint it. Although I begin with a photograph which is akin to seeing a finished house, many steps must happen before the space, or the vision, can be occupied,
My first step is to draw a light web of detail, indicating where the major shapes are, and more importantly, how these hook into the shapes already painted and yet to come.
I then mix acrylic paints into what I think of as the "base." Usually a combination of Hooker's Green and Prism Violet. Although this reads as dark grey, it has the ability to shade to the warmth of the violet, or the coolness of the green, depending on what brighter colors are laid over it.
This painted sketch mostly helps me find my way as I glance between the photograph and the painted forms. This ability to rapidly "find" the area I am working on is the single most important skill contributing to the success of the painting.
As the painting progresses, this technique is like a colorless image gradually taking on life and light. Like a house is first a shell of framing timbers, and slowly receives a skin of sheathing.
While I am painting the monochromatic sketch, I am also painting back into the surrounding areas.
First with pale washes of color which build in intensity and richness.
Every overlaid color washes back into an area already painted with the base color, just as the interior wall treatments and trim layer onto the basic construction of a house.
Eventually the intensity of form and color become a place worth living in. So what am I painting?
A painting of this scale and complexity takes me about a year to build, and the construction is not yet complete so you will just have to wait a bit longer for the open house.
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