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« Sterling Boat: Underpainting stage 2 | Main | Waterhouse and Vermeer »

Sterling Boat: Underpainting Stage 1

Sterling Boat - work in progress
9 x 12 inches, oil on panel

I worked up the preparatory drawing for this painting a few days before I left for my trip to New York, and varnished it before I left, so when I came back to the studio today it was all dry and ready to start the under painting. Might be hard to see yet what it is - it's an antique silver gravy boat and a seashell perched beneath a 'wave' of wax paper.

I'm not videotaping this painting like I have previously, but I took photos while painting today. The first layer of under painting is just quickly roughing in all the values, I spent about 3 and a half hours today. Today is probably the only day I'll cover the entire surface in one painting session.

stage 1
The initial contour drawing took about 8 hours over 2 days. I started the basic block-in drawing on trace paper but completed the final refined linework directly on the gessoed panel. Then I varnished it with a mixture of damar, turp, and a tint of titanium white to seal the drawing and the porous gesso surface. This makes a nice surface to paint on - not too thirsty, not too slick - and also prevents the graphite pencil from mixing with my first layers of paint.

stage 2
I start the underpainting in the darkest black areas and work in steps up to the lightest lights.

stage 3

stage 4

stage 5
The painting is still rough and brushy at this stage. The paint texture is hard to control at this point, and I'm just massing in values, so I try not to spend too much time worrying about unwanted textures.

I am planning my teaching schedule for 2010 so take a look at my teaching page and sign up for my mailing list to be notified when I post new classes and workshops.

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