Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Canvas and Paint Process 1

To start at the very beginning I pull on my boots, grab my little camera, my little pack of moleskine sketchbook, tiny paint box and water brushes, then a scrappy sketchbook and something to draw with in my pocket and the dog.
Then we set off down the lane to the sea...
The first thing I do when I have arrived at my destination is to take a little time just to look and listen, I am not here to make the finished painting but rather to try and absorb as much information that I can. After my zen like standing and staring I get the scrappy sketchbook out. It is a collection of rubbish scraps of paper and cardboard, it is designed so that I really don't care about it at all, so that I will never be precious about any drawing in it, they will never go anywhere or be shown to anyone (ha ha, here I am doing just that!) The point of this sketchbook is exercise, like stretching before a run, warming up.

Here are a couple of the warm ups, I left the rest on the boat the other day so I cant show them all to you. This should give you an idea of what I am talking about. In doing these I am also realising what it is that I particularly like about what I am looking at.

Light, line, shadow and texture.

After that I will take a huge bunch of snaps, not photographs, just snaps which will help with colours and other information.

If I have time and it is not too cold I might get out my Moleskine sketchbook and do a much longer sketch like this: "Masking Tape"

After all that I go home and work out my painting plan, the size and a very detailed line drawing. It feels like this is the longest part of the whole thing but it is necessary because I want to be certain that everything is just right and I want it all locked firmly in my mind!

The next post will be about preparing the support and beginning the painting.


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Great post Sarah! I know that zen thing well. Just 'being there' and looking a lot so that you can 'see'.

It's so nice to have a work in progress showing all the stages from the 'so-called' scrappy (I call them 'notan' sketches) through to detailed line drawings.

Do you use charcoal for the line drawings on your support or something else?

Also how did you decide the format for this one? It's a bit wider than you normally do.

Lindsay said...

At last!! What rich post. Thanks for taking the time to do this.

I remember a few years back you did another process painting for a work that had a very vivid red under painting and a long wide format.

Such a treat to see this.

Gesa said...

Thanks for this, Sarah - the painting is stunning and I'm very intrigued to read more about your work process. I very much agree with Katherine as this being something I very much like about reading other people's blogs: to get a sense of their work process; and thereby also reflecting on my own.

Charlene said...


Thank you so much, as a new sketcher/journal keeper it is helpful for me to see that everything is not "perfect" and that preparatory sketches are part of the process.

Very helpful

vivien said...

thanks for that - it was lovely to see the way you work

The 'scrappy' sketches are still lovely in themselves. I have a thing about sketchbooks!

the Zen thing I can really relate to - one friend has to stride out and walk before she knows a place - I need to be quiet and absorb it - walk yes, but lots of quiet stillness too.