Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sketchbook Studies

Jean commented on the method of doing thumbnail studies. I bucked this type of preliminary work, wanting to use a more improvisational approach in my work when I was younger. I worked intuitively and reacted to what was happening in the moment. When I began a series of realistic observational still life paintings 14 years ago I started to see the advantage to doing preparatory studies. When I started following the steps. (I actually created my own method somewhat based on classical techniques.) I was having less failed paintings and I was much faster. I could also expand and work in any size I wanted.

In researching classical methods and found that this preliminary work is extremely important. You can go to visit James Gurney's blog to start learning about adopting the old techniques. He is very generous with his knowledge. There is a huge explosion of information on classical painting techniques so you will have no trouble finding information. Other resources you might like are illustrators who work using classical methods such as Donato Giancola and Dan Dos Santos also there are atielier trained artists like Stan Prokopenko.

I have always been interested in intuition and improvisation. I have developed a synthesized technique for myself. I create dozens if not hundreds of thumbnail compositional studies. These play a different role than they do to classical or imaginative realism. I don't want to create a roadmap or plan for a painting. I want to focus on intuition and improvisation while I am painting even when it comes to composition elements. These studies serve as a method of developing the abstract visual language and mark making language. I find it extremely important in my work. 

Sketchbook Page

Magma Chamber on the easel

1 comment:

Jean said...

John, Without realizing it, until reading your "Sketchbook Studies" today, in planning a series of five 36" x 36" painting, I found myself getting inspiration from a video of Zion National Park and was sketching as I was watching. Well, I've ended up with seven sketches for this series. I am not doing landscapes, but what I call mind maps. Doing this sketching step, I have found is just as intuitive as just starting a drawing. Now I am starting to visualize the whole composition, not the detail, but the intent and color so far. Visually, I don't have the painting in my mind's eye, but have the inspiration. It feels one step closer. Thank again. Jean