Because the one thing I get asked the most by anyone who knows I paint is, ” What are you working on?” And because I always love to talk about what I’m working on. And because hey, it is Wednesday…
Ah, the lay-in… The painting begins. How can a single canvas hold so many possibilities?
The lay-in is the start of the painting process. I love this time in a painting. It’s where you as the artist get to take a canvas that could truly become anything, and hopefully, make it into the image that you want.
Five things that are great about the start of a painting:
- You get to start thinking in color. I love color and all that it adds. Color can be fun. It carries emotion. Color is something that people relate to and are drawn to.
- You get a chance to play with the composition. Again… I try to remember to think, every time I approach the canvas and make a brush stroke, ” What is happening to the composition? Is this making it better?” Moving from a drawing to a painting, starting a new surface, gives you a big chance to tweak things if necessary.
- Moving from line work to mass work. When working on a drawing, there is a lot of marks that are drawn just as lines; Lines around shape. Lines along the edges of things. What those lines are really doing is representing where 2 shapes or masses are meeting. I know for myself, being a mass-oriented thinker, that the shift to working in 3 dimensional masses wakes me up to what is really going on in front of me and how I’m going to represent it in the painting.
- You start the decision-making process. Without decision there is no going forward. Every decision you make in paint might not be correct, but until you start deciding and putting those marks up on the canvas, no one else can see your idea.
- If it doesn’t start out awesome, that’s okay. Very little of the lay-in will be visible in the final painting. Through adjustment, layers, glazing, scumbles, brush strokes or whatever, very little of the initial lay- in will be visible, unaltered, in the final panting. Some times that’s a good thing.