Process of Painting in Gage Open Studio

So I finally was able to attend the Sunday Gage Academy open studio after missing it for several weeks. Everyone that attends this session is awesome. We have such a great time chatting during the model breaks.

Everything came together well on this painting. My mind was in the perfect place to take my time painting and focusing hard on the model. I think I have found the process of painting that matches my brain best.

I put a dark ground on the canvas, then do some basic drawing of the subject placing in the large masses and getting a feel for the composition. I then use paper towels to wipe out the light areas of the painting and get a better understanding of the broad values in the subject. All of this is done very loosely with an understanding that it may change dramatically as the painting progresses. This whole process of painting setup takes maybe 5 to 10 minutes.

Then the real painting starts. I pick a spot on the subject and go straight for the details. For this painting I started with the models head. I placed in the light shape of the forehead trying to get its color and value perfect. Once I was happy with its drawing, value and color then I established in my mind that this will be the shape that the entire painting will be compared against. Basically I setup the one constant that I would use to measure the placement, value and color against for everything else in the painting. Richard Schmid works this way, he also builds a painting much like a puzzle. Establish one correct item then work out from there, comparing every stroke with the constant.

The great thing about working this way is that at any point in time you will have a good “finished” painting.

open studio process of painting
Richard Schmid doesn’t feel a need to fill the entire canvas with paint, all of his beautiful paintings has a clear focus.