Getting Started

The blood is beginning to bubble, my palms are getting itchy, my nose is longing for the smell of oil paint. I am feeling anxious, anticipating that first contact be it with pencil or paint. Now to begin…

What I use for that initial contact on canvas depends on the complexity of the piece. Although this piece is relatively simple, it is done on three separate panels. I will use my pencil and make a sketch to make sure the horizon lines etc are the same on all three panels

I want this painting to breathe the feeling I had when I was on that ferry that evening. A feeling of contented nostalgia.That everything is right with the world, but sorry to be going home. The colours, I hope will reflect the majestic  glory of  summer sunset over the coastal mountains.

This time will be an under painting first… I am choosing cadmium red acrylic paint for the sky and water. The mountains which divide the two are painted paynes grey with an outline of the coastal mountains drawn in with paint as well.. I usually tend to separate the “theme” areas by using different colours in the  under painting so that I can visually check the composition before i start the oils. It also helps when I “overpaint” the sky ~ I can still see the outline of the mountains.

I think the sky should have a definite horizontal  flow. As you know I love doing skies and that is where I enjoy a little abstract work in a painting. The water for the most part will flow in the same direction which will enhance the meandering wake of the ferry. You will see that later.


These panels are painted on 12″ x 36″ wrap around canvas’ so the front scene must be continued on the sides, top and bottom to get the correct effect when the triptych is hanging.

My husband James just made me a new 42″ horizontal  bar for my easel so that I can work on these bigger pieces and triptych’s  more easily. He made it wide enough for the wrap around canvas’ that I prefer to work on.

I am going to do a series of articles on this paintings progress ~ stay tuned next week for the next installment.

2 comments to Getting Started

  • Heidi Smith

    looking forward to the next post

  • Bonnie Smith

    I love watching the “behind the scenes” of a painting…
    Have always thought it would be a good idea to illustrate/photograph the stages of “its birth”….
    Cant wait to see your next posting.
    Bonnie Smith