I’ve never thought of myself as a strategist. Let me tell you, up next to my brother Fred, who was a fabulous strategist, I could never measure up.
What I’m realizing is that there is a lot of strategy involved in planning paintings. So the game of “Risk” just wasn’t my thing. I don’t think I won a sing game against my brother. But I digress.
Strategy and preparation have been big on my mind this past weekend. Currently I’m in the process of my next series focused entirely on Tulips. It all begins with taking some photos, printing those photos, then selecting ones that I think would be great paintings.
From the selected image, I then make some decisions about what size canvas I want to put the image on to. In the case of the white tulip above, the bottom 1/3 of the image is not very interesting, so I will want to crop that out in the painting. And the top right hand side is not very interested either. So I will crop the image down to keep the centre of the flower as the focal point. With all that cropping a vertical rectangle feels like the correct proportions to capture this image.
Once the canvas is stretched I put several layers of medium on the raw canvas to be sure that the fibres are well sealed. Oil paint is acidic and over time it will deteriorate the canvas if the surface isn’t prepared properly.
The strategy and planning that goes into each canvas is an extension of my creative license. Yes, there are some technical skills that need to be respected, but size, dimension, surface material etc are all up for me to choose. I find this really exciting because I get to ‘feel’ my way through the decisions.
In the example that I gave about the white tulip above, I get to decide on the cropping and composition, knowing my artist eye likes to keep the focal point on the most dramatic part of the scene. I love that.
I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into the studio. Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below.
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