Every time I begin a painting it’s a little bit like magic. What I mean is, I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen  Gradually, from beginning to end and with curiosity and intention, the brush marks begin to move from a single line to a final image. As I work, I take photos of the stages of a painting to remind me where I’ve come from and to see important changes that can only be revealed in the phone’s screen. This process intrigues me enough to want to share it with you.

Lately I’ve begun not only sketching what I want to paint first, but also coloring the sketched image before putting it on canvas. This is fun and gives me a guide to follow once I start painting. Remember, I said a “guide” because deviating is encouraged.

The image I’m sharing is part of my trailer/food cart series. Here’s the sketch. This is going on a 22 x 24 inch canvas.

colored sketch of woman in food trailer with table and birds outside
Silver Seed Food Cart

First I begin marking the canvas with a pencil using big gestures to warm up the canvas and me. Gradually, where things go on the canvas will find their place. This step is important because the conversation between me and the painting literally begins here. The drawing is loose and wobbly and free. For this painting, I want the image to fill the canvas as if the viewer is ordering food from the cart.

painting sketch of woman in food cart with birds on the ground
Initial Painting Sketch of Silver Seed

Then I mix a dark color to set the drawing. As you can see, I’ve already altered the sketch: the table is gone,  the birds are on the ground and the woman’s posture is different.

But wait! She’s not alone! As the conversation with the painting continues, new ideas (and people) show up. The next step is to decide where the light is coming from and indicate so with paint.

Man and woman in Silver Seed food cart. Image is painted with darks and lights
Silver Seed: Painting in the darks

The image below is where I ended yesterday after adding more darks with color and nearly filling the canvas with paint. I’m not sure what’s in the background, but that will come later (remember my “don’t know mind.”)

This movement, from beginning to end in all creative works, intrigues me. It’s like pulling back the curtain to see the effort, inner workings and imagination of the artist. If this fascinates you as well, there are many internet sites that offer a glimpse into the creative artistic process. Or, you can simply come back here next month to see my progress.

More colors added to painting: pink door, metal food card, wooden window open
Filling the canvas with paint


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