Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Initial Sketch for painting of Donovan Bailey at the Spoke Club

Here is the full size sketch of Donovan Bailey, done on a couple of large sheets of 24x36 newsprint taped together.

Making a sketch allows me to get the drawing right and then move the piece of paper (to position of the figure) around the canvas to see what works best for my composition.

Since I have to work from photographic reference material for this piece, I don't have the luxury of life sittings and the freedom to just start painting with my subject right there in front of me, full size, to compare. Therefore, the information I have in a small photograph on my computer screen must be blown up to a life size image.

An easy way to transfer a large sketch like this to the painting support is to oil the surface slightly, brush on paint mixed with a little medium, lay the drawing on top and draw over your lines. Afterward, I use a rag to wipe out the lights and add some details in darker paint and to produce a massed block in of the composition.

It is important to keep in mind that this is a general guide for placement and I do not try to stay within the lines when painting!

Once the monochrome painting is dry, it is easy to maintain the planned notan (value pattern) and not go off track from the initial idea.

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