Journey from Blank Canvas to Finished Work of Art

Every artist has her own way of working. Some work from life, some from imagination and many of us combine these to relate our vision. Some paintings are started and finished in one sitting while others can take months. Starting with today’s post, I am going to let you watch as I create a new work. As yet untitled, it will be a still life – a portrait of a pair of orchid blooms grown by my friend and orchid grower, Connie Ballardo of Ballado Orchids.

Here’s a look at the start, then. A big yellow smear!

Undercoating and sketch

Undercoating and sketch

It doesn’t look like much more than some yellow smear. And that’s exactly what it is. These orchids are predominantly yellow and so I want the warm sunny yellow to infuse everything I paint -even white areas. I used a lemony yellow in acrylic paint even though I plan to use mostly oils for the rest of the work. The undercoat is puposely uneven. I am not painting a wall and the uneveness will help the work be more organic and lively rather than bland and uniform.

On top of that (though not really visible) I have sketched in colored pencil more or less where the blooms will be positioned. This is not definitive, but rather a guide to placement and balance, but once I start laying on the paint, things will develop on their own.

This isn’t the beginning, though. Before I could paint this undercoat, the canvas had to be stretched and primed. I used to do this myself exclusively, but in this case, I have opted for a prestretched, gesso-primed Gallery depth canvas. The great thing about these is that they hang beautiifully without having to be framed.

Stay tuned for my next installment and see how the work progresses.

7 Responses to “Journey from Blank Canvas to Finished Work of Art”

  1. Ruthie Says:

    I look forward to following your progress on this!

  2. Dawn Says:

    I’ve never painted so I’m eager to follow the development of your orchid painting.

  3. Christine Wilson Says:

    I can’t wait to see more. I don’t paint, but it’s always inspirational to watch an artist at work. I feel like I’m looking over your shoulder!

  4. Patricia C Says:

    Ruthie, Dawn, Christine: I’m committed to this painting now! I have an audience. 🙂

  5. Marsha Says:

    Exciting! Please keep blogging and let us watch!

  6. custom watch Says:

    I believe my mom is planning something similar. Best of luck to you.