So I have been working away at my next painting, the Nativity and I have to say, I'm pleased so far with how it's going. After reading up a ton on the methods of some other artists, I've decided to do a full sketch of the painting, followed by a color sketch (or maybe a few - we'll see) and then trace the drawing onto the canvas when it's ready.
I tried this method with another painting last year and was met with a good deal of frustration. This time, however, I am beginning to see just how useful each step of the process can be.
The charcoal sketch helps you very quickly get a sense (albeit a black and white one) of what the final painting will "look" like. In other paintings I've done in the past, the process has felt more like I'm wandering through it, hoping that the finished project will turn out good enough in the end. The color sketch has more or less the same value. You can forego getting the drawing just right and concentrate on what the values should be and what the painting will more or less look like in the end. I found a really cool blog that describes the merits of using a thorough method.
I feel like my art is in it's toddler phase of development: slightly out of infancy, starting to walk but recklessly trying everything, shoving things into its mouth, stumbling and hurting itself (you get the idea).
This is more or less the final sketch that I'm going to use. I had to tweak the angle of Mary's head a little, because she seemed to be leaning back too far. For that, I cheated and used the computer. You'll notice too that the drawing looks somewhat unfinished still. I didn't really feel the need to fill in a lot of the negative space, since it will all be very dark ( a lot of charcoal). This still gives me a sense of the whole scene. Not to mention, it will be much easier to trace!
Here, I tried to change the face of Mary. Cindy, who is always my voice of reason, said she thought it would look odd if Mary's face was mostly in shadow. I think she is as usual, correct. I didn't really like the new version, so I am going to see if I can just lighten her face enough in the color studies and final painting.
I also had to do a little cleaning up after I found our little rascal, walking out of the front room with black fingers.
No harm no foul. Once the "final" sketch was done, I printed it out on regular computer paper and mounted it to poster board for the color study.
Here's the color sketch more or less completed. I might do some more of some of the details, we'll see.
Stay tuned for the next installment!