Planning Paintings

Discuss all topics related to sketching


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Planning Paintings

Post by mdmattin » Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:47 pm

This thread is a continuation and expansion of Dumlat, which is about a particular approach to planning a painting. It started to spark off a larger discussion of planning paintings in general, so we're moving the discussion over here..

Dumlat is a way of setting up related thumbnails to focus on different aspect of a composition:
dumlat sm.jpg
dumlat sm.jpg (116.02KiB)Viewed 1792 times
Have at it!


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Re: Planning Paintings

Post by Rebecca » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:39 pm

Here's an example of my typical process. It's not a deliberate thing. It starts with a notion.

This one explores tree nymphs and a satyr, helplessly attached to their stand of trees,
protected, with the others slated for removal for something like a parking lot.
Knowing they depend on numbers to sustain their kind, the safe ones suffer anguish,
calling to the doomed nymphs who anchored to this land cannot retreat into the wilderness.
PlanBegins.jpg (128.79KiB)Viewed 1788 times
The small thumbnail to the lower left is the imagined finished painting.
The large sketches above consider the action in more detail.
This leads to questions about choreography.
The next page indicates that I decided to have the "saved" characters convey the story
and let the viewer take the role of the nymphs outside the stand, the ones who will perish.
Evidently, the satyr bled force of meaning from the central statement. He was omitted.
I don't remember why I numbered these.
PlanVariations.jpg (114.92KiB)Viewed 1788 times
Finally, I contemplated final presentation.
PlanRefinements.jpg (110.71KiB)Viewed 1788 times
By drilling down to essentials, the original design changed completely.
As I recall, as it looks to me now, I realized the result had become formal, less Baroque.
I thought, why not go all the way? Go didactic. Put an inscription at the bottom.
Put more symbols around the outside, lest the viewer not follow the meaning...

Then I had to go teach, and the whole thing got shelved.

This is just one of many ways I arrive at a painting plan.
Sometimes I know the exact composition, so all I need to do is duplicate the drawing several times on one page, then use different color arrangements to decide how to set my palette. And I also use the selected color thumbnail as a reference while I paint the final full sized painting.
As I dig out more of these, I'll post.

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3 women sketches

Post by mdmattin » Thu Dec 20, 2018 5:31 am

I thought it might be interesting to look back on the sketched evolution of my Three Women painting. I worked on it intermittently over many years, and made many changes. I now have a drawer full sketches and studies, of which these are a selection.
thumbnails sm.jpg
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I started with a general idea and hashed it out in rough sketches and thumbails

early layout sm.jpg
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The thumbnail in the lower right of the page above got a larger treatment here, but was ultimately rejected.

background sm.jpg
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An idea for the young girl and background that made it into the final sketch.

final layout sm.jpg
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This is the final sketch, squared off for transfer to the canvas.

girl new pose sm.jpg
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Soon after starting work on the actual painting, I decided to change the girl's pose to be looking more away from us, into the picture's space, and worked out the pose in several sketches like this one.

top view sm.jpg
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To figure out the play of light and shadow on the grandmother figure, I tried to visualize her from above.

grandma head sm.jpg
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I did several studies of different faces for the grandmother.

bridge sm.jpg
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The background went through various permutations, including the addition of a truss bridge.

overlay sm.jpg
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I did a whole series of compositional and proportional studies, printing out photos of the painting in progress and drawing diagrams on tracing paper overlays.

three women.jpg
three women.jpg (83.35KiB)Viewed 1751 times
And in the end, it all came out looking like this.


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