Monday, October 14, 2013

Big red in the studio

Stage 1
I'm hoping you're still willing to see the sailing boats in Paimpol harbour because as I said a little while ago I've been working on a large studio version. I'm happy to say it's finally finished and I've been taking photos all the way through at various stages to show you how it progressed!
So, right back to the beginning which was some weeks ago now... I started work on a large canvas panel (large compared to all my plein air paintings) sized 24" x 30" and I primed it all over with a tinted gesso mix consisting of white gesso and pale umber acrylic paint.

I then painted the large area that would become the red sail again with white gesso, because I imagined that the red of the sail would work better with a white ground showing through the red rather than the warm grey underneath.

When this was all dry I started with the oil paints. Using a turpsy mix of a greenish-brown grey I plotted in the main dark areas and this is what you can see in Stage 1 above.
Everything is full of promise and no angst at this stage!

Stage 2

While that was still wet I also added a slightly darker version of the same colour to differentiate between two tonal values in the dark area. Then when this stage was dry I used another turpsy mix, cooler in colour this time to deepen some of those darks and add further shape to the buildings behind. 
(Stage 2)

Stage 3

I took the painting along to a workshop then and stage 3 was completed as a little demo. With the tonal values in place I really needed to start thinking about colour, and in particular it was time to get cracking with that red! I also worked on the colour of the 'white' sails and their reflections, and completed the shadowy buildings on the right hand side. I wasn't particularly concerned with the accuracy of the roofline, as I knew I could confirm the drawing there when painting the sky.
The touches of blue in the sky and water and the blue banners on the quayside added a lot of liveliness.

Stage 4

On returning to the studio after it's trip out I realised that I needed much more of the sky colour reflected in the water and worked on this area with thicker paint.
To be honest I thought it was very nearly finished at this stage but apparently not!

I'll show you how things proceeded tomorrow...

Detail at stage 4

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